Up on the roof...
Around six-thirty in the evening, Sunday, September 10, 2006 - Sunset on Sunset - the Directors Guild of America building with the La Brea apartments in the flats below, the corner of Sunset and Laurel with the Laugh Factory and all, and looking the other way, the view out across Hollywood at Griffith Park Observatory - shot from the roof here -
Topic: Color Studies
Everyone thinks of Los Angeles as urban, particularly the triangle of Hollywood with its tacky glitz, Beverly Hills with its thirty-million-dollar mansions, and the endless wide streets lined with strip malls in the flats below. But at the north edge of it all are the Hollywood Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains. In the hills are deep, odd, secluded valleys. Turn north off Sunset Boulevard at Rexford, and go uphill only a few blocks. Turn left at Coldwater Canyon Park. Within a few hundred feet you'll be in Franklin Canyon, a thousand or more acres of wild scrub and live oak trees. It's totally silent. You're in the middle of Beverly Hills - not far from four major film studios, not far from the most expensive homes in the world piled on top of each other choking the hills, and not that far from Hollywood with all the tourists and souvenir shops just a few miles east. You're at Franklin Canyon Park, with its small lake, just sitting there quietly.
Heavenly Pond is a small duck pond located just west of the lake. That's what you see here. There's more information below the photographs.
Most of Franklin Canyon was owned by the Doheny family until 1977 - now it is part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The information on its current configuration and facilities is here. It was saved from development in the seventies. Activists convinced the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the National Park Service that it shouldn't be subdivided into homes for the very rich.
It was Los Angeles Department of Water and Power land, really. In 1914, William Mulholland, the man who developed the complex water systems for the DWP (see Chinatown), began construction of the reservoirs in Franklin Canyon to provide the main water service for downtown and West Los Angeles. The Upper Reservoir, the lake, was intended only to provide stability to the main facility and electric generating plant at the lower reservoir. By 1916, both reservoirs were in operation. After the 1971 Sylmar earthquake the strength of the reservoir system was questioned, and studies were done to asses the danger. They decided to take both the upper and lower reservoirs out of service and build a single, more modern and stable reservoir facility a quarter mile north of what was then the lower reservoir. The new rubber-covered facility is the Franklin 2 reservoir - in operational since 1982. It's ugly. The rest is now a park.
There's a good history here, although it concentrates on the more than thirty episodes of the 1962-1967 television show Combat! that were filmed here - no palm trees, so it looked like Europe in the forties, or close enough. You also may have seen the lake in into opening titles for the old Andy Griffin Show - Opie and Andy walking to the fishing hole. This stuff goes way back. In the 1930s the movie industry made arrangements with DWP to use the area for filming. It was an ideal site, close to the studios but far from any urban development, and completely off-limits to the public. Claudette Colbert's famous hitch-hiking scene in "It Happened One Night" was filmed here in 1935. The site is still being used, almost daily, by the film and television industry, although much of that is done far from the public areas. And a curiosity - the album covers for the Rolling Stones' album "Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass)" and Simon and Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence" were both shot here.
A few photos of the place were posted earlier here (July 13, 2003) and here (December 28, 2003).
High on Sunset
At a head shop on Sunset Boulevard, on Guitar Row, next to Mesa/Boogie (the "Home of Tone"), Thursday, September 7, the afternoon before the full moon was to rise - neon, sunshine, reflections - the sixties lives on…
And this was parked just down the street, or maybe it wasn't -
Don't worry, an angel watches over it all (Project Angel Food - 7574 Sunset Boulevard).
Topic: Historic Hollywood
This is a bit of delving into the past, cleaning up photos taken with the old Sony Mavica digital still camera (MVC-FD-88) - before the Nikon. These are from September 2004, documenting how Hollywood has faded.
The pastel globe at the old RKO Hollywood Studios, 780 Gower Avenue, at Melrose, now owned by CBS Paramount Television. The Fred Astaire - Ginger Rodgers movies were filmed here, including "Flying Down to Rio." RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) Pictures was formed in October 1928 as a combination of the Keith-Albee-Orpheum (KAO) theater chains, Joseph P. Kennedy's Film Booking Offices of America (FBO) studio, and RCA Photophone, the new sound-on-film division of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). First under the majority ownership of RCA, in later years it was taken over by maverick industrialist Howard Hughes and finally by the General Tire and Rubber Company. The original RKO Pictures ceased production in 1957 and was out of business as of 1960. There's a complete corporate history here. It's wild. But the glory days are long gone.
In Hollywood, the Hollywood Tower apartments
on Franklin Avenue -
The plaque by the front door reads: HOLLYWOOD TOWER. 1929. SOPHISTICATED LIVING FOR FILM LUMINARIES DURING THE "GOLDEN AGE" OF HOLLYWOOD. PLACED ON THE REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES BY THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR.
No one remembers who actually lived here. They remember the classic episode from the Twilight Zone concerning the building, and what Disney did with that
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, more commonly known as Tower of Terror, is a simulated freefall thrill ride at Disney-MGM Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Florida and at Disney's California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California. It is based upon the television show The Twilight Zone. The Disney-MGM Studios ride opened in 1994 and the California Adventure version in 2004.
As part of the "Happiest Homecoming on Earth" celebration, another Tower of Terror attraction will open at Tokyo DisneySea in Japan (2006), and later at Walt Disney Studios in France (2008). The Tokyo DisneySea version of Tower of Terror will not have a Twilight Zone theme.
The ride is themed to resemble the fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel. The storyline of the ride is that on October 31, 1939, the hotel was struck by lightning, transporting an elevator car full of passengers to the Twilight Zone. The exterior of the ride resembles an old hotel with a blackened scorch mark across the front of the façade where the lightning destroyed part of the building.
No blackened scorch mark across the front of the façade of the original. It's not very scary. Apartments are available. October 31st, Halloween, isn't that far off. Maybe there'll be storms and lightning this year. You never know.
On a lamppost, Melrose Avenue, 18 August 2006 -