Bringing the heat!

Man and boys horsing around at Santa Monica Beach. Image #00025341, Shades of L.A.: African American Community Collection, c. 1965.

The Los Angeles basin cannot escape the fact that it’s climate tends to extremes, particularly of the hot variety. Global warming and galloping urbanization have exacerbated the situation Temperatures have increased over the past century, while heat waves are becoming ever more common and last longer.

While the sunshine draws many to the region’s palm-lined shores, there are dark sides to the bright skies. In this post we’ll look at how Angelenos both meet and beat the heat. The essay features images from the photo collection of the Los Angeles Public Library and the captions that accompanied them when first published in the region’s newspapers.

 

This fellow has found a way to enjoy the beach while still keeping out of the direct sun under the Santa Monica Pier. “Beach temperatures in the 80s and highs in the 90s inland.” Image #00043682 by James Ruebsamen, Herald Examiner Collection.

 

Thanks to industrial pollutants, the sun is often visible in the daytime. “Visitors from France and Italy seek refuge form the heat and smog in the Hotel Bonaventure’s pool.” Image #00051486, Leo Jarzomb, Herald Examiner Collection, July 10, 1984.

 

“Vapor locks stall traffic: Hot impatient motorists pulled to side of Hollywood Freeway, enroute to Valley, as vapor locks caused by excessive heat stalled at least 200 cars. Later afternoon traffice was near standstill, with one lane blocked off for stalled cars. Extra police and tow cars were assigned to area.” Image #00058807, John Rinaldi, Valley Times Collection, 1955.

 

Quintessential Los Angeles in summer: Surf, sun, and youth. Except that this photograph was taken on December 21, 1972 at Will Rogers State Park. Image #00050694, Herald Examiner Collection.

 

Another classic beach scene — a bit sweatier than the one above. “The current Southland heat wave has sent thousands scurrying to local beaches, as witnessed here in Seal Beach. Another scorcher is on tap today, with temperatures expected again to eclipse the 100-degree mark.” Image #00083385, Chris Hosford, Herald Examiner Collection, June 28, 1976.

 

“Real cool pool: Little David Allan Siddon, 2 1/2, splashes happily in his plastic wading pool….while young David was cooling off, temperatures soared to highest this year — a scorching 107.” Image #00112664, Valley Times Collection, June 4, 1957.

 

Valley Times staff artist Bob Hyde gives us a hot dog. The accompanying article described a proposed “pooch cooler” at Hoover Dam in Nevada for dogs and other animals. It is unclear what the proposed cooler was to consist of and unknown if it was ever built. Today no dogs are allowed at the dam site, with the exception of service animals. Image #00112760, Bob Hyde, Valley Times Collection, May 19, 1961.

 

“Valley geyser gushes: The Van Nuys intersection of Oxnard Street and Ethel Avenue became the scene of a geyser-type eruption Monday afternoon when heat caused the concrete roadway to expand, breaking a valve of an eight inch water pipeline.” Image #00125918, W.F. Gaskill, Valley Times Collection, August 8, 1961.

 

Newspapers love to provide life hacks for “beating the heat.” Here “Charles E. Lambert, office manager at the Union Ice Co. in Van Nuys, beats record Valley heat which rose to 110 degrees outside with ice block chair in company’s ice storage building. Ice house’s coolest room registered 30 degrees below.” Image #00143286, Valley Times Collection, September 1, 1955.

 

“There wasn’t much point to the gag of placing a 100 pound block of ice on the sidewalk in front of the Valley Times office, but the hot weather stunt did give folks something cool to talk about.” Image #00143288, Valley Times Collection, September 7, 1955.

 

“Road collapses in heat: Valley heat proves too much for road patch at Sherman Way and Havenhurst. Blacktop gave way, dropping rear wheel of bus into three-foot hole.” Image #00143290, Valley Times Collection, June 28, 1956.

 

“Harold L. Schrock, Winnetka, takes amazed look at road at Saticoy and Mason avenue which was buckled by 105 degree temperatures in West Valley. Pavement rose two and one half feet above dirt bed.” Image #00143292, Valley Times Collection, June 19, 1957.

 

“Desperation over perspiration: Los Angeles City Councilment James Corman, left, and Lemoine Blanchard are just two of city’s officials about to break precedent and loosen collars and ties in heat wave that has ‘really hit City Hall.’ Officials say they have it in for weatherman, building’s executive elevator, and its air-conditioning system. Elevator is on blink, making men walk up to offices; air-conditioner is out of order, will be for three weeks, and weatherman, only one of three working, is busy predicting more heat.” Image #00144159, Dean Gordon, Valley Times Collection, August 4, 1960.

 

“Dog comforts heat victim: Kathren Noerr, 75, of San Fernando, lies on on concrete after being felled by Valley heat. Her dog, Cha-Cha, guards mistress. She was given first aid on scene.” Image #00154679, Valley Times Collection, July 16, 1957.

 

 

And finally, one lucky enough to have a private pool: “A resident polar bear at the LA Zoo cools himself off after a dip in the pool.” Image #00084299, Paul Chinn, Herald-Examiner Collection, August 2, 1987.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Schultheis go to Santa Barbara

We have written before about Herman Schultheis, the German-born photographer and jack of all film-related trades. With his wife, Ethel, Herman arrived in Los Angeles in 1937 with high hopes of a career in the film industry. He did find work with Disney where, for a few short years, he had a hand in the special effects magic used to create Fantasia, Pinocchio, and other animated classics. Today he is best remembered for several secret notebooks he put together documenting the processes used to create that magic, as well as for his mysterious disappearance in a Guatemalan jungle in 1955. Following the death of Ethel in 1990, conservators found a trove of thousands of photographs in the Schultheis home in the Los Feliz neighborhood. Documenting a wide swath of life in the Southland, these snapshots were deeded to the Los Angeles Public Library. Nearly 6,000 have been digitized. A handful are presented here. All contemporary photos are by the author.

