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westcork Oct 12, 2012 12:07 PM


Originally Posted by Wig-Wag (Post 5863736)
The picture of the earthquake damaged hotel was not taken in Pasadena. It is of the Arlington Hotel in Santa Barbara. Bertram Hancock, Son of millionaire George Alan Hancock lost his life there in the 1925 Santa Barbara Earthquake. See the attached website for the story and a postcard view of the hotel before the earthquake.


That was a great read. Thanks for sharing

GaylordWilshire Oct 12, 2012 2:49 PM


Originally Posted by rcarlton (Post 5863391)
Mrs. Virginia Patty murder case

Los Angeles, Cal. June 4. William Tallman, ship radio operator, who is charged with the murder of Mrs. Virginia Patty here, was reported by radio tonight from the steamer Admiral Benson to have been arrested on board the ship.

Couldn't help but be remninded of another noirish William Talman... (one less "L"...).

I hadn't realized that he has more noir cred than just Perry Mason. Tomatoes
In 1953's The Hitch-Hiker directed by Ida Lupino.

Who knew Episcopal churches had boxing teams? From the IMDB: "The scion of a wealthy Detroit family, William Talman would later claim that he learned to "champion the underdog" while a member of his Episcopal church boxing team."
Apparently the year before he appeared only in a photograph as Ida Lupino's dead husband in Beware, My Lovely.

But the best part is Talman's real-life noir episode:
Los Angeles Times March 15, 1960

A snippet from another Times article on the subject:
Talman is one of those people I could have gone through my whole life not having to think about as ever having been naked, but it does make for a good little noir story.

By the way, I've seen Hamilton Burger also spelled Berger. Seems "Burger" might be correct, though.... Did Erle Stanley Gardner really spell it that way? If so, was it meant to be sort of a [lame] joke?

MichaelRyerson Oct 12, 2012 3:14 PM

And one thing leads to another...
One thing leads to another and as so often happens, a search set in motion for one thing
leads instead in a wholly unexpected and infinitely more interesting direction.
C.C. Pierce led me to Julius Shulman who then led me to Herman Schultheis,
each with his own unique take on Los Angeles…and thence to Edward Weston,
credited with working in Los Angeles but who, alas, did very little with landscapes
or architecture. He did produce this shot of his studio at Los Feliz and Brand Boulevard in Tropico…
Weston Studio, Tropico, ca_ 1920, (In Focus), 140)_

And then I found this lovely little photograph of a beautiful woman in thoughtful repose…
and I had to know who she was and where she’d been sitting when Weston captured her image…
Katz, 1920

Edward Weston photograph. J. Paul Getty Museum, 85.XM.170.11. (From Warren, p. 202).

And I came to find out that her name was Betty Katz and Weston had come to know her
through Margrethe Mather, a fellow photographer, socialist, free thinker and some-time prostitute
who had set up her studio in the carriage house of the Hildreth mansion at Fourth and Flower Streets.
Betty Katz was likewise a radical who had come to Southern California at the urging of Emma Goldman
and because of her health (she, like so many others had tuberculosis) took up residence in a little
bungalow in Palm Springs. Mather produced a small group of well-received shots of Katz whose
intelligence and forceful personality came through the lens.
They fell easily into a casual physical and emotional relationship.
Betty Katz, Mather, 1916

Betty Katz, 1916. Margrethe Mather photograph. J. Paul Getty Museum, 85XP.249.1.
(From Artful Lives: Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather and the Bohemians of Los Angeles by Beth Gates Warren, p. 126).

At the time Weston met Katz, she was occasionally visiting Los Angeles
(when her condition would permit) and had become an active member of the
local art scene which included several well known political thinkers and agitators.
She had the use of a friend’s apartment on Fort Moore Hill. Roy Rosen had hoboed
across the country and finally landed in the attic apartment of the old Hancock Banning
house at 416 N. Broadway. But Rosen also suffered from tuberculosis and spent months
at a time in the Barlow Sanitarium up in Elysian Park. It was in those times that Betty Katz
came to Los Angeles. She sat for Weston…
Betty Katz Brandner, 1920

Betty Katz, 1920, Edward Weston portrait from Edward Weston in Los Angeles
by Susan Danly and Weston J. Naef, Huntington Library and Art Gallery, Plate 2, p. 13.
Original image courtesy The J. Paul Getty Museum. Collection Center for Creative Photography

Weston, a married man of convenient moral flexibility, who had bedded Mather
and several of his assistants, began an affair with Katz.
During this time he produced the ‘Attic Pictures’…
Edward Weston, The Attic, 1921

Betty Katz in Roy Rosen's attic apartment in the Hancock Banning house on Fort Moore Hill.

