Archive: History

Entries in this category going back awhile

Charles Manson dies 48 years after the murders that changed LA

manson-1970-wally-fong.jpg "Many people I know in Los Angeles believed the '60s ended abruptly on Aug. 9, 1969," Joan Didion wrote of the most notorious multiple murders in Los Angeles history.

Kevin Starr, 76, the historian of California

kevin-starr-sf-chronicle.jpg The top contender for the title of preeminent observer of our state "chronicled the history of California as no one else," Gov. Jerry Brown said.

Winter solstice cave pictograph at Burro Flats

burro-flats-ruggles-3.jpg From the LA Observed archives, a piece for the winter solstice on a Chumash cave painting in the local hills.

LA's first presidential election was different

andres_pico-lapl-crop.jpg Franklin Pierce won with the help of early LA figures like the Californio Andres Pico.

Pink Lady of Malibu Canyon: 50 years ago

pink-lady-cars.jpg The legendary guerrilla cliff art was painted in one night by a young mother hanging from ropes. She's still around and should be more famous.

Code 7 in Sherman Oaks: A little bit of history

Cde7-shermanaks.jpg A popular spot with Valley motor officers is one door over from a notorious crime location.

1932 Olympics tourist map

1932olympicsmap-beschloss.jpg Historian Michael Beschloss has an active Twitter presence and posted this stylized map to the sights of the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Angeles Crest is one audacious highway

angeles-crest-aaa.jpg The highway in the San Gabriel Mountains lets you drive 66 miles through "some of the most difficult terrain in the U.S."

When Van Nuys was a name downtown too

barclay-garyleonard.jpg Before it was a boulevard and a suburban community, Van Nuys was a name from LA's past that people should know.

Bernie's first time on TV: 'Looks like the village idiot'

bernie-sanders-in-1972.png The time was 1972. Sanders says, "I would never vote for a bum like that!”

For first time, panel urges parole of Leslie Van Houten

van-houten-in-jail-color.jpg Before the former Charles Manson follower could actually get parole, the full state parole board and Gov. Jerry Brown would have to approve.

Hollywood versus the freeway that carries its name

cahuenga_valley_parkway_postcard.jpg Lost LA's Nathan Masters curates a look at the urban carnage wrought by construction of the Hollywood Freeway in the 1950s.

'Lost LA' series debuts Wednesday on KCET

LOSTLA-subwayterm.jpg New series about Los Angeles and history hosted by Nathan Masters is a co-production with the USC Libraries.

Ansel Adams' Manzanar photos are in town

ansel+manzanar+calisthenics.jpg An exhibit of World War II camp photos at the Skirball includes images by Dorothea Lange and Toyo Miyatake.

Dorothea Lange photos of LA poverty in 1936

dorothea-lange-la-mexican-quarter.jpg A month before shooting her famous migrant mother, Lange documented the "Mexican quarter" before it was razed for downtown's Union Station.

Look who's hosting 'Trailblazing Women' on TCM

TBW_About_Collage1.jpg LA Observed contributor Cari Beauchamp brings her film historian chops to a month-long series highlighting female directors back to the industry's first years.
rfk-shot-eppridge.jpg I'm always glad when Steve Lopez goes back and checks on the busboy who cradled Robert F. Kennedy as he lay wounded on election night in June 1968.

This day at Woodstock: 'Good morning, people!' (video)

grace-slick-woodstock-dark.jpg Grace Slick greets the dawn on Max Yasgur's farm on August 17, 1969. Turn up the sound.

Exhibit on Chinese-American lawyer Y.C. Hong coming to Huntington

old-chinatown-huntington.jpg Hong was a prominent immigration lawyer and community leader through the middle decades of the 20th Century and helped in the move to today's current Chinatown.

Don Drysdale threw his last pitch on this day (videos)

drysdale_portrait-lad.jpg The LA Dodgers' first locally born star left the 1969 game with a sore shoulder and announced his retirement within the week. Some video memories.

Jue Joe Ranch in the middle of the Valley (photos)

jue-joe-barn-side.jpg An old barn and packing shed remain from an asparagus ranch where a Chinese immigrant family thrived before the San Fernando Valley became the suburbs.

First grave in the LA veterans cemetery

lanc-flags-long-52415.jpg My post for Memorial Day includes a book excerpt and a visit to Los Angeles National Cemetery.

Personal OC media stories 40 years after Saigon

tracy-wood-1973.jpg Tracy Wood, now at Voice of OC, learned lessons about official corruption covering the Vietnam War that keep coming into play in her coverage of government.

23 years after LA riots, a project for Vermont and Manchester

vermontvillage.jpg Groundbreaking is set today for a $200 million retail and entertainment center to be built on the site of a swap meet burned down in the 1992 riots, which began on this date.

The Angeleno who would be president of Armenia

armenian-march-for-justice-fb.jpg Raffi Hovannisian grew up in LA, a member of the Armenian diaspora in California. His son, the director of "2015," explains why Hovannisian went back to the homeland.

Los Angeles used to hunt mountain lions

california lion copy-thumb-600x408-91421.jpg Before wild animals had cute Twitter accounts, the sighting of a cougar in the hills of LA caused a much different response.

Pico Union Project is more than a women's mosque

pico-union-project-jj.jpg LA's oldest Jewish synagogue building is now used for prayer by many kinds of congregations. That's not by accident.

Sawtelle Japantown is now official

sawtelle-japantown-signage.jpg The city's first blue signs for the new district were unveiled on Sunday.

Doing business on historical properties in LA

the-bloc-sign.jpg Wayne Ratkovich says that getting a historic designation on a building can be a good thing. He should know.

HistoricPlacesLA website is ready for you now

griffith-obs-hpla.jpg The site provides information on and mapping of hundreds of City Hall-designated historic-cultural monuments and other places that might be designated someday.

When Martin Luther King spoke in Los Angeles

MLK-ucla-janss-steps.jpg Three more of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches in the Los Angeles area are in the news this MLK Day.

Just where is downtown Los Angeles anyway?

traffic-pattern-map.jpg Defining the borders of downtown remains an uncertain task, writes KCET's Nathan Masters.

1939 Los Angeles County org chart*

county-org-chart-1939.jpg Los Angeles County was a much different place in 1939. Boy was it.

Why 'drank the Kool-Aid' is offensive, especially here

jonestown-massacre.jpg A former reporter argues that everyone should stop using the phrase and remember the tragedy that spawned it. A congressman and three California journalists were among the 918 dead in Guyana 37 years ago today.

Original, intact model of Garden of Allah located in the Valley*

garden-of-allah-model.jpg Alison Martino's Vintage LA community on Facebook has turned up another gem. It has been seen before, but check out the video.

City archive photos put to immediate good use

pe-viaduct-fletcher.jpg Image database we posted about yesterday includes this 1928 view of the corner of Riverside and Fletcher drives, showing a long-gone Pacific Electric Red Cars viaduct.

Photos from the LA city archives now online

lachs-1st-street-bridge-1890s.jpg The Los Angeles City Historical Society has put a growing database online of selected official photographs from the Los Angeles City Archives. More than 600 images now, and the project's Anna Sklar tells me more are coming.

Dodgers' most notorious historical moment reexamined

marichal-roseboro-annotated.jpg In a pretty remarkable piece at Deadspin, Los Angeles author David Davis annotates the famous photo of the Juan Marichal assault of John Roseboro in the summer of Watts and fills in the backstory.

If you're working Paul McCartney, plan to go vegan

beatles-stadium-1966.jpg IATSE workers are first told "NO ONE is to bring meat of any kind" to Sunday's McCartney show at Dodger Stadium. The tone has softened a bit, but because McCartney is vegan the menu will be too.

Harry Shearer: Nixon prepares to resign (video)

harry-shearer-nixon.jpg On this day in 1974, President Richard Nixon delivered a live TV address from the White House revealing he would resign. Harry Shearer reenacts the final minutes.

Hamlet in Encino

hamlet-in-encino.jpg Los Encinos State Historic Park, as I've said before, is my favorite history-drenched enclave of Los Angeles. So why not Hamlet on the grass?
krenwinkel-nyt-videograb.jpg Krenwinkel, now 66, has been in prison for 45 years for her part in the Manson family murders. She appears on video for the first time since 1994.

30 years ago: Joan Benoit enters the Coliseum (video)

joan-benoit-chinn.jpg My favorite moment of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics came on the first Sunday of the games. Turn up the sound and listen to the roar of the crowd. Plus: Who can forget Gabriela Andersen-Schiess finishing the women's marathon.

30 years ago today: 'Rhapsody in Blue' in the Coliseum

1984-opening-ceremony.jpg During the opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympic Games, a dramatic moment came when 84 grand pianos appeared in the peristyle of the Coliseum and began to play George Gershwin.

Historian of the Valley hangs up his tour shoes

fernand-vncityhall.jpg Richard Hilton guided his final walking tour of old Van Nuys on Saturday -- so I just had to go along.

Desert ghost town where Hollywood got fake snow

midland-bldgblog.jpg Out near Blythe in the lower desert, the abandoned industrial settlement of Midland has been empty for nearly half a century.

Reporters remember talking to O.J. back then

ojsimpson-bronco.jpg Linda Deutsch of AP was the reporter Simpson felt he could talk to and be treated fairly. Jim Newton of the LA Times thought he was going to get into a fistfight when he interviewed Simpson. Plus more.

D-Day radio broadcasts from KFWB found and restored

kfwb-dday-grab.jpg A disc containing some of the news that went out over the air on KFWB on June 6, 1944 about the invasion of Nazi-held France have been found at USC — broken in half — and heard again.

Mystery LAX disruption traced to legendary old spy plane

u-2-usaf.jpg The U-2 was developed and built at Burbank Airport and played a major role in the Cold War. CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers, shot down over the USSR in 1960 and swapped for a KGB spy, later died flying the KNBC news chopper.

Legendary Zanja Madre revealed in Chinatown dig

zanja-madre-william-bolling.jpg A portion of the "Mother Ditch" that supplied the pueblo of Los Angeles, later encased in brick, has been uncovered and will be removed.

Old Sunkist sign emerges from rubble of packing house

sunkist-sign-upland.jpg Inland Valley Bulletin columnist David Allen spotted the faded Sunkist logo that reappeared during demolition of a century-old packing house in Upland. "This sign was like an apparition, the Ghost of Citrus Past."

LA's first carmageddon: building the freeways

405-swath-wla.jpg The freeway building boom that began with the Arroyo Seco Parkway in the late 1930s and continued for three decades made the city of four million people possible, but the damage done to neighborhoods and whole communities across Los Angeles was painful and, as we now know, permanent and scarring.

Red Cars waiting to be crushed

red-cars-george-mann-vla.jpg Vintage LA on Facebook is posting images released for the first time by photographer George Mann. This cropped photo shows Pacific Electric cars piled up on Terminal Island in 1963

Huntington acquires photo collection of Ernest Marquez

sm-beach-visitors-marquez.jpg This is pretty awesome. Ernie Marquez, a member of the land-grant family that owned Santa Monica Canyon, grew up in the canyon himself and later in life became an LA historian and collector of historical photographs.

The story behind Heritage Square and its Victorian homes

haleatheritage-curbed.jpg There are now eight historic structures at the museum -- in various stages of continuous repair -- built between 1876 and 1899. They offer "a fascinating look into an infantile Los Angeles without an architectural identity."

Searching for the lost arroyo of San Pascual

san-pascual-alhambra-creekfreak.jpg The blog LA Creek Freak may be closing in on the location of the natural drainage that used to flow — and maybe still does? — through what became the cities of Pasadena, San Marino and/or Alhambra.

Susan Peters (and more Hollywood stars) ride bikes *

susan-peters-acp.jpg Putting stars on bikes: good idea. I had never heard of Susan Peters and her story until the 2012 book, "Hollywood Rides a Bike: Cycling With the Stars," by Philadelphia film critic Steven Rea and my friends at Angel City Press.

The Beatles' 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' at 50 (video)

beatles-hold-your-hand-cover.jpg On December 26, 1963, Capitol Records released an American record from a band that was creating great excitement in the United Kingdom and Europe, but not so much in the United States. Something clicked.

Nice history of LAPL's 'Shades of LA' project

shadesofla_9.jpg Two decades ago, librarian Carolyn Kozo Cole found, time and again, that vast swaths of the city's people and ethnic story were not represented in the LAPL's photo collection. Out of her exasperation grew a project to copy thousands of family photos and take oral histories. It remains a signature achievement of the LA Public Library.

JFK arrives by copter at Ambassador Hotel (video)

jfk-ambass-tight.jpg Senator John F. Kennedy's helicopter lands on the front lawn at the Ambassador Hotel, possibly in 1960. (The Ames Brothers are on the marquee at the Cocoanut Grove.)

Did Patriotic Hall have a different architect?

Clubhouse Rendering (c1915) copy.jpg Los Angeles historian Jim Beardsley, a scholar in the work of architect Ross G. Montgomery, says his man produced a rendering for the hall ten years before the building opened.

Crumbling historic Wilshire chapel may be at risk

va-chapel-with-stairs.jpg A unusual chapel facing Wilshire Boulevard on the VA campus in West Los Angeles looks worse every time I check in on it. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building was built with separate Protestant and Catholic chapels and is one of the oldest structures on Wilshire Boulevard.

LA Aqueduct observances can wind down now

cascades-whitewater.jpg For months now, Los Angeles media, historians and civic officials have been thinking and talking about the city's water link to the Eastern Sierra and what it all means. It has been a good and useful exercise. Tuesday's reenactment was itself pretty cool.

Book excerpt: The Valley rises as Mulholland falls

water-comission-lapl.jpg Part 2 of an excerpt adapted from "San Fernando Valley: America's Suburb" for the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

Part one: LA and its Owens Valley water

cascades-crowd-watches.jpg A couple of the chapters in my book on the San Fernando Valley deal with the Los Angeles Aqueduct and how abundant water changed the city and the valley. It holds up, I'm pleased to say. For this week's anniversary, here's an adapted version.

Anniversary party at La Brea Tar Pits off by a few years

tar-pits-excavation-20s.jpg The way the online world, the media and local institutions abuse both the subject of LA history and the generally lazy news trope of anniversary stories, it's surprising this doesn't happen more.

Three LAFD firefighters taken to a hospital from 1890s church*

crouch-church-burned.jpg All three are expected to be OK. The church built in the 1890s is located within the 27th Street Historic District in South Los Angeles.

Bill Eppridge, photographer of iconic RFK image was 75

rfk-shot-eppridge.jpg The Life photographer took the most remembered image of Robert Kennedy in a pool of blood on the floor of the Ambassador Hotel pantry on June 5, 1968.

Oct. 2, 1971: Soul Train debuts from LA (video)

soul-train-dancers.jpg After starting in Chicago, Don Cornelius migrated "Soul Train" to Los Angeles and national syndication. This clip with the theme from "Shaft" is from Oct. 1971.

Hometown honors Davey Moore, boxer killed in Dodger Stadium match

Fifty years ago, the death of boxer Davey Moore after a match at Dodger Stadium was a big story in Los Angeles. His opponent, Sugar Ramos, traveled from Mexico City to Ohio for a statue unveiling recently.

Photo: Venice Beach [not] in 1947 *

venice-beach-1947-mb.jpg Historian Michael Beschloss posted this image to Twitter and said it was Venice in 1947. It looks to actually be in Santa Monica. Inside: UCLA under construction around 1928.

On this day in 1939, a tropical storm hit LA

tropical-storm-long-beach-noaa.jpg The cyclone out of the Pacific is the only recorded tropical storm to make landfall in the Los Angeles area. It came ashore in Long Beach.

San Fernando Valley Relics museum to open

white-horse-inn-sign.jpg Tommy Gelinas, the prolific collector of memorabilia, photos, signage and documents related to the San Fernando Valley, plans to put some of his collection on display in Chatsworth on October 12.

Hidden Clifton's Cafeteria sign

cliftons-sign-7th-street.jpg On the back of a classic Los Angeles address on 7th Street, visible only across a parking lot, is a reminder of the once popular Clifton's cafeteria empire.

Time travel: Broadway in Los Angeles in 1902 1906*

broadway-1902-beschloss.jpg Posted to Twitter by historian Michael Beschloss, without explanation. Click to see it big.

Tiffany Theater sign will be saved Monday morning

tiffany-theater-sign-letter.jpg Two of the busiest Los Angeles communities on Facebook, Alison Martino's Vintage Los Angeles and Tommy Gelinas' San Fernando Valley Relics, are joining forces to collect and preserve the old sign from the facade of the former Tiffany Theater on Sunset Strip. They invite supporters to come out Monday and help take it down.

Leaving out LA's history of car manufacturing

nhm-car-tourist.jpg The Wall Street Journal calls the 1902 Tourist the only car ever manufactured in Los Angeles. We disagree.