Sometime in 1938 Herman and Ethel made a trip to Santa Barbara, that charming town up the coast from Los Angeles along El Camino Real (now the 101 Freeway). It may have been a day trip, or perhaps the couple spent the weekend. The trip was, no doubt, a chance for the Schultheises to relax and indulge their favorite activities — exploration and photography. Without realizing it, they were also documenting the newly reinvented Santa Barbara, now fully committed to honoring, and capitalizing on, its Spanish colonial roots.

 

The Mission Santa Barbara, church front. Herman J. Schultheis Collection, #00097380.

 

The Mission Santa Barbara: this photo shows the northern flank of the colonnaded Mission , with a fountain and lavanderia in front. The washing trough was built by Chumash Indians in 1808, and was fed by an aqueduct system bringing water from Mission Creek. Schultheis Collection, #00097372.

 

 

Schultheis image #00097377 shows Ethel Schultheis peering into the fountain where she is reflected alongside one of the mission’s iconic twin bell towers.

 

Colonnade at the Queen of the Missions. Schultheis Collection, #00097375.

 

Our contemporary photo shows the original lavanderia still in place in front of the mission. The mission’s second bell tower is obscured by the tree. The bear’s head spout is a re-creation, but may have been original at the time Schultheis took his photo. The mountain lion spout, pictured below, is an original Chumash carving.

 

 

 

Herman and Ethel visited the splendid Santa  Barbara Courthouse. This working county courthouse was built in the late 1920s in Spanish Colonial Revival style. Following a devastating earthquake in 1925, the city elders decided to rebuild much of the town in this style, creating what to this day appears as a white washed, red-tiled Spanish theme park on the California coast.

The front entryway of the massive courthouse is flanked by the sandstone fountain sculpture entitled “Spirit of the Ocean.” According to a history of the courthouse*, two local “children,” brother and sister, acted as models for the sculptor, Ettore Cadorin. Schultheis Collection, #00036425.

 

The contemporary version appears much the same, but in fact is a re-creation put in place in 2011, as the original sandstone had deteriorated. In addition, despite the watery appearance of the green tiles, there is no water in the fountain, a casualty of California’s persistent drought.

 

The monumental entrance to the courthouse. Schultheis Collection, #00038217.

 

Courthouse from the interior courtyard and sunken garden, showing the entry way from the opposite end. Schultheis Collection #00038205.

 

Our contemporary photo doubles the Schultheis snapshot above. The Schultheises may well have taken in the panoramic view of Santa Barbara afforded from the upper deck of the clock tower, although no photos from that location have been found.

 

The Casa de la Guerra, Schultheis Collection, #00097366. The silhouette of a protruding Spanish-style balcony can be seen at upper left. Schultheis may have taken this overhead shot from another balcony.

Once a large hacienda, with many outbuildings and a tower room, the Casa de la Guerra is much reduced in size and circumstance, but is now managed as a museum by the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. Built by a commandante of the Santa Barbara Presidio, José Antonio de la Guerra y Noriega (1779-1858), the Casa was a center of social activity in the young pueblo through much of the 19th century.

The Casa de la Guerra today.

The El Paseo shopping arcade, established during Santa Barbara’s Spanish Colonial Revival in the 1930s, surrounds the Casa on all sides except its front. Schultheis and his wife no doubt explored the charming alleys and plazas of this planned attraction. The particular alley pictured above was dubbed “Street in Spain.” Schultheis Collection, #00097367.

 

Schultheis took a number of photos of an area the cataloger dubbed “Santa Barbara Square.” In fact, this is the area called Plaza de la Guerra. Comparing the photo above with current photos it is clear that this is the Oreña Adobe, just down the block from the Casa de la Guerra and across the street from Santa Barbara City Hall. Built in the 1850s, the Oreña Adobe is now home to the Downtown Santa Barbara Association. Schultheis image #00097370.

 

The Biltmore Hotel, Montecito, Schultheis Collection, #00097333.

The Schultheises were clearly taken with the architecture and landscape of Santa Barbara. There are many photos in the collection of architectural detail. Schultheis took photos at both the posh Biltmore Hotel (now a Four Seasons resort) in Montecito and the nearly as grand Hotel Vista Mar Monte (now the Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara), although it is doubtful that the couple stayed at either. Money was tight. Herman had just started work at Disney after a lengthy period of unemployment.

The Hotel Vista Mar Monte, Schultheis Collection, #00097347.

 

A picnic under the palms, Schultheis Collection, #00097356. The ladies may be at a beachfront park on Cabrillo Boulevard. Ethel Schultheis is at left. One of the women at right may be her mother, Marie Wisloh, who, along with her husband Theodore, visited her daughter about this time.

 

Channel Drive, Schultheis Collection, #00097337.

The photos Herman took of the historic buildings and hotels are not his best work. There was no plan to publish them or use them to inspire his work at Disney. However, they nicely reflect a happy weekend for the couple.

 

*Gebhard and Masson, The Santa Barbara County Courthouse, 2001.

Fly Me to the Moon — in a Bathtub: Southern California and the Race to Space

Mankind has always looked to the sky and wondered what is up there and how to get there. Southern Californians are no different. Long before Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon in July of 1969, scientists, soldiers, engineers, designers, and space exploration enthusiasts in and around Los Angeles were making plans, asking questions, drawing blueprints, and building machines in order to reach that last frontier. TESSA, the online photo archives of the Los Angeles Public Library, has images showing the commitment, creativity, and curiosity surrounding the space race and Southern California’s involvement in it – in universities, research laboratories, military bases, and basement workshops.

Allyn B. Hazard, Senior Development Engineer at JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, managed by CalTech and owned by NASA), poses in a space suit that he designed. The suit – referred to as the moon suit – was being examined by UCLA biology students.

moon suit

Valley Times Collection, photo dated February 16, 1961.

After completing their missions, astronauts could glide back into Earth in the “Flying Bathtub” created by the Experimental Aircraft Association, an organization of pilots and engineers dedicated to designing and building the aircraft of the future at their homes in their spare time.

flying bathtub

Valley Times Collection, photo taken by George Brich on August 29, 1964.

Dr. William Pickering (standing), Director of JPL for 22 years, discusses a satellite with Albert Hibbs, a renowned mathematician who became known as “the voice of JPL” and who took a break from graduate school to try to beat the casinos at roulette.

satellite

Valley Times Collection, photo dated March 5, 1958.

