Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Temple Tuesday: Bachelors, Bobby-Soxers, and Buttons

Today we take a step back in time to visit the Long Beach airport which was featured prominently at the climax of Shirley Temple’s 1947 comedy, “The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer.”

Aviator Earl Daugherty opened a 20 acre field for his flight training school in Long Beach, California on June 6, 1919. A year later, the city contacted Daugherty about developing a 60 acre municipal flying field; the “new” Long Beach Airport (named after Daugherty) was dedicated on December 20, 1924. An additional 255 acres was purchased in 1939 for a new administrative building with the dedication held on June 8, 1941. Architects W. Horace Austin and Kenneth S. Wing. Sr. designed the Streamline Moderne structure which can be seen at the end of the film as Cary Grant’s character pulls up to the airport on his way to Chicago.

His driver is none other than Dore Schary, the producer of the film:

Here, Cary Grand and Myrna Loy exchange a bit of banter before they board the plane and depart to their “happily every after” romantic conclusion:

I love the way the two dash off to the entry stairs:

Here’s a vintage shot from the 1950’s showing the airport in color:

The building was named a City of Long Beach Cultural Heritage Landmark in 1990. At some point, the Daugherty Field name was ditched; I couldn’t find out why during my quick search on the www. Here’s the airport looks now. The sign as you approach the terminal (who put that cotton-picking traffic light in front of the sign?!?):

And the terminal building in all its streamline moderne glory:

You almost expect to see Cary and Dory pulling up to the curb:

I’ve never been inside so I don’t know if any of the original WPA tile murals still exist. That will have to be another trip (and post).

In other Shirley news, Melissa (aka “The Colonel”) gave me the opportunity to do the design for the annual Shirley’s Army pin. For the fifth anniversary, I decided to use a portrait of Shirley from her last film at 20th-Century Fox, “Young People” (1940). Here’s the final design:

See more Long Beach, California photos at my main website.


Irene said...

I live to the north of the Long Beach Airport by 3 miles in the city of Lakewood. This airport is a real treasure and so much better to fly out of than LAX. There has been major renovation with phase 1 of a new concourse done in 2012. But the original building remains and there are no plans to remove it or change it. During the renovation in 2012 it was decided to remove the carpeting and much to everyone's delight and surprise the original WPA tile scenes were discovered in excellent condition. Each tile was individually cleaned and are once again visible. With Covid restrictions in place I really don't know if just anyone who is not flying can go in to see them right now. Also until recently Long Beach was a major hub for Jet Blue. Unfortunately the city messed up (according to what I hear, they always are) and Jet Blue moved out much to the dismay of people who live in the area. SouthWest has now taken all the slots left vacant by Jet Blue. Also FA-18's use this airport quite a bit for training. As a matter of fact they are using it now, Nov. 9 to 11.

Daveland said...

Thanks for the info, Irene - I'll hold off on trying to get inside for awhile then!

Anonymous said...

Nicely done Dave. I used LB only twice over the years but always found the terminal to be a treasure. Much like Burbank. KS