Jurgensen's sign a Westwood history artifact

westwood-1931-huntington-geab.jpg Several LA Observed regulars knew right away that the mystery Jurgensen's Grocery sign posted last week can be found on Glendon Avenue in Westwood Village. There's nothing quite like the Jurgensen's chain in LA today.

The Ronettes' 'Be My Baby' is 50 years old this month (video)*

ronettes-youtube-grab.jpg Brian Wilson calls "Be My Baby" the "greatest record ever produced. No one will ever top that one.” It came from Phil Spector's Wall of Sound studios in LA with girls from Spanish Harlem whose lives were never the same. The NYT weighs in.
rfk-hearse-back-lapl.jpg Three photos from the Los Angeles Public Library collection show the emotion of the morning that Robert F. Kennedy died, a day after winning the California primary election and probably the Democratic nomination for president.

This may be the first aerial photo of LA

first-aerial-la.jpg This photograph of the fledgling town of Los Angeles apparently was taken from a hot-air balloon in 1887, part of a stunt by William Randolph Hearst and his San Francisco Examiner. Nathan Masters explains.

Ernest Marquez is a treasure from LA's past

ernest-marquez-grab.jpg Ernest Marquez likes to say that his family lived in three countries — Spain, Mexico and the United States — without ever leaving home. Their home was in Santa Monica Canyon, before the artists and the actors arrived. Nice profile in the LA Times and video of the family's hidden cemetery in the canyon.

Becoming LA opens at Natural History Museum

downtown-model-nhmla.jpg The Natural History Museum unveils to the public the new and much-anticipated Becoming LA exhibit hall on Sunday. It's must-see for students of Los Angeles history, but it should be interesting for just about anyone.

This may be LA's oldest palm tree

oldest-palm-tree.jpg There is reason to believe this solitary fan palm near the Coliseum on the edge of Exposition Park is the oldest palm tree in the city. History writer Nathan Masters has tracked the tree through a series of moves.

Lost Einar Petersen mural from Rosslyn Hotel on eBay

rosslyn_lobby.jpg A 1915 mural of a stagecoach scene that used to hang in the lobby of the Rosslyn Hotel in downtown Los Angeles has shown up for sale on eBay. Part of a set that was removed when the Rosslyn was remodeled, the mural is by long-ago LA muralist Einar Petersen.

Whoa: Ray Richmond has a heck of a story about his mom

cliftons-brookdale-facade.jpg The longtime LA scribe writes at the LA Weekly today about his mother's affair with Clifford Clinton, the reform-era City Hall rabble rouser who ran the popular Clifton cafeteria chain. They met when Clinton patronized Mrs. Richmond's shop across Pico Boulevard from the Fox studio where men would show up seeking, and receiving, certain paid services.
hendrix-newport-69.jpg Mark Robinson organized the biggest and best rock and roll show to be held within the city limits of Los Angeles. He's now a Newport Beach lawyer. We look back at the first weekend of a historical summer.

When the Herald Examiner named the 'Night Stalker'

night-stalker-caught;herex.jpg Throughout the history of American newspapers are examples of editors and headlines affixing catchy names to notorious crimes and criminals. This is one of the few things that newspapers do that can fairly be attributed to the impulse to "sell papers."
sgt-pepper-album-cover.jpg The Beatles album "Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band” was released in the United States on June 1 in 1967. Music writer Chris Morris: "LIke every other 17-year-old in America...we turned the lights down and listened in awe as the last sustained piano chord in 'A Day in the Life' reverberated and died."

When The Doors played LA high schools and clubs

doors-at-birmingham.jpg If you lived in Los Angeles in the 1960s and were inclined toward rock and roll, you might have seen Ray Manzarek and The Doors play at Sunset Strip clubs, at Ports O'Call in San Pedro — or at your high school. Memories are flowing on social media.

Battle of the French Dip sandwiches (video)

philippe-sign-lit-lao.jpg Dutch journalist and maker of LA-centric videos Joris Debeij has posted a four-minute exploration of the rivalry between Philippe and Cole's over the origin story of the French Dip sandwich. Animation included.

Last-place Dodgers turn to the past for help

hahn-omalley-wyman.jpg Rosalind Wyman will throw out the first pitch before tonight's game with the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. Roz Wyman was the youngest member of the Los Angeles City Council in 1957 when she joined with Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley and county Supervisor Kenneth Hahn to bring the team to LA.
tropical-ice-gardens-village.jpg The National Hockey League made it official and announced that Dodger Stadium will host an outdoor, night game between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks next January 25. But in the 1940s, there was hockey at the Tropical Ice Gardens in Westwood Village — including at least two matches involving the Montreal Canadiens.

Magazine asks: why isn't prolific serial killer dead?

Kraft Opener.jpg Randy Kraft was arrested almost 30 years ago with the body of his latest victim in the front seat of his car, and photos of many other victims under the Toyota's floormat. The computer programmer was convicted of 16 murders and linked to 65 others. He's still languishing at San Quentin, now 68 years old.

Check out the rarely seen Million Dollar Theatre on Broadway

million-dollar-balcony-seat.jpg Before he shifted his sights to Hollywood, early motion picture impresario Sid Grauman built his first movie palace on Broadway at 3rd Street, beside the Grand Central Market and across the street from the Bradbury Building. The former Grauman's is now the Million Dollar, and I wandered around inside recently. It's open for tours this Saturday , but that night's showing of "Blade Runner" on the big screen is sold out. Pics inside.

Cary Grant's signature from Earl Carroll Theatre

earl_carroll_cary_grant01.jpg A slab of concrete that is billed as bearing the signature of old-timey movie star Cary Grant from the wall of the legendary 1940s Hollywood nightspot is up for sale on eBay. Bidding starts at $5,000 — so it better be real.

Idea: Designate Tower Records a cultural landmark

tower-records-small.jpg Domenic Priore, the author of "Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Last Stand in Hollywood,” wants the city of West Hollywood to designate the former Tower Records store on Sunset Boulevard (across from Book Soup) as a Strip-themed cultural resource center.

Time travel: Car racing on Wilshire Boulevard (video)

wilshire-races-crash-grab.jpg From 1909 until 1919, a big winter road race was held in Santa Monica that attracted top drivers and thousands of spectators. Former Huell Howser producer Harry Pallenberg is posting a series of video documentaries on SoCal's racing history, and right now his website features the Wilshire Boulevard races.

Lost train depots of Los Angeles

la-grande-station.jpg I intended to post on this a couple of weeks ago, but it slipped with the whole cold/flu/whatever thing. Nathan Masters has done a really nice piece at KCET's website on the train stations that dotted Los Angeles before rail service was consolidated at the "union" station in 1939.

Guess which other big catastrophe awaits California (again)

sacramento-flood-1862.jpg We know about the deal we make with earthquakes, but the biggest catastrophes through time in California have actually been storms. There's only been one on the epic scale since statehood, but a story in the new Scientific American says the next time will be worse for us.

Harry Carey Jr. remembered as the last Hollywood cowboy

Thumbnail image for harry-carey-jr-rifleman.jpg Director Peter Bogdanovich wrote a short tribute for Saturday's memorial for the actor Harry Carey, Jr., who had been the last surviving member of director John Ford's company of western actors. "A solid professional, but also a brilliantly deadpan, hilarious raconteur of the days of the giants in pictures."

Beatles party in 1964: now more video *

beatles-color-beck-telegrap.jpg Raw news footage from 1964 shows the teenage frenzy and celebrity arrivals outside the private party held for the Beatles during their first trip to Los Angeles. Also: we have a new venue for the event.

Confirmed: '64 Beatles photo is from LA

Thumbnail image for beatles-color-beck-telegrap.jpg Last night I asked if a color candid photograph of the Beatles chatting with fans outdoors could have been from the private party held in August 1964 in the Beverly Hills backyard of Alan Livingston, then the president of Capitol Records. By this morning, LA Observed readers had provided the answer.

'Gangster Squad' gets the LAT wrapper treatment - with a twist

gangster-squad-grab.jpg The fake stories and byline on the latest front page wrap around the Sunday LA Times are actually real, just old. 'Gangster Squad' grew out of a Times series, and the screenwriter is a former LAPD homicide detective.

Rare color photos of Beatles in LA to hit auction *

beatles-color-beck-telegrap.jpg From the Beatles first tour of the United States in 1964, most of the published photographs have been in black and white. Now color slides found in the collection of a late inventor include shots from a private party the Beatles attended here in 1964.

Documenting where in LA the Three Stooges filmed

la-brea-stooges.jpg What is it about non-Angelenos becoming so obsessed with old filming locations that they spend years tracking down obscure shots and facts — then write books about their discoveries that become chronicles of LA history? When you grow up in Los Angeles, you get used to seeing familiar sights in the background of movies and TV shows. You just stop thinking about it.

Harry Carey, Jr., character actor for John Ford was 91

harry-carey-jr-rifleman.jpg The son of cowboy star Harry Carey was born on his father's ranch near Saugus and went on to ride horses in the westerns directed by pal John Ford and act in many other films and TV shows. Through Ford, Carey also was part of an exclusive San Fernando Valley club of Hollywood men that's now mostly forgotten.

Media buzz of 1978: a new Los Angeles alt-weekly

new-west-731978.jpg Former New West staffer Michael Kurcfeld found this clip from July 3, 1978, disclosing plans for a new alternative newspaper to fill the void left by closure of the Los Angeles Free Press. Working title: L.A.Weekly.

Big things that were never built in Los Angeles

civic-center-wright.jpg Imagine if Disneyland had been built in Burbank, or if LAX lay west of the corner of Balboa and Roscoe. A major new exhibit will look at the city that never happened — a cool video inside invites you to support the project on Kickstarter.

Cooler (local) legend than the Mayans: Burro Flats pictographs

Iron-Mountain-Trail.jpg By legend and observation, today is when the sun lines up with a target-like pictograph in a cave in an area of the Simi Hills called Burro Flats. Hopefully, you will never find this place.

Story behind the photo: JFK swims in Santa Monica

jfkswim600-uclalat.jpg Who is that woman exchanging grins with President John Kennedy in 1962 on Santa Monica Beach? The LA Times photo blog tells us.

Baca agrees to release unredacted Ruben Salazar files to filmmaker

salazarstamp.jpg Phillip Rodriguez will have access to unredacted autopsy and investigative documents, and coroner's photos, for his documentary on the 1970 death in East Los Angeles of journalist Ruben Salazar.

Hollywood Reporter digs into its role in the blacklist

bernstein-grant-thr-mann.jpg The story fingers the late THR owner Billy Wilkerson, starting in 1946, as the force behind the industry's high-level collusion to exclude leftists real and suspected from working. The package includes an apology from a son of Wilkerson.

The Dust Bowl as biggest man-made enviro disaster in US

dust-bowl-nipomo-lange.jpg Ken Burns' latest documentary debuted on PBS on Sunday night. The great migration to California begins in tonight's second part. Watch a preview.

Bunker Hill in Kodachrome

bunker-hill-george-mann.jpg George Mann was a vaudeville performer who made color photographs of downtown's Bunker Hill neighborhood before all the Victorians and rooming houses were torn down. There is a show of his 1960s Kodachrome photos — in 3-D, with glasses provided — tonight at Central Library.

William Reagh's long walk downtown and beyond

william-reagh-color.jpg Reagh took 40,000 photographs of Los Angeles and Southern California from the 1930s until 1991, chronicling a time of huge change in the cityscape and the people of LA. A major new book that showcases a selection of Reagh's work promises to be a must-have for the Angeleno buff you know — even at $225 per copy. Here is a gallery of Reagh's photos through the decades.

Time travel: Century City, 1968

century-city-1968.jpg This looks south down Avenue of the Stars from Santa Monica Boulevard, toward Pico Boulevard. The Century Plaza Hotel stood mostly by itself then.

Bring me the head of Paul McCartney

pauls-head-quinn.jpg For his new book documenting the rock and roll billboards of the Sunset Strip, Robert Landau wondered what happened to Paul's head from Abbey Road. Now we know, 43 years later. Pics and video inside.

First look at maps from Mount Washington cabin

feather-mapbook-valley.jpg Glen Creason, the curator of all things maps at Central Library, has posted some appetizers from the collection retrieved from the home of a late Mount Washington hoarder.

Trove of old maps discovered on Mount Washington

mt-washington-sign-lao.jpg The Los Angeles Public Library and maps librarian Glen Creason have a few newly acquired maps on their hands. Make that tens of thousands, at least. "I think there are at least a million maps here," Creason said after visiting a small Mount Washington cottage whose late owner, John Feathers, apparently liked hoarding maps.

Time travel: Kelly Lange, Paul Moyer and Zzyzx

Young (OK, very young) versions of the former KNBC 4 stalwarts and a feature story on the Mojave Desert landmark.

Those air raid sirens you see around the city

air-raid-siren-ktown.jpg Every so often somebody asks about the corroding civil defense sirens up on poles scattered all over Los Angeles. Well, Dennis Hanley knows all about them.
beach-boys-marker.jpg Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson sent in a letter to the Los Angeles Times responding to a piece on Saturday by Mike Love, another original member of the band — and Wilson's cousin — about how it came to be that an entity called the Beach Boys will continue to tour without Wilson or Al Jardine.

Time travel: 3rd Street (Promenade) in 1949

promenade-crossing-lao.jpg Before Santa Monica's 3rd Street shopping district hit the skids and was re-imagined as a pedestrian mall, it was the busy center of town. This photo was posted Sunday at the Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page.

Time travel: Paul Newman and the Mulholland Drive bridge *

harper-mulholland-bridge-fa.jpg "Harper" starring Paul Newman aired tonight on Turner Classic Movies. Here's a screen grab circa-1966 of the Mulholland Drive bridge in Sepulveda Pass, spanning what was then called by everybody the San Diego Freeway.

Photos of Surfridge, the ghost suburb by LAX

surfridge-launfd.jpg The website LAUNFD posts a gallery of images showing the old neighborhood of homes that was cleared out, starting in the mid-1960s, between LAX and Vista Del Mar, the street in Playa del Rey that runs above Dockweiler State Beach.

Reagan tapped FBI to spy on his family

cover-rosenfeld-subversives.jpg Seth Rosenfeld's book "Subversives: The F.B.I.’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power” looks at how Ronald Reagan, both as a liberal turned anti-Communist crusader in Hollywood then as candidate and governor, helped the FBI and made use of his relationship with FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to get information not available to others. Some of that assistance involved his children, daughter Maureen and son Michael.

Missing gravestone of Civil War abolitionist found in Altadena *

white-ayers-owenbrownstone.jpg Cool local Altadena story. An old stone grave marker for Owen Brown, the son of Civil War abolitionist John Brown, had been missing from its old spot in the Altadena hills for a decade or so, under mysterious circumstances involving a development dispute. It was found recently by artist Ian White, who got in touch with the Paul Ayers of Save the Altadena Trails to help relocate the marker.

In praise of the Sanborn atlas

chutes-park-sanborn-06.jpg For historians of Los Angeles, and librarians such as LAPL maps Glen Creason, old reference tools called the Sanborn Fire Insurance atlases are invaluable. They can show a researcher what was on the ground in a specific place in, say, 1901. Here are MGM studios in 1929 and the city's former amusement park Chutes Park in 1906.

Terry Tracy, Gidget's 'Tubesteak' was 77

kohner-tracy-keck.jpg Terry Tracy moved to the beach in Malibu in 1956, built a shack and became "the personification of the rebellious surf subculture that emerged in California in the late 1950s." He may — or may not — have also been the first surfer to call beach girl Kathy Kohner "Gidget."

Scott McKenzie, musician of the 1960s was 73

Screen shot 2012-08-20 at 6.59.06 PM.png Scott McKenzie, who died Saturday at home in Silver Lake, is best known for singing the ballad "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)," which beckoned the youth of the world to come to the first Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967 and became an anthem of that year's Summer of Love. The song, written by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas and released by Lou Adler's Ode Records, went as high as No. 4 on the Billboard chart but was No. 1 across Europe. Check out this video from Monterey.

Cinerama Dome to celebrate with original movies

cinerama-dome-lapl.jpg When the Cinerama Dome opened on Sunset Boulevard in 1963, it was the first new movie house built in Hollywood in three decades. Now part of Arclight Hollywood, the dome in late September will begin a week of classic Cinerama films, including the comedy that opened the place: "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." Also on the bill are "How the West Was Won," "2001: A Space Odyssey" and assorted shorts.

Freeways before the Arroyo Seco Parkway

ramona-fwy-construction.jpg Fun and informative history piece on Los Angeles' first freeways by Nathan Masters on the KCET website. The very first freeway was not the Arroyo Seco Parkway from Pasadena to almost downtown, as many believe. Have you ever seen the Ramona Boulevard freeway?

