Friday, June 10, 2022

Father's Day In The Parks: Downtown Los Angeles Edition (& "L.A. In The "Future")

Father's Day is still a little over a week away, but I am celebrating it early with some photos taken by my dad, back in the 1960s. 

First up, we have a few shots of Los Angeles' City Hall, from August of 1965:

I will apologize for the color on all of these.  It's improved over what it was in the original scans of the slides, but I can't seem to make it any better than this.

This distant view of City Hall was taken from the Los Angeles Music Center, which would have been completed only 8 months earlier.

For a modern day (2019) comparison, I took this photo, standing just a few feet to the right of where my dad stood, in 1965.

The building pictured below, is the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, one of several performance venues at the Music Center.  Based on photos and film footage that I had seen in the past, I always thought these reflecting pools and water fountains were a part of the Music Center.

Years later, when I visited the Los Angeles Music Center for the first time, I was surprised to see that the fountains are actually located across the street, and are a part of the area surrounding the Department of Water and Power building.  The DWP building was also brand new at this time, having been completed in 1965.  An interesting feature of the pools and fountains is, that they are located on the roof of a parking garage (as seen below).  The parking lot in the foreground, is the property on which the Walt Disney Concert Hall now stands.  (Ford Mustang alert!)

I took this photo of the DWP building, in 2014, while standing in a raised garden area, on the backside of the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

And I took this one at the street level.  The fountains around the building were turned off at this time.  I believe that they only turn them on now, for special occasions.

Here are a couple more close-up shots of the fountains, taken by my dad.

My dad took this next photo, while standing in front of the DWP building, and facing the Music Center.  It shows a sliver of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and a sign advertising Hello, Dolly!, which was being performed at the Music Center.  Carol Channing was starring as "Dolly," in this 1965 touring company of the show.  She had originated the role on Broadway, just one year earlier.

I took this picture of the same street corner, in 2019.  The frame for the sign had been updated at some point, and was advertising The Mariinsky Ballet.  The Walt Disney Concert Hall would be just out of frame, to the right.

For anyone unfamiliar with the Walt Disney Concert Hall, here's a photo I took of it in 2019.  The building was designed by architect, Frank Gehry, and opened in 2003.

I'm including this Los Angeles Times article, just because I think it's pretty interesting.  It's dated June 17, 1999.  At that time, there were some ambitious plans for a new tourist attraction in Downtown Los Angeles.  It's centerpiece was going to be a tower taller than the Eiffel Tower, and topped off with a statue of an angel, which itself was going to be taller than the Statue of Liberty.  Apparently, the plans fell through!

And to close out this post, here's a vintage Father's Day card that my brother and I had given to our dad, when we were kids.

Happy "early" Father's Day, to all of the dad's out there!

(To see some of my Dad's other vintage photos, taken at Disneyland, Knott's, Universal Studios, etc., click here:  Father's Day In The Parks.)


 ****Post Update - June 15, 2022****

I've decided to add this extra shot of City Hall, also taken by my dad.

I was curious about the poster on the side of that bus.  About the only thing that I could even remotely make out, was possibly the name, "John Wayne."

I looked up John Wayne's filmography, to see what movies he had made in 1965.  It turns out the poster is for his film, The Sons of Katie Elder:


****Post Update - June 19, 2022****

I've decided to go ahead and add the rest of my dad's photos, from this batch.  I'm not sure why I chose to edit these out of the post.  I guess I initially thought there were too many pics of the Music Center and the DWP fountains!

Here's one more shot of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.  This would have been taken while standing on the property, where the Walt Disney Concert Hall now sits.

After realizing that my dad took this from the same spot as his photo of the Department of Water and Power building, I thought I would try to merge the two photos together.  It didn't turn out too bad, I guess, although it looks like both buildings are tilting a bit.

This is another shot taken from the DWP building, looking across the street towards the Music Center.  City Hall can be seen peeking out from behind the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

And these last two shots are of the DWP fountains.

This one shows a bit of the 101 (Hollywood) Freeway in the background, just as it goes over the 110 (Harbor) Freeway.