Edward Weston, The Attic, 1921, Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum.
betty katz in her attic, edward weston, 1920

Image by Edward Weston of Betty Katz in the attic of the Hancock Banning house
on Fort Moore Hill. 1920

Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum.
View looking north from the county courthouse, C.C. Pierce, ca.1895/1905

Fort Moore Hill, Los Angeles, 1905 (left) and Justicia Street, 1895 (right) - a quick stitch
of two photos taken from the same vantage point (LA County Courthouse) about 10 years apart.
(thanks, ProphetM) Because of the different dates of these two Pierce photographs the stitch
doesn't turn out quite so well but still provides a view of the area about 1900.
The Hancock Banning house is up, brand spanking new and shiny
(above and just to the right of the tunnel portal), the south facing cupola can be seen,
the little white house on Justicia with the turret can be seen clearly and the Broadway
tunnel is open for business making the left photo post-1901.

USCdigital archive/C.C. Pierce collection
the hancock banning residence, C.C. Pierce, ca. 1900

Photograph of the exterior of the Banning Residence at 416 N. Broadway on Fort Moore Hill
in Los Angeles, ca.1900. The large Victorian home has two stories with a covered porch
at left and a tall chimney at right. The peak of the roof is covered in tall spikes. The south
facing cupola containing Betty Katz's balcony is clearly seen. There is an assortment of
trees in front of the house, and in front of the trees is a wide unpaved street
partially overgrown with weeds. I believe this image is later than August 1, 1901.
This would have been contemporaneous with the tunnel being opened under Broadway on
Fort Moore Hill hence the weeds growing in what is now a dead-end street overlooking the tunnel entrance.

Seaver Center for Western History Research, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, neg no. 1008481
the hancock banning residence, C.C. Pierce, ca. 1900 (uncropped)

This uncropped image has the additional charm of showing C. C. Pierce's shadow and that of his camera at work.

USCdigital archive/C. C. Pierce collection
City Hall construction, 1927

An interesting, if somewhat typical, shot of the Hall of Justice from the iron works of the City Hall
going up across Spring Street. But sometimes it's more interesting what's captured inadvertently
in the background. Here we have a pretty clear shot of the Hancock Banning house over on Fort Moore Hill
a few years after Weston and Rosen and Betty Katz. Now, of course, the view enjoyed by Betty Katz, and captured by
Edward Weston, is gone forever.

Justica Street in Los Angeles, looking south from Sunset Boulevard, C.C. Pierce, ca.1928

Photograph of Justica Street in Los Angeles, looking south from Sunset Boulevard, ca.1928.
The tower of City Hall is faintly visible in the background. Justica Street is not paved, and there
are large ruts in its dirt surface. Tree covered Fort Moore Hill appears at right, while on the left
are several Sonora Town buildings (these, although they don't look like it, front on Justicia and 'back up'
to properties lower down that front on New High Street). Prudent Beaudry’s house would be just behind
the white two story building on the left and downslope maybe fifty feet. There are two people standing
in the middle of the road in the distance. There is a wooden fence on the left side of the road, and
written on it are the words "[Au]to" and "Kelley Kar Co.".

USCdigital archive/Title Insurance and Trust/C. C. Pierce Photography Collection, 1860-1960
Sunset and North Broadway, 1929

View looking south at Sunset Boulevard and North Broadway showing
the north tunnel portal as it empties traffic into the intersection. On the left,
a dirt Justicia Street winds up and around the shoulder of Fort Moore Hill.

Looking northwest from City Hall tower, panorama, C.C. Pierce, 1930

I stitched together two Pierce photographs from 1930 to get this panorama
looking north from the City Hall tower as demolition gets under way on Justicia Street
in preparation for the coming street realignment. Spring Street will soon extend
through the old Los Angeles Central Jail on Temple Street north to Sunset Boulevard
and take with it all the houses on Justicia and the roadbed itself. The Hancock Banning
house is seen at left holding its ground but down slope the little white house with the turret
has lost the turret and its second story and will soon be gone altogether. Of particular interest,
over on New High Street, Prudent Beaudry's house is gone, torn down this very year after
having been purchased by the Brunswig Drug Company so that they might move an existing
building south onto the Beaudry property. In fact, it appears preparations have been made to
begin the move, the ground at the Beaudry lot looks to have some 'rolly things' similar
to the Alhambra Apartment move of five years earlier. [I came back on just long enough to
say how much I like this image. It shows so much and, of course, Pierce is really a special
resource for us all. I love this shot.]

