San Fernando Valley

Now comes Sherman Way, the movie

sherman+way+movie+collage.jpgFilm, music and pop culture references to the San Fernando Valley never get old. When 1.7 million people live in a place, it's inevitable that a lot of them end up working in the entertainment industry and doing their thing. The newest Valley centric film project on my radar is Sherman Way, a coming-of-age story that the filmmakers say "looks at the modern day family dynamics in the ultimate cultural melting pot of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California. We are taken on this journey through the eyes of third generation 15 year old, Mexican American girl, Maria Sanchez."

In her early teens, an aspiring Novelist, and avid writer, she would much prefer to shed all of her family's cultural and religious customs and be just like "everyone else". Like most teenagers, she thinks she's ready to be treated like an adult, and cannot understand why this fact escapes everyone including her family.

No, I have no idea either why they capitalize novelist. They do have an interesting gimmick coming up to get some attention. On Sunday the producers are holding an open casting call at an expo put on by QuinceaƱera Magazine at the Doubletree Hotel in Orange. "Sherman Way is about the life of a QuinceaƱera and what happens the week leading to this one-in-a-lifetime event," says the flackage.

They will probably want to keep the girls (and especially their parents) from knowing about the last Hollywood feature to be set on Sherman Way.

1938 flood on Sherman WayObligatory Valley trivia: Sherman Way has one of the more interesting pasts of any Los Angeles street. Named for the streetcar entrepreneur and land-subdivider whose name is on Sherman Oaks (and used to be on West Hollywood), Sherman Way originally was a country road through the wheat and lima bean fields that separated the Valley farm towns of Lankershim, Van Nuys, Marian and Owensmouth. It was multi-modal: built from the get-go with a streetcar track on one side, paved road on the other — and with no speed limit, an enticement to attract more weekend motorists from Los Angeles to the dusty towns. Today's Sherman Way barrels straight across the Valley, end to end. But that one's an imposter, partly. The original Sherman Way began at today's intersection of Chandler Boulevard and Whitsett Avenue, headed west on Chandler, then north on today's Van Nuys Boulevard — then turned west to follow what we know today as Sherman Way. Tall palm trees remain from early attempts to give Sherman Way a bit of grandeur.

Self-administered Los Angeles history test: Click inside for the current names of Lankershim, Van Nuys, Marian and Owensmouth (and a bonus question.)

Photo of Sherman Way during the 1938 flooding of Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley Digital History Library

Lankershim = North Hollywood
Van Nuys = Van Nuys
Marian = Reseda
Owensmouth = Canoga Park (and West Hills)

Bonus: Which Los Angeles community used to be known as Roscoe? Answer on my Facebook page.

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