Two scientists at a physics research laboratory in Canoga Park utilize a hypervelocity chamber which simulates conditions experienced in outer space – including temperatures of 80,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

physics research

Valley Times Collection, photo taken by Dean Gordon on March 20, 1965.

Emil DeGraeve, Managing Director of Litton Industries’ Space Research Laboratories, explains to Naval Reserve officers the function and fashion of a space suit designed by Litton.

litton industries moon suit

Valley Times Collection, photo dated February 26, 1960.

Three scientists display a model of Explorer I, the first U.S. satellite successfully launched into orbit on January 31, 1958, and discuss the data obtained from this satellite’s foray into space. The panel includes Dr. Henry Richter Jr., JPL’s Group Supervisor of Explorer Design and Development; George Ludwig, a graduate student of Iowa State University who would become a chief research scientist for NASA and JPL; and Phyllis Buwalda, a JPL researcher who determined the surface topography of the moon.

explorer 1

Herald Examiner Collection, photo dated February 13, 1958.

The Dyna-Soar Project was begun in 1960 and was a collaboration between NASA and the United States Air Force. Its mission was to place a man in orbit and then return him to an exact selected spot, with the aircraft available for reuse. In this photo, Air Force Captain William J. Knight stands next to an F-104 Fighter at Edwards Air Force Base. This aircraft was used for the project. No aircraft was ever able to reach the altitudes needed for orbital flight, and Project Dyna-Soar was cancelled in 1963.

dyna-soar

Valley Times Collection, photo taken by Jeff Goldwater on April 16, 1962.

A spacecraft engineer from Lockheed-California Co. displays a model of a vehicle with mechanical arms created by the aerospace company. This vehicle could build low orbit satellites and rocket boosters and make repairs in outer space – an invaluable service for solar system exploration.

robot for space repairs

Valley Times Collection, photo dated August 14, 1960.

Seda Garapedian, an Armenian immigrant, was active in many organizations that assisted Armenian-Americans including the Armenian Allied Arts, the Armenian Film Foundation, and the Armenian Professional Society. A renowned flautist, she taught music in Los Angeles high schools and married Martin Marootian, a pharmacist who spearheaded the class-action suit that forced New York Life to honor insurance policies bought by victims of the Armenian genocide. In this photo, Miss Garapedian poses next to a rocket engine during a tour of JPL (which was building rockets before NASA even existed).

rocket engine

Shades of L.A.: Armenian-American Community, photo taken in 1948.

A mannequin wearing an X-15 flight suit is strapped to a test sled to test equipment operating at speeds of 1,700 mph. The testing took place at Edwards Air Force Base’s speed track in Lancaster, California, and was part of a rocket testing program.

speed test dummy

Valley Times Collection, photo dated August 17, 1960.

Miss Gregory of Hollywood, a fashion designer, checks the fit of the space suit she designed for an employee of the Aro Corporation. Miss Gregory also designed the model (left) on which space suits are fitted.

miss gregory of hollywood

Valley Times Collection, photo taken July 31, 1964.

Robert Stegen of Canoga Electronics in Van Nuys looks at the company’s antennae which (hopefully) will be picking up transmissions from John Glenn’s Mercury satellite which is scheduled to be passing over Southern California shortly after this photo was taken.

mercury satellite communication

Valley Times Collection, photo taken by Jeff Goldwater on February 13, 1962.

Donald May (far right), a chief engineer at Rocketdyne and also President of the Valley Amateur Astrophysical Society, speaks with two members of Reseda High School’s American Rocket Association.

valley amateur astrophysical association

Valley Times Collection, photo dated June 7, 1960.

While attending a meeting of the Valley Amateur Astrophysical Society in Northridge, Daniel W. Fry discusses his contact with an alien space craft which gave him a ride from White Sands, New Mexico, to New York City in less than 30 minutes. Fry, an explosives expert who worked a variety of jobs in the rocketry industry, wrote a book about the incident (The White Sands Incident) and founded an organization (Understanding Inc.) to promote understanding and cooperation among all people – those on Earth and those living on other planets.

white sands incident

Valley Times Collection, photo taken by Alan Hyde on October 30, 1961.

Oh Let’s Do Lunch! Dining Out During the Day (Maybe) in Los Angeles

There are many ways to “do lunch” in L.A., from a power lunch with your agent to a quick bite from a cart while you run errands. Peruse the photo collection of the Los Angeles Public Library and you’ll get an idea of where folks in Los Angeles – from traffic cops to studio executives – enjoy their midday meal (sometimes in the middle of the night).

Philippe’s, established in 1908 by Philippe Mathieu, created its signature sandwich – the French Dip –by accident in 1918. A police officer came to the eatery for lunch and ordered a roast beef sandwich. Mathieu – rushing to get the sandwich made quickly as the officer was in a hurry – accidentally dropped the French roll (used for all sandwiches in his restaurant) into a roasting pan filled with hot juice. The policeman said he would take the sandwich anyway. He returned the next day with fellow officers who wanted to try this new sandwich which was dipped in juice. The sandwich became known as the French Dip – perhaps because Mathieu was French, perhaps because the officer’s surname was French, or perhaps because of the French roll. No one is certain of the origin of the name, but 100 years later, Philippe’s still serves up French dips (beef, pork, lamb, turkey, or ham) to city workers, shoppers, stars, students, senators, and those wanting a good lunch with a cheap cup of coffee.

Philippe's

Herald Examiner Collection, photo taken by Michael Haering on November 18, 1986.

Nick’s Café was opened in 1948 by Nick, a Navy vet, who served breakfast from early morning until early afternoon (when the café closed). Nick offered bone-in ham sliced to order (earning the restaurant the nickname “the Ham House”) in his eatery across from the River Station freight yards. Business was brisk. After a bit, Nick sold the restaurant to two LAPD homicide detectives and the diner became a regular for cops and DWP workers. Today Nick’s Café still serves up breakfast all day to its eclectic crowd. The menu has some new items, but the day for Nick’s Café still ends at 3:00 p.m.