USCdigital archive/C.C. Pierce collection
Hancock Banning residence, side view, 1938

A side view of a two-story house with redwood siding, having been built by
Hancock Banning (1865-1925), at 416 N. Broadway. This portion of Broadway
was located on Fort Moore Hill. This photo shows a driveway on the right side of
the house. At the back, a small structure that looks like a shed. This 1938 shot
of the house shows it in hard times, the spikes gone, the chimney gone,
the malaise that has gripped Bunker Hill to the south in full swing here on
Fort Moore Hill as well.

Snow on mountains, 16 March 1952. View from City Hall Tower looking toward Montrose area.

Fort Moore Hill is gone and with it the high school, Banning house and the cemetery.
Bozzani is holding on at Sunset and the suits got their parking lots. More's the pity.

USCdigital archive/Los Angeles Examiner Negatives Collection, 1950-1961

“With her masses of ink-black hair and dark, expressive eyebrows, Betty Katz
made an indelible impression on Weston. She was then staying in Roy Rosen’s
attic crow’s nest in the Hancock Banning house on North Broadway, high above
the streets of downtown Los Angeles, and it was here that she and Weston
conducted their clandestine affair.

Although Weston kept his romance with Katz a closely guarded secret,
he could not resist commemorating their pas de deux in a series of images
destined to take their place among his most important photographs of the
period. He first photographed Katz lounging on the attic balcony of
the Hancock Banning House, veiled like some twentieth century Scheherazade
spinning Arbian Nights tales. Then he positioned her in juxtaposition to the
balcony’s Moorish-style arches and the tower and turrets of the city’s
fanciful 1891 sandstone courthouse in the distance.

In other photographs Katz poses against the spare angles of her attic room,
in various states of undress and with an assortment of props. In one she
wears only a lacy shawl as she exposes her right breast; in another she sits
on the floor, fully clothed, smoking a cigarette; and in a third she appears to
be moving a fabric-covered panel. Weston’s affair with Katz continued for several
weeks, and he sent her a series of highly passionate letters as a paean to their
electric embraces

Weston was deeply grateful for the time they spent together, and he continued to
press her for further liaisons. Within weeks of their first tryst, however, Katz was
forced to return to Palm Springs after symptoms of her tubercular condition began
to recur. Upon hearing of her imminent departure, Weston wrote a farewell letter
in which he seemed to breathe an almost audible sigh of relief that their affair was
coming to an end. He may have realized Katz was too vivid a presence, and very
possibly too demanding a consort, to fit inconspicuously into his carefully
compartmentalized life:

‘If this be the end-the last episode-farewell sweetheart of the shadowed
attic-I am sad-perhaps my eyes are moist-but I think the Gods are good
to force an ending by sending you away before even one little cloud has
passed over the intriguing glamour of our many nights…’

Artful Lives, Beth Gates Warren, pg 203-204, Getty Publications, 2011
Katz, 1920

Betty Katz on balcony of Hancock Banning House, Los Angeles, 1920.
Edward Weston photograph. J. Paul Getty Museum, 85.XM.170.11. (From Warren, p. 202).

Wig-Wag Oct 12, 2012 3:19 PM

R.Carlton inquired about the bumps in the street in this photo. I answered his inquiry via private message, at which time he suggested I post my explanation.

The bumps are heavy cast iron hemispheres creating a "safety zone" for people boarding streetcars. Note that they they are set back approximately 20 feet from the intersection. The space between the bumps and the curb line of the cross street was the boarding area.

The wise streetcar rider would wait until the streetcar had stopped before venturing into the safety zone. In some areas of the city the safety zones were curb height platforms.


rcarlton Oct 12, 2012 4:07 PM

Thank you MichaelRyerson for the wonderful research on Edward Weston. He is one of my favorite photographers.

BifRayRock Oct 12, 2012 4:56 PM

Mystery Marquee?

Recently posted images of the "four" United Artists' sister theaters: Whittier, Pasadena, Long Beach and Mid-town/Miracle Mile Los Angeles. It is the last theater, the Four Star at 5112 Wilshire that piqued additional interest.

