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Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography art opening at 1650 Gallery

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 19, 2012 02:16pm | Post a Comment

In a recent poll of Americans conducted by Public Policy Polling, only 33% of respondents said that they view Los Angeles favorably whereas 40% view it negatively. 27% stated that they’re not sure. Of America’s largest five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia), LA is the only one with a higher negative response than positive. As someone who lives in and loves Southern California, this disappoints but doesn’t surprise me.

  

Growing up in other parts of the country, pop culture sculpted and skewed my perception of the Southland more than anything else. Living here I consider it to be the most misrepresented too. I’ve never been to Philadelphia but my experiences in other large American cities haven’t produced the same sort of glaring dissonance between my expectations and experience that LA has. And with LA the center of America’s pop culture machine, I have to wonder why the city doesn’t do a better job of showcasing its positive attributes instead of its negative – mainly conspicuous consumption, movie stardom and gang culture.

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For Ozoners Only -- On this day, in 1933, the first drive-in theater opened

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 6, 2012 11:22am | Post a Comment
THE FIRST DRIVE-IN


An advertisement for the first Drive-In 

The first drive-in theater opened on 6 June, 1933 at 2901 Admiral Wilson Boulevard in Camden, New Jersey. It was the invention of Richard M. Hollingshead Jr, who'd began screening films outdoors at his home with a 1928 Kodak projector sat on the roof of his car. He applied for a patent for his "invention" on 16 May, 1933. The feature film shown at his theater was the British comedy, Wives Beware.


The world's first Drive-In Theater

Before long, drive-ins, or automobile movie theaters, were opening in other states. California's first drive-in was the Pico Drive-In at 10850 W. Pico Boulevard, which opened  West Los Angeles in September, 1934. It was demolished in 1947 and was replaced by the Picwood Theatre in 1948. The Picwood closed in 1985, was demolished and replaced with the Westside Pavilion -- which includes the Landmark Theatre.


The Pico Drive-In

DRIVE-INS' PEAK


Although Hollingshead's pioneering theater closed in 1936 after only three years of operation -- a victim of a battle with Paramount Pictures -- the idea was popular although blasting sound outdoors necessitated the theaters being placed in less-developed areas.A major drive-in innovation occurred in 1941, when RCA introduced in-car speakers. Popularity exploded and by 1948 there were nearly 1,000 drive-ins. By the end of the 1950s, drive-ins accounted for 40% of theater grosses. In California, the number of drive-ins peaked in the 1960s, reaching 220.

THE RISE OF HOME VIDEO AND DRIVE-INS' DECLINE

Happy Birthday, Los Angeles!!!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 4, 2010 06:27pm | Post a Comment

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Los Angeles County

Happy Birthday Los Angeles. The City of Angels turns 229 years young today (sort of). Back in 1781, so the story goes, 44 Spaniards from Mexico established El Pueblo de Los Angeles. Of the Spaniards, 26 were black, sixteen were Native or mestizo, and two were white. The city has grown even more diverse in the past two centuries and now L.A. boasts the greatest ethnic and cultural diversity of any city not only in the known universe, but the known space-time continuum.


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's bird's eye attempt at a Middle Earth style Southland map

Los Angeles also boasts more food trucks, Scientologists, playhouses, Angelenos, lowriders, smog and miles of freeway than any city in the US. A host of surrounding towns put the "great" in "Greater Los Angeles." Any regular readers will know that I like to explore the Southland, in an attempt to entertain and uncover the music, movie, culinary, cultural histories the many and varied communities of the great sprawl -- sort of Los Angeles' extended family.



If interested, please take a look at the list below and click here to vote for more LA neighborhoods, here for LA County communities, and here for OC communities to be the subject of future blog entries. 

Bud Browne 1912 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, July 31, 2008 08:32am | Post a Comment


Last week ‘the father of surf films,’ Bud "Barracuda" Browne, the onetime lifeguard who began showing his 16-millimeter movies commercially in the early 1950’s, died in his sleep at his home in San Luis Obispo. He was 96.

Born July 12th, 1912, in Newtonville, Massachusetts, Browne began swimming competitively at age seven. He attended USC, was captain of the swim team and in 1933 ranked second in the nation as a collegiate swimmer. While working as a lifeguard at Venice Beach in late thirties, Browne was introduced to surfing. In 1938 he went to Hawaii to ride the big waves in Waikiki, taking along an 8-millimeter movie camera to film the local surfers. One his first and most prized reels of film recorded the legendary king of the surfers Duke Kahanamoku.