Nick's Cafe

Gary Leonard Collection (Los Angeles Photographers Collection), photo taken
by Gary Leonard on October 21. 2005.

Of course, Los Angeles has people – cops, film crews, hospital workers, firefighters – working all hours of the day and night, so lunch might be at 3:00 a.m. or 6:00 p.m. or midnight. Snap’s Coffee Shop was open 24/7 to serve hungry customers classic diner fare – fried chicken, meat loaf, grilled cheese sandwiches, French fries, and pie and coffee.

snap's coffee shop

 

inside snap's coffee shop

Security Pacific National Bank Collection, both photos undated.

Want to take a trip but cannot get away? Lunch inside the Zep Diner in South Los Angeles could help you feel as if you’re traveling high above the clouds (and your worries).

zep diner

Security Pacific National Bank Collection, photo dated March 21, 1931.

If you wanted a bit of fun with your lunch, the Merry Go Round Café was the place for you. Sit at the counter and watch as various meals slowly slide past you. Grab the one you want. Gustav and Gertrude Kramm had the idea of a cafe that served home-cooked food presented on a rotating conveyor belt and accessible by lifting a glass door and selecting the item. Items on the merry go round included salads, sandwiches, desserts, and relishes. Hot food was delivered by servers and fresh coffee was available every ten minutes. Lunch was 35¢; a full dinner (including two salads, a dessert, and all the rolls you wanted) was 50¢.

merry go round cafe

Security Pacific National Bank Collection, photo taken in 1932.

Southern Californians have always been on the move and their lunch counters are no exception! Here we see a lunch wagon parked by the parking lot of a local employer (believed to be a local aviation manufacturer). During lunch hour, an employee could grab a cold drink, a hot sandwich, and a pack of smokes all in one visit to this lunchmobile. lunch wagon

Ansel Adams Fortune Magazine Collection ( Los Angeles Photographers Collection),
photo taken by Ansel Adams in 1940.

Shoppers, workers, and beach goers in Venice could enjoy delicious seafood tacos and burritos from Tania’s Catering truck, seen here parked on Lincoln Boulevard.

catering truck

Los Angeles Neighborhoods Collection, photo taken by Cheryl Himmelstein in October, 2002.

The L.A. Mission has been serving meals to homeless individuals since 1936. In this photo we see a typical lunch crowd (approximately 250 people) on a typical day.

l.a. mission

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo taken in October of 1986.

If you were in Hollywood and got hungry, you could not go wrong with the lunch counter at Schwab’s Pharmacy (generally called Schwab’s Drug Store). Located near the corner of two boulevards (Sunset and Crescent Heights) for fifty years, Schwab’s was frequented by celebrities, screenwriters, set designers, directors, locals, and tourists who stopped in for ice cream, coffee, sandwiches, and light meals. Syndicated columnist Sidney Skolsky used the drug store as his office; his column for Photoplay magazine was titled From a Stool at Schwab’s. (Marilyn Monroe would leave messages bearing the signature “Miss Caswell” for Skolsky at Schwab’s.) Angela Lansbury stopped in to enjoy ice cream sodas, James Dean had prescriptions filled there, and F. Scott Fitzgerald stopped at Schwab’s to buy cigarettes and had a heart attack. Contrary to popular legend, Lana Turner was not discovered at Schwab’s (but at another eatery on Sunset Boulevard), but she did stop there to pick up her favorite lipstick. Chances are good that she also enjoyed a malted or cup of coffee while she was there.

schwab's drug store

Roy Hankey Collection (Los Angeles Photographers Collection), photo taken by Roy Hankey in 1980.

The El Rey Café at 417 E. 6th Street in downtown Los Angeles was ready for the lunch crowd with silverware settings on the counter, hot coffee perking in the kitchen, and a selection of cigars at the cash register – everything needed to serve and satisfy the hungry crowd. As the Pacific Mutual Life Building was a couple blocks away (just behind Pershing Square) and the street was lined with clothing shops, loan offices, and hotels, the café would do a brisk business serving clerks, bankers, insurance salesmen, executives, secretaries, and sightseers.

el rey cafe

Security Pacific National Bank Collection, photo undated.

Busy? Cranky? Don’t want to get out of the car for lunch? No problem. Tiny Naylor’s Drive In served delicious food – sandwiches, malts, patty melts – and you never needed to leave your car. With the original drive-in located at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, this eatery (one of the original Googie-style restaurants) was a favorite of film stars who wanted to grab a bite to eat without being noticed. (A chain of Tiny Naylor’s restaurants dotted greater Los Angeles at one time, with one attached to a car wash in Studio City where many a celebrity had their vehicle washed.) Tiny Naylor (who was 6 foot 4 and weighed 320 pounds) realized that folks got hungry at all hours, so this drive-in was open 24/7.

tiny naylor's drive in

Roy Hankey Collection (Los Angeles Photographers Collection), photo taken by Roy Hankey in 1980.

For an elegant lunch surrounded by tranquility and beauty, you might choose to dine at the Huntington Gardens. Here we see a couple enjoying lunchtime tea brought by a kimono-clad server. While there are no longer carts offering tea in the garden, you may still enjoy lunch at Huntington Gardens, inside or outside, by yourself, with friends, or with a party.

huntington gardens tea

Security Pacific National Bank Collection, photo undated.

Grab some lunch and then grocery shop for meat, fish, fresh produce, spices, handmade tamales, and baked goods at downtown L.A.’s Grand Central Market. Housed in the Homer Laughlin Building (which once held offices for architect Frank Lloyd Wright), Grand Central Market still provides hungry visitors with victuals ranging from ice cream to egg rolls to oysters, chile rellenos to fried chicken to sticky rice.

grand central market

William Reagh Collection (Los Angeles Photographers Collection), photo taken by William Reagh in 1966. 

Lunch goers in Los Angeles have the luxury of enjoying authentic Mexican cuisine. Lalo’s Birrieria y Taqueria on Main Street serves up birria and other Mexican dishes with homemade tortillas. (Birria is a spicy stew traditionally made with goat meat but which may also be made with beef or pork.)

lalo's

Stone Ishimaru Collection (Los Angeles Photographers Collection), photo taken by Stone Ishimaru in 2007.

