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  #10281  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 4:00 AM
tovangar2 tovangar2 is offline
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The Brown Derby Stars in Film

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Originally Posted by BifRayRock View Post
Recently discussed some street signage peculiarities near the Wilshire Brown Derby. Noticed this image, dated 1930, where there is a painted "WATCH TRAFFIC" warning on Wilshire. Assume this practice was short-lived as I don't recall seeing the warning in similar photos. Wonder whether this was a city-adopted traffic/pedestrian warning or something the Derby management employed on behalf of patrons skedaddling to the Ambassador?

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(The date on the above image isn't correct. The Brown Derby wasn't moved to this corner until 1937).

If you've never seen it, don't miss 1932's Cukor-directed "What Price Hollywood" (the original version of A Star is Born) from RKO, a Constance Bennett vehicle also starring Lowell Sherman, although Eddie "Rochester" Anderson and the Brown Derby (1926) steal the show (if one asks me). The interior and exterior of the Brown Derby, in 1932 still sited west of Alexandria in the middle of the block, is shown to excellent effect in the early part of the film (at least I think it was the real Derby, otherwise it's the best set ever.)

"What Price Hollywood" may be available on DVD by now. TCM has it on regular rotation. It also turns up in revival houses. The last time I saw it was at the ACMPAS HQ on Wilshire in BH with a very appreciative audience of old-Hollywood types. The film looks great on a big screen.

Soon after the Brown Derby was lifted to the second floor of the strip mall where it still resides, I stopped by to find the interior plaster had been removed (probably to reduce the weight for the move). The lath work which forms the shape and held the plaster was incredible, a dense honeycomb of small pieces of wood expertly fitted together to make the smooth dome. I'll always regret not having a camera with me that day. I'd previously thought the Derby must be kind of flimsy, so I was really impressed with the obvious effort and skill that went into constructing it.

Later, after a Korean beer bar had opened in the old Derby, a huge styrofoam replica of the Matterhorn was built in the center, covered in white paint and twinkling clear-glass glitter. Tiny skiers whooshed down the sides towards a circle of ice-filled bins of various brands of Korean beer. What a sight! But it was still an incredible space. I'd live in it if I could.


RKO

The Producer (Sherman) entices the Waitress (Bennett) with dreams of stardom in an old Derby booth. One of the little multi-paned casement windows set into the Derby's hatband is in the background.

P.S. The windows were finally scraped clean of paint after the Derby was moved upstairs in the strip mall, Brown Derby Plaza, in 1980. The windows were painted over sometime after the 1937 move because the Derby was placed so close to the sidewalk I guess, although they're still clear in the photo quoted at the top of this post. The windows are painted over, the Derby's brim extended over the front steps, the front door blocked and the brim filled with potted plants in the circa late 1960's-1970's pic below :-(


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Last edited by tovangar2; Nov 18, 2012 at 11:16 AM. Reason: to add P.S.
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  #10282  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 4:10 AM
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....wow, very interesting T2.
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Ad dated Feb. 21, 1897.


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I wonder what was in room 46?
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Last edited by ethereal_reality; Nov 18, 2012 at 4:32 AM.
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  #10283  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 4:28 AM
tovangar2 tovangar2 is offline
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"Line of Reception" and "Line of Repulsion"? Dear, dear.

Last edited by tovangar2; Jun 23, 2015 at 7:57 AM. Reason: b/c
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  #10284  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 4:54 AM
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A postcard of the lesser known famous Brown Derby in Beverly Hills (also on Wilshire).


ebay



below: Replaced by this embarrassingly phallic piece of Euro-tripe.


google street view

All the money in the World and this is what they come up with (sadly, money can't buy taste).
It is so obvious that the cylindrical 'tube' is a floor too high. Lower the dome to roof level and this architectural misfit becomes half as bad.

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Last edited by ethereal_reality; Nov 18, 2012 at 5:07 AM.
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  #10285  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 6:36 AM
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I just came across this snapshot on ebay. -so where is this?



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  #10286  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 8:57 AM
tovangar2 tovangar2 is offline
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A Fave Pic of the Alexandria Hotel, 5th & Spring, DTLA


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This shot of the Alexandria Hotel (John Parkinson, 1906) was taken after the 1907 addition was built on the 5th Street side, but before the Annex (containing the famous Tiffany-glass, sky-lit Palm Court) was added in 1911 on Spring St at the south end of the original building and before the early movie people came to make the Alexandria even more famous. Judging by the decorations, this may have been the notable occasion, very early in the history of the Alexandria, when the Salt Lake City Elks booked the entire hotel.

