The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Feb 15, 2010.
I suspect the population explosion in the L.A. basin was a direct result of this.
“The drive-in theater experience first came to light on June 6, 1933."
That and 13 years later, the post war WW2 babies...which we were. That was a big bunch of kids that populated this land. No war, no worries...lots of fun. Our 1962 high school graduating class was the largest in the past 10 years.
But, we did use the drive-in theaters for its intended use(s.) Ha!
Just bumped into this bit of L.A. movie history:
"The Roadster House"
Too bad I can only give this post one "like". Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. Click on every link you see on this site and hang on to your eyeballs. Good Lord, what a gold mine! It's wall-to-wall eye-candy!
Figured a link to this video would be appropriate here.
Nice video.Liked the sound track too.Thanks for posting.
Good luck.Have fun.Be safe.
1956. Gardena Stadium. 13900 South Western Avenue. Man on the left is Roscoe Turner.
Pasadena National Bank, 1927. Photo from the Pasadena Digital History Archive
Ford dealer on Colorado ... photo says "1935" but we all know that unless it took a year for this '34 to get to Pasadena, the date is wrong. The building is still there today, but now it is a Bentley dealership.
Western Avenue, Los Angeles, no date but probably late '40s.
Uptown Chevrolet, East Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, 1934.
An American Bantam 3-window coupe used as a delivery vehicle for the Royal Laundry, on S. Raymond in Pasadena. The Royal Laundry has since closed but the new building owners preserved the tile work. Yes, we would love to have that Bantam now to cut up into a competition coupe!
Those electric powered bus/train vehicles were a little scary for us little kids. But, they were fun to ride from place to place. It was like the old trains we used to see in the cowboy movies. The bad things were the overhead wires and bumpy train tracks on every street that these trolleys ran in the downtown areas. The neat thing was during a misty morning or light rain, there were sparks from the moving electrical contact points. That was cool.
They were all over So Cal. Since my mom did not drive and we needed to go to Downtown Los Angeles, we took the Red Line Cars from Long Beach. (Today, they are called the Blue Line cars from Long Beach to Los Angeles.) But ,when we went to other parts of the city to visit friends and relatives, we had to take these “other” forms of transportation. Yes, taxi cabs were around, but they were costly.
In the middle of your photo, there is a white marked area in the middle of the street. That is where we all had to stand to get on these electric, overhead wire controlled trolleys. When the trolleys were gone, no one stood out there because the cars would zip by until the next yellow or red car was in sight. Then it was a mad rush to get to that white or lined safety zone to get on the trolley. These trolleys were developed as mass transit for the masses in these early days.
Sometimes, when we were riding these electric trolleys, we felt important, especially when stepping down off of the landing. It was like we were famous people making their debut in the downtown area. Yes, there were people right in front of us, as the welcoming crowd. HA!...they were actually just waiting their turn to board. Great times, a long time ago.
hi, Junji, great memories...I remember the Red Cars in Pasadena, they stopped running around 1950...they still had the electric cars in San Francisco in the '60s, and I used to ride them to the Shipyard at Hunter's Point.
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The early history of hot rods and car events has been around since the very early days in Bixby Knolls. Since the city of Long Beach (bordering on LA) cancelled their annual car show and cackle fest in 2013, there has been a huge gap/hole in So Cal car events. The Bixby Knolls area used to shut down the main Atlantic Ave to showcase these hot rods, drag racers, and custom cars. This brought out the old drag racers from this area to showcase their wares in the “cackle” fire ups in the designated area.
" Organizers said the expo, which featured a “cackle fest,” attracting hot rods and famous drag racers in recent years, was a major attraction and a tribute to Southern California’s racecar and motor-sports history, particularly the Lions Drag Strip in Wilmington that lasted from 1955 to 1972.
The car show, which included more than 200 classic cars and more than a dozen dragsters that lined Atlantic Avenue between San Antonio Drive and Bixby Road was started in 2005 by Rae Gabelich, wife of the late, famed race-car driver Gary Gabelich.(a Bixby Knolls resident) The car show also replaced the Bixby Knolls Street Fair, which once attracted about 10,000 people and closed down the street as well."
People from all over So Cal came to this event as it was a throwback to watching the race cars at Lions Dragstrip, back then, located just a few miles away to the west.