Frank Toulet opened Frank’s Francois Café on Hollywood Boulevard in 1919. Four years later, restauranteur Joseph Musso became Toulet’s partner. The two entrepreneurs hired French chef Jean Rue to create a menu and cook for their fine establishment. The restaurant was christened Musso & Frank Grill (often referred to as Musso & Frank’s by locals). Three years later, Toulet and Musso sold the restaurant to two Italian immigrants, Joseph Carissimi and John Mosso, who retained the name but moved the eatery from 6669 Hollywood Boulevard to 6667 Hollywood Boulevard where it still stands. Musso & Frank’s would become an integral part of Hollywood’s entertainment industry, serving lunch to movie stars, studio execs, screenwriters and writers of all types (including F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, Raymond Chandler, and William Faulkner, who used to go behind the bar to mix his own mint juleps). From humble beginnings sprang a historic venue that is still open today.

francois cafe

Security Pacific National Bank Collection, photo undated.

frank & musso's

William Reagh Collection (Los Angeles Photographers Collection), photo taken by William Reagh in 1991.

What better way to advertise your lunch offerings than to do so with your eatery’s architecture? The Tamale was a lunchroom in East Los Angeles that featured tamales, chili, hot dogs, malts, and other fare in a uniquely shaped building. It was just the right place for a quick lunch in a place you would not soon forget.

the tamle restaurant in east los angeles

Security Pacific National Bank Collection,  photo undated.

And you also would not forget Tail O’ The Pup in West Hollywood!

tail o the pup

Gary Leonard Collection, (Los Angeles Photographers Collection), photo taken by Gary Leonard, photo undated.

Of course, location and menu are only part of a great lunch. The right dining companion can make the most mundane meal magnificent. Angie the dog and Casey the duck – the best of friends – meet in a parking lot in Studio City for a fine lunch of watermelon. (No reservations needed.)

angie and casey meet for lunch

 

watermelon!

Valley Times Collection, undated photograph taken by Dave Siddon.

From Regal to Rock-n-Roll: Getting Married in the City of Angels

Tis spring, love is in the air, and June (the month for brides) is right around the corner. Weddings in Los Angeles are as varied as the Los Angelinos tying the knot – traditional, trendy, understated, and downright outrageous. The photo collection of the Los Angeles Public Library showcases the many styles of nuptials occuring in the City of Angels, from old world to new age, solemn to silly.

Don and Dinky Zoom exchange wedding vows at the Whisky A Go Go on Sunset Strip. The wedding was held on a Sunday.

don and dinky zoom

Gary Leonard Collection, photo taken by Gary Leonard on August 2, 1981.

Princess Pale Moon (born Rita Ann Suntz and standing on the far right) poses with members of her wedding party shortly before she marries Will Rose in Los Angeles. In the second picture below, she and her new husband confer with a Cherokee medicine man.

princess pale moon wedding

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo taken by Rudolph Vetter on November 2, 1977.

cherokee medicine man at wedding

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo taken on November 2, 1977.

Carmen Pantages (second from left), daughter of theater magnate Alexander Pantages, married Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer filmmaker John Considine, Jr. at the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard on Valentine’s Day of 1932. At far left is the maid of honor, Marion Davies, film star and longtime mistress of William Randolph Hearst. Raised in wealth and privilege, Carmen Pantages Considine brought movies and served food to paralyzed veterans at hospitals in and near Los Angeles on a weekly basis.

carmine pantages wedding

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo dated February 15, 1932.

True love jumps over hurdles. Cameraman Frank Tanner kisses his bride Erna after a bedside wedding at St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank. Did he perhaps tell someone that he was considering getting married and they told him, “Break a leg!”? (Tanner actually broke his leg in an accident occurred during filming.)

hospital wedding

Valley Times Collection, photo dated November 12, 1956.

Rami and Tayo Abon’s wedding in Claremont, California, was a mixture of traditional American nuptials and African wedding garb.

Shades of L.A.: African American Community, photo taken November 6, 1996.

A newlywed couple enjoy their wedding party on September 26, 1982, at Myron’s Ballroom in downtown Los Angeles.

myron's ballroom wedding reception

Gary Leonard Collection, photo taken on September 26, 1982 by Gary Leonard.

Roberto, Margarita, and their wedding party pose for a formal wedding portrait at Ricci Studio in downtown Los Angeles. The wedding was held at St. Joseph Catholic Church, also in downtown Los Angeles.

wedding portrait at ricci studio

Shades of L.A.: Mexican American Community, photo taken by Ricci Studio in 1942.

Although not a wedding picture, this photo shows the tenacity and devotion needed for a marriage. Attorney David M. Brown (far left) represents Anthony Corbett Sullivan and Richard Frank Adams, plaintiffs in an immigration case. The men met in Los Angeles, fell in love, and went to Boulder, Colorado, where they were issued a marriage license. They would later be told by the U.S. government that their marriage was not a “bona fide marital relationship” and Sullivan, an Australian, was thus eligible for deportation. The couple fought for their marriage to be recognized as legitimate, lost, and left the States. They lived abroad before returning to live quietly in Los Angeles. Their union lasted 41 years.


Married couple Sullivan/Adams immigration case

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo taken by Rob Brown on March 15, 1979.

Baseball great Sandy Koufax married Anne Heath Widmark in in 1969 in Los Angeles. He is a left-handed pitcher who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and was the youngest player ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. She is the daughter of actor/producer/director Richard Widmark and screenwriter Ora Jean Hazlewood. (Both are still living but their marriage ended in 1981.)

sandy coufax marries anne widmark

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo taken by Jay Thompson and undated.

The wedding ceremony of Ara and Aramine Tavitian is presided over by Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian and held at St. John’s Armenian Apostolic Church.

armenian wedding

Shades of L.A.: Armenian American Community, photo taken in 1995.

A couple promise to love, honor, and obey as they marry in the mouth of a whale.

wedding in a whale

Security Pacific National Bank Collection, photo undated.