One photo, reposted below, contains a marquee that advertises another theater one block west at 5214 Wilshire: the Fox Ritz Theater. It is likely that this marquee caused two separate sources to confuse the two theaters and mislabel the Four Star as "the United Artists Ritz Theater." One of the sources includes an incorrect address (5600 Wilshire) that is very close to the El Rey (5515 Wilshire).

It seemed unusual for one theater to advertise its competitor. Since the Four Star was not yet operational - it could have rented marquee space to anyone willing to pay, or this may have been a common courtesy between "friendly" rivals. Looking at the 1940s aerial photo suggests that the theaters, had more of a connection than first thought.

"The Biggest Pictures, the Best Stars, the Finest Productions play at the Fox Ritz Theater."
"Three Shows Daily at Fox Ritz "
"See Pictures Sooner at Fox Ritz Theater"


The former United Artists Four Star at 5112 Wilshire Blvd Lib

1932 CStLib

Fox RITZ Theater 1932
1956 The Movie "White Feather" released in '56

GaylordWilshire Oct 12, 2012 6:09 PM


Originally Posted by Wig-Wag (Post 5864309)
R.Carlton inquired about the bumps in the street in this photo. I answered his inquiry via private message, at which time he suggested I post my explanation.

The bumps are heavy cast iron hemispheres creating a "safety zone" for people boarding streetcars. Note that they they are set back approximately 20 feet from the intersection. The space between the bumps and the curb line of the cross street was the boarding area.

The wise streetcar rider would wait until the streetcar had stopped before venturing into the safety zone. In some areas of the city the safety zones were curb height platforms.


rcarlton--Dallasite friends of mine refer to those kinds of bumps as "city titties."

GaylordWilshire Oct 12, 2012 6:23 PM

The Fontenoy, Revisited
Speaking of theaters--besides William Castle's use of the Fontenoy, I just ran across this from the great 1947 Project:


Originally Posted by GaylordWilshire (Post 5038463)
After watching William Castle's 13 Ghosts at JeffDiego's suggestion, I decided to take a look at some other Castle films, figuring I'd be likely to find more L.A. location shots.

In Castle's 1963 13 Frightened Girls, set in England, among actual London locations we find a building, supposedly in the English city but actually in L.A.: the Fontenoy apartments at 1811 Whitley Avenue in Hollywood: Pictures/Sony Street View Pictures/Sony Street View Pictures/Sony
A body falls from atop the Fontenoy. The sidewalk markings haven't changed. Street View

Some of the veteran character actors in 13 Frightened Girls are Murray Hamilton (who went on to fame as Mr. Robinson in The Graduate); Hugh Marlowe (I never thought he could act his way out of the proverbial paper bag, but what do I know? He had a long career, playing among many other roles Lloyd Richards in All About Eve as well as starring in The Day the Earth Stood Still); and Norma Varden, an English actress in everything from National Velvet to The Sound of Music to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to I Love Lucy.

Speaking of theaters--besides William Castle's use of the Fontenoy, I just ran across this:

ethereal_reality Oct 12, 2012 7:53 PM

MichaelRyerson, your post on Edward Weston was wonderful.

One of the best posts that I have ever read. :worship:


Sadly, all his photographs are missing. 5/20/2020

ethereal_reality Oct 12, 2012 10:29 PM

We covered Thelma Todd's unsolved death earlier in the thread (the first Todd post appeared way back on page 55).

Since then I've come across several new items.

Ms. Todd was actually receiving death threats several months before her death on December 16, 1935.

below: Here is a fascinating illustration of the area surrounding Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Cafe.

I always thought the garage where Ms. Todd's body was found was at the top of the stairs above the cafe.
Much to my surprise, the 'death' garage is 1,000 feet to the south of the these stairs.

I found this cast of characters on ebay several months ago.


Those Who Squirm! Oct 12, 2012 11:29 PM


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 5698388)

I found these amazing interiors of Los Angeles City Hall at the Library of Congress.

Wonderful pictures, ethereal! I would expect that nearly all of it is still just like that, only now filled with politicos and bureaucrats. Certainly the Council Chamber is still magnificent. Given how often the building has been used for establishing shots in movies, it's not too surprising, but its reputation has gone far beyond these shores.

From an article in the online version of Der Spiegel*, that appeared a couple of months ago:


Originally Posted by Der Spiegel
Der Rathaussaal von Los Angeles gleicht einem Krönungssaal. 1928 fertiggestellt, protzt die Halle mit geschnitzten Holzbalken, Deckengemälden, Marmorsäulen, eindrucksvollen Flaggen und einem Fußboden aus Terrakotta-Kacheln.