Now, the local Historic Society of Long Beach is gathering artifacts to showcase these cars, events, memorabilia, interviews, photos, etc to show the public what the car culture was back in those days. http://hslb.org/chrome/
Here is some information about the upcoming event for everyone in the LA Metropolitan area and beyond.
January, 1966. Ascot Park Gardena.
History of any place will eventually get published in books, magazines, and local media. The now closed Lions Dragstrip was a place that created a lot of early drag racing history. It was not the first So Cal Dragstrip, but one that had plenty of stories from its meager beginnings.
As a 11-12 year old just starting in junior high school (middle school for you youngsters…) climbing up on a raised embankment bordering our school baseball field was an eye opener. As elementary school kids grow up to be junior high school age, the world changes along with yourself. Playground baseball becomes a new game on certified, measured playing fields. But, that embankment and train tracks was a lure to see what was on the other side. Walking from one end to the other on the tracks, along the whole length of the long Dragstrip grounds was certainly fun and exciting.
We always heard these loud noises on the weekends from our Westside Long Beach home. The West winds from the Pacific Ocean always blew in our direction every afternoon around 1:00pm. Now, we were just steps away from what was creating those noises. That junior high school baseball field was what started our curiosity with drag racing history.
Then experiencing those early days leading up to our actual involvement in drag racing and longevity at our old Long Beach house until 1998, made us realize that we saw history evolve right before our eyes at Lions Dragstrip in Los Angeles County.
History can only be remembered with written words and photographs. For those not in the local area during this early part of drag racing, there were several books written about some history of this westside Dragstrip and its characters. It should be part of this LA History section.
From a thread on reading material:
I not a collector of historical books, but I have a set of books on drag racing that is told from the people that were there at Lions, Riverside, Santa Ana, Bakersfield and other local tracks. Mickey Bryant collaborated with racers and had actual presence at Lions and the Long Beach racing community. His series of books from a biography on Mickey Thompson to the amazing record in drag racing by the Albertson Oldsmobile race car group at the So Cal tracks, and finally the historic documentation with great photos of Don Garlits’ journey to the West Coast to show up the local racers.
Reading the Mickey Thompson book made you think right back to 1959-60. That shop was about 4-5 blocks from our house and we were frequent visitors there. So, this book was fun to read. We followed his exploits in all of the Drag News and Hot Rod Magazines of the time period. The photos were the same scenes we saw in person as teenagers.
Now, with this book on the career of Mickey Thompson, it is clear, concise and pretty great to relive local history, despite the wrong facts about the "altered coupe" stopping the racing on August 13. (page 63) The information came from the Drag News paper of the day and they(Drag News) had reported it incorrectly. We (C/Gas coupe) blew up, caught on fire, and crashed, shutting down the strip two hours early.
The Albertson Olds story, King of Lions, was excellent and we were right there at Lions while this win streak was happening. As a matter of fact, again, we were mentioned erroneously as "an Altered having an explosion to stop the consecutive win streak." So, we were record breakers of sorts. The accident and race stoppage was mentioned on page 59.
As the record breaking streak was alive, the drag race fans all crowded in to see the match races. Seats were hard to come by as the stands were packed. Lucky or unlucky, they saw our Willys racing all day and had to go home early because of our clutch explosion and fire. This caused the stopping this fantastic, drag racing win streak.
The "Three Weeks in March" tells the story behind the West Coast foray of Don Garlits, that wild driver from Florida. He had captured the attention of all of the fastest racers on the West Coast and this book tells the story of that scene in So Cal. Was that East Coast drag racer with top speeds and times listed in the Drag News, real? That was the questions asked from most West Coast racers.
But the newest book written about the So Cal drag racing scene and Lions in particular was written by John “Waldo” Glaspey, a So Cal local. He has been following drag racing since those early days. It is a small world as if someone who stays in So Cal long enough, you are bound to meet someone from way back then. I had a nice conversation with John Glaspey at the Lions Dragstrip Museum Grand Opening in June of 2017.
He gave me a recollection of a then, 19 year old college art student, sitting in the crowded stands all day, watching the racing down on the track. The story he told me created shivers down my back and arms. It was a first hand look at our racing, winning and final run late at night. The description he gave was one of being a “fan favorite” as we kept winning race after race until 9 p.m. at night.