William Reagh's long walk downtown

reagh-window-shopping-on-broadway.jpg Michael Dawson, the collector and proprietor of the late Dawson's Books on Larchmont, announces the first book of photographs by William Reagh. "William Reagh: A Long Walk Downtown. Photographs of Los Angeles & Southern California, 1936-1991," shows his perspective on urban renewal and change in Los Angeles, with images of Angels Flight, Bunker Hill, Pershing Square, Broadway, Grand Avenue, Hill Street, Wrigley Field and Chavez Ravine.

In praise of the House of Pies and its history

house-of-pies-graphic.jpg "Sure, you can get gourmet pie flavors at Pie Hole downtown," writes Aaron Gilbreath at the Paris Review blog. "You can get better coffee most anywhere. You can find more unusual egg breakfasts right across the street. But the burgers here are fat and delicious, the pies are unmatched."

Batchelder's Chocolate Shoppe murals coming back to light

chocolate-shop-batchelder.jpg City of Los Angeles historic-cultural monument #137 is the former Chocolate Shoppe on 6th Street, between Spring Street and Broadway. The shop has HCM status because the interior is covered in early 20th Century tile murals by Ernest Batchelder, the city's most revered old-time tile maker. Now, almost 100 years later, it could become a chocolate shop again.

From the files of (Beverly Hills) police squad

bev-hills-confidential-cove.jpg The Beverly Hills Police Department has opened its photo and case files to the authors of the newest book from Angel City Press — "Beverly Hills Confidential: A Century of Stars, Scandals and Murders." It's what it sounds like, only authorized.

Tale of two ex-Bullock's stores in Westwood

westwood-village-aerial.jpg Target's new City store opened on Weyburn Avenue, but BeBe has vacated the original Bullock's department store location in Westwood Village.

Bunker Hill in 1965: Dick Clark and the Turtles

Dick Clark points out the DWP building and the new Music Center, then the Turtles play "You Baby" on the Grand Avenue sidewalk with City Hall in the background, in a clip from "Where the Action Is."

LA's war against jitneys

jitneys-kcet.jpg Two good stories within a week on the uneasy relationship in Los Angeles with lone wolf car services and drivers — through the decades and now.

Woody Guthrie's Los Angeles still being discovered

woody-guthrie-columnist-kcet.jpg In honor of Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday, which would have been last weekend, KCET blogger and artist Ed Fuentes went in search of understanding why LA's months of celebrating the Dust Bowl era singer-songwriter includes city signs proclaiming 4th and Main to be "Woody Guthrie Square."

Video of ABC special on Disneyland opening in 1955

disneyland-sign-bw.jpgArt Linkletter hosted special coverage on ABC of Disneyland's debut on July 18, 1955 — 57 years ago. "This is not so much a show as it is a special event."

Jo Mora map reprinted to satisfy demand

mora-detail3.jpg If you missed your chance to acquire a copy of the Jo Mora map of Los Angeles that we told you about a few weeks ago, I have good news. The curator of the Jo Mora Trust Collection emailed to say that the trust is making an unlimited edition available.

Red Car at Santa Monica and Fairfax

redcar-fairfaxatsm-melgar.jpg The knowledgeable Los Angeles history aficionados at the Vintage Los Angeles page on Facebook located this scene as the 1950s at Santa Monica Boulevard and Fairfax, known then as the Crescent Junction on the Pacific Electric rail network. Posted by Jerome Melgar.

Revisiting the Eames home after 57 years

schoener-eames-house.jpg No blogger has written this before, I suspect. Allon Schoener, the New York author transplanted to Boyle Heights who posts as The Reluctant Angeleno, recently visited the iconic home of Charles and Ray Eames in Pacific Palisades for the first time in a long time. "I had been there often between 1951 and 1955," he says. Let him explain.

New database of Los Angeles officials since 1850

council1933.jpg The City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles City Historical Society have worked together to finish an online database — finally! — of past and current elected officials. The project started, I kid you not, during the FDR Administration.

Rodney King found dead in his swimming pool *

rodney-king-patch.jpg Rodney King's fiancee called for help about 5:25 this morning, saying he was at the bottom of their swimming pool in the city of Rialto. Police officers removed King from the pool and attempted to revive him. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

First woman to run a U.S. marathon: Culver City, '63

joan-benoit-lapl.jpg History has tried to forget that Merry Lepper was the first woman to run a marathon in the United States, 21 years before Joan Benoit won Olympic gold. Women could legally vote for president long before they could officially enter a marathon. David Davis met up with her in Tucson and sets the record straight.

LA's last gay piano bar

other-side-kpcc-rabe.jpg The Other Side on Hyperion closes June 24, says John Rabe of KPCC. A documentary in the works traces the decline of Silver Lake as a center of gay Los Angeles through the years.

Up close with the collector behind Valley Relics

tommy-gelinas-dn.jpg Burbank native Tommy Gelinas reckons he's spent $300,000 acquiring his personal collection of San Fernando Valley memorabilia and ephemera. He's got a website, blog and busy Facebook page devoted to Valley stuff. Plus: TV writer and ex-Dodgers broadcaster Ken Levine has a Kindle book on growing up in the '60s Valley.

You can now own Jo Mora's map of Los Angeles *

mora-detail3.jpg Glen Creason, the author of the stupendously grand Los Angeles in Maps, is the map librarian at the Los Angeles Public Library. So when he calls this 1942 carte by Jo Mora "one of THE greatest maps ever" and "one of the true masterpieces of pictorial mapping and my favorite Los Angeles map of all," ordinary schmoes like me have to listen. Well, it turns out that LA Observed has played a small role in making reproductions of the map available for the first time.

LAO behind the scenes: Grauman's Chinese

Take a look backstage, in Sid Grauman's private VIP box and around the gorgeous auditorium of Hollywood's (and probably the world's) best-known movie palace. Public tours by the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation continue on Sunday morning.

Pat Brown documentary airs on PBS SoCal

brown+brown.jpg Sascha Rice's film on her grandfather, the late two-term governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, aired tonight at 10 p.m. on the PBS station for Los Angeles. A lot of good that does you, I know. I see "California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat Brown" on the schedule again for Wednesday at 9 p.m. and June 2 at 10 p.m., on the station's digital channel 50.2. It airs tomorrow night at 8 p.m. on KLCS. Read up

Restoration work begins on Lankershim depot

lankershim-depot-dn.jpg The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has begun the initial phase of work to restore the 1896 Southern Pacific Railroad depot from the San Fernando valley farming town of Lankershim, now known as North Hollywood. The decaying wooden structure sits at the corner of Lankershim and Chandler boulevards. Local historians took up the cause of saving the depot more than a decade ago.

The other horrible April 29 date in Los Angeles history

lapl-on-fire.jpg April 29, 1986 — the day the Central Library was torched by an arsonist. The building didn't reopen for good until 1993. Some 200,000 books were destroyed, plus irreplaceable periodicals, drawings from patents, historic maps, fine art prints, photography negatives and newspaper archives.

KNBC 'live-tweeting' the run-up to '92 riots

real-time-riots-tweets.jpg This is more interesting than the exercise of tweeting the sinking of the Titanic, because as you read the mundane tick-tock of events from the trial of the officers who beat Rodney King you know that something really big is coming. The idea came from Olsen Ebright, a member of the digital team at

When Muhammad Ali boxed in LA - and posed for pictures *

clay-yorty-lapl.jpg I woke up this morning to an LA history story of a sort by Nick Roman of KPCC. He reported on the Los Angeles debut 50 years ago this week of the young heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay. Two years later, as Muhammad Ali, he joined the leader of the Nation of Islam on stage at the Olympic Auditorium.

MALDEF sues sheriff over withheld Ruben Salazar files

salazarstamp.jpg Two decades before the Rodney King verdict riots, the Eastside erupted over the Vietnam War and other issues. The events of that time still echo in the city.

Scenes from a convention - Los Angeles, 1960

winogrand-LAconv-nyt-slide-RMHY.jpg The New York Times wants your help identifying people in photos by the late Garry Winogrand from the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles in 1960.

Moving day at KCET

kcet-studios-sunset.jpg Today's the day that television station KCET has to be out of its historic former movie studio on Sunset Boulevard. Everyone has been told to vacate by 3 p.m., I'm told. The new home is in Burbank in a media building adjacent to NBC.

Touring the history of the Valley in five hours

survey-la-tour-tujungaave.jpg A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I took a day to serve as guide for the team of architecture historians, researchers and others who will be studying the pre-1980 San Fernando Valley for the SurveyLA project. They blogged about it.

Manson at 77: new picture from prison

mansonbar.jpg The murders Charles Manson ordered at the home of actress Sharon Tate in Benedict Canyon, and took part in the next night in Los Feliz, shook Los Angeles so hard that Joan Didon wrote "many people I know in Los Angeles believed the '60s ended abruptly on Aug. 9, 1969.

Demolition underway of Pickford Building at The Lot

pickford-building-demo.jpg The site should be cleared by the end of today. Check out the photo.

Film academy acquires Bison Archives photographs

jesse+lasky+truck+bison.jpg Marc Wanamaker's collection of more than 70,000 photographs covering the history of movies and studios has found a home at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Canoga Park celebrates 100 years

sherman+way+owensmouth.jpg Sherman Way, the main street of Owensmouth, California, in the teens or 1920s. The town was annexed into Los Angeles around then and changed its name to Canoga Park in...

Prepare to hear a lot about Woody Guthrie

woody+guthrie+la+graphic.jpg Next month there will be a major conference at USC and a star-studded concert at L.A. Live of Guthrie's music, all for the centennial of his birth.

Speaking of Amelia Earhart photographs *

eddie-meyer-airplane-aaa.jpg In addition to the relaxed Amelia Earhart photo I posted again earlier this week, the Automobile Club of Southern California Archives has some more nice photos of her in Burbank. Gotta love this one.

Amelia Earhart's LA connections

Earhart at Lockheed.jpg Hard to know what to make of the latest project to go look in the Pacific for Amelia Earhart's missing plane from 1937. Probably nothing at all, like every other...

Documentary on Sunset Strip's The Source at SXSW

the_source_restaurant.jpg The Source opened in 1969 at Sunset and Sweetzer with a Rolls-driving, acid-taking owner with a family of followers. It became quite the scene.

The Grove, ten years later

seibu+lapl.jpg Curbed LA revisits ten things said about The Grove when it opened ten years ago today. Plus: Seibu department store.

He lived on the streetcars in Los Angeles

Manuel-Rodriguez-1950.jpg Manuel H. Rodriguez, a retired teacher at Valley College, writes about growing up in South Los Angeles when the streetcars were his ticket to bookstores, libraries and the movies of Downtown and Hollywood.

Video: John Belushi, dead at the Chateau Marmont

It was 30 years ago today that actor John Belushi died in Bungalow 3, at the age of 33.

Architectural sites that define a fifth of LA County

reece-interchange-googlemaps.jpg They range from historic buildings such as the Dominguez Rancho Adobe and UCLA's William Andrews Clark Library on West Adams to cultural sites such as the Dunbar Hotel on Central Avenue, the Watts Towers and Angelus Funeral Home.

Now comes Sherman Way, the movie

sherman+way+movie+collage.jpg Film, music and pop culture references to the San Fernando Valley never get old.

Topanga library means the end for bookmobile

bookmobile+county.jpg When the Las Virgenes bookmobile shuts down Friday, there will be just four left in the county library system.

Ansel Adams' 110th birthday

For photographs of Angelenos that make more of an emotional connection with the viewer, I nominate Adams' 1943 images from the Manzanar War Relocation Center in the Owens Valley.

Reagan's Rosebud lived at the end of a dirt road in Canoga Park

reagan+brewer.jpg Roy Brewer is a despised historical figure by many in Hollywood, but not by Ronald Reagan researcher John Meroney.

Looking back at the Sylmar quake after 41 years *

sylmar-quake-bridge-usgs.jpg Vanessa Whang, the director of programs at the California Council for the Humanities in the Bay Area, contributes a reminiscence of the 1971 Sylmar earthquake on the Zocalo Public Square website.

Old Clifton's facade to be revealed *

cliftons-brookdale-facade.jpg At a ceremony later this morning, the original Broadway facade of the Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria will be uncovered and later restored.

The LA media guys behind lost Ed Wood TV pilot

duke_confused_stage.jpg The restored "Final Curtain" screened to an appreciative audience last month at Slamdance, where the two men got to talk about Wood.

Ansel Adams' 'lost' LA photos to go on display

ansel-oil-lacienega-beverly-lapl.jpg The images of 1940 Los Angeles that photographer Ansel Adams shot for Fortune magazine, then put away and forgot for awhile, are getting their first public display other than on websites.

Video: Olvera Street in 1937 reflects the times

Every Anglo L.A. cliche of local history and Mexican-American culture you could want, with some quaint pronunciations.

When art and politics collided on the Sunset Strip

DiSuvero-Peace-Tower1.jpg Historian Jon Wiener op-eds in the Los Angeles Times about a divisive 1966 art installation intended as a protest against the Vietnam War.

The humble but iconic SigAlert to be feted today

sigmon-portrait2.gif This morning at 9 a.m., Councilman Tom LaBonge and others will gather at the Caltrans building in Downtown to celebrate the first use of Loyd Sigman's SigAlert system.

This day in L.A. history: Northridge earthquake

northridge1994-pkng-structure.jpg The Jan. 17, 1994 earthquake went in the books as a magnitude 6.7 quake that woke up millions about 4:31 a.m. It was the largest earthquake to strike under the city of Los Angeles (beneath Reseda to be precise) since the record-keepers began writing things down.

This day in L.A. history: Carole Lombard killed

gable-lombard-home-postcard.jpg Good on Cheryll Devall of KPCC for working up a radio piece on today's 70th anniversary of the day that Hollywood comic actress Carole Lombard died in a plane crash. Famously married to Clark Gable, Lombard was honored by FDR as the first American woman to die in the line of duty during World War II.

UCLA in the 1940s — in color

A new history book, UCLA: The First Century, has hundreds of photographs of the campus through the years, but this might be my favorite.

Donor puts up $150,000 to keep Rancho Los Encinos open

History buffs in the know revere it as the spot where the Portola expedition, the first European land explorers in the region, left the riverbank that later became Los Angeles and came upon a Tongva camp beside a spring in a wide grass-covered valley in August 1769.

Looking back at the lost tunnels of Downtown

air-raid-drill-in-tunnel.jpg Hard to see today, but Downtown was encircled on at least two sides by big hills that blocked access. As L.A.'s outlying areas grew, the traffic poobahs punched through the hills with tunnels.

An addendum to fake Christmas snow in the Valley

Last week's post about Life magazine's newly available trove of unpublished on-set photos from the film shoot for "It's a Wonderful Life" brought a nice email pointer to a story by Michael Fessier.
Previously on LA Observed:
Valley of 'It's a Wonderful Life'
When Encino became Bedford Falls

What's the Rose Parade without Mack Sennett?

If Occupy LA members sneak a little civil disobedience into today's Rose Parade, they won't be the first to exploit Pasadena's big day. Sennett got there first.

Valley of 'It's a Wonderful Life'

Life magazine has posted online a gallery of unpublished photos from the Encino set of the 1946 holiday classic starring Jimmy Stewart.

Looking back: the Wilshire Grand hotel *

hoffman-bldg-lapl.jpg The Wilshire Grand, closing this week to be torn down and make way for a new high-rise hotel and office tower, opened in 1952 as the Statler.

Hamburger Hamlet on Sunset closes Monday

sarah-mason-soqui.jpg Two local Hamlets remain from the chain that made its mark in part by hiring African Americans in visible positions when many L.A. restaurants didn't.

Surviving Beach Boys to tour, make album for 50th year

beach-boys-surfin-usa-album.jpg News item: Brian Wilson will rejoin the Beach Boys to make a 50th anniversary album and go on tour.

Photos of Carleton Watkins, today at the library

la-placita-lao.jpg This amazing photograph of the old Plaza downtown, and showing La Placita and Fort Moore Hill in the background, is one of the 19th century treasures by photographer Carleton Watkins.

Donate your theater programs to the L.A. Public Library

lapl-theater-program.jpg The Central Library has an impressive collection already and is looking for more.

Rodney King sells his memoir to HarperOne

rodney-king-patch.jpg Coming in time for next April's 20th anniversary of the so-called Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, King has signed with HarperOne to deliver his memoir: "The Riot Within."

Gorgeous piece of old L.A. turns up on eBay

wilshire-safe.jpg Before the Wilshire boys, Gaylord and William, became known more for the street they put their name on in 1887, they ran a safe company in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Time capsule: 1st Street and Broadway in 1950s

redwood-door.jpg Here's what a key Downtown corner looked like, showing some old cafes and a legendary saloon.