This stylish couple donned skates (as did their minister) and became man and wife. One hopes their marriage was smooth skating.

wedding on roller skates

Security Pacific National Bank Collection, photo undated.

Bonnie Jean Gray marries Donald W. Harris while she – and everyone in her wedding party – is on horseback in a pasture near Los Angeles. Bonnie Gray was one of the top female rodeo stunt and trick riders during the 1920s and 30s and later became a movie stuntwoman who doubled for Tim McCoy, Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson, and Ken Maynard.

horseback wedding

Security Pacific National Bank Collection, photo undated.

Monir and Nana Deeb take part in their zaffa, a musical procession of drums, bagpipes, horns, and dancers that announce that a marriage ceremony is about to begin. This wedding march is an ancient Arab tradition.

arab-american wedding, islamic wedding

Shades of L.A.: Arab American Community and Shades of L.A.: Lebanese American Community,
photo taken on January 31, 1993.

The wedding party for Irving Thalberg, the film producer known as “The Boy Wonder” and cofounder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Norma Shearer, Canadian-American actress who was called “the exemplar of sophisticated 1930s womanhood” pose in the backyard of the Thalberg residence in Beverly Hills.

irving thalberg marries norma shearer

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo taken in 1927.

A young Japanese-American couple pose for their wedding picture in Los Angeles. The bride wears a traditional Japanese wedding kimono.

Shades of L.A.: Japanese American Community, photo taken in 1930.

Frank and Mary Tiesen enjoy a slice of their wedding cake. Also enjoying some wedding cake were 150 blind youngsters from the Foundation for the Blind in Los Angeles, an organization at which Frank and Mary worked as counselors. In the second photo below, you can see one of the guests exploring (and hopefully enjoying) the wedding cake.

Frank and Mary Tiesen marry

Valley Times Collection, photo taken by George Brich on February 4, 1963.

blind child with wedding cake

Valley Times Collection, photo taken by George Brich on February 4, 1963.

A couple pose under a huppah – Hebrew for wedding canopy – during a Jewish wedding in Southern California.

huppah

Valley Times Collection, photo taken by Harry Leach on June 14, 1963.

Child star Shirley Temple leaves Wilshire Methodist Church after marrying Sergeant John Agar Jr. (of the Army Air Corps) in an evening ceremony. Over 12,000 people lined the street to see the couple.

shirley temple and john agar marry

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo taken by Howard Ballew on September 20, 1945.

Felines Tigger and Kirby become a married couple at a wedding with Dawn Rogers officiating and her daughters Summer and September assisting. Wedding was followed by a nap.

cat wedding

Herald-Examiner Collection, photo taken by James Ruebsamen on July 25, 1986.

In the Swim: The Wild Side

We wrote about swim fashions on Southland beaches in In the Swim. We will now take a look at the must-have accessory for your beachwear — an exotic animal!

In the land of Hollywood the exotic becomes almost commonplace. These photos from the archives of the Los Angeles Public Library show the wild side of California beach fashion. But first, we must add the disclaimer that exotic animals do not normally belong on  beaches and those who do should be left alone. Many of the stunts pictured here should carry the warning: Do not try this at home! (or anywhere else)

00009019 bear cub

Venice Beach is the location for many of our photos. Here a young woman feeds a bear cub from a bottle, 1936. Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Image #00009019.

 

00064163 alligator

Yes, there really was an alligator farm in Los Angeles  — until 1953. It was located right next door to the Ostrich Farm. Advertising from the Luna Park  Alligator Farm in Lincoln Heights proclaimed, with a bit of hyperbole, “Here are to be seen hundreds of alligators of all sizes, from little babies, hardly the size of a lizard, up to huge monsters, 500 years old or more. We make a specialty of alligator bags ornamented with genuine alligator heads and claws.” (LincolnHeightsLA.comSecurity Pacific National Bank Collection, Image #00064163, undated.

 

00064425 woman with penguins

The photo was taken in Long Beach, “ca. 1920.”  We have no explanation for the penguins. Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Image #00064425.

 

00065006 boy with lion cub

This young man, protectively holding onto his lion cub, seems none to happy despite his trophy win at the Venice Beach Pet Show in 1936. Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Image #00065006.

 

00066776 seal

Strolling Long Beach with a seal, circa 1920. The young woman wears a beach coat with a nautical flair. Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Image #00066776.

 

00067860 baby elephant

An undated photo of a woman, probably a model, with a baby elephant. Her wool bathing costume places the photo in the late 1920s. Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Image #00067860.

 

00069336 piglet race

 

Piglets race on Hermosa Beach. The young porkers eagerly await the starting gun — well, perhaps not the one in lane two who appears ready for a nap. Although the photo is undated, the classic belted swimsuits place the event in the mid-1930s. Two girls standing at left appear to be twins. Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Collection, Image #00069336.

 

00066743 sea lion

Watch that shoe! Models feed a “sea elephant” (elephant seal) in an enclosure in Venice, probably mid-1920s. Security Pacific National Bank Collection, #00066743.

 

00071558 elephants at Long Beach pier

More elephants on the beach. The Long Beach Pier and Sun Pavilion form the backdrop for this photo shoot from about 1930. One of the keepers carries what appears to be a cattle prod. Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Image #00071558.

 

00117152 fawn

This 1954 photo from the Valley Times Collection is titled “Cute as a Bug,” probably the headline used in the paper. The caption used read: “Unafraid of children, this spotted fawn can be sweet and gentle but later on would not permit this type of petting without slashing out with razor sharp hoofs made for fighting off coyotes and other predators.”  Wise words. Valley Times Collection, Image #00117152.

 

We’ll end with a more appropriate way to celebrate the wild side of beach season — playing an accordion with a stuffed seagull!

00070574 seagulls

Miss California Bathing Beauty Contest, Venice Beach, 1936. This contestant displays her talent while serenading the wild life.  Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Image #00070574.

In the Swim: Bathing suit fashions through the years

00070532 1914 woman

This blogger set out to write a post about a century of swimwear on Southland waters using images from the Los Angeles Public Library’s collection. But where to start? The collection includes hundreds of photos that would lend themselves to any number of angles: Beauty pageants? Swimsuit models? Movie stars poolside? Or how about beach-goers with exotic animals?

