Tag: Los Angeles

Time Capsule: Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Time Capsule: Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Capsules
In its July 13, 1953 issue Life magazine ran one of many photo essays on the city of Los Angeles. This one focused on the immense population and development growth the city and surrounding area encountered in the late '40s and early '50s. Here then is a gallery of the most interesting photos -- some unpublished -- that went into its story called "400 New Angels Every Day." There were all shot in either December '52 or July '53 by J. R. Eyerman. Less than two years after this piece ran in the magazine, Life published another, less sunny L.A. story -- this one about an October 1954 smog emergency. You can see those pics here.
KDOC’s New Year’s Eve Show Goes Wrong in the Funniest Way Possible

KDOC’s New Year’s Eve Show Goes Wrong in the Funniest Way Possible

TV & Radio
(Note 1/4/13: KDOC has compounded their excellent decision-making by getting the original video pulled. As long as people keep posting replacement copies I'll keep sharing.) We all know that live TV is a risky proposition these days, especially on New Year's Eve. The hosts are amped up and the crowd -- usually drunk -- is at best wildly unpredictable. Why, not even a respected cable new outlet like CNN is immune from things getting out of hand a little bit (thanks Kathy Griffin). So how is it that KDOC-TV out of Los Angeles could not predict that their live New Year's Eve broadcast featuring Jamie Kennedy, Stu Stone, Macy Gray, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony would go completely off the rails? It was supposed to be a First Night 2013 event, meaning no alcohol, but I challenge you to fin...
Sunday Jazz: Dave Brubeck Quartet, “Blue Rondo à la Turk”

Sunday Jazz: Dave Brubeck Quartet, “Blue Rondo à la Turk”

Music, Sunday Jazz
This piece originally ran in June 2012. I'm running it again as a very small tribute to the late Dave Brubeck, who passed away on Wednesday, December 5 at age 91. I'm in the midst of a fairly comprehensive attempt at helping newcomers to jazz build a good music collection. I'll offer a spoiler here and say that one of the albums on the list is the landmark 1959 Dave Brubeck Quartet record, Time Out. Time Out was one of the albums that really drew me into jazz when I was in the early days of my exploration, and for good reason. It's both cerebral and swingin', and accessible without compromising artistic integrity one bit. The Paul Desmond composition "Take Five" is probably the group's most-known song, but I've always been partial to the opening cut -- Brubeck's "Blue Rondo
Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 20: Santa and Swimmers on the Beach, Los Angeles 1927

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 20: Santa and Swimmers on the Beach, Los Angeles 1927

Vintage Photo Wednesday
Christmas photos aren't quite the same without all the color and richness in them, but if we're going to go vintage let's go all the way! Here's an odd specimen from the Roaring '20s. It features Santa Claus and a host of bathing suit-clad swimmers lying around a Christmas Tree on a Los Angeles beach. Click for a larger version. I like this because it's unlike just about every traditionally staged holiday photo I've seen. I like how Santa couldn't even be bothered to wear pants but he still went with the coat and hat. Man Californians can be an odd bunch. (No offense.) (Image courtesy The Smithsonian.) Related articles Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 14: The Kitchen of Tomorrow (Life, 1943) (grayflannelsuit.net) Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 15: Vintage Halloween Costumes...
Saturday Serials: “Poison Peril” (Batman 1943, Chapter 6)

Saturday Serials: “Poison Peril” (Batman 1943, Chapter 6)

Movies
Can you stand one more iota of Bat-thrills and Bat-chills? Because here comes the sixth chapter in the 1943 Columbia Pictures Batman serial film, "Poison Peril"! As we pick up the action this week, the stolen secret airplane Batman is aboard is shot down by stock footage of anti-aircraft batteries. You could probably guess that he escapes the crash, because if he didn't then the last nine chapters of the serial would be pretty morose. One confusing point in the chapter concerns geography. The stolen plane crashes just outside a town called Edgeworth. The thing is, I can't find anything listing Edgeworth, California as a real place. Remember now, last week's chapter firmly established Batman's base of operations as Los Angeles, so why bother coming up with phony places now? The onl...
Time Capsule: Los Angeles Smog, 1954

Time Capsule: Los Angeles Smog, 1954

Capsules, Featured Posts, History
On the heels of a major Los Angeles, California smog emergency in October 1954, Life magazine ran an article on the crisis in its November 1 issue. It was called "Blight on the Land of Sunshine," and it showcased some rather surreal images of both the smog and the way L.A. citizens chose to deal with the smog. Here is a gallery of images -- published and unpublished -- that photographer Allan Grant captured for the article.
Saturday Serials: “The Living Corpse” (Batman 1943, Chapter 5)

Saturday Serials: “The Living Corpse” (Batman 1943, Chapter 5)

Movies
With the presentation of this chapter of the 1943 Batman Columbia Pictures serial, we're one-third of the way through the saga. If you've been following the story to this point there's no need for a recap. But in case you haven't, the beginning of "The Living Corpse" should help. This one follows the basic structure of the first four -- action scenes at the beginning and end, bookending a whole lot of talking. This is NOT Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight. I noticed a few curiosities watching this chapter. For one, it shows Bruce Wayne as living in Los Angeles, and for another it explicitly states that Batman and Robin are working at the behest of Uncle Sam. They're assigned to stop Dr. Daka from sabotaging a fancy new airplane motor. And thirdly, Japan went to WAY too much trouble...
Sunday Jazz: Jazz at the Philharmonic, July 1944

Sunday Jazz: Jazz at the Philharmonic, July 1944

Music, Sunday Jazz
The historic Jazz at the Philharmonic (JATP) concert series started by Verve impresario Norman Granz debuted at the Philharmonic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California on July 2, 1944.  It was a star-studded affair, featuring legends such as Buddy Rich, Lester Young, Nat King Cole, Illinois Jacquet, Les Paul, J.J. Johnson, and others. The fascinating thing about the recordings from this show is they serve as an excellent document of the bridge period between the late Swing era and the dawn of Bebop. I've updated by Spotify Sunday Jazz playlist with some choice cuts from the excellent compilation album The Complete Jazz at the Philharmonic on Verve, 1944-1949. Additionally I'd like to share some photos of that first JATP show, taken by Life magazine photographer Gjon Mili.
Album Cover of the Week: Morrison Hotel

Album Cover of the Week: Morrison Hotel

Album Cover of the Week, Music
The Doors' 1967 debut LP is easily the most popular and acclaimed record they released, but my favorite has always been Morrison Hotel. It has the most substance and the least weirdness of any of their releases to date. It also features perhaps the most iconic album cover of any Doors record. The building that gave the album and Side B their name, the Morrison Hotel, was located at 1246 South Hope Street in Los Angeles, California. According to photographer Henry Diltz, he and the band asked the desk clerk if they could shoot some pictures but were told they couldn't without the owner's permission. Since the owner wasn't around to give permission, they had to improvise. When the clerk left and got in the elevator, Diltz told the group to run into the hotel and pose. He managed to...