Car clubs of the San Fernando Valley

Sinners_SFV.jpg A website gathers the rear-window plaques for hundreds of car clubs across the U.S., including more than 100 in the San Fernando Valley alone — covering generations of low riders, high riders and more.

New map exhibit at LAPL

map-lapl.jpg If you love maps like we do, check out the new exhibit of mostly historical Los Angeles maps in the first-floor gallery at the Los Angeles Public Library.

Answer to Monday's mystery photo

state-bldg-1st-spring-usc.jpg OK OK, too easy. Next time I'll make it a bit more challenging.

LA Observed on KCRW: Historic music

clark-tomb.jpg I was inspired by my first visit last week to the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library to make this week's KCRW column about L.A.'s historical tradition of concerts and recitals in private homes.

Hamburger Hamlet on Sunset Strip to close, blog says

hamburger-hamlet-sunset.jpg You've got a couple of months to pay a last visit to the early Hamburger Hamlet where Sunset forks into Doheny Road. Closing day is said to be Dec. 19.

Daily News celebrates 100 years in the Valley

dn-100-panorama.jpg It was on this day in 1913 that the pop-up town of Van Nuys — located at the intersection of a vast former wheat field turned dustbowl and a sandy seasonal flood wash — got a newspaper.

Academy, LACMA agree to plan film museum on Wilshire

mayco-ansel-lapl.jpg The historic landmark former May Company department store at Wilshire and Fairfax could become the major movie museum that L.A. lacks under a memo of understanding agreed to tonight between the boards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Catherine Mulholland exhibit opens in Northridge

mulholland-exhibit-cover.jpg I'm taking part in a panel discussion Tuesday at the Cal State Northridge library.

Surfing history in Malibu

julie-cox-msa-zevweb.jpg The Malibu Surfing Association, which formed at Surfrider Beach in 1961, held its annual MSA Classic this weekend.

The Tamale lives on

the-tamale-lapl.jpg The East Los Angeles building that used to house The Tamale is a beauty salon these days.

Otis Redding's 70th birthday

Otis Redding, a Stax/Volt artist from Dawson Georgia, broke ground twice in California. He introduced R&B to the Whisky on the Sunset Strip in 1966. The next year he...

Tamales as L.A's first street food

the-tamale-lapl.jpg Interesting piece by Gustavo Arellano in the L.A. Times Food section this week on the historical place of tamales — and the XLNT company — in Los Angeles cuisine.

Buddy Holly day in L.A.

GlassesSign.jpg Today would have been the 75th birthday of the rock and roll pioneer who died at 22 in the 1959 plane crash that also killed Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson. At 11:30 a.m.outside the Capitol Records building, Holly's widow Maria Elena Holly will accept his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Hanging out with cat people in Santa Monica

tinkbell-awl.jpg Cat shows are far more populist events than dog shows, says The Awl's Natasha Vargas-Cooper.

Ezat Delijani, savior of Downtown theaters *

Councilman Jose Huizar tweeted tonight that Ezat Delijani, a leader in L.A.'s Persian Jewish community, died yesterday. No other details are immediately available.

'Wattstax' screens at the Hammer on Saturday

Q&A with the director follows Saturday night's free film screening at the Hammer Museum of the 1973 documentary on "the black Woodstock," more properly known as the Wattstax Music Festival.

Ferus Gallery in this weeknd's NYT

brittin-getty-ferus-group.jpg New York Times art critic Holland Cotter reviews "Rebels in Paradise: The Los Angeles Art Scene and the 1960s" by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp.

Helms Bakery truck

helms-truck-patterson.jpg Reader Bob Patterson spotted this vintage Helms Bakery truck at the festivities surrounding the Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach. If you don't smell bread or donuts upon seeing the...

When oil wells were king in SoCal

summerland-oil-kcet.jpg SoCal Focus has pulled together an amusing array of photos and postcards showing just how pervasive oil derricks were on the region's landscape for many years.

California and the rise and fall of America’s space program

sr71blackbird_300.jpg With the space shuttle gliding into retirement, Deanne Stillman has a nice piece at Truthdig on the local origins of the U.S. space program.

New clue on that RFK photo from '68

RFK-paul-jacobs.jpg Last March, you might remember, journalist Chip Jacobs posted never-seen photos that his brother Paul remembers taking on June 4, 1968, hours before presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was mortally...

Mike Davis takes on Harrison Gray Otis

hgotis.jpg Future installments will look at the former LA Times owner's "interlude as 'emperor of the Pribilofs,' his military atrocities in the Philippines, his bitter legal battles with the Theosophists, the Otis-Chandler empire in the Mexicali Valley, the Times bombing in 1910, the notorious discovery of fellatio in Long Beach, and Otis’s quixotic plan for world government."

Dedication of the Sepulveda tunnel

sepultunnel1300.jpg Until the tunnel under Mulholland Highway opened in 1930, there wasn't much "pass" to Sepulveda Pass. There was a dirt road and trails, but most of the traffic between...

Oldest film sighting of the 1st Street bridge?

In "Berth Marks," Laurel and Hardy (and Hal Roach) show off the bridge and the old Santa Fe rail station that was beside the river.

Video: The new Dinosaur Hall at NHMLA

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles looks to have a hit on its hands.

Catherine Mulholland, historian was 88

CMulholland.jpg The author and granddaughter of one of Los Angeles' most discussed historical figures, the water legend William Mulholland, died today of natural causes at her home in Camarillo.

Dodgers bankruptcy 'very sad,' says Roz Wyman *

Make that "very, very sad," says the woman who as a young city council member in the 1950s played a key role in closing the deal to bring the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.

L.A. Times eliminates another blog

Next to go from the L.A. Times blogroll is apparently The Daily Mirror, copy editor Larry Harnisch's look back at stories and photos out of the Times archives.
hitler_letter_eblast.jpg The Simon Wiesenthal Center calls it "the most significant document in its 34-year history," a four-page letter signed by Adolf Hitler six years before the publication of "Mein Kampf."

Endeavour a go to land tonight in Florida *

It would have been fitting and delightfully cinematic if the space shuttle Endeavour concluded its final flight with a weather diversion to Southern California. Alas, those NASA guys have no sense of story.

Demo work ordered to halt at KCET studio

A city inspector from the Department of Building and Safety showed up at the KCET studios on Sunset Boulevard on Wednesday.

Bob Dylan at Hollywood Bowl, 1965 *

dylan-hwd-bowl.jpg The Hollywood Bowl is celebrating its 90th year by posting a Twitter-sized nugget from the archives on the web each day.

Inside the ranch home of "The Biggest Loser'

BL-signs1.jpg Where is this place: The Ranch? Turns out it's actually the historic former home near Malibu Canyon of razor heir King Gillette, one of the more interesting Angelenos of yore.

Channel 2 alumni flock to Facebook

alvera-hill-facebook-crop.jpg If you worked at Channel 2 in Los Angeles any time back to "The Big News" years with Jerry Dunphy and Bill Stout, there's a Facebook group you might like.

Play based on Marichal & Roseboro opens here tonight

marichalroseboro.jpg We first told you about Roger Guenveur Smith's one-man show, which traces its roots to the summer day in 1965 when San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal conked Dodgers catcher John Roseboro's head with a bat, back in 2009.

Tom Bradley documentary wins $50,000 grant

ss11-tom-bradley-august-1973.jpg The research and development grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for "Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race" is the only such grant in the state, Rep. Karen Bass said.

San Fernando Valley Fair won't be held this year

devonshire-downs-flier.jpg End of an era in the Valley, which was still agricultural enough in the 1940s to launch an annual livestock and equestrian fair held for a few decades at the Devonshire Downs race track and fairgrounds in Northridge.

David Hume Kennerly gives oral history of Nixon years

david-hume-kennerly-oral-hi.jpg David Hume Kennerly won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972 (at age 25) for his combat photography of the Vietnam War and was at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles the night in June, 1968 that Robert F. Kennedy was shot.

Sal Castro wows them at Festival of Books

A Saturday panel at the LA Times book festival billed as "History, Identity & Purpose: California Chicanos & Beyond" turned into a forum for Sal Castro, an organizer of the East L.A. student walkouts of the 1960s.

Footage of Bunker Hill destruction circa 1969

The plot of the April 9, 1969 episode of the television series "The Outsider," starring Darrin McGavin, hinges on the destruction of the Bunker Hill neighborhood in Downtown.

Sirhan Sirhan blames woman in polka dot dress

Sirhan Sirhan has a new story about what happened the night Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel.

Another music video in the Fred Harvey room

The Brian Setzer Orchestra with "Jump Jive An' Wail" in the old Fred Harvey diner at Union Station.

Lockheed in camouflage

lockheed-war-after.jpg These pictures reemerge every so often, but they are always interesting. These are World War II shots of Lockheed Aircraft, a major builder of war planes at Burbank Airport,...

New life for Fred Harvey space at Union Station

fred-harvey-franklin-ave.jpg The first time I snuck into the vacated Fred Harvey cafe at Union Station, maybe 20 years ago, I could almost smell the 1940s cigar smoke. The room and adjacent...

Pacific Ocean Park in 1967, with dancers and Nancy Sinatra

If you never saw the short-lived but very popular amusement park that was at the Ocean Park end of Santa Monica Beach — or want to see it again — check out this Nancy Sinatra video.

Joel Wachs' legacy at UCLA

joelwachsphoto.jpg Turns out that former Los Angeles City Councilman Joel Wachs was instrumental in getting Ackerman Student Union built.

SoCal coastal features in 1901

archrock-1901.jpg Scientific American has dug out of its files a 1901 story and photographs about interesting rock features on the Southern California coast, including the arch rock north of Santa Monica.

Parsing the stripes on RFK's tie

RFK-paul-jacobs.jpg The discussion continues on that Robert F. Kennedy campaign photo from 1968 Los Angeles.

For LACMA's 46th birthday, a sculptor gets his day

david-smith-lacma-2.jpg Forty-six years after a fatal car crash ended talks on a major show, LACMA honors David Smith.

Why doesn't Hope Street go through?

normal-school.jpg One of the little quirks about Downtown L.A. is that a major north-south street, Hope Street, stops at the Central Library. Yet Hope Street predates the library.

Conservancy names preservation award winners

Gov. Jerry Brown (and Mark Lacter) may want to do away with the city Community Redevelopment Agency, but it's a hit at least with the Los Angeles Conservancy. The group is giving the CRA one of its nine yearly preservation awards.

Updates on that fresh RFK photo from last week *

RFK-paul-jacobs.jpg Those two aides around Robert F. Kennedy's car remain unidentified, but there's a factual question now: when was the photo actually taken?

Film of murals being installed at Golden State Mutual *

Woodruff-mural-300x204.jpg Oscar Garza at LA Fwd has posted a two-minute silent clip of the Hale Woodruff and Charles Alston murals being installed and unveiled for the 1949 opening of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance building at West Adams Boulevard and Western Avenue.

RFK on the street in L.A., hours before the Ambassador

RFK-paul-jacobs.jpg Never-published photo shows Sen. Robert F. Kennedy greeting well-wishers outside the Biltmore on election day in June 1968, hours before he was shot across town at the Ambassador Hotel.

Los Angeles in the 1930s, a time traveler's guide

white-king-stack-fajack.jpg My favorite new Los Angeles book — the one I took driving with me on Saturday — is a guidebook from the distant past. "Los Angeles in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City of Angels" has been reissued after years out of print.

Remembering '60s figure Owsley Stanley III *

deadlogo.gif L.A. food writer and author Charles Perry writes about his former roommate in a Visiting Blogger post for LA Observed — and insists he did not turn on the former LSD designer.

Rare color photos of San Francisco's '06 quake carnage

sf-quake-color2.jpg A volunteer at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History has made a fantastic discovery: perhaps the only color photographs of the devastation in San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake and fire.

LAFD film on the 1961 Bel-Air 'conflagration'

In November it will be 50 years since one of the city's scariest wind-whipped fire storms burned through Brentwood and Bel Air.

Sirhan Sirhan comes up for parole on Wednesday

sirhan-2009-doc.jpg A new lawyer will argue that his client, who is now 66, does not remember shooting Sen. Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel on June 4, 1968.

Channel 2 gets inside the mummified babies story *

KCBS had a good story at 11 p.m. tonight showing the valises, 1930s newspapers and silk wrappings that contained those two mummified newborns found in a Westlake area apartment last year.

Last Remaining Seats hits the big 25

SafetyLast.jpg This year's 25th run of Last Remaining Seats in the Broadway Historic Theatre District will open at the Orpheum with "Rear Window," the Alfred Hitchcock classic starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly, and end there with Harold Lloyd in "Safety Last."

Happy centennial, Van Nuys

flooding-van-nuys.jpg On Feb. 22, 1911, trains from Los Angeles delivered the first buyers of vacant lots to the new town of Van Nuys.

Lovers Lane lines up nicely with...North Main

lovers-lane-fajack.jpg Our Valentine's Day mystery about the present-day status of L.A.'s Lovers Lane from 1871 appears to be solved

Lovers Lane, Los Angeles 1871

lovers-lane-1871-lapl.jpg "Yes, Los Angeles has always been a town for lovers," reads the caption for this 1871 map posted on Facebook.

LA Observed on KCRW

Coming up on the air at 6:44 p.m., a often-forgotten corner of the city — the far northeast Valley — and two historical milestones there.

Feb. 9, 1971, 6:01 a.m.

sylmar-quake-usgs-tracks.jpg Sixty-five people died in the 6.6 magnitude Sylmar earthquake 40 years ago today. We have pictures.

Hiking the stairways of old Hollywoodland

hollywoodlandhike-11.jpg Mark Frauenfelder went for a fun Saturday walking tour of the old Hollywoodland development in Beachwood Canyon.

Ritchie Valens, garage band success was 17

valens-grave.jpg There's a reason that, 52 years later, they still remember Ritchie Valens. Especially in Pacoima.

Manson nabbed with another cellphone

mansondouble.jpg For at least the second time, guards at Corcoran State Prison found a mobile phone in Charles Manson's cell on January 6.

Valley finally gets another concert hall

valley-perf-arts-center-big.jpg Forty seven years later, the San Fernando Valley gets another performing arts space and it's bigger and grander.

Deal preserves Marquez family cemetery in Santa Monica Canyon

marquez-cemetery-ucla-today.jpg Ernest Marquez, who's a fellow author at Angel City Press, has been working to hold on to access to the cemetery, which through the years has been surrounded by homes and yards.

Neon and L.A. artist get their first postage stamp

neon-stamp.jpg In March, the U.S. Postal Service will release its first stamp featuring neon art. The design is by Van Nuys neon artist Michael Flechtner.

Friars Club in Beverly Hills coming down

friars-club-la.jpg The Los Angeles Conservancy sent out an alert this afternoon saying the owner of the 1961 building that housed the Friars Club has begun razing the unofficial landmark, with no plans yet filed for a new structure at the site on Little Santa Monica Boulevard.

Manson follower Patricia Krenwinkel denied parole...again

krenwinkel-2011.jpg Krenwinkel, now 64, is the longest-serving female prisoner in the California prison system — a distinction she gained when fellow Charles Manson follower Susan Atkins died in 2009.

On the Valley's news wars of the 1960s

My posts on Dr. Martin Luther King in the west valley and mention of the late Valley Times newspaper led reader Jim Houck to point me to a Time magazine story on that newspaper in 1963.

Print coverage of MLK's 1961 speech in the Valley

mlk-in-canoga.jpg A history teacher at Canoga Park High School graciously pointed me to this online evidence of Dr. Martin Luther King's 1961 appearance.

Angelenos among '50 Most Powerful People in Food'

The Daily Meal's list is more than a lazy tally of hot chefs of the moment; the 50 include corporate and government officials, journalists and others who shape the food business.

LA Observed on KCRW: MLK in the Valley

My column airing at 6:44 p.m. on KCRW revels in, and adds some historical backstory to, the awesome audio file the Daily News posted of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking in 1961 in Canoga Park.

Plaza excavation halted over remains *

Miguel Angel Corzo, President and CEO of L.A. Plaza de Cultura y Artes, announced a halt to the archaeological excavation where the remains of early Angelenos have been found.

F. Lee Bailey makes case that O.J. Simpson's not guilty

bailey-simpson.jpg Lawyer F. Lee Bailey, who's now 77, has posted a lengthy argument on his consulting firm's firm website contending that O.J. Simpson did not kill his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1994.

Richfield angel found in Silver Lake

richfield-angel-silverlake.jpg Eric Lynxwiler's quest to find any surviving terra cotta angels from Downtown's old Richfield building has turned up a nice sample.

L.A.'s black politics, the nut grafs

The Root looks at the history, who's in power now and some reasons why black clout is declining.