During World War II, Browne served as a navy chief specialist in athletics (earning the nickname "Barracuda" for his long lean look). Following the war he became a teacher in Los Angeles, working as a middle-school physical education instructor and also attended USC Film School. He upgraded his camera to a 16-millimeter Bell & Howell. In 1953, after spending several years filming surfers in Hawaii, Browne pieced together enough footage to compile a 45-minute film. Hawaiian Surfing Movie debuted at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica.

Browne eventually gave up his teaching gig and took to chronicling the 1950’s surf scene full time, releasing at least one movie a year between 1953 and 1964. With films such as Trek to Makaha, The Big Surf, Surf Down Under, Cavalcade of Surf, Locked In and Gun Ho!, Browne documented all the surfing greats of the longboard era, like Phil Edwards, Buzzy Trent, Greg Noll, Miki Dora, Linda Benson and Dewey Weber, plus the first-generation of shortboard riders, like David Nuuhiwa, Nat Young and Gerry Lopez. In addition to completing nearly 20 of his own films, he also contributed footage to other projects such as Big Wednesday, directed by John Milius, Greg McGillivray/Jim Freeman’s Waves of Change (also known as The Sunshine Sea) and their 1972 classic Five Summer Stories. In the early 1990’s Browne began re-editing some of his earlier efforts. The first project, Surfing the 50's, honed his best color footage from the eight films he produced during the fifties. That success led to re-releasing some of his other movies such as the 1963 classic, Gun Ho!.

As a surf-film pioneer, Browne had a huge influence on those who came after him like Bruce Brown (The Endless Summer) and photographer John Severson. Bud Browne was inducted into the International Surfing Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame in 1996. This past March, he was honored at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival for his lifetime achievements to the genre of surf films.

Here is some of Browne’s footage used in a Hamms Beer commercial from 1965.

Boyd Coddington 1944 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, February 28, 2008 10:36am | Post a Comment


As a kid I grew up around Southern California’s custom car culture. My Dad did custom auto body, paint and design. He was constantly chopping, welding, re-chopping, re-welding, filling in some Bondo here, pounding out a dent, re-filling in some Bondo there, pounding out another fender, painting, taping off, re-painting, all performed on some innocent Detroit family car, transforming your average Ford or Chevy into some kind of mutant So-Cal testosterone by-product of too much sun and youth. The smell of Bondo, the polyester fiberglass resin used to fill in holes, is the smell that takes me back to my childhood!  I may just drive a ’97 Toyota, but my heart has always been wrapped around the 1934 Ford Roadster my Dad owned when I was a kid. There was, and is, nothing like cruising around town in a hot rod - the rumble of glass-packs, or the pure simple beauty of pin stripping or the swagger of flames painted across the polished curves of a vintage fender and hood.

West Coast custom car-building legend Boyd Coddington has died at the age of 63.  Coddington had been hospitalized during this past holiday season, but the cause of death has not yet been released.  Born in Rupert, Idaho, in 1944, Coddington started to build cars in his parents' garage as a teenager.  He became a machinist by trade, and at one point worked for Disneyland on the graveyard shift, but by day he would tinker in his home garage producing one car at a time. His designs soon captured the imagination and spirit of Southern Californian car-culture fans. Presently Coddington’s shop in La Habra, California has some 70 employees working in a 50,000 square foot facility which includes an in-house body and paint shop.

Coddington set the standard for workmanship and creativity.  His first claim to fame came with his streamlined re-creation of a 1933 Coupe that won the Al Slonaker Award at the1981 Oakland Roadshow, one of hot roddings most prestigious prizes. Boyd's cars have also won "America's Most Beautiful Roadster" an unprecedented seven times, the Daimler-Chrysler Design Excellence Award twice, and he's been inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame, the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame, the National Rod & Custom Museum Hall of Fame, the Route 66 Wall of Fame, the Street Rod Marketing Alliance Hall of Fame, and was voted "Man of the Year" in 1988 by Hot Rod Magazine. His "Cadzilla" creation is considered to be a design masterpiece, based on a 1950s style Cadillac, it was built for ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. And one more unusual honor came Coddington’s way: he was to have the only hot rod displayed at the Smithsonian, when his '33 coupe was part of a 1993 exhibit titled "Sculpture on Wheels."

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