Parkinson designed what is basically a very restrained edifice but then let loose with some Edwardian-era, Gibson-girl frivolity in the details. The roof line is decorated with a balustrade, fronted by female demi-figures and topped by globe-shaped lights mounted on exceedingly curvy baluster-shaped plinths alternating with fanciful, almost mid-century-modern-looking spires.

Just above the mezzanine level four griffins sit upright. Chains, held fast in each griffin's beak, loop out to the ends of curlicue brackets before dropping down for a couple of feet and ending in very large globe lights.

Many more globe lights, similar in size to those on the roof, project out over the sidewalk just above the ground-floor shop windows, forming a continuous line along both the Spring St and 5th St facades.

It must have been a very pretty and festive sight in the evenings, as one arrived in one's carriage or motorcar, just as it grew dark, especially since all the globe lights on the Alexandria matched the charming street lamps of that era (one streetlamp is pictured in the photo) in both shape and scale, which may have inspired Parkinson's illuminations for the hotel.

All that was before the Alexandria descended into the gritty noir of the Nickel (older Angelenos term for our local Skid Row) and started, so it's said, averaging three deaths a week from suicides, overdoses, murders and drug-deal shoot-outs.

All the illuminations are gone now, as are the spires, and the Spring St streetlamps are of a much more utilitarian design. The lovely bay window, with it charming metalwork, which used to cap the Spring St entrance, together with the cantilevered cover which projected out over the 5th St entrance are gone too. The griffins remain, relieved of their chains, but the one on the corner is trapped behind the uninspired vertical sign added in the 1950's.

The company which accepted the city's financial incentives for the recent rehab of the Alexandria, part of the Spring St gentrification efforts, promised, as part of the deal, to restore both the lobby and the exterior. I guess they forgot.


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1906 griffin trapped behind 1950's sign.

Last edited by tovangar2; Nov 18, 2012 at 11:51 AM.
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  #10287  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 9:16 AM
tovangar2 tovangar2 is offline
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Old-Money Enclave

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Originally Posted by ethereal_reality View Post
I just came across this snapshot on ebay. -so where is this?



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Those are the 18' high Fremont Place gates on Wilshire's Park Mile, south of Hancock Park, designed by JM Haenke. They lost their attached, colonnaded arbors somewhere along the way.

There's actually four gates altogether, one each at the Wilshire Blvd entrances to Fremont Place and Fremont Place West, the two private drives that serve the 50-acre Fremont Place private "park", as residents call it. The other two are at the Olympic Blvd ends of the two drives, but those are kept locked and are quite overgrown. Each of the four gates was supposed to have cost $12,000 in 1911 (I guess that included the arbors) but they're only cast concrete, not the granite that was originally planned, so maybe they got 'em at a discount. The first house wasn't built until 1915.

Fremont Place homes sell in the 2.5-3.5 million dollar range, not much compared to Beverly Hills, Bel-Aire, etc. You can't see the homes, except from above, b/c they won't allow the Google Street-View Camera Car in there.

Last edited by tovangar2; Oct 23, 2015 at 3:55 PM. Reason: I can't spell
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  #10288  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 3:19 PM
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The effects of L.A.'s urbanization on those gates is sad...


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Clockwise: Wilshire east gate; Wilshire west; Olympic east, Olympic west. Not much can be done about Wilshire, but if the Fremont Place Association would be kind enough to do a little trimming around the motor and pedestrian gates on the Olympic side, we might have a feel of what these precincts looked like when first built.


Despite the gates, today the development doesn't have quite the same appeal as Windsor Square or Hancock Park just to the north. While celebrity occupants have attracted some interest, there have never really been any distinctive houses in Fremont Place--two that were distinctive are gone, and their interest lay mostly in that they'd been moved to the development. These were the Drake house and the Aronson house.


Mary Pickford and her mother rented #56 (still standing) at one point; Charlotte Pickford bought #129 in 1920, which also still stands, close to the Olympic end:


LAT/GoogleSV



AND, last but not least, a little Fremont NOIR is here.
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  #10289  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 5:00 PM
BifRayRock BifRayRock is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tovangar2 View Post
(The date on the above image isn't correct. The Brown Derby wasn't moved to this corner until 1937).
Meant to include the word "mistakenly" before the date attribution.

It has been posted here before, but here is a wonderful image of the hat (ca. 1928) at the earlier location. Plenty of parking!

