Friday, January 25, 2008
Obscure and lost L.A. history
ABOVE: The Haunted Castle at Beverly Park (now the Beverly Center)
BELOW: BP parking lot circa 1969-70
Lately, as I roam around the net in-between gigs waiting for the writer's to do their thing so I can finish mine...or to be more specific, I'm waitin' on liner notes from Pamela Des Barres for the The Sales Bros. album package I'm designing...and Al Jardine's Track info for his first solo album I'm doing...I've grown addicted to daily hang-outs in these blogs in particular:
Gorillas Don't Blog
Stuff From The Park
Outside The Berm
Vintage Disneyland Goodies
Knott's Berry Farm Museum
Why? Because they feature not only amazing old Disneyland stuff (from photos to souvenirs to employee handbooks) but they also serve as a time machine for places that we've lost forever here in Southern California; Marineland (below), Knott's (pre-snoopy) , P.O.P., etc...
BELOW: The late great Ralph Story did a couple of shows for KCET called "Things That Aren't Here Anymore" (can't find a link to it...so I guess the show isn't around here anymore either!) But Ralph also did an incredible TV series from 1959-1970 called "Ralph Story's Los Angeles"
Yes, this is the man who invented Huell Howser.
The shows are over at the UCLA media department and can be viewed by the public there, but man I'd love to see these released on DVD. There's an entire episode done on the Hollywood Ranch Market that's mind-blowing...complete with 1967 Rodney Bingenheimer in a purple Nehru jacket buying a Diet-Rite soda at 3A.M. (those wierdos that come in after the rock clubs close, the check-out girl explains!)
I guess what's so hard of letting go of the past, is that being an L.A. native and an artist, I really miss the visual & creative vibe we used to have here before the city turned into what I can only describe as The Invasion of the Beige People!...I can't seem to put my finger on who is behind this movement, but they've re-painted over almost every architectural structure (that they haven't leveled) different shades of beige or brown..."tuscan" they call it, and now when you drive around the city on the main boulevards, the buildings actually feel like they're falling in on you...like a claustrophobic forced perspective.
BELOW: Driving around Hancock Park last week I caught it happening in action...here we see the innocent workers following orders from tuscan headquarters...one hour earlier, this was a perfectly groovy white Spanish-style home.
Stop the madness!
Listen, to each their own...but my own has a much wider color scheme! Our local retail shops aren't much better. Long gone are the bright colors and the red & white striped awnings that would pop out of those storefronts as a perfect foreground to the palm trees and blue skies. Also nearly extinct are those amazing and imaginative store & restaurant logos we used to see all around the city.
I gotta thank Dan Goodsell for the 60's Orange Julius logo, Dan's the king of original food packaging. It's a wierd sensation when you get home-sick while you're in your own city, and that's how I feel here lately.