That last we’ll likely revisit in a later post, but for now we’ll offer a selection of images focusing on the evolution of the swimsuit.

Perhaps the earliest swimsuit image in the collection dates from about 1914 and depicts a woman in a bathing ensemble complete with tights and laced shoes. Accessories have always been a vital part of the bathing “look.” Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Image #00070532.

00012172 Williams Bros 1916

About the same time, these brothers sport two-piece suits. Until the early 1930s male swimmers typically wore outfits that covered their upper bodies (if they wore anything at all!). Modesty was preserved via an A-line top over shorts. The Williams brothers enjoy Seal Beach, ca. 1916. Shades of L.A Collection: the Greek-American Community, Image # 00012172.

 

00070538 Rita Bell

About 1920 Rita Bell, perhaps a model, sports a wool suit much more revealing than that of the gal from 1914. She also wears sheer stockings with ankle-strapped sandals, rocks a swim hat, and deploys a swim robe. Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Image #00070538.

Young sisters Mary and Imogene Myers wade at Lake Elsinore in 1928 wearing simple woolen tunic-style suits typical for youngsters of the day. Shades of L.A. Collection: the African-American Community, Image #00001791.

By the 1930s, bathing costumes for both men and women were decidedly more revealing. Stockings were left at home. Arms, cleavage, and legs were bared. Suits were more form-fitting. The belted look became popular. Bathing suits began to be a fashion statement.

00003251 woman at Long Beach

In this photo, a young woman poses for a photograph that will become a postcard at Long Beach, 1932. Shades of L.A.: Korean American Community, Image #00003251.

00070467 mother and daughter

A mother and daughter at an unidentied beach, ca. 1937. The woman wears a conical straw topper sometimes referred to, unfortunately, as a coolie hat. A man in the background wears the belted style of suit popular with both men and women. The Herman J. Schultheis Collection, Image #00070467.

00008999 fashion police 1930s

The Fashion Police at Venice Beach, 1930s. The photo collection contains a series of pictures of both men and women wearing badges and measuring suits on those of the opposite gender. Notes with the images inform us that “pretend tickets were handed out when the swim suit was too skimpy.” Here both a man and a woman wear the popular belted style of suit, while the second man appears to have forgotten his belt. Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Image #00008999.

00070564 kayaks

Young women with kayaks, ca. 1930. These women sport a variety of bathing suit styles. This was likely part of a photo shoot ordered up by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. Security Pacific National Bank Collection, Image #00070564.

00073428 fur coat

The 1940s brought more styles, new elasticized fabrics, and the two-piece suit. The bikini itself was “invented” in 1946, although it would be unrecognizable as such today. Here Annie Jung dresses up her two-piece with a fur coat and heels, February 18, 1945. Harry Quillen Collection, Image #00073428.

00003832 Miss Filipino

The library files includes dozens of beauty queens in bathing costumes, a tradition that has endured for well over a century. Here Miss Filipino Community of Los Angeles, Janet Bernardino, wears a strapless one-piece, along with the requisite pumps, in 1955. Her publicity photo is signed “To a real fine guy, Roy. Love, Janet.” Shades of L.A.: Filipino American Community Collection, Image #00003832.

00119601 -- Teenagers 1963

The Valley Times published this photo, dated July 18, 1963, with the caption “Valley teens splash it up at Pickwick Pool, illustrating a few of the activities on this summer’s busy agenda.”  Patterned prints and tailored trunks were clearly in vogue. Valley Times Collection, Image #00119601. This community pool in Burbank was abandoned some years later and the land turned into Pickwick Gardens, with its ice rink and bowling alley.

00085350 - diving board girl

Whatever you wear, it’s all about making a splash: Six-year old Brenda Villa takes the plunge at Camp Commerce (still operated by the City of Commerce), Lake Arrowhead, July 27, 1986. Photo by Leo Jarzomb, Herald-Examiner Collection, Image #00085350.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Monday, February 8, 2016, marks the beginning of the Year of the Fire Monkey; in the Chinese calendar the year is 4714. The Chinese New Year bring celebrations that include firecrackers, parades, fish, dragons, lions, and lucky money in red envelopes. The Los Angeles Public Library’s photo collection contains images of such holiday celebrations held in Chinatown and other areas of Los Angeles.

Chinese New Year Parade, Monterey Park

Miss Monterey Park waves to the crowd during a Chinese New Year parade in the San Gabriel Valley. (Shades of L.A. collection; photo by Steven Gold, 1992 [Year of the Monkey])

Dragon in Chinese Parade

A golden dragon rings in the Year of the Boar in L.A.’s Chinatown. (Herald-Examiner Collection, January 30, 1971 [Year of the Pig])

Clown in Chinese New Year Parade

Wally the Clown leads children at a New Year festival in Chinatown. (Harry Quillen Collection, February 15, 1958 [Year of the Dog])

Man and niece enjoy Chinese New Year

Eugene Yee and niece Susan celebrate Chinese New Year with balloons and firecrackers. (Herald-Examiner Collection, photo taken by Howard Ballew, February 13, 1964 [Year of the Dragon])

Beauty queens in Chinese New Year parade

Beauty queens in Chinese New Year parade. (Gary Leonard Collection, 1995 [Year of the Pig])

Flute and Fiddle for the New Year

Chung Fook (left) and Luke Chan (right) play music to usher in the Chinese New Year. (Herald-Examiner Collection, January 27, 1941 [Year of the Snake])

Family enjoys Chinese New Year

The Wong family prepares to enjoy a traditional Chinese New Year’s feast. (Herald-Examiner Collection, February 5, 1965 [Year of the Snake])

Lion of Good drives away evil spirits

Tsweje, the Lion of Good, drives away evil spirits during this celebration of the Chinese New Year. (Security Pacific National Bank Collection, January, 1925 [Year of the Ox])

A stroll through L.A. gardens . . .