John Glaspey described the clutch blowing right in front of his “spectator side” seats and a clear view of the flaming Willys wedged into the spectator side fence, burning itself out. He probably saw me using several fire extinguishers down below, to no avail. Then, watching me zipping off to the ambulance back at the finish line.
Of all of the books we have in our basket/book shelves, (So Cal Thunder) this is the one to read and own. The art work is fantastic. The stories are on a different viewpoint from the others. But, the photos (old college roommates were pro photographers) and his own, personal, drag racing art work is by far the best published. This is one heck of a good book to read and have on your coffee table.
So Cal Thunder it is… No, it is not a Los Angeles pro soccer team, but an excellent book on Drag Racing in So Cal.
Outstanding artwork from the author, John "Waldo" Glaspey (an auto illustrator)
LONG BEACH FREEWAY: better known as the 710
from the Willow St. overpass, 1952
Growing up in the Westside of Long Beach, (LA County) we were always impressed with the Long Beach Freeway, now known as the 710 freeway. It runs from the port of Long Beach/Terminal Island/LA Harbor all the way to Los Angeles/Alhambra where it stops. There have been plans drawn up to connect to Pasadena, but the red tape is horrendous and has been blocked for many years.
My dad used to take Alameda St. from the area near Lions Dragstrip all the way into downtown Los Angeles. We liked it because of all of the activity going on along this busy street into LA. There were trucks, delivery vans, a 7 up bottling plant, cars and big Semi-trucks, etc. sharing the same road. But, that lasted until the new Long Beach Freeway was opened just a few blocks east of our house.
Now, the drive from our Long Beach house to downtown Los Angeles was quicker. But, when we did not go with our dad, we had to take the old Red Car trolley to downtown LA. The freeway was enjoyable near our house because of one major design implemented near us. The full cloverleaf interchange at major cross street intersections. The three major East-West cross streets (Willow, PCH, Anaheim) from the Western South Bay to all points East had the traffic moving full cloverleaf designs.
We learned to drive on them from our high school behind the wheel driver’s training portion of the class. It was easy to get on the freeway, merge and be on our way. It was also easy to get off of the freeway whether it is to go directly west or cloverleaf to the east on those overhead cross streets. Back then, there was never a traffic jam at these three intersecting cross streets. Traffic flowed easily.
The full cloverleaf interchange on the Long Beach Freeway, Westside of Long Beach, PCH cross over.
With available land, this full clover leaf moves traffic at a high rate of intersecting cars and trucks.
In 1959, the I-5 Freeway North and South was completed in Orange County an hour Eastward of Long Beach. The Crown Valley Parkway was connected to the ocean in 1964. So, did the planners provide a full cloverleaf for the amount of traffic that this I-5 Freeway intersection produces? The Orange County planners did not think that far ahead like the Long Beach city planners. The OC configuration included stop lights for the overpass, Crown Valley freeway exits, jamming up a major thoroughfare east and west. No smooth transition from and to the freeway below from Crown Valley.
Back when the interchange was being planned and implemented, there was a ton of property/space for a full cloverleaf configuration to keep traffic moving smoothly, like those Long Beach interchanges. But, back then, South Orange County was just that, full of orange groves, good surf, and not many people. Today, everyone calls it the daily, “Crown Valley Slowdown” (usually stoppage) on the freeway and we don’t use that entrance/exit if at all possible.
In recent times, traffic at both locations rival each other, all during the day with major traffic stops on the freeway and side streets. So is that progress? Now, the Long Beach Freeway is a nightmare and quite scary when merging onto the freeway at those intersections.
Just watched an old "noir" movie on TCM that featured Richard Lane in a supporting role as a reporter. Anyone that watched TV in L.A. back in the 50's,60's, and beyond, will remember Dick Lane and his famous "whoa Nellie" announcing style. The guy could do it all - jalopy racing, roller derby, wrestling, and who knows what else, over KTLA, channel 5, L.A. Thanks for the memories!!
I moved to Los Angeles in Oct. 66 to attend the Art Center School. My brother in law lived in El Monte.