K. Martinez said...

Nice post today, TM!

Los Angeles City Hall is one of my favorite buildings in L.A. if not my favorite. Such a beautiful piece of architecture. So timeless really. You did a great job on the pics.

The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is a classic L.A. landmark too.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall looks like something out of Fantasia.

The article for that "Angel City" complex with towering angel statue in downtown sounds confident. I would've loved to have at least the angel statue done in some form. Thanks for posting the entire article.

Sweet Father's Day postcard.

Thanks, TM!

K. Martinez said...

Oops! I meant Father's Day card.

Major Pepperidge said...

I love these photos of Los Angeles! Very cool that your dad took them; when I was in school I did a project that involved taking photos of City Hall from far, far away, and then getting closer and closer, from all different angles, until I got right up to the building. I wanted to go up inside and take a few photos from the observation deck, but for some reason it was closed to the public that day. Bummer!

i used to go to downtown a lot when I did illustrations for the L.A. Times - this was before you could just scan your painting at home and email it to the client (or do it digitally in the first place). What a pain! And I went there a lot during the OJ trial. I wish I’d bought some of the merchandise that people were peddling on the street. There was a pinback button that said “Ito is neato”. And another one said "Don't squeeze the Juice".

I thought I’d read that the DWP building might be torn down, but it’s possible that I am mistaken. I HOPE I am mistaken. Love the photos of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, I got to go there once in a rare while with my grandma, it was definitely a fancy thing to do.

That concept art of the “Towering Achievement” reminds me of Disney theme park artwork. Maybe it would have looked great in real life - the public never likes change, and then, after a while, they love the new thing (see: The Eiffel Tower).

Love that Father's Day card too.

Thanks for the fun post!

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, thanks. L.A.'s City Hall is one of my favorite buildings, too. I need to get closer to it, the next time I photograph it.

It's funny about the Walt Disney Concert Hall. I don't like some of Gehry's other works, but I do like his design for the concert hall. It's very whimsical.

The people involved with that article did seem very confident about the project going through. I think the artist even said something like, it's a matter of "when" and not "if."

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I would love to go inside L.A.'s City Hall, and up to an observation deck. I've never even attempted to do it, even though I've known that it was open to the public.

I don't think I knew that you did illustrations for the L.A. Times...or if I did, I guess I forgot. Will we ever get to see any of your artwork, or photographic work, on GDB? I would love to see some of it!

I hope the DWP building is not in danger of being torn down. I would think that the L.A, Conservancy would raise a huge fuss over it. They have been successful in saving buildings, in the last several decades.

I've never been inside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, or the Mark Taper Forum, but I have been inside the Ahmanson Theater multiple times.

I wonder if souvenirs of the O.J. trial are valuable today? Were there any buttons that said, "GUILTY!" Or, "HE DID IT!"

The artwork in that article also reminded me a little of something we'd see Disney come up with. That tower and it's statue sound like they were going to be enormous. I'm sure there would have been some complaints. It is funny to think that Parisians considered the Eiffel Tower to be an eyesore, at one time.

Chuck said...

Thanks for sharing your dad's pictures. I know I enjoy looking at my dad's slides from that era - there's just something about that time that I associate closely with slides, an era that's juuust before my time through my very young childhood.

Interesting to note that the total acreage of that project was slated at 85 acres and that they were in escrow to buy 55 acres - which is roughly comparable to Disneyland's original size. Downtown LA was also one of sites considered for DL, too. While I like the statue's design, I don't think I would have been crazy about it at that size.

I see you and your brother attached pictures of your faces to the card instead of signing it. Very creative!

Melissa said...

Gorgeous pictures! I can almost feel that California sunshine. You can't take a bad picture of City Hall. It always makes me think of when Adam West died and they projected the Bat-signal on the tower in his honor.