Los Angeles boasts a number of beautiful gardens and with winters being much milder in Southern California than other parts of the country, you can take a garden stroll anytime. That said, there will be times you can’t get to the garden – bad cold, sick kids, a backlog of work. If you’re stuck indoors and dreaming of relaxing amongst lush foliage, fragrant flowers, or spiky cholla, the photo collection of the Los Angeles Public Library can help you escape. As with everything in the City of Angels, Los Angeles gardens (present and past) boast plenty of variety.

Japanese Gardens

SuihoEn (garden of water and fragrance), situated on the grounds of the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys, is an authentic Japanese garden designed by Dr. Koichi Kawana and fashioned after the stroll gardens built during the 18th and 19th centuries for Japanese feudal lords. It features a karesansui (dry Zen meditation garden), a wet garden featuring waterfalls and ponds, and a chashitsu (tatami mat teahouse).

Japanese Garden in Van Nuys

Japanese Garden at Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys, California (Photo taken by Stephen Callis, 1991)

The Botanical Gardens on the grounds of the Huntington Library in San Marino also feature a Japanese garden, complete with koi ponds and an authentic Japanese House considered to be one of the best examples of early twentieth Japanese architecture in the United States.

Huntington Japanese Gardens

Japanese Garden at Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino (Photo taken by Herman Schultheis, ca. 1937)

The Bernheimer Estate, built overlooking the ocean in Pacific Palisades in the early 1920s, featured Japanese gardens with a pagoda housing the vast collection of Oriental art acquired by Adolph Bernheimer. The Bernheimer Gardens were a popular tourist attraction until 1941, when public opinion changed due to Pearl Harbor and World War II. The property suffered erosion and two major landslides and was vacated in the late 1940s; the structures were demolished in the 1950s.

Bernheimer Bronze Elephants

Bronze elephants stroll through the Bernheimer Japanese Gardens. (Security Pacific National Bank Collection, 1939)

Cactus Gardens

The weird and resilient beauty of the cactus is on display in the Desert Garden of The Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, which showcases more than 2,000 species of desert plants in one of the largest cactus gardens in the world.

Huntington Gardens Cactus Gardens

Visitors from Detroit admire the many varieties of cacti in the Desert Garden  at Huntington Botanical Gardens (Herald Examiner Collection, ca. 1965)

Will Keith Kellogg,(commonly known as W.K. Kellogg), the breakfast cereal magnate, bought acreage in Pomona, California, in 1925 on which he established an Arabian horse ranch. The land has passed through many owners (including the University of California system and the U.S. War Department) and is now the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. The grounds have changed over time, but a stroll down memory lane will show its beautiful gardens, including a huge cactus garden.

Kellogg Cactus Garden

Cactus garden at Kellogg Arabian Horse Farm (WPA collection, ca. 1930)

The Kellogg estate gardens also featured a pond complete with water flowers and water fowl.

Kellogg Garden Duck Pond

Garden and pond at Kellogg Arabian Horse Ranch in Pomona (Security Pacific National Bank Collection, date unknown)

Rose Gardens

If you are aching to smell the roses, Exposition Park Rose Garden (located just south of the campus of University of Southern California) is open to visitors from 9:00 a.m. to sunset. Unfortunately, you will have to wait for spring as the Rose Garden is closed from January 1st through March 15th every year for maintenance (time to prune the roses!)

Exposition Park Gardens

Roses in Exposition Park in Los Angeles (Herman J. Schultheis Collection, ca. 1937)

Expo Rose Garden seen from Museum steps

Rose Garden as seen from the steps of the Museum of History, Science and Art in Exposition Park (Herman J. Schultheis Collection, ca. 1937)

French-born artist Paul de Longpre?, who painted flowers and floral scenes in watercolor, came to Hollywood in 1899 and had a home built on three acres close to what is now the intersection of Cahuenga Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. (A nearby street, De Longpre Avenue, was named after him.) He maintained a garden on this property that at one time boasted 4,000 roses. The residence, which included art galleries in addition to gardens, became a popular destination for tourists and local visitors before being demolished in 1927.

de Longpre Rose Garden

Rose Garden at estate of artist Paul de Longpre (Security Pacific National Bank Collection, date unknown)

 

The Festive Feasts of Los Angeles

Ready for the holidays? Hungry?

Wherever there are festivities, there will be food. In all cultures, eating and feasting is part of a proper celebration for any occasion. With the December holidays in full swing, Angelenos are commemorating and celebrating the holidays with traditional dinners, old family recipes, and once-a-year treats, as these pictures from the Los Angeles Public Library photo collection show:

Hanukkah donuts

Sorrina and Marcel Yitzak prepare for a Hanukkah party at which they will be serving sufganiyot, the traditional deep-fried jelly doughnuts. (circa 1985, Shades of L.A. Collection)

Hanukkah Party in Woodland Hills

The pastries, filled with jelly or custard and topped with powdered sugar, commemorate the miracle of the temple oil and are often served at Hanukkah gatherings, such as this one in Woodland Hills, California. (circa 1984, Shades of L.A. Collection)

Christmas Tamales

Tamales are a traditional item for Christmas meals in Mexico and the Southwest. In this photo, Linda Figueroa prepares tamales for a Christmas dinner. (circa 1960, Shades of L.A. Collection)

Xmas Tamalada

Tamales for holiday gatherings are often prepared in huge batches during a tamalada – a tamale-making party that is equal (somewhat) parts cooking session, family reunion, and holiday party. Here, members of the Vasquez family hold such an affair. (circa 1959, Shades of L.A. Collection)

Orthodox Christmas Eve Dinner

An Orthodox Christmas Eve dinner begins with the lighting of a single tall white candle upon the appearance of the first star in the sky. The meal is traditionally meatless and dairy-free and includes twelve courses. (December 20, 1963, Valley Times Collection)

Kiwanis Fruitcake

What’s Christmas without fruitcake? In this photo, the Kiwanis Club uses fruitcake to help employers spread good cheer to their employees while helping children’s charities throughout the San Fernando Valley. (October 31, 1961, Valley Times Collection)

If you need more inspiration for getting into the spirit of the season, you might take a gander at the Library Foundation of Los Angeles online holiday photo exhibit from last year. You can also peruse the Library’s photo collection for images of festivals, parades, decorations, and more food. Whatever holiday you may be celebrating, bon appetit!