USC Digital

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3927 Wilshire (ca. '31) - before it became Perino's (lower)
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More here: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...postcount=1392

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The rarely-mentioned reversed Derby
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and the pastoral Derby
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Last edited by BifRayRock; Nov 18, 2012 at 7:58 PM.
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  #10290  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 5:11 PM
BifRayRock BifRayRock is offline
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Fascinating amusement complex at Ocean Park, circa 1914.

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Interesting early history of the park: http://www.westland.net/venicehistor...s/pickpier.htm
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  #10291  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 5:41 PM
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  #10292  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 6:22 PM
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3400 Wilshire Blvd. discussed earlier.
lapl

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Different perspective, ca. 1952. Southern view of Sixth and Mariposa.
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  #10293  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 8:01 PM
BifRayRock BifRayRock is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ethereal_reality View Post
A postcard of the lesser known famous Brown Derby in Beverly Hills (also on Wilshire).


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Circa '37
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  #10294  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 8:39 PM
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Lumierefl
In its original location


News of its move, and what didn't make it to 3377 Wilshire Blvd:

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  #10295  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 8:51 PM
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Thanks for locating the gates in my snapshot T2 & GW.



Quote:
Originally Posted by tovangar2 View Post
The Alexandria descended into the gritty noir of the Nickel (older Angelenos term for our local Skid Row) and started,
so it's said, averaging three deaths a week from suicides, overdoses, murders and drug-deal shoot-outs.
I've never heard skid row called the Nickel before. Interesting tidbit.



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Last edited by ethereal_reality; Nov 18, 2012 at 9:01 PM.
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  #10296  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 8:53 PM
tovangar2 tovangar2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BifRayRock View Post


It has been posted here before, but here is a wonderful image of the hat (ca. 1928) at the earlier location. Plenty of parking!

USC Digital

and the pastoral Derby
LAPL
I love the landscaped, street-level billboards. There were still many of them when I was a child. One or two still existed up until at least the 1990's, but I can no longer remember where they were/are, maybe on Pico or Venice.

And thanks for the pic of the "pastoral Derby". That's a great one.
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  #10297  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 9:11 PM
BifRayRock BifRayRock is offline
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This may be a not-so-obvious shot of the original hat. The proportions seem odd. When enlarged, Wilshire toward the distant west seems to meander far more than I recall. The source attributes the photo as "1925." Although the date may be questionable, perhaps this is the Derby in a pre-opening stage? Missing signage?



A few more Hat version 1 here:http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...postcount=9453

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  #10298  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 9:38 PM
tovangar2 tovangar2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaylordWilshire View Post


The effects of L.A.'s urbanization on those gates is sad...


GoogleSV

Clockwise: Wilshire east gate; Wilshire west; Olympic east, Olympic west. Not much can be done about Wilshire, but if the Fremont Place Association would be kind enough to do a little trimming around the motor and pedestrian gates on the Olympic side, we might have a feel of what these precincts looked like when first built.
Re the "ubanization", the office and apartment buildings around the gates on the Wilshire side of Fremont Place didn't go up until the 1990's (I think it was). Before that the street frontage on both sides of Wilshire through this section was zoned R1 residential. However, there was always an expiration date on that. Developers bought the land up and sat on it, biding their time until the R1 zoning lapsed. That's why the land was undeveloped for decades and which is why it was (and still is) called the Park Mile.

Certain restrictions did apply to the finally-allowed development: no retail and minimal signage, together with a height limit. One building is taller than the others (it's to the west of the Wilshire east gate in your photo above). The LA Planning Dept approved that one by mistake, but the buildings went up so fast that there was no time to reverse the approval decision.

And Lord have mercy GW, the Fremont Place Association isn't going to have the Olympic Blvd gates cleaned up. The overgrowth, together with the ugly tarps over the permanently-locked, chainlink swing gates between the pillars is there b/c Fremont Place types don't like their neighbors to the south. Fremont Place is purposefully trying to look anonymous and unwelcoming on their southern border. That's my take on it anyway.

Last edited by tovangar2; Dec 8, 2012 at 2:22 AM.
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  #10299  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 10:17 PM
Chuckaluck Chuckaluck is offline
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Security Pacific Bank, Gilmore Bank, Farmer's Market, Market Basket, Britts/KMart . . . all there!

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  #10300  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2012, 10:29 PM
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I've never noticed this somewhat extravagant street sign before.


snapshot/ebay
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