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, it's interesting that my dad did not get our family slides out and show them on a projector....ever. He did do that with our family's "home movies," but not the slides. He had prints made of some of the slides, but not all of them. I was in high school, the first time I viewed our family's slides. I remember it feeling like I was striking gold, to find so many photos that I had never seen before. These Los Angeles shots were among those that I hadn't seen. I have some more Los Angeles shots, and some of Hollywood ones, too. Oh, and San Francisco, Solvang, and Las Vegas. Those are in addition to the Disneyland, Knott's, Marineland, and Universal Studios slides. I would really lie to get a better scanner before I share more, but we'll see if that happens. I haven't been super happy with the quality of the slide scans I have shared in the past.

I agree with you about that statue of the angel. It sounds like it would have been monstrous, in size!

TokyoMagic! said...

Melissa, there was at least one other shot of the L.A. City Hall in this batch of slides. I think I'll add it to the end of the post. I remember there was a "vintage" bus in the shot that I didn't use.

I didn't know that they projected the Bat Signal onto City Hall, when Adam West died. That's too cool! I know they change the colors of the lighting on it, for certain holidays.

TokyoMagic! said...

Melissa, I just added that extra shot of City Hall, since you said that you can't take a bad picture of it! I guess I originally left it out, because the angle was similar to one of the other two shots. But it is an interesting view, because of the vintage bus, and because of the poster on the side of the bus, advertising a 1965 John Wayne and Dean Martin film.

Chuck said...

Thanks for the extra picture, TM!

That's a Flxible F2D6V401-1 in Southern California Rapid Transit Authority livery. The green paint job on these was either short-lived or only applied to a few buses - I have only been able to find one picture of one other one (maybe the same one - can't read the bus number) painted that way. Most were painted yellow where this one is green.

My dad rarely got the slides out to show at our house - it was mostly home movies for us, too. I honestly only remember looking at slides once or twice, and that was before I turned 8. I finally pulled out the projector and started going through the slide collection when I was a freshman in high school, and I had a similar experience - like I had stepped into my own family's past, some of which I remembered but didn't remember ever seeing on film before.

I hope you are able to get access to a better scanner. Interested in seeing your pictures, too (says the guy who doesn't have a slide scanner).

Chuck said...

Oh, and I have the theme from The Sons of Katie Elder stuck in my head now. Glad I like that piece of music - I have a feeling it will be with me for a few days...

"Lou and Sue" said...

TokyoMagic! No need to apologize for the color, as I love those pictures just the way they are. Your dad snapped some NICE ones!

I'm looking forward to seeing more of your father's collection - especially of Hollywood.

Thank you, TM!

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, that's interesting about the green paint job on the bus. Thanks for that info. I only remember the yellow paint jobs on the old RTD buses.

I had to look up the theme from The Sons of Katie Elder. I like it! It sounds vaguely familiar, but I've never seen the movie. In fact, I just looked up John Wayne's filmography, and realized that the only film of his that I have seen, is Reunion In France, where he and Joan Crawford have a love affair, while battling Nazis....and Natalie Schafer, during WWII. If you count Star Wars, then I have seen two of his films. According to his filmography, it shows that he provided a voice (uncredited) for a character named "Garindan" (?) in 1977s Star Wars. Who knew?

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, thanks! My dad did take some nice pics (in my opinion!) Like your father, he loved to take pictures. I just don't know if he took as many as your dad....probably not. But I do have trays and trays of his slides, and also envelopes and binders full of negatives.

I have some pics that my dad took of Grauman's Chinese Theater, but unfortunately, they do not show John Wayne's loose block! ;-)

Chuck said...

TM!, I had not heard that John Wayne had voiced a character in Star Wars, but it's apparently true. Cool factoid. Here are a couple of articles:'ve only seen one John Wayne film???!!! You need to correct that. Tell me at least that you have seen his ILL and Lucy Show appearances. Please. Lie to me if you have to. I want us to be able to stay friends.

You probably heard the theme from The Sons of Katie Elder in a background loop while you were working at or a guest at Knott's. That's actually where I became familiar with a lot of Western movie themes as a kid. I'd here themes from The Magnificent Seven or How the West Was Won on the radio and immediately notify my parents we'd heard this at Knott's. My little sister did the same thing with "The Entertainer" - she'd smile and say "Knott Berry Farm!"