Which means:


The Council Chamber of Los Angeles is like a coronation hall. Built in 1928, it boasts carved wood balconies, artfully painted ceilings, marble columns, impressive flags, and a floor of terra-cotta tiles.
We are fortunate indeed to have a few civic buildings from a time of such optimism and such pride in our public spaces. In those days they put in tile and marble and carved wood because they wanted to send an impressive message about their community.

*The article in question was about the MMJ dispensary ban, in case anyone was wondering.

Those Who Squirm! Oct 12, 2012 11:48 PM

Secret Stairs of Palms
I recently learned about the hidden stairway that climbs from Rose Avenue to Kingsland Street in Westside Village. While the focus of my blog post isn't really on architecture, the stairs are an interesting piece of cityscape nonetheless.

ethereal_reality Oct 13, 2012 12:17 AM


Originally Posted by rcarlton (Post 5863313)
Here is why some towers are no longer standing in LA.
Tower atop a commercial building at 5620 Hollywood Boulevard is damaged during the Northridge earthquake, January 18 1994.


5620 Hollywood Boulevard was used as a location for the movie L.A. Confidential (1997).

ethereal_reality Oct 13, 2012 1:20 AM

Here is a cancelled check written by Thelma Todd made out to the Muller Bros. Service Station.

Amazingly, this check was written the day before her mysterious death! (they found her body in the A.M. hours of Dec. 16th)

below: The Muller Bros. Service Station.

below: In this photo you can see the Muller Bros. sign behind this rooftop bowling alley. (the bowler actually looks a bit like Thelma Todd)

Godzilla Oct 13, 2012 1:56 AM


Originally Posted by BifRayRock (Post 5854106)
Regarding the telephone exchange building, I am no expert but this location seems to have been a dedicated telephone structure from its inception. The source for the pic below suggests the main building was constructed in the '20s.

Another recently reposted photo from the '40s indicates the main building only had three stories then, if you count the rows of windows. The exterior color was darker too. So, whatever its original purpose, the building we know as the Pacific Telephone Exchange has been a work in progress.

1930 USC

1932 Roof or a (short-lived) Richfield Station?)

Godzilla Oct 13, 2012 2:12 AM

A very large Herald Examiner Sign - catacorner and north of Wilshire from the Fox Ritz Theater sign is visible in this re-re-posted 1940s aerial shot. If both of these signs were lit, the locals had a mini version of Times Square!


This photo, posted by ER, shows the above Herald Examiner sign in its glory. Curious about the "Sycamore Library" hiding directly under the Halsco Land Yacht sign - also the subject of an ER post.

Godzilla Oct 13, 2012 6:30 AM

Recent focus on the Wilshire/La Brea area caused me to look more closely at the south side of Wilshire near its intersection with Detroit (5300 Block). Most Noir'ers might recognize it as the block with the deco camera facade, aka "the Darkroom."

But it was other things that caught my attention. Some photographs suggest there could have been a theater on the same block, although I have not located any evidence of one in the directories and other usual resources. Upper portion of the building currently occupied by the US Post Office has an interesting theater screen-like shape. Then there is the marquee above "Busby's," although this is likely a modern contrivance.

Secondarily, above the Post Office is a freestanding white column that seems out of place. Photos depict the column was an awkward design element that advertised the business Kress.


"Kress" column - above the post office.

2012 Column is at center of photo.

Column at left


1939 Wilshire looking toward southeast corner of Detroit. Kress, Eastern Bldg Digital

1932 Wilshire looking toward the southeast corner of Detroit. Notice "Eastern Bldg." and gas station at far right of frame. Digital

1932 Wilshire and Detroit looking east. "Eastern bldg." and (far right) "Flash" gas selling for 11¢ per gallon! ($3 to fill the tank!) Digital

Godzilla Oct 13, 2012 7:02 AM

No competitor shortage for largest and longest lunch counters in LA!

SH Kress on South Broadway throws its hat in the ring!

Article about Fosgate's (449 S. Broadway) quest for the record:

Godzilla Oct 13, 2012 7:10 AM

Pacific Coast's largest wall sign?

Godzilla Oct 13, 2012 2:32 PM


Originally Posted by ethereal_reality (Post 5861914)

I'm surprised by the amount of wood used. Where I expected a plethora of formica I see knotty pine instead.
(notice that the back of the chairs are wood as well)__

Wooden backed seats were popular at JJ Newberrys too.;)

Los Angeles., exact location unknown. Circa 1932 All from C.St.Lib

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