KHJ DJ jingles from back in the day

Listen to DJ jingles and the station fanfare from the heyday of 93 KHJ, in the 1960s and 70s a very big AM rock radio station in Los Angeles

Eric's Richfield angel featured in the Times

eric-and-angel.jpg In today's L.A. Times, Bob Pool picks up and runs with Eric Lynxwiler's visiting blogger post from a couple of weeks ago on the terra cota angel that sits in his Arts District loft.

A Magna Carta is coming to LACMA

800px-Magna_Carta.jpg One of the existing copies of the Magna Carta, the charter of rights presented to England's King John at Runnymede in 1215, will be displayed at the Los Angeles County...

50+ years of Los Angeles Magazine covers now online

los-angeles-mag-nov1963.jpg This is cool. The magazine has been celebrating its 50-year anniversary and has now put up an image of every issue, back to its origins under various names in 1958.

Hugh Hefner accepts historical honor

hefner-award.jpg Tonight at the Los Angeles City Historical Society's annual dinner, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner accepted an award from the group for his help preserving the Hollywood sign and open space on nearby Cahuenga Peak.

Calling all Richfield angels

eric-and-angel.jpg In a Visiting Blogger post at LA Observed, J. Eric Lynxwiler announces he has become the proud owner of a 1½-ton terra-cotta angel that used to stand guard over downtown...

Revising history: Eisenhower's most famous speech

general-dwight-d-eisenhower.jpg Jim Newton, soon to debut as an op-ed columnist for the L.A. Times, writes in this week's New Yorker about the discovery of some long-lost papers that change what is known about President Dwight Eisenhower's 1961 speech warning of the rise of an American "military-industrial complex."

John Lennon, 30 years on

The second most-watched YouTube video of John Lennon. The guy who posted it writes simply fantástico.

Juan Romero pays respects at RFK memorial

The busboy who comforted Robert Kennedy in a pool of blood on the Ambassador Hotel pantry floor in 1968 visited his grave at Arlington for the first time.

About those missing Hall of Records documents

Thumbnail image for hall-of-justice-stairs.jpg ZevWeb has posted a clarification about what happened with public documents left behind in the old Hall of Records in Downtown.

Librarians can be political activists too

Elizabeth Martinez, the former Los Angeles city librarian, has written a piece about coming to identify herself as a Chicano around the time of the Chicano Moratorium in East Los Angeles in 1970.

Inside the vacant Hall of Justice

hall-of-justice-050.jpg A photo tour of the 1925 Hall of Justice at Temple and Spring streets, closed since the Northridge earthquake.

Call it the Westside subway

wilshirechapel.jpg Today's MTA vote approving the Wilshire subway route leaves out the West Hollywood detour and the politically sensitive Crenshaw station, leaves undecided the dicey political question of just where the tunnel will go under Century City and Beverly Hills, and should put to rest for now Mayor Villaraigosa's inoperative "subway to the sea" meme.

NPR discovers the Ansel Adams stash at LAPL

ansel-adams-burbank-lapl.jpg Every so often, somebody rediscovers the Ansel Adams photos of the Los Angeles area on the Los Angeles Public Library website and gets excited. This time it's NPR's photo blog.

Heading to L.A. Archives Bazaar at USC

I'm on a panel at 3 p.m. called Blogging L.A.

Bob Kholos, former Bradley press secretary was 67

Kholos began volunteering with Tom Bradley's campaign for mayor in 1969 and became the first press secretary after Bradley was elected in 1973.

The old days of car racing in L.A.

Harry Pallenberg, longtime producer for Huell Howser and the director of "Shotgun Freeway," is making a documentary on the racing years in Southern California, based in part on Harold Osmer's book "Where They Raced."

Daily News turns 100

dn-centennial.jpg The Daily News is celebrating next year's 100th anniversary with a series of centennial stories on the paper's and the Valley's history.

Now that's a presidential motorcade crowd

fdr-motorcade-1935-ucladn.jpg President Obama returns Oct. 22 for a Democratic rally at USC. Here's what it looked like when FDR motorcaded through Downtown in 1935.

Enjoying 'Chicano Rock'

chicano-rock-dvd.jpg I finally saw "Chicano Rock" tonight thanks to KOCE, the Orange County PBS station hoping to grab more of the post-KCET Los Angeles audience.

New L.A. book of the week: L.A. in maps

la-maps-book-cover.jpg I haven't seen this book yet, but I'd still bet it will be one of my favorite books of the year. Glen Creason, the ace map librarian in the history...

Remembering Buddy Collette's Los Angeles

Buddy Collette, the legendary jazz musician and Los Angeles native who died here on Sunday at 89, "both profited from and contributed to the rich midcentury jazz scene along Los...

Clifton's plans get more detailed *

cliftons-flickr.jpg The new owner of Clifton's Cafeteria will be appearing at a press conference shortly with Councilman Jose Huizar to announce that there will be 100 new jobs for the formerly homeless as part of the new Clifton's. Plus a DWP cafeteria update.

Jesus Saves, the backstory

jesus-saves-blogdtown.jpg Blogdowntown's Eric Richardson explains why the Jesus Saves neon signs tower above the United Artists theatre on Broadway — and digs into their travels since the first sign appeared on the downtown skyline in 1935.

Hanging in L.A. with the Beatles in 1974 *

Rock musician Jesse Ed Davis's 64-year-old ex-girlfriend has Polaroid photos of Paul McCartney and the other Beatles, plus Eric Clapton and others, hanging around at John Lennon's Santa Monica beach house.

Owner of 1930s trunk with infant remains has a name *

LAPD detectives said today they are confident that Janet M. Barrie owned the trunk that contained the mummified remains of a fetus and possibly a newborn baby. Barrie, born in...

History in the pavement on Outpost Drive

Nice piece by writer Steve Oney on the memories evoked by the city covering the old concrete pavement of Outpost Drive, with its embedded paw prints of a long ago...

Time to open the Ruben Salazar files, says visiting blogger

ruben-salazar-stamp.jpg Visiting blogger Frank Sotomayor, an adjunct professor at USC Annenberg, argues that it's time for Sheriff Lee Baca and other officials to end the mysteries about what happened to Ruben Salazar in East Los Angeles.

No signs of trauma in mummified babies

A preliminary autopsy found nothing about the cause of death for those two infants whose remains were found wrapped in 1930s newspaper in a Westlake district basement.

Swing Era of jazz began at L.A.'s Palomar Ballroom

Palomar-ballroom.jpg The Palomar Ballroom, billed as the largest dance hall on the West Coast, was at 3rd Street and Vermont Avenue on Aug. 21, 1935.

George Takei goes home again

george-takei.jpg Actor and Howard Stern announcer George Takei takes listeners through his Japanese-American family's internment during World War II in a radio documentary airing in Sirius XM Radio.

Geez, people really want to go shopping

The freeway alert sign on the 10 West approaching Santa Monica is warning people this afternoon that parking in downtown Santa Monica is full. It's because of today's opening of...

Weekend viewing: Bunker Hill, 1956 *

angels-flight-sheets-crop.jpg Five years before Kent MacKenzie made The Exiles, about Native Americans in Downtown Los Angeles, he made a 17-minute student film at USC showing everyday life in the Bunker Hill neighborhood in 1956.

More old L.A. photos: May Co. on Wilshire

may-co-escalator-lacma.jpg This photo isn't actually old. It was shot the other day inside LACMA West, showing a remnant of the circa-1940 May Company department store.

Attack of the L.A. smog archives

la-smog-1948.jpg Wired magazine culled some photos of Los Angeles smog from the L.A. Times archive at UCLA. Monday was the 67th anniversary of the infamous really, really black day when people looked around said dang, we have an air pollution problem here.

Sunset Blvd. bridge, 1957

sunset-bridge-1957.jpg he Sunset Boulevard bridge over the 405 freeway in Brentwood is being torn down, piece by piece, for replacement. When it was completed in 1956, the road was still being called the Sepulveda Freeway.

See Los Angeles circa 1961

This Disney-made video on the origin of the California Institute of the Arts was made when the Music Center and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art were still being talked about and designed.

Downtown L.A., the punk years

L.A. journalist Anthea Raymond narrates interviews with players from the early Downtown music and arts scene.

Sunset curve the scene of bad accident

A head-on crash this afternoon involving a semi-truck and more than one car blocked all lanes of Sunset Boulevard for awhile at Bellagio Road, adjacent to the north side of UCLA in a spot called Dead Man's Curve in L.A. lore.

LA Observed on KCRW: What a trip

sfv-the-onion.jpg My weekly column on LA Observed tonight talks about my visit to the Valley to talk to Los Angeles Conservancy folks at The Onion, the Unitarian church where the first Los Angeles acid test was held in 1966.

Relive 'one of the wildest days' in L.A. history

ESPN tonight airs June 17, 1994, a 30 for 30 documentary by Brett Morgen on the day O.J. Simpson went fugitive in his friend's white Ford Bronco.

Things that aren't here anymore 3

Tonight at 8 p.m. is the debut on KCET of "Things That Aren't Here Anymore 3," the reprise I've mentioned a couple of times of the station's popular Ralph Story shows on vanishing Los Angeles (well, really SoCal.)

New to my blog world: Newstalgia

chicano-moratorium.jpg Newstalgia is a sister blog of the politics site Crooks and Liars, putting up audio links from current news events, distant events and popular culture with a Los Angeles bias.

Last Remaining Seats opens with a hit

how-to-succeed.jpg he Los Angeles Theatre on Broadway was packed last night for the opening film of the 24th year of Last Remaining Seats.

Gone but not forgotten, KCET style

ralph-story-grab.jpg During the upcoming pledge breaks, KCET Channel 28 will air a freshly made update of Ralph Story's popular "Things That Aren't Here Anymore."

Los Angeles newspaper of 1907 skewers Supes

la-herald-cartoon-1907.jpg The design isn't much to brag about, and they were partisan to the max, but one thing about the newspapers of Los Angeles a hundred years: they were chock full of news.

Los Angeles roots of Asian American journalists' group

The Asian American Journalists Association was started in Los Angeles in 1981 by Tritia Toyota and Frank Kwan of KNBC, Bill Sing, Nancy Yoshihara and David Kishiyama of the Los Angeles Times, and Dwight Chuman of Rafu Shimpo.

Couple of sad L.A. anniversaries

lapl-fire-ucla-collection.jpg On this day, the Rodney Kings riots erupted in 1992 and the Central Library burned in 1986.

Rhino Records to return for charity

From May 17-31, Rhino Records will re-open near its original Westwood Boulevard location. Rhino, which closed in 2006, did the resurrection by pop-up thing during the holiday season in 2007....

LAT yields on the Dodgers logo question

jimmy-hahnn-hat.jpg This morning's Los Angeles Times carries a correction to that Op-Ed piece from last week that stated the LA logo on the Dodgers cap sprang from team executives and a...

So who did design the Dodgers' LA logo?

100px-LosAngelesAngels(PCL)CapLogo.png Did Jimmy Hahn, the future mayor, design the Dodgers' LA logo as a 9-year-old? Or is the style decades older? We delve into the mystery.

Disneyland's map with the N-word *

nigger-slough.jpg Eric Spiegelman was at Disneyland checking out an old map of California mounted in the Main Street railroad station when he spotted an unexpected geographic feature. "There are like a...

The T.A.M.I. Show on 'Fresh Air'

tami300_custom.jpg Tonight on NPR's "Fresh Air", Milo Miles favorably reviews the recent DVD release of the film on the remarkable gathering of musical talent at the Teenage Music Awards International shows held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in October, 1964.

This sign about covers it

gaylord-wilshire.jpg David Allen, columnist and blogger for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, spotted this regulatory perplexer in Downtown's Pershing Square.

Happy anniversary to the Valley

annex-map-1918-raremaps-com-200.jpg On this day in 1915, the voters of the San Fernando Valley chose to join the city of Los Angeles — and nothing here was ever the same

Exercise echoes a scary night in Los Angeles

interstate.GIF At 2:30 this afternoon, the Los Angeles Fire Department will supervise the full evacuation of the Aon Building, the 62-story tower at Wilshire and Hope that was known as the First Interstate Tower when a fire broke out on the 12th floor in 1988.

Valley Fair returns to the Valley

devonshire-downs-flier.jpg The San Fernando Valley Fair used to be a pretty big community affair — with horse racing, rodeo events, and barns full of sheep and rabbits raised by 4-H kids in their backyards — that kept alive the Valley's equestrian and agricultural tradition.

One more interpretation of Angels Flight *

angels-flight-sheets-crop120.jpg I've been receiving some nice comments all day for posting yesterday's item about the Millard Sheets painting called Angel's Flight. Here's a cover from the literary journal Black Clock that shares the noir vibe and Bunker Hill setting.

Back to 1930s Los Angeles: 'Angel's Flight'

angels-flight-inset-wp.jpg In honor of Angels Flight re-opening Monday to paying passengers, let's return to the days when the funicular originally called the Los Angeles Incline Railway was an integral part of Downtown life.

Things to do for smart people in L.A.

left-coast-crime-logo.jpg LA Observed contributor Adrienne Crew is an entertainment attorney by day. At night she goes to interesting places, and wants you to know where you can go too. Her Angeleno...

RFK shirt removed from evidence display

LAPD chief Charlie Beck has apologized to the Kennedy family for including items worn by the slain Senator in a Las Vegas display.

Pup 'n' Taco sighting *

pup-n-fries.jpg In the new TV spot for "The Runaways" film, the relatively short-lived but fondly recalled SoCal fast-food chain shows up as "Pup 'n' Fries."

'Chinatown' revisited by A.O. Scott

chinatown-dunaway-grab.jpg "Much blacker than even the darkest film noir," Scott says, and he means it in the good way.

Oakie estate in Northridge acquired by city

oakie-house-dn.jpg The city has paid $3.35 million for ten acres and the home designed by Paul R. Williams for actress Barbara Stanwyck, a vestige of the Valleywood horse-ranching heyday.

The man who loved Susan Atkins

susan-atkins-deputy.jpg Susan Atkins was the Charles Manson follower who used the knife on actress Sharon Tate on Cielo Drive in 1969. After she died this past September, Orange Coast Magazine...

'Runaways' hits Sundance 'like a freight train'

stewart-fanning-sundance.jpg Kristen Stewart, as usual, is so uncomfortable doing media it always creeps me out a bit to watch her.

Glen Bell, founder of Taco Bell was 86

taco-titan-cover.jpg Bell had opened a few fast food chains around Southern California after World War II, starting with a rival to McDonald's in San Bernardino. He also started Der Wienerschnitzel, but...

End of the Aerospace Century in SoCal

Earhart at Lockheed.jpg Northrop Grumman's decision to leave Los Angeles marks the end of an era, say scholars William Deverell, Daniel Lewis and Peter Westwick in a Visiting Bloggers post at LA Observed.

LA Sketchbook: Southwest goes dark

qqxsgSouthwest Museum.jpg More by Steve Greenberg...

L.A. history, the iPhone app

You can now download an "on this day in L.A. history" calendar feature for the iPhone, from the Studio for Southern California History....

Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett

The first (I think) teaser is out for "The Runaways," billed as the story of the 1970s rock band that featured Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, among others, and...

Columbia Square comes to planning commission

Plans to tear down the old CBS radio and television home at Sunset and Gower for a condo tower go to the city planning commission tomorrow. There are several old...

Marichal v. Roseboro, the play

marichalroseboro.jpg Roger Guenveur Smith was six years old and living in Los Angeles the summer day in 1965 when San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal conked Dodgers catcher John Roseboro over...

In praise of Alice McGrath

alicemcgrathvcstar.jpg Carlos Valdez Lozano, an assistant city editor at the Los Angeles Times, offers up a personal Op-Ed tribute to his friend Alice McGrath, a longtime union and left-wing activist in...

In praise of Madame Wong

madamewongband.jpg While we're on a bit of a music jag, Esther Wong was the godmother of punk in Los Angeles. Her restaurant-clubs in Chinatown and Santa Monica would be in the...

120 years before the Gold Line

capehornviaduct.jpg An elevated portion of the Gold Line today runs past the Capitol Milling Company plant in Downtown. From 1889 to 1896, the Cape Horn Viaduct also carried passengers past the...

Avery Clayton, curator of black archives*

News is spreading fast via email and Facebook that Avery Clayton died of a heart attack on Thanksgiving. He was an artist and executive director of Western States Black Research...

Have you seen La Brea Woman?

labreawoman.jpg Forensic artist Melissa Cooper says she created a facial rendering based on the Page Museum's solitary human skull, but she says the museum won't show her work out of fear...

LA Animated: sic regional transit

PacificElectric.gif More LA Sketchbook by Steve Greenberg...

Martin Schall, here in L.A. (again)

martinschallwithcamera.jpg Longtime readers know Martin Schall as the German creator of, the great website of Los Angeles photographs. Although I've been posting since 2004 about the 42-year-old who runs the...