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, thanks for those links. Okay, so his voice was used, but then synthesized to "sounds." That makes sense. Still, I wonder how they got him for that role, and why he was uncredited.

I have seen John Wayne on "I Love Lucy." That is a great episode. Does it also help that I have Stagecoach on DVD? I just haven't watched it yet! I have also visited the former John Wayne Theater and John Wayne Museum, at Knott's Berry Farm! And I have stepped into John Wayne's actual footprints, at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Oh, and I have a John Wayne postage stamp/magnet on my refrigerator (it belonged to my dad).

And speaking of Knott's, that makes sense that I probably would have heard that soundtrack while working at Knott's.

Chuck said...

TM!, you have redeemed yourself in the eyes of a guy who actually owns a shingle from the roof of John Wayne’s birthplace in Winterset, Iowa. But you really should watch Stagecoach - some classic performances in a Western that set the standard for a generation. It’s also the movie where John Wayne finally became an actor with a capital A. Time to check it off the bucket list.

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, I forgot to mention that I have seen John Wayne's son, Patrick, in one of the greatest Disney tearjerkers of all time, The Bears and I. I have also met his other son, Ethan, at the re-dedication of Knott's Berry Farm's Log Ride, in 2013.

TokyoMagic! said...

For anyone following the comments on this post, I have just added the rest of my dad's photos, from this batch of August 1965/Downtown Los Angeles slides. And I've included a "merge" of one of the added photos, with one of the previously posted photos.

Chuck said...

Okay, now you’re just showing off. ;-). Cool that you have met his youngest, the one who rode with his dad on the first “official” run of the Calico Log Ride. I drove past his military school in Roswell, New Mexico, every day for three weeks, but he was long gone by then.

Nanook said...

@ Chuck & TM!-
Originally, the MTA utilized a green color scheme. The Santa Monica Bus Lines, on the other hand, always used Blue - and referred to their busses as the "Big Blue Bus" starting in 1950.

As for the MTA, I don't know if the change from the green/light green to the brown/'mustard' color scheme directly corresponded with the name change from the MTA to the (SC)RTD, or not - but what follows, clearly argues against that. What I DO remember vividly is at one point, anyway, the MTA had started a TV/radio campaign including a jingle - with such "memorable" lines as:
On the freeway the traffic gets hot
but you're not
worried about it.
On the MTA, the MTA, no more looking for a parking place.
You'll wonder how you did without it
Let the driver worry 'bout it.
Relax today on the M T A-!

So... In the middle of it all, the name changed to something (less East coast-sounding: the MTA seems so 'old-fashioned', after all) - to an updated "hip" name: The RTD, for Rapid Transit District. (The full name was actually the Southern California Rapid Transit District).

Anyway... This created a problem, as the jingle referred to the "MTA". Oh, dearie-me... what to do-? Evidently the 'bean counters' had the final say, thus allowing for the barest-amount of updating to the jingle necessary. And here was their solution:

On the big green bus, the big green bus, no more looking for a parking place.
You'll wonder how you did without it
Let the driver worry 'bout it.
Relax with us on the Big Green Bus-!

I presume Santa Monica's "Big Blue Bus" had a little something to do with the lyric update-! (Who needs Lorenz Hart-??!!)

This indicated that [for a time, at least] those green colors kicked-off the introduction to the (SC)RTD. I'm sure the complete history is fascinating beyond words-!

Thanks, Chris, for a fun post.

TokyoMagic! said...

Steve, thanks for that information about the buses! I only remember the yellow/gold color on the buses, and I only remember the initials "RTD" being on the oval signs. Do you know what year they made the switch from MTA to RTD?

Melissa said...

That extra shot of City Hall was worth it for the added You Are There, and for sparking all the bus/Wayne discourse!

TokyoMagic! said...

Melissa, you are the one who inspired me to go back and post that shot with the bus in the foreground. It was because of your "You can't take a bad picture of City Hall" comment! Thank you! :-)

Nanook said...

According to Wikipedia... the MTA was taken over by the Southern California Rapid Transit District on November 5, 1964.

TokyoMagic! said...

Steve, thanks for looking up that date!