Monday, May 16, 2022

Monday at the Observatory

When Melissa (aka “The Colonel”) came west, she wanted to visit the Observatory at Griffith Park. We were short on time the day that we picked to go there, so I had to be a master at efficiency. This is known as “chop, chop!” However, the first order of business was breakfast at the Chateau Marmont. Bacon was back on the menu, and this was a cause to celebrate! SJR (on the right) enjoyed her first piece this trip.

Even before opening, the parking lot at Griffith fills up fast, which means you have to find the nearest available spot on the long windy road up to the Observatory. The walk up the hill was good cardio! The shot above is a beautiful view of the city. Below is me trying not to look winded.

First order of business was to visit the James Dean sculpture by the late Kenneth Kendall, an artist who was commissioned by the actor shortly before his death.

No dear readers, that’s not Natalie Wood from “Rebel” on the left; that’s the Colonel, ready for her photo shoot at the location(s) where that movie was filmed.

Normally, I would have said, “Hey Colonel, get the hell out of my photo!” But the COVID screening fence already ruined the shot anyway. Yes, even to walk around on the grounds you had to show proof that you’d been vaccinated or had a negative test. Fresh air can be dangerous, folks!

Finally made it to the Observatory, that supreme example of architecture that opened back in 1935.

The inside is no less impressive. If it weren’t for the crowds of people, the murals, flooring, and other details would have you believe you had walked into a time warp. The rotunda ceiling:

Mesmerizing. I could stare at this pendulum all day long. Well…maybe not that long, but you get the idea.

Indoors, Melissa enjoyed her Emma Stone moment.

And then it was back to “Rebel Without a Cause.”

Although I had to run back to the car to make it to our next destination (read about it tomorrow!), there’s always time to get what I perceived to be a unique shot – the Astronomers Monument with the Hollywood Sign in the background.

Next time I need/want to spend more time there!

See more Griffith Observatory photos at my main website.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Hollywood, August 1952 in Faux©D!

Two images for today from August 1952, served up in Genuine Faux©D! The first one shows our vintage gang outside the famous Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant on 1628 North Vine Street.

Thanks to a Google Maps shot from about a year ago, it would appear that the building is still there:

Image number two was taken at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street:

Get a load of those deals! A Cold Plate with sliced ham, salami, cheese, liverwurst, tomato slice, and potato salad for only 60¢!! Hold the liverwurst, please. On the other side, Chopped Steak (freshly ground!), vegetable, potato, roll and butter for only 5¢ more!

Obviously this is a vintage photo; not taken within the last few years!

See more Hollywood photos at my main website.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Not So Welcome at The Academy

Part of Melissa’s (aka The Colonel) visit to LA included a trip to the recently opened Academy Museum in Los Angeles on Wilshire Boulevard, housed in what was originally the May Company building. Melissa channels Judy Garland back in the day as she walked in front of the (former) department store:

The addition to the historic building has the boring but currently trendy industrial chic look:

The inside of the building is just as cold and off-putting, which really makes the life-sized Uncle Oscar statue stand out like a sore thumb. I’m waiting for the day when somebody gets offended by the sculpt and it has to change.

The first order of business was to get to the Shirley Temple Education Studio, which just so happened to be closed.

In case you’re wondering what $5 million dollars from Shirley’s family purchased, here’s an inside peek:

The Museum has a treasure trove of some of Shirley’s most iconic costumes, the desk used in her Fox Studio Bungalow, and memorabilia related to her close friendship/working relationship with dancer/choreographer Bill Robinson. And therein lies the real reason why Shirley is kept on the down-low. Because Robinson portrayed a servant to a plantation family in two of Shirley’s movies (both set in the Civil War), inside sources have revealed that the Museum is afraid of backlash if they put too much of Shirley’s history on display. More on that in another post. Moving on to the other main reason for the visit: the Ruby Slippers.

These are the Ruby Slippers that belonged to Kent Warner, the man who discovered all of the pairs created for “The Wizard of Oz” when MGM was selling off its historic props and costumes in their 1970 auction. Warner picked the best pair to keep for himself. From the display text:

This pair is believed to be the one seen in all close-up shots, as when Dorothy clicks her heels together three times and says, “There’s no place like home.”

You can see #7 Judy Garland handwritten inside the shoe:

They are just incredible to see in person.

[W]hite silk pumps from the Innes Shoe Company of Pasadena and Hollywood were dyed red by the MGM costume department, covered in silk georgette, and hand-embellished with approximately 2,300 sequins each. A red leather bow covered in red rhinestones, bugle beads, and costume jewels was then affixed to each slipper. MGM seamstress Aurora DueƱas was on hand throughout filming to restore loose beads and sequins.

In the detailed shot, it would appear that rather than leather the beads for the bow were affixed to a cloth backing, as you can see the pattern of the fabric below the crystals and bugle beads.

Melissa captured me attempting to shoot the famed slippers without catching the reflection of the glass display. Not an easy task.

The Cowardly Lion’s mane was also on display:

…and the Wicked Witch of the West’s hat. Extra lights were necessary to make Margaret Hamilton’s Witch’s costume register on Technicolor film. Adrian also designed this costume, made of black wool surrounded by a flowing silk scarf:

Here is the concept art by William Tuttle for the Wicked Witch, based on Jack Dawn’s makeup design:

…and the Tin Man. For this one, Dawn and Tuttle stayed faithful to the original book illustrations by W.W. Denslow.

One of the pinafores worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy, designed by Adrian, with a non-original blouse:

This is labeled as the sepia pinafore worn by Garland’s stand-in, Bobbie Koshay, paired with a blouse worn by Garland in unused footage directed by Richard Thorpe:

I recall the first time I saw a Judy Garland Dorothy costume was on the Freedom Train which toured the country in 1975-1976, with a cargo of precious treasures that spanned 200 years. Based on the Freedom Train website, I would have seen the dress somewhere between September 12-15, 1976. I remember my disappointment when it turned out to be a dress not used in the footage from the final film, but rather from the scenes under the direction of Richard Thorpe who was quickly fired. Here’s a shot of the Freedom Train dress from when it was sold by Heritage Auctions in 2013:

Back to the Academy. An early wardrobe test for “Oz,” with Garland wearing a blond wig and an unused version of the pinafore/blouse:

This oil can, used by the Tin Man, was presented to Jack Haley at the completion of filming:

Jack Martin Smith’s concept art for the Emerald City, as envisioned by art director Cedric Gibbons:

A life mask of actress Grace Kelly:

Oscars on display:

This one is a wow; the original backdrop painting of Mount Rushmore for the Alfred Hitchcock film “North by Northwest.” Even though it has been trimmed down over the years, the size (approximately two stories high) is still impressive.

Melissa had arranged for a special Oscars Experience program that requires an additional charge; it was not working when we showed up at our designated time so she was refunded. Below is the restaurant/cafe inside the museum:

Overall, I would say this museum is a huge disappointment. So much space, so little to see. Because of the treatment of Shirley Temple’s legacy, I will not be in a hurry to return.

See more Academy Museum photos at my main website.