L.A. Archives Bazaar returns Saturday

The fourth annual gathering at USC of local historical organizations and archives is Saturday at the Davidson Center. The featured panelists this year include authors Alex Moreno Areyan, Jenny Cho,...

Kremlin's woman in Hollywood

mukasei.jpg Elizaveta Mukasei was posted to Los Angeles as a spy for the Soviet Union from 1939 to 1943, according to an interesting Wall Street Journal remembrance today. Mukasei, who died...

Susan Atkins dies in prison

susanatkinslapd.jpg Atkins, 61, becomes the first of the Charles Manson followers on life sentences to die while in California prisons. She died Thursday night as the longest-serving female inmate in the...

SM Pier turns 100

Lots of festivities on tap, including musical performances and a big fireworks show tonight in Santa Monica Bay. It's likely to be a mob scene later on, so city officials...

Here's the 'Politics of Culture' link

OK I'm biased, but I thought we had a fun 30 minutes with authors Richard Rayner and John Buntin talking about Los Angeles' dark and storied past. Here's the audio...

Westlake District featured

westlakeparkboat.jpg The new episode of Vista LA that airs Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on Channel 7 focuses on recent improvements to MacArthur Park — led by the Levitt Pavilion — and...

Chronicler of cool

sternsinatrajfk.jpg Los Angeles photographer Phil Stern turns 90 tomorrow. That's his photo of Frank Sinatra lighting JFK's smoke. Vanity Fair celebrates the big day with an online piece by David Friend:...

Susan Atkins parole hearing today

The former Charles Manson follower who murdered actress Sharon Tate in Benedict Canyon 40 years ago is reportedly dying of brain cancer and 85% paralyzed. Supporters want her to be...

When the Beatles came to L.A.

beatlesatbowl.jpg Along with all the other L.A. milestones this summer, this week is the 45th anniversary of Bob Eubanks and KRLA bringing the Beatles to the Hollywood Bowl. Steven Cuevas had...

Squeaky Fromme out of prison

squeakytime.jpg Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme is the woman who pointed a gun at President Gerald Ford in Sacramento in 1975. Before that, she was the Charles Manson follower who served as the...

Van Nuys for cruising again

vnblvdmovie.jpg It took Van Nuys merchants, the Daily News and the LAPD decades to eradicate the Los Angeles tradition of cruising on Van Nuys Boulevard. They finally had to shut the...

Westwood's Mann Festival, RIP

anseladamsww.jpg Hat tip to the New Beverly Theater's Twitter poster for noticing that the Mann Festival has put up a final message to patrons. Known previously as the Egyptian (and as...

L.A. Jewish history on Flickr

Frances Dinkelspiel, the author who talks tonight at ALOUD about "Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California," is also president of the board at the...

The Valley's nuclear past

ssfl.jpg With local media obsessing a bit this week on the 50th anniversary of the partial meltdown of an experimental nuclear reactor above Chatsworth, here's the first comprehensive news story on...

Remembering Manson

mansondouble.jpg In this issue of Los Angeles Magazine and on the website, Steve Oney revisits the summer of 1969 when Hollywood figures, and then much of the city, were terrified by...

Bruno and the Birmingham High kids

brunobham.jpg As part of the promotion for the new Sacha Baron Cohen movie Bruno, GQ magazine runs photos of Cohen-as-Bruno cavorting on the field with the football team at Birmingham High...

Los Angeles history bits

The Orange Line busway extension from Woodland Hills to Chatsworth will follow the route of old Southern Pacific railroad tracks that crossed the Valley starting in 1888. The trains carried...

Billboards of the '50s and '60s

leonardbillboardtimes.jpg Photographer Gary Leonard has what looks to be a very cool exhibit up in his Broadway gallery: prints made from Kodachrome slides he saved from the trash showing Pacific Outdoor...

Photo evidence: Bruins swarm freeway

uclastudentson405.jpg My mention last night of UCLA students protesting a Rose Bowl snub on the San Diego Freeway in 1966 prompted an LA Observed reader to remember a photo he'd seen...

L.A.'s Woodstock, 40 years later

newport69poster.jpg This weekend is the 40th anniversary of Newport '69, the first — and last — ginormous rock festival to be staged within a leafy Los Angeles suburb. On June 20,...

Famous spot on Ventura Boulevard

News reports of a Crips gang party in Studio City on Wednesday night made me smile, if only because of the location. The stories gave the club's name as Platinum...

African American sites registered

Seven Los Angeles buildings considered important in African American history — including three designed by architect Paul Williams — have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. They...

Susan Atkins gets a parole hearing

Coming up on 40 years since the Sharon Tate murders in Benedict Canyon, any mention of the Charles Manson family still generates a predictable surge of traffic on this website...

Lizard people won't go away

The myth of the lizard people who dug tunnels under Downtown gets a new retelling on Fox 11 News' "fringe segment," featuring Los Angeles Public Library maps expert Glen Creason....

Wilshire Boulevard's old air fields

demillefield.jpg For some reason, Los Angeles airfields used to open almost next to each other. There were three or four in and adjacent to Burbank, another in Glendale, and another on...

SurveyLA debuts on Saturday

surveyla_logo.jpg Cool event on Saturday for lovers of the city and its roots: MYhistoricLA, the public kickoff to SurveyLA, the first-ever comprehensive survey of L.A.'s historic buildings and resources. Time constraints...

Update your mental image of Charles Manson

Charles Manson is now 74 years old and has been in state prison for almost 40 years — this time around. Manson had been locked up before he moved to...

Burbank Airport, even older

Ron Dickson, who writes about the aviation history of the San Fernando Valley, sends along this photo of the terminal and tower at Burbank before Lockheed took over and stucco-ized...

Peering into Burbank's time capsule

The Burbank Times did a nice job with the 1959 photographs that were recovered from a time capsule dug out of a bridge in Burbank last month. The publication put...

Coy Watson, photog and child actor was 96

James Caughey "Coy" Watson, Jr. was the eldest of the Watson offspring — six boys and three girls — who made a mark in Los Angeles first as child actors,...

World War II Los Angeles in color

I'm not sure that I've seen color photos of the wartime aircraft workers, and certainly not any like these from the Library of Congress stash on Flickr. That's been a...

Nixon caught in another lie

Former president Richard Nixon began his memoir with the line "I was born in the house my father built." Well, in 1959 his mother told the Los Angeles Times he...

SS Catalina, R.I.P.

The Great White Steamer that ferried visitors from San Pedro to Catalina Island for a half century has taken its last voyage. Mexican crews have begun demolishing the partly sunken...

Tour sites of L.A. lynchings

Ken Gonzales-Day, a photographer and Scripps College professor, wrote the book "Lynching in the West: 1850-1935." He has traveled California trying to locate the actual trees used by lynch mobs....

Political history lessons

Two pieces in the current Jewish Journal — by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and LA Observed columnist Bill Boyarsky — frame the Proposition 8 battle and the ascent of Rep. Henry...

Crest Theatre put up for sale

Owner Robert Bucksbaum, who saved the Crest Theatre on Westwood Boulevard and turned it into one of the most fun movie venues in L.A., has listed it for sale after...

Books of the week

For a couple of years I've been anticipating the biography of Isaias Hellman, who had a hand in so much early Los Angeles history as the power behind Farmers and...

Own a piece of L.A. media history

President Harry Truman spoke to the Los Angeles Press Club on June 14, 1948 — yes, the Press Club was apparently a bigger deal then — and he received a...

Rondelli's follow-up *

I asked readers to update me on what's in the Sherman Oaks space at 13359 Ventura Blvd. where mafia hangout Rondelli's was located in the 1950s. Le Fondue Bourguignonne recently...

Six parts later, it's still 1959

I enjoy Los Angeles history as much as the next guy, and probably more than the guy beside him. Yet I haven't felt motivated to read the L.A. Times' seven-part...

Chicano rock and the first Eastside

I put together a four-minute video from the weekend's Los Angeles Archives Bazaar at USC on the two documentaries I caught up with — "Chicano Rock" and "The Eastsiders" —...

Archives day

Los Angeles is fortunate to have as many historical archives as it does. For the third year, dozens of them are strutting their stuff today for the enlightenment and entertainment...

Lloyd Thaxton, Los Angeles TV vet dies at 81

Lloyd Thaxton created and hosted a popular dance show for teenagers in the 1960s, later produced segments for NBC's "Today" and directed Fight Back! With David Horowitz, and most recently...

When L.A. was Smogtown

"Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles" will be published Thursday by The Overlook Press/Penguin U.S.A. The book, by Chip Jacobs and William J. Kelly, looks like it...

Mobile architecture

A 1941 Richard Neutra house was recently moved from Brentwood to Angelino Heights. Photographer Brian Thomas Jones has a slide show up at Though it's rarely seen now now,...

Belmont tunnel mouth lives on

This weekend I saw the recently finished Belmont Station apartments on the old soccer field at 2nd Street and Beverly near Belmont High and wondered if the subway tunnel opening...

Engineer Bill, final red light at 97

A generation of Los Angeles kids grew up watching cartoons on Channel 9 and drinking their milk when Engineer Bill or his announcer said "green light" — and stopping...

Oops: Sportsmen's Lodge not closing *

Unfortunately, the Daily News this morning bannered Dana Bartholomew's story saying the hotel and banquet center in Studio City would close. It's still big on the website. Miscommunication — but...

Sportsmen's Lodge to close stay open *

The quirky Sportsmen's Lodge hotel on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City will shut down Dec. 31, the Daily News says. [* But the paper was wrong. See below.] The 11-acre...

DA Cooley opposes Atkins release

District Attorney Steve Cooley sent a letter to the chairman of the state Board of Parole Hearings strongly opposing the compassionate release from prison of Manson family killer Susan Atkins....

Valley voted against Dodger Stadium

Fifty years ago this week, Los Angeles voters narrowly OK'd a ballot measure approving the city's gift of land near Chavez Ravine for the Dodgers' Walter O'Malley to build his...

Jules Tygiel, historian of L.A. and baseball was 59

Tygiel, a professor at San Francisco State, was the author of "The Great Los Angeles Swindle: Oil, Stocks and Scandal in the Roaring Twenties," the fascinating story of C.C Julian...

Add Geneva Ellroy

Frank Girardot, city editor at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, also posted his paper's original 1958 coverage of the murder of writer James Ellroy's mother. In the post Girardot describes...

Geneva Ellroy, 1915-1958

Today is the 50th anniversary of a story hitting the Los Angeles papers that would become iconic in local literature. On June 22, 1958, 10-year-old James Ellroy came home in...

'The Cool School' airs here tonight

I really like this photo of Venice from 1957, showing the lineage of the ocean-front condos and converted beach shacks that are now so desirable. It's by Charles Brittin, the...

Susan Atkins considered for release

Susan Atkins, center, did the stabbing of actress Sharon Tate during the August 1969 murders in Benedict Canyon that are popularly blamed on Charles Manson. Atkins was the killer who...

Charles Brittin becomes cool again

Brittin was the in-house photographer of the Los Angeles avant-garde artists who made the Ferus Gallery legendary in the 1950s and 1960s, then he faded from view. Now the Getty...

Women of Disney

Jennifer Lerew, an animation artist who blogs at The Blackwing Diaries, has posted some photos of women who worked during the Depression at Disney's old Hyperion studio. in what I...

Saving LAPD crime photos

Nope, the image is not a scene from a movie. It's something better: real life. It's one in a great collection of 960,000 old LAPD crime scene shots that the...

Final 'Then and Now' a whodunnit

Cecilia Rasmussen's regular Sunday column in the Times on L.A. historical figures went out with a bang. She and the paper commissioned DNA tests that appear to show that L.C...

'Golden Boy' Art Aragon, 80

Back when boxing was a big spectator sport in Los Angeles, Art Aragon fought major bouts at the Olympic Auditorium, Wrigley Field and Hollywood's Legion Stadium. He was "the top...

Sara Jane Olson out of prison

The former Kathleen Soliah was released this week from the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla after serving six years. Nabbed after two decades in hiding, she pleaded guilty in...

No talking required

What did they charge to see a silent movie in 1923, a quarter? At UCLA's Royce Hall this afternoon, many in the nearly full house paid $25 to see Harold...

Buddy Miles, Hendrix drummer was 60

Not too many musicians follow this particular career arc. Buddy Miles, who died yesterday in Austin of congestive heart failure, began as a session player with the Delfonics and on...

Mobsters, molls and mayhem

Mickey Cohen was L.A.'s best-known and most media-savvy mobster in 1958, the year that USC's library focuses on in an exhibit of photos from the old Los Angeles Examiner. USC...

The other Hollywood sign

Runyon Canyon hikers Bob Eicholz and Steve Scott a few years ago discovered the remnants of a large sign in the brush above their Outpost Estates neighborhood. Turns out it...

Gold miner of Carthay Circle found

One of my favorite quirky L.A. public sculptures — the gold panner of Carthay Circle — has been stolen and recovered. The bronze cast in 1925 by Henry Lion recently...

Final Ambassador teardown

Crews are on hand today at the old Ambassador Hotel site on Wilshire Boulevard, taking down the Cocoanut Grove, ballrooms and last remaining remnants. The Los Angeles Conservancy recently gave...

Sale of KTLA site final

Channel 5 will remain at the Sunset Boulevard location indefinitely. The sale to Hudson Capital has been pending since last year and went through at $125 million. The familiar landmark...

'House of Tomorrow' for sale again

One of the most unusual, and storied, commercial buildings on Wilshire Boulevard is back on the market. The one-story, ranch-style office complex at the southeast corner of Wilshire and Highland...

Original Van Nuys Airport hangar saved

Valley history buffs were aghast to learn last week that the first hangar built at what's now called Van Nuys Airport was in the process of being torn down. The...

So much for L.A. history

In 1957 the mayor of Los Angeles helped install a plaque at 7th and Main streets downtown commemorating the birth of the local film industry at that spot. (It's where,...

Nice new L.A. photo website is the site for the nonprofit organization that supports the Los Angeles Public Library's photograph collection, which is lovingly nurtured (and increasingly put on-line) by Carolyn Kozo Cole. The...

NuWilshire to close

Another theater is going dark. Landmark is leaving the NuWilshire in Santa Monica, though it seems the chain wanted to stay but was kicked out by an owner intent on...

California Adventure officially a bust

Disney announced a $1.1 billion makeover of California Adventure to make it, well, more like Disneyland. They also plan to add a replica of the old Carthay Circle Theater, where...

Julius Shulman's L.A.

This shot of Angels Flight in its old location beside the 3rd Street tunnel is one of the photographs in the exhibition of "Julius Shulman's Los Angeles" at the Central...

History week continues...

A 1,000-page manuscript, The Development of Los Angeles City Government -- An Institutional History 1850-2000, will be delivered to the City Council this morning. The researchers pored through the municipal...

Mystery L.A, photo

Larry Harnisch at The Daily Mirror blog dug this photo out of the Times news archives and asks, what are these guys doing? The year, 1957, is a big...

Christine Daniels on 'Day to Day'

The transsexual sportswriter formerly known as Mike Penner is interviewed by host Madeleine Brand on tomorrow's NPR show. It airs at 9 am on KPCC-FM or can be heard online....

Rock history fades on the Strip

The last bastions of incivility are disappearing from of one of traveling rock and rolls mightiest icons the Hyatt West Hollywood, Laurel Canyon author Michael Walker blogs. The hotel...

When aerospace was king

Hard to believe now, but the biggest industry in the Los Angeles area used to be aircraft and rocket manufacturers and the smaller firms that supported them. Places like Santa...

Weston and the Tropico years

Noted photographer Edward Weston preferred smallpox and poverty to Los Angeles, as he says in a new post at Native Intelligence. But he made some of his most admired images...

Why the Times missed Watts in '65

While researching his forthcoming biography of the late California political leader Jess Unruh, Bill Boyarsky delved into the story of how reporter Paul Weeks covered the civil rights era at...

Broadway in 1988 (or 89)

It's not as classic as Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles, but a YouTube user named Meadowlawn has posted a video of downtown's Broadway district as viewed from a car heading...

Hendrix at Devonshire Downs

In honor of the 38th anniversary of a landmark moment in Los Angeles rock and roll lore, here's some YouTube video of Jimi Hendrix jamming on stage at Devonshire Downs...

Van Nuys bungalow razed

The bulldozer came today for that circa-1911 model home built to help sell the new town of Van Nuys. In those days, Van Nuys and two other farm towns —...

New 1947 Project bloggers

Now that 1947 has morphed through 1907 into 1927 (and spawned an L.A. Times imitator blog revisiting 1957), Kim Cooper and Nathan Marsak's original website is adding a couple of...

Before there was an Arclight

"Original blogger" Army Archerd compares the recent "Entourage" premiere party in the dome at the Arclight to the theater's 1963 unveiling as the Cinerama Dome. The Cinerama's super-wide curved screen...

