Thursday, January 26, 2023

Cameras at Rainbow Ridge

Image #1 for today was taken from Disneyland’s Mark Twain riverboat and features a lovely panorama shot of the quaint mining town of Rainbow Ridge. This detailed show really illustrates the power of forced perspective. When you see the workers next to the buildings at the top of the town, you realize just how small they are. 

In this second image from the same batch, Sheriff Lucky guards over the Nature’s Wonderland attraction, keeping guests safe from that nasty bandit, Black Bart.

It appears that there was some professional filming going on at the time this photo was taken:

Panning to the right, an early example of graffiti, giving a shout-out to Pecos Bill.

This previously posted image shows another photo opportunity in the works at Rainbow Ridge, with some camera equipment that is a bit less spectacular!

See more Disneyland Nature’s Wonderland photos at my main website.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Temple Tuesday: Shirley and the Red Cross

Shirley manages to give me an education every week! Recently, as the result of a graphic design project I was working on, I was informed of something I’d never heard of before regarding the American Red Cross. I didn’t believe the tale at first, until I consulted with good ol’ Google! Here’s the story, direct from NPR:

During World War II, the Red Cross had comfort stations for soldiers overseas, with free coffee and free doughnuts. Then, in 1942, the Red Cross started charging for the doughnuts. Soldiers have held a grudge ever since. The organization started charging only because the U.S. Secretary of War asked it to. British soldiers had to pay for their snacks, and the free doughnuts for Americans were causing tensions. So the Red Cross complied, after protesting to no avail. It didn't last long — for most of the last 70 years, Red Cross doughnuts have remained free — but veterans haven't forgotten. Chalk it up to something called categorical change, says Uri Simonsohn, a University of Pennsylvania business professor. Price changes, people can adjust to. But this was different. “Imagine, for Thanksgiving, you go to your parents' for dinner and after a nice dinner they say, ‘That's going to be $10 per person,’” Simonsohn says. “You would be upset.”

Eighty years later, my online friend still tells the tale she was told from the previous generation and the American Red Cross bears the brunt of a government issued edict. This is a cautionary tale about transitioning from a “free” business model to a paid subscription based model. Remember the uproar when there was talk about being charged for the internet? Same durn thing. Back to Shirley and the American Red Cross.

In 1936, Shirley filmed an adorable public service announcement encouraging all to donate to this organization. The American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton (an American nurse) in 1881 after a trip she made to Geneva, Switzerland. She worked tirelessly for almost thirteen years (and a few Presidents!) to get the U.S. Government to finally acknowledge the need for such an organization. Here’s a Spanish version of a leaflet with Shirley for the Red Cross. Here photo was a powerful tool even outside of America.

On June 22, 1940, Shirley was involved with an American Red Cross nationwide radio broadcast held at the Westwood Village Theatre that would help raise war relief funds.

A photo shoot was held at Shirley’s Brentwood home with the young star and singing cowboy Gene Autry, who had a long association with the American Red Cross. Gene Autry and Shirley Temple were photographed at Shirley's home in Brentwood California, to promote the “Radio Benefit for War Relief” event.

Wearing a dress from her final childhood 20th Century-Fox movie, “Young People” (1940), Shirley seems to be having a good time with Gene, who is playing his Gibson J-200 guitar (part of the Gene Autry Museum collection).

A promo photo of Shirley on the day of the broadcast:

Shirley’s father is in the foreground of this shot:

From the back of this shot, written in pencil: “Shirley Temple & Gloria Jean meet for first time at Red Cross broadcast. They chatted for a few minutes and said s’long.” Is that the 1940s equivalent of “buh-bye”?

Here, Shirley shakes hands with her “Young People” costar, Jack Oakie. Her father, George, does not seem amused, as mother Gertrude gives George a “Smile honey, the cameras are on you!” look through gritted teeth.

Notice Oakie’s monogrammed shirt? Fancy!

Shirley chats with Charles Laughton, her costar for the broadcast:

Shirley and Laughton are amused; Paul Muni (at right) appears to be left out of the joke.

When her part in the broadcast was finished, Shirley apparently had time to sit in the audience and enjoy the rest of the event.

George’s Red Cross Radio Show Committee ribbon:

A heckler? How rude!

Shirley yucks it up with a fan:

Want to see Shirley’s program from that evening? Why do I bother asking?

Auctioned off by Theriault’s, here is the catalog description:

SOUVENIR PROGRAM FOR 1940 RED CROSS BENEFIT FOR WAR RELIEF, WITH PERSONAL SCRIPT Lot Number: 66 12" x 9". The program describes the events of the June 22, 1940 performance at Stage 6 of the Warner Bros. Sunset Studios, designed to raise funds for the Red Cross’ war relief efforts. The performance was broadcast across America, Europe and South America, with performers ranging from Orson Welles to Burns and Allen, Bing Crosby to Gene Autry and dozens more. Heading the second half of the program was a dialogue “The Loudest Voice” performed by Shirley Temple and Paul Muni. Included is Shirley's typewritten script with pencil additions in which she pleads that people remember the lost children of the wars, as “nobody can ever get used to the sound of children crying, who are lost, hungry and looking for one friendly face (pauses...almost crying). Please don't tune out your hearts.”  Realized Price: $500 Presale Estimate: 300+

The program has the event being held at Warner Brothers studio; my vintage publicity stills all have “Westwood Village Theatre” marked on the back in pencil as the location. Here’s how that theatre looked when I photographed back in 1989:

Were there two events on that day? Or are the photos marked incorrectly? Always a mystery to solve…

Even after “retiring” from the movies (for a brief period), Shirley continued her work for the Red Cross, as you can see from this 1940 publicity tidbit.

At a later Red Cross fundraiser broadcast, Shirley (right) is shown with actresses Alice Scott and Mary Pickford.

The Danbury Mint released a porcelain doll commemorating Shirley’s 1936 PSA:

Want to see that PSA for yourself? Here you go!

And please…forgive the Red Cross for something they had no control over from over eighty years ago. I’m sure our WWII veterans would understand if they heard the background!

See more photos at my main website.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Tail O' the Pup

On the way to the Chateau Marmont from Beverly Hills High School (see previous post), I was coming down Santa Monica Boulevard and turning onto La Cienega. This is what I saw. THE GIGANTIC TAIL O' THE PUP HOT DOG!

I had first become aware of this iconic piece of architecture (?) when I saw it floating overhead during the opening of Steve Martin’s classic “L.A. Story” (1991). From the nearby signage today:

The famous Tail O’The Pup Hot Dog Stand debuted in Los Angeles in 1946. Originally located at La Cienega and Beverly Boulevard. Designed by architect Milton Black in 1939, this original building has been carefully preserved and fully restored to its former glory by the 1933 Group in 2022. From 1970–1971 this building was known as The Doors Workshop. It served as an office and rehersal (sic) studio for The Doors. The band used this space to record their sixth and final studio album LA Woman.

Wow! Talk about a historic building. It almost made me want a hot dog…but not quite. It definitely made me think twice about using spellcheck on my work. Please…fix this commemorative plaque!!

To avoid demolition, the beloved stand was moved into a warehouse in Torrance after the property it had been moved to was going to be cleared to make way for (you guessed it) more condos and apartments.

The 1933 Group purchased the structure in 2018 and reopened four years later. They were also behind the restoration of the Formosa Cafe. That alone earns them high marks in my book.

I definitely need to come back at night to see this sign lit up.

See more West Hollywood photos at my main website.