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Old Posted Oct 25, 2010, 7:31 PM
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GaylordWilshire GaylordWilshire is offline
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Location: NYC
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Originally Posted by photolitherland View Post
In the first couple minutes of this clip from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, does that line still exist or those rail cars? I dont know if that was even filmed in LA. Ever since I watched that film when I was a little kid I fell in love with trollies and public rail transit.
Photolitherland: The debate over whether the demise of the Pacific Electric was due to a conspiracy driven by General Motors seems to be endless. After reading alot about it--the passions on both side are intense!--I'd say that, in the end, it was due to an effort on the part of GM to make money (what else were they in business for?)--but rather than being a conspiracy theorist's greatest fantasy, was simply an intelligent strategy to profit. GM may have seen an opening in the market and seized it, maneuvering and even manipulating to do so, but in the end the petering out of the PE and other electric transit lines had much more to do with a preference for speed and convenience--streetcars could never compete with private automobiles, and probably never will, unless for some reason, at some point in the future, no one can afford private transportation. Certainly street railways and automobiles sharing the same roadways is outmoded interms of safety and the efficient movement of traffic. In the "old days," you didn't mind walking a few or even many blocks to catch a streetcar--but if you could afford a car of your own, even one block might seem too much. And would you want to walk now in central Los Angeles or in New Orleans (where streetcars do still run)? At night? If you could afford even a jalopy to cut your trip by, say, two-thirds in terms of time? No one is going to waste the extra time riding two or even three streetcars when he could be at work or play. Here are a few more links to learn about the PE:

And here's an old post of mine from this site that mentions a DVD you should check out:

It doesn't seem to be the kind of thing you can find on Netflix, but if you can get your hands on the dvd "This Was Pacific Electric", you will love it-- it really is one of the best histories of the development of L.A. I've ever seen. Lots of old clips and pictures, with a well narrated, well-told story--and the best explanation of the demise of the PE I've ever heard. Clips include brief shots of the gas tanks we've discussed here, as well as of the '20s white-on-black street signs. Best part is commentary by Ralph Cantos, particularly in the extra walking tour he gives on the dvd. He's a real "foamer", the kind we owe alot to for seeing urban history in "four dimensions" (as the dvd calls it)--the past overlaid on the present, like the pictures of the past here. He apparently still gives rail tours--check out this link:

Last edited by GaylordWilshire; Oct 25, 2010 at 8:15 PM.
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