Robert E. Petersen, publisher was 80 *

Petersen was a giant figure in Southern California car culture and created a large magazine and book empire, Petersen Publishing. He grew up around his dad's garage and in 1947,...

Inside the local Communist Party

The Communist Party USA has donated its archives to New York University. "Decades of party history including founding documents, secret code words, stacks of personal letters, smuggled directives from Moscow,...

Don't cook tonight...

Most entertaining blog promo for a friend's project that I've seen in awhile — and nicely retro too — from Mickey Kaus at Slate: In 1969, as a senior in...

Danny Finegood, prankster was 52

Later in life, Daniel Finegood became a husband, father, art lover and longtime member of the board of the Oakwood School. But on January 1, 1976, the Cal State Northridge...

More old L.A. eateries

If you enjoy remembering old local restaurants and already exhausted Jonathon Foerstel's Los Angeles Time Machines, writer Mark Evanier's POVOnline is an entertaining place to spend some time. His pages...

Historic Googie demolished

Word swept through local preservation ranks yesterday that a crew began demolishing Downey's historic Johnie's Broiler about 3 pm — on a Sunday. No permit had been issued, activists say,...

Martin's voice in Hollywood *

Now this is cool. The Jewish Journal has turned up and posted on its website an audio recording of the Rev. Martin Luther King giving a sermon on Feb. 26,...

Los Angeles before cars

Meant to re-post this oldie but goodie from 2004 for New Year's. On Dec. 31, 1897, a cameraman for Thomas Edison shot movie footage of the street scene in the...

When Encino became Bedford Falls

One thing I can add to the Times' appreciation today of It's a Wonderful Life, the film classic starring James Stewart and Donna Reed: all that fake snow was created...

They ought to call it 'Hotel'

Bobby is getting mixed reviews as a piece of drama, but this Los Angeles history buff liked it. Where the story line lagged, the sound track (even Demi Moore crooning...

Gas not beer

Angelenos older than about 40 probably remember signs for Brew 102 as a downtown L.A. landmark off the Hollywood Freeway. Next to the brewery were some giant tanks that as...

L.A. geography isn't that hard

This shouldn't happen at the Los Angeles Times. In the staff-written web story about the UCLA student who got the stun gun, the Times says the incident has prompted "outrage...

Gay history of L.A.

Doing its part to mark the 225th birthday of Los Angeles, IN Los Angeles asked author Stuart Timmons to come up with a whopper of a list: 225 places of...

Home in what they call South-Central

In Sunday's LAT, West magazine staff writer Lynell George revisits the large swath of traditional Los Angeles neighborhoods that came to be lumped together as South-Central after they turned African...

Neutra offices for sale

The building at 2379 Glendale Boulevard in Silver Lake is on the market for $2,995,000, according to an email from Dion Neutra. It's where his father Richard Neutra, who died...

No standing on sentiment (* updated)

One of the surprising things about retired LAPD detective Steve Hodel's 2003 book arguing that his father killed Elizabeth Short was that James Ellroy endorsed the theory in his introduction...

Appreciating the Far East Cafe

Los Angeles mystery writer Naomi Hirahara, whose best-known character is Japanese American gardener Mas Arai, will be giving a private walking tour of Little Tokyo mystery sites later this year....

Judy Raphael, L.A. music figure

Raphael died in her sleep last Saturday in a hospice in Palm Desert, following what Todd Everett calls "a long and excruciating illness." She was a contributor in the early...

Marineland to vanish, 19 years later

Demolition of the final remnants of Marineland of the Pacific gets started today on the Palos Verdes peninsula. The Daily Breeze reports that about 20 crumbling buildings will be dismantled...

The unofficial squash of L.A.

We grow it, saute it, stuff it, roast it and slice it into ratatouille. Now the Times' food section tells us that there's a long and somewhat historical connection between...

Can you ID these gents?

Are they: Early L.A. stage actorsElected officialsCaltech scientistsReporters at the L.A. Record, circa 1905 Answer follows....

Readers fill in the gaps **

I knew that the threatened Nickelodeon Theatre had a lengthy history in Hollywood, but I had rushed out Tuesday's Morning Buzz item without researching all of the past. Several readers...

Council in FDR's day

Came across a nice shot of the council chambers at City Hall the way it (and the elected members) looked during President Franklin Roosevelt's first term. The caption info identifies...

Pacific Ocean Park as a video game *

Back in February, some will remember, I linked to video game re-creations of old Southern California amusements like Busch Gardens, Jungleland, Nu Pike and the Beverly pony rides. Mark Paul...

Going historic

CityBeat and its parent company, Southland Publishing, are moving on up. Southland closed escrow on the gorgeous former Security-First National Bank of Los Angeles branch at 5209 Wilshire Boulevard, just...

Lefty guide to L.A.

Came across a website that bills itself as A Peoples Guide to LA: "an attempt to map sites of racial and class struggle in Los Angeles history and landscape." Sites...

Downtown's Ruscha mural gone

Kent Twitchell's mural at Olympic and Hope of artist Ed Ruscha was found destroyed Friday, but no one took the blame for ordering it painted over. "It's always been such...

Robert Towne on Los Angeles

Speaking to the Guardian about Ask the Dust, John Fante and our fair city: Robert Towne, the writer of Chinatown, grew up in San Pedro, the so-called port of Los...

Doing Laurel Canyon right

Seems to me that Michael Walker is doing the whole book-blog synergy the right way, and creating a readable and valuable Los Angeles neighborhood website. (I'd say this even if...

Memorial Day short links

♦ Just how capriciously does the county apply its practice of releasing jail inmates early? Quite, according to DA Steve Cooley. ♦ The Daily News endorsed Cindy Montaez in the...

Gone fishin'

Holiday schedule today. I'll do a roundup later of items that are piling up. Saturday morning was the annual planting of the flags at the Los Angeles National Cemetery. Boy...

Westwood landmark free again

News on Chowhound that Eurochow has closed brings to mind the history of arguably the most recognizable structure in Westwood Village. The domed landmark where Westwood Boulevard, Kinross and Broxton...

Nuart taking a break

Landmark's Nuart Theatre in West Los Angeles is closing for renovation June 2-29. While it's being spiffed up, the every-Saturday-night Rocky Horror Picture Show will move over to the NuWilshire....

The plot to kill Tom Bradley

Bob Kholos was a KMPC and Radio News West radio reporter in Los Angeles who became the first press secretary for newly elected mayor Tom Bradley in 1973. At a...


Black Dahlia expert Larry Harnisch has been blogging the errors he finds as he reads through Donald H. Wolfe's new book The Black Dahlia Files: The Mob, the Mogul and...

RJ on L.A.

RJ Smith wrote about rock music for the Village Voice and Spin before landing at the LA Weekly and, now, at Los Angeles magazine—where he is a senior editor and...

Trash politics

Every Los Angeles political story has a backstory. At his blog, John Stodder takes off from the recent news about Sunshine Canyon landfill to reconstruct how, when he was the...

Recycled Becket

Architect Welton Becket's low-slung, ranch-style house at the southeast corner of Wilshire and Highland has changed hands. For sale signs have been replaced by fence banners for the Korean-oriented Western...

Update on Boyle Heights JCC

Since posting its first story about the missing former Soto-Michigan Jewish Community Center on Sunday, the Jewish Journal has done more checking and found that the federal government razed the...

Boyle Heights history torn down

The former Soto-Michigan Jewish Community Center, designed by Raphael Soriano and called by the Jewish Journal "the focal point of Jewish social and political community life in Boyle Heights from...

Wilshire Theatre's future *

Front pager in the L.A. Business Journal mentions that the circa-1930 Wilshire Theatre, designed by S. Charles Lee as the Fox Beverly Hills, will be getting a $20 million makeover...

See old L.A. amusement parks

There seem to be a lot of Angelenos who fondly remember the old pony rides and amusement park that Beverly Center displaced. Re-creations of it and other long-gone amusements show...

At least we agree on the date *

It was thiry-five years ago today that the bedrock buckled beneath the San Gabriel Mountains, unleashing what became the Sylmar earthquake. In all that time, people still can't agree on...

First thing Thursday, 2.9.06 *

Jack Weiss steps in on the police commission ruling, more jail riots, the gang war rages in Watts, girls behind bars, more left-turn arrows—it's a busy morning here at the...

Camel in San Pedro *

This photograph that the owner says shows the Quartermaster's Depot at San Pedro circa 1863 recently sold on eBay for $4,569. Visible in the scene are Union soldiers and...

First thing Friday, 2.3.06

Jack Weiss makes his ambition more or less official, Anthony Pellicano comes back to town, the Ambassador gets a proper send-off, Channel 13 News adds a comic, more bad news...


Michael Schneider went by the Ambassador Hotel site this afternoon and found a bunch of photographers gathered for the last rites. He'll be posting his pictures later, but he threw...

First thing Monday, 1.16.06

The House that Jack Kent Cooke Built might be no more, air rights are hot again downtown (and so is Richard Meruelo), Tad Friend expounds on Los Angeles car

Almost gone

This is all that was left of the Ambassador Hotel on January 11, as seen from Wilshire Boulevard courtesy of The Ambassador's Last Stand. (Remark from someone watching over my...

Just in time for whale watching *

Took a copy of the The Argonaut to lunch today and learned something that I guess makes sense, but still surprised me. In the 1930s there were active gray whale...

216 N. Bonnie Brae

In Sunday's LAT Magazine, Mark Kendall tells the story of one of the city's lesser-known historic locales. The house (in what's now called Historic Filipinotown) is where the Pentecostal movement...

Not just Wilkinson *

Judging by my email today, the L.A. Times' failure to get together an obit on Frank Wilkinson (while the New York Times did recognize his historic significance to Los Angeles...

First thing Wednesday 1.4.06

Today's front pagesNew York Times See/Read Washington Post See/ReadLA Times See/ReadDaily News See/ReadDaily Breeze See/ReadPress-Telegram See/Read Register See/ReadStar-News Read Variety ReadHwd Reporter ReadLa Opinin Read Slate: Today's Papers ♦ Unless the L.A....

First thing 2006

Welcome back to work. Since it's been awhile, I'm letting it run long... Today's front pagesNew York Times See/Read Washington Post See/ReadLA Times See/ReadDaily News See/ReadDaily Breeze See/ReadPress-Telegram See/Read Register...

Red Cars live

Somebody asked me recently at a party if I remembered riding on the Pacific Electric Red Cars that used to rattle famously across Los Angeles streets. The answer was no:...

Antonio goes to Lucy's

Lucys El Adobe Cafe near Paramount Studios has been prime Democratic turf since Gov. Jerry Brown made it his L.A. headquarters in the 1970s. His long romance with Linda Ronstadt...

Replacing Shav Glick

Car racing has a long history in the Los Angeles area. Legendary driver Barney Oldfield lived and raced on Wilshire Boulevard and drove on the speedway that stood where the...

Hotel memories

L.A. blogger Tim McGarry grew up with the Ambassador Hotel in his life. He accepts that the new schools will be a good thing and he likes where Koreatown is...

Turn back the hands of time

Like a lot of others with fast Internet connections, I've been losing hours to Microsoft's free new Windows Live Local satellite (and aerial photo) service. I've scoured the L.A. mountains...

LACMA garage comes down

Painter Gregg Chadwick photographed yesterday's demolition of the garage at the Los Angeles Museum of Art where murals by Margaret Kilgallen and Barry McGee inspired a spirited but unsuccessful salvage...

Vanishing treasures of Los Angeles

Franklin Avenue has begun a fun blog exercise. He's seeking nominations for the treasures of Los Angeles that are getting up in years and will be missed when if they...

First thing Thursday, 12.1.05 *

At 1:30 Mayor Villaraigosa will announce a deal to scale back the old LAX expansion plan (and settle the lawsuits) at a command audience of pols: two Congress members, two...

History geek does McCartney

Last night's sold-out show at Staples Center was a homecoming for Paul McCartney, whose current U.S. tour ends tonight. He and Heather Mills own a big mansion in Pasadena, and...

Weekend shorts

⇒ The Paul Williams-designed Holmby Hills home adjacent to Harvard-Westlake (formerly lived in by Bruce McNall and Ronald O. Perelman) will be saved and moved to Pasadena, the NYT says....

L.A. countdowns is marking off the shows that Howard Stern has left on 97.1 FM—that would be fifteen, including today's. The charmingly noir 1947Project is counting down to the January 15...

Worst thing is, we have to watch

Final demolition of the historic Ambassador Hotel has been moving ahead somewhat out of view up until now. Crews have cleared the grounds, gutted the interior and removed nearly all...

Sending in the white gloves

Mayor Villaraigosa has dispatched city traffic officers to thirteen intersections along the Orange Line route across the Valley. The MTA will also step up its education campaign to convince Valley...

McMartin 'victim' apologizes

The McMartin Preschool case is ancient history to many people in Los Angeles, but in 1984 the shocking story exploded out of Manhattan Beach. Dozens of children told amazing stories...

Re-release of 'Chicano'

Daniel A. Olivas at The Elegant Variation reviews the new release of Chicano, thirty-five years after the landmark book by L.A. journalist Richard Vasquez first made it into print. Rubn...

Legacy of El Clamor

USC has in its archives some precious copies of a noteworthy Spanish-language newspaper in Yankee Los Angeles. El Clamor Pblico began publishing in 1855, five years after California became a...

SoCal book prizes

Happy news for the Angel City Press clan. Santa Monica Beach: A Collector's Pictorial History by Ernest Marquez won the Southern California Booksellers Association award for nonfiction on Saturday...

First thing Tuesday, 9/20

A sampling of starters for the day...  ♦ Simon Wiesenthal died in Vienna at age 96, the center on Pico Boulevard announced. Standing ovations in every temple in L.A. on Friday...

Reality sets in at The Ambassador

Franklin Avenue blogger Michael Schneider used the blackout to drive over to the Ambassador Hotel and pick up his purchase from Saturday's clearance auction. (On the way, he saw an...

First thing Friday, 9/9 *

Posting will be light today...    • Mayor Villaraigosa safaris out to Tujunga this morning to unveil his appointees to the Fire Commission. If you don't know where that is, well, it's...

First thing Tuesday, 8/30 *

   • The L.A. Conservancy threw in the towel on the fight to save the Ambassador Hotel from demolition. The school board votes today on a plan to donate $4.9-million toward conserving...

Her Ex to be converted

Downtown's shuttered Herald Examiner building at 11th Street and Broadway is going to become offices and condos, with a surrounding residential complex featuring a pair of high-rise towers designed by...

Romance of the ranchos

Hard as it is to visualize, the urban sprawl that spills seaward from Compton to Long Beach and Redondo Beach used to be a giant, grassy Spanish rancho that is...

Madame Wong, godmother of L.A. punk was 88

Shanghai-born Esther Wong began booking punk and new wave bands into her Polynesian-themed Chinatown club in 1978, hoping to increase the meager crowds. It worked. Between there and Madame Wong's...

Bobby Bragan lives

Blogger Steve Smith posts his astonishment that longtime baseball figure Bobby Bragan just became, at age 87, the oldest pro baseball manager—and the oldest to be tossed from a game....

The Derby in peril

Plans to demolish The Derby on Los Feliz Boulevard and build condos have got some Los Felizians in an uproar. The fledgling Save the Derby Coalition doesn't have a...

Gershwin home gone

The Beverly Hills home where George and Ira Gershwin wrote some of their famous songs has been quietly demolished despite efforts to save it, the L.A. Conservancy announced Wednesday. A...

Watts redux

Novelist Walter Mosley's latest Easy Rawlins mystery, Little Scarlet, is set right after the 1965 Watts riot. He writes on today's LAT op-ed page that Watts "was a mass political...

Monday morning

This is going to be a light mid-summer week for me. But here's something to get you started. • The hoary old Olympic Auditorium—excuse me, the Grand Olympic—has been sold to...

Ambassador razing gets OK

An L.A. judge ruled that the historic Ambassador Hotel can now be razed by the Los Angeles Unified School District. The Los Angeles Conservancy and other groups had sued to...

Wayback machine

Dave Bullock is posting images and text from a 1906 driving guide to Los Angeles over at One of the first pages to be uploaded features the "new" Alexandria...

Joe Scotts, I and III

In this week's Downtown News, Jay Berman looks back at the story of legendary Los Angeles lawyer Joseph Scott. He arrived in town in 1893 and practiced law here for...

Cooder's 'Chavez Ravine'

Chris Morris, music editor of the Hollywood Reporter, contributes a piece to this week's CityBeat about the new Ry Cooder album "Chavez Ravine." It was inspired by Don Normarks book...

Arlington West, with flags

Alan Pavlik, editor and publisher of the online magazine Just Above Sunset, posted some photographs of flags arrayed on graves at the national cemetery in Westwood. It's not clear whether...

Arlington West

By this time tomorrow, every grave at Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood will be adorned with a small American flag. Plain markers exist for more than 85,000 veterans and...

Kustom garage sale

Legendary car customizer George Barris is putting seventy of his creations for Hollywood and other clients up for auction today at the Petersen Automotive Museum. Barris became world famous for...

He was the king

Today's Downtown News tells the obscure story of George Kress, the king of L.A. house movers back when it was common to see a home (or a school or store)...

Perino's is gone

Franklin Avenue bloggers Mike and Maria drove past 4101 Wilshire this weekend and report, sadly, that Perino's — once L.A's most glamorous restaurant — has been razed. Knew it was...

Restaurant and bar history blog

Los Angeles Time Machines is fascinated by Los Angeles restaurants and bars from the 1930s, '40s, '50s and '60s. Musso and Frank holds the place of honor on the main...


Imagine a blog that does nothing but noirishly count off the days in 1947 Los Angeles, felony by bloody felony. Stabbings, gunshots, suicides, interspersed with photographed visits to the scenes...

More rainfall debunkage1

Turns out a second writer had her op-ed piece on the great rains of 1861-62 rejected by the Times. Frances Dinkelspiel, a Berkeley journalist and books blogger at Ghost Word...

Not the 2nd wettest year?

Ralph Shaffer is Professor Emeritus of History at Cal Poly Pomona (he compiled a searchable book of 1880s letters to the L.A. Times) and something of a stickler about the...

On the demise of department stores

Taking off from the news that Robinson's-May will soon vanish from the scene, Cathy Seipp revisits the department store past of Los Angeles in her "From the Left Coast" column...

Last chance to shoot the Ambassador

A photographer at has posted some tips for making last-hour pictures of the doomed Ambassador Hotel, which closed this week to on-site location work in preparation for its eventual...

Frank Lloyd Wright house red-tagged

The landmark Ennis Brown house in Los Feliz has been ruled "uninhabitable" due to a crumbling retaining wall. Inspectors estimate that about $500,000 in rain and mud damage has already...

Uni High sits on a fault

University High School in West. L.A. has been around a long time. It was built shortly after the former city of Sawtelle agreed in 1922 to be annexed into Los...

New Yorker does the Ambassador *

New Yorker editor Dana Goodyear's "Annals of L.A." story on the Ambassador Hotel is in this week's magazine (but, alas, not online.) She frames the Wilshire Boulevard hotel's fate as...

Quick notes

Finishing off Monday's queue and looking into Tuesday: • LA.comfidential takes a look at the pro-Bush, anti-Hollywood billboards that Citizens United is buying near the Kodak Theatre in time for the...

Getty gets Shulman archives

Julius Shulman's files number more than 260,000 negatives, prints and transparencies, including some of the most recognized images of Los Angeles architecture. His iconic photograph of Case Study House #22...

Old black L.A.

On Kitty Felde's Talk of the City yesterday, author Douglas Flamming told some great stories about the little-known history of African Americans in early Los Angeles (including in the expedition...

Second Siqueiros mural found

Suddenly Los Angeles is awash in lost murals by Mexican revolutionary artist David Alfaro Siqueiros. In 1932, the comrade of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo came to L.A. to teach...

New L.A. photo book

There's another book of then-and-now photographs about Los Angeles coming. Los Angeles Views of the Past and Present opens with a foreword by Catherine Mullholland, the historian and granddaughter of...

New meets old in Westwood

The only Westwood Village building listed on the National Register of Historic Places is the more-or-less Spanish-style former Ralphs Market on Westwood Boulevard at Lindbrook Avenue. It was designed by...

New year, new week

A roundup of items in the news: Prostate cancer: Channel 7 weatherman Dallas Raines disclosed his disease on the air and underwent surgery today. The station website has video of...

LABJ separates the pack

In a front page story in the latest L.A. Business Journal, Howard Fine says internal campaign polls show Antonio Villaraigosa and Bernard Parks—the two council members in the mayor's race—ahead...

Who says L.A. lacks history?

One of Los Angeles' more charming secrets is that there are still families here whose ancestors were original settlers of the pueblo and surrounding Spanish and Mexican ranchos. Bob Pool...

L.A. for foodies

The Food Section, the New York-based website Gourmet calls "the consummate gastronomic blog," is devoting a week to Los Angeles culinary spots. Guest editor Kristin Franklin, a recent L.A. arrival,...

Sirhan sues to save Ambassador

I missed this last week, and according to Google so did all the local media. Preservation magazine reports online that Sen. Robert Kennedy's murderer, Sirhan B. Sirhan, has sued the...

Reich: Times too far left

Today's political notes columns are light on City Hall items, but Rick Orlov does mention the new blog by Ken Reich, the former Times political writer, that we reported on...

Jody Jacobs, society editor was 82

The Times' society editor for 14 years (1971-1985) chronicled the days when the Chandler family reigned over Hancock Park and the prominent names in Los Angeles society included the Reagans...

1897 film of L.A.

Long before Hollywood came into being, a photographer for motion picture pioneer Thomas Edison traveled the Southern Pacific railroad shooting the first movie footage of locales in the West. Snippets...

Suing over the Ambassador

The Los Angeles Conservancy, Art Deco Society of Los Angeles, Mexican American Political Association and other groups announced lawsuits yesterday aimed at blocking plans to raze the Ambassador Hotel. Their...

Dahlia disputed

My post on last Sunday's story about the Black Dahlia case in the L.A. Times Magazine prompted the following email from Elisabeth Reynolds. Other thoughts are welcome, as are signed...

Saving Van Nuys

The drive to win historic status for the residential center of old Van Nuys is picking up momentum. The Times covers the subject today (and mentions me). Patricia Ward Biederman...

Black Dahlia redux

Retired LAPD homicide detective Steve Hodel is still trying to convince people that his father was a 1940s serial killer who mutilated Elizabeth Short, the so-called Black Dahlia. His book,...

More on Jake Jacoby

I've been reminded that Norman "Jake" Jacoby, the veteran police reporter for whom the press room at Parker Center is named, was the subject of a lengthy 1986 profile in...

L.A.-themed promo o' the day

Jazz musician Jon Hartmann's third self-produced album pays tribute to the long-vanished Pacific Electric Railway "Red Cars" that used to rattle ever-so-slowly down the center of Los Angeles streets. From...

But is it research?

I don't remember what got it started, but a recent search sent me hopping from place to place across the web and, ultimately, diverted me onto the subject of old...

Love that 'Dirty Water'

Bill Plaschke in today's Times reconstructs how the Standells, an L.A. garage band from the 1960s, showed up at Fenway Park before the second game of the World Series playing...

Bell tolls for writers building

On Radford just north of Ventura in Studio City, the offices near CBS where John Wayne hung out when the studio was Republic Pictures, where MTM writers turned out sitcoms...

In the weekend email

• The website of the city-landmark El Rey Theatre on Wilshire's Miracle Mile has a page of photos out of the past, showing both the interior and (more interesting to me)...

Cleaning up Santa Sue

One of the odd things about growing up in the San Fernando Valley (there were many) was hearing the nighttime roar of rocket engines and seeing a yellow glow light...

Dissing the Conservancy

Buried at the end of today's Downtown News story on the Ambassador Hotel controversy, school board member David Tokofsky flings a stinging barb at the Los Angeles Conservancy. They are...

Begin last rites for Ambassador

Supt. Roy Romer's plan for razing nearly all of the historic Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard squeaked through the school board on a 4-3 vote. In its place will be...

Ambassador vote coming up

This is the week the school board might decide the fate of the Ambassador Hotel. On Sunday, board member David Tokofsky offered a new plan that he says could spare...

Regarding Beverly Theater

In September I posted about plans for razing the vaguely Moroccan-themed Beverly Theater and about the Art Deco office building next door, originally California Bank. I included a so-so photo,...

In honor of the playoffs... *

A couple of change-of-pace baseball items. Today, the Burbank Central Library opened an exhibition called "The Times They Were A-Changin': Baseball in the Age of Aquarius." It's about "the impact...

RFK kids: Level the Ambassador

Maxwell Kennedy, a son of slain Senator Robert F. Kennedy, held a news conference in MacArthur Park yesterday to say that his mother, Ethel, and six of his siblings want...

Beverly Theater may be doomed

That Moorish-themed building on Beverly Drive just off Wilshire that used to house Fiorucci—and most recently bore an Israeli Discount Bank sign—was the first movie house in Beverly Hills. It's...

Sy Hersh on KCRW *

Seymour Hersh chats about his book Chain of Command with Lawrence O'Donnell on The Politics of Culture Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. on KCRW (89.9 FM or live on the web)....

Mike Davis on King/Drew

Questioning the facts and reasoning behind the lefty rhetoric of UC Irvine historian Mike Davis (author of City of Quartz and The Ecology of Fear is a recurring Los Angeles...

Toluca Yard goes historic *

The soccer field and subway tunnel mouth at 2nd Street and Glendale Boulevard near downtown received city designation as a historic-cultural monument, clearing the way for a new housing development...

Some observations on the Ambassador

In 1984, when Hennessey & Ingalls published a study of architect Myron Hunt's best work edited by the respected critic David Gebhard, the Ambassador Hotel wasn't included. His Huntington Hotel...

School's in *

One of the eight new Los Angeles Unified campuses to open this week is built on the site of the former Van Nuys Drive-In theatre on Roscoe Boulevard. Later this...

New L.A. landmark

Where else but here would deem an eight-story parking garage as a cultural monument. The Beaux Arts-style design by Curlett and Beelman at 816 S. Grand Avenue downtown got its...

Toluca subway tunnel

Preserve L.A. has an update on the old 1920s subway tunnel entrance visible on West 2nd Street at Beverly near downtown. There was a City Hall hearing today about the...

MSNBC's odd collection

MSNBC's gang of convention bloggers is a strange group. It crosses the spectrum from Pat Buchanan to Willie Brown and includes Ron Reagan and a couple of Democrats steeped in...

New local history group

The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West will be announced today, the Times says. Bill Deverell, the historian and ex-Cal Tech professor now at USC, is the director. Seminars...

Rodney King beater can't escape it

Tim Wind was one of the LAPD officers videotaped kicking and striking Rodney King on a dark stretch of Foothill Boulevard in Lake View Terrace back in 1991. A rookie...

Saying goodbye to L.A.

Robert Tagorda, who blogs at Priorities & Frivolities, posts that as he and his wife prepare to leave for Harvard, they will be making last visits to favorite spots. He...

Brando's first film

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Before he played Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, Marlon Brando portrayed a paraplegic war veteran in The Men. For local history buffs, what's notable abut this 1950 film...

Shoemaker Road

A little help for an L.A. freelance writer... Rodger Jacobs is looking for information on an effort in the 1960s to build an escape route (in the event of nuclear...

Simpson family chronicles

On June 12 it will be ten years since the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman that made Bundy Drive, Rockingham Avenue and Johnnie Cochran world famous. In...

Loyd Sigmon, L.A. traffic icon was 95 *

Get ready to hear yet again, over the next 24-48 hours, the story of how radio SigAlerts came to be part of the Los Angeles lexicon. Loyd Sigmon, who created...

Last gasp for Perino's

The silver, chandeliers, furnishings, a 1905 Steinway grand piano and everything else left from the old Perino's will be auctioned this Saturday at 7 p.m. After that, it's curtains for...

Truck stop wi-fi

Today's Washington Post runs two unrelated dispatches from the California deserts. The first reports from the Flying J Travel Plaza in Barstow: Inside is a trucker's paradise: $10 for the...

'Grande dame' of L.A. literary salons

My favorite obituaries are of people I never heard of but wished I had. Claudia Luther did a nice job in the Times today with Edna Lillich Davidson, who hosted...

Famous L.A. court trials

In the comments to Cello returned with damage, below, blogger "A Fly in the Wall" asks if the incredibly relieved Stradivarius-forgetter Peter Stumpf spoke up for Kato Kaelin during the...

Z Channel fondly remembered

Before HBO or Blockbuster came along, selected parts of Los Angeles could see movies that were no longer in theaters on the legendary Z Channel. In the 1970s and '80s,...

Vintage street lights

Cybele at has posted an item there (with pictures) on the display of old Los Angeles street lamps planted in the shopping center parking lot at the corner of...

In praise of Kevin Starr

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Caltech (soon to be USC) history professor William Deverell delivers a paean on the L.A. Times op-ed page: Kevin Starr is nothing short of the John Muir of our times....

Perino's fans get another chance *

Last night's crowded (and reportedly under-catered) party was not the final event to be held in the once-grand, but long-abandoned Perino's after all. Collage Dance Theatre, the troupe that...

Bill Deverell to USC

An L.A. Times piece today by Stuart Silverstein reports on USC's recent academic hiring binge. Among the new professors is respected L.A. historian William Deverell, who is moving over from...

Chance to see Perino's is making a marketing splash if nothing else, with ads visible around town and spots on KCRW. Now the portal website backed by Dean Singleton and others will open...

Architect to the stars

Tonight KCET's "Life & Times" (7 p.m.) looks back at the astonishing career of Paul Revere Williams, the first African American architect in Los Angeles. When his practice took off...

If walls could talk, indeed

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In today's Downtown News, Michael Imlay looks into the colorful history (and the future) of the Hall of Justice downtown. Beaux-Arts in style, the 1925 hall is where big trials...

Fondue as history

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Blogger BoifromTroy is gay, Republican and lives in West Hollywood. Blogger Tiffany Stone is (apparently) none of those things. But after he wrote of his desire for fondue, she got...

Sleeping with Perino's?

Collage Dance Theatre, the innovative company behind last year's "Sleeping with the Ambassador" performances inside the abandoned Wilshire Boulevard hotel, is looking at doing a show at the shuttered Perino's....

New form of L.A. history

In yesterday's LAT Book Review, David L. Ulin considers the newest study of Los Angeles by Cal Arts professor Norman M. Klein, a novella and accompanying CD-ROM called Bleeding Through:...

Not just the Brown Derby

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In the L.A. Times food section today, Charles Perry unfolds the colorful past of theme restaurants in Los Angeles. He says it all began with The Jail in Silver Lake...

Clock ticking on the Ambassador

The fight over the Ambassador Hotel just got more complicated, and the momentum may have shifted away from preservation. A community coalition with political connections came out Thursday for razing...

New preservation bookmark calls itself "a forum and clearinghouse for the latest news, information, and techniques concerning historic preservation and the history of Los Angeles and Southern California." Organizer Christopher Hetzel writes...

Los Angeles is not a desert

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Professor emeritus Ralph Shaffer has been trying without success to get Times writers to stop referring to Los Angeles as a desert, climate-wise. Simply put, he says it rains too much for the coastal plain to qualify as a desert.

Walter O'

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Jon Weisman, who blogs at Dodger Thoughts, points me to a surprising and pleasing L.A. history website: Walter O'Malley owned the Brooklyn Dodgers and brought major league baseball to...

O.J. Simpson lawyer dies

Robert Kardashian, the Simpson friend and lawyer who later questioned the football star's innocence, died last night of cancer. It was at Kardashian's Encino home where Simpson began his notorious...

Location filming II

I shouldn't have been surprised (end of post) that studio location filming irked parts of L.A. in the 1920s. An e-mailer writes that film crews were bothersome even earlier: I...

Last call for Perino's

Roger Vincent in the L.A. Times gives a good update on the probable fate of the old, elegant Perino's restaurant site on Wilshire: apartments. In its day Perino's was perhaps...

For L.A. history junkies only

In writing books about the city's past -- and learning that it pays to Google every topic and name, no matter how dated -- I've stumbled into marvelous online troves...

Smoking out the Menendez boys

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From The Smoking Gun: Ever wonder what's become of California's murderous Menendez brothers? Well, to be honest, neither has TSG. But that didn't stop us from obtaining the homicidal duo's...

Hey, anyone seen Rock Ridge?

Warner Bros. has demolished the studio backlot's legendary western street, where movies dating back to Errol Flynn's day and TV series such as "Maverick" and "Cheyenne" were filmed. Laramie Street...

The more L.A. changes...

Injected this quote into the Wilshire book tonight, and had to share it. “The street traffic congestion problem of Los Angeles is exceeded by that of no other city." The...

Freddy Blassie and his 'pencil-neck geeks'

Freddie Blassie entertained Los Angeles as the most hated villain of local "professional" wrestling in the 1950s and 60s, when wrestling and roller derby were first hugely popular on television....

Juan Romero can't forget RFK

The teenage busboy photographed as he cradled the bloodied head of Robert F. Kennedy on the pantry floor at the Ambssador Hotel on June 5, 1968, is now a 53-year-old...

Back to Malibu Point with the real Gidget

Fun read on the Southern California beach and teen culture of the 1950s: Deanne Stillman's encounters with the original Gidget, posted at California As Stillman, a Los Angeles author...
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