He took me to the drags at Irwindale . Spent a lot of time in the parking lot looking at a lot of really cool hot rods.
Good time in my life.
Santa Monica Pier harbor idea
“This was the City of Santa Monica's proposed extension to the pier. It was never realized. They did build the outer breakwall parallel to the beach thinking it would provide safe anchorage. What they didn't count on was the prevailing current filling the calm water behind the breakwall with sand, thereby growing the beach seaward. “
Ever wonder why those little rocks are all lined up in a row just North of the Santa Monica Pier? Since the pier is at the end of the famous, USA Route 66, there was supposed to be a grand harbor connected to an extended pier. You guys from other parts of the USA might wonder why that breakwall was placed just off the pier. It was going to use more rocks in a larger breakwater to ward off the winter storm fronts that attack the West/North facing beaches. The original idea was good, as the now, nearby Marina Del Rey Harbor located just southward along the coast, was just a wet land, swampy area for birds and animals at the time.
The idea of a breakwater facing the brunt of the weather systems coming in from the west and Alaska zones was daunting. Even if the breakwater was large enough, the whole area is still exposed, completely. The inside boat slip docks would be rough, as a constant wave action would swing around that jetty and come bashing into the inside of the pier pilings. The waves would come from the South, under the pier and North over and around the small breakwall that was built.
If a second breakwater was built inside of the first outside one, that could work, but the slips would still be unprotected from both sides. (In all seasons.) At least, the final design for the Southerly, Marina Del Rey Harbor slips was located inside of the wetlands and protected by a wide stretch of beach plus a huge breakwater to the west entrance. When the waves are huge in the winter, the harbor entrance closes to all activity. But, it is protected by massive beaches north, west and south. The boats? Just a minor surge, if any during a big storm.
Breakwall currently located at the end of the pier. Marina Del Rey Harbor Marinas several miles to the right of the picture.
The Santa Monica Pier that still, just juts out into the Pacific Ocean, looking and acting as pretty as ever. Just ripe for visitors. It shows well with some lonely rocks slowly disappearing with each passing storm and winters out in the oceanfront.
Dana Point Harbor in Orange County was originally satisfied with a single breakwater to protect the boat slips. But preliminary models and swells caused a second breakwater to be built just inside of the original one sticking out into the ocean to break up the wave currents. That allowed some currents to come into the harbor and swirl around. But, not as much swirling around as if the single breakwater was there. The swirling was going to be huge inside if a single breakwater, as large as it is today, was the only protection offered the boat slips and docks.
But, one bad thing did happened in Dana Point: Several tremendous surf spots were bulldozed under and disappeared forever.
Aside: At the end of the long Route 66 drive out West, you can still keep going farther West to the end of the Santa Monica Pier (or very close to) in your hot rod. That is very cool.
The metropolitan Los Angeles area is wide spread. History tells us that population wise, it goes from the ocean to inland many miles. So, the LA History involves all sorts of historical facts from plenty of resources. Flying into LAX allows anyone to see how far LA stretches west to east. Recently, I read an article as part of the history of Lions Dragstrip. (LA County) It was from the Mickey Bryant /Todd Hutcherson’s books on Lions Dragstrip. It was on the Drag Illustrated.com website. It brought back memories of growing up in the hot rod scene.
The stories that my older brother would come back and tell me late at night back in those days set the tone for our adventures later on in our teenage years. His group was a couple of years older and involved some famous and not so famous drag racers that set plenty of records at the So Cal drags.
This scenario was played out almost weekly and throughout the timeline of Bixby Knolls, each generation or group from the local high school, played a big part of its history. As one group moved on to its place in hot rodding or just into the society’s jobs and colleges, the next group stepped right up and continued the hot rodding scene in Bixby Knolls.
The supply is endless with the local high school kids, their cars and remaining teenage hangouts.
But, something happened over the years. Ideas changed, cars changed, Lions closed, the drive-in changed hands, and the other restaurants closed or moved. The community was getting older and the families changed, too. They tried to revive the 60s feelings with Cacklefests and hot rod displays on closed main streets of Bixby Knolls, but that did not last long. Now, the Historical Society of Long Beach has opened a storefront with plenty of historical artifacts and research files. It is located right in the middle of the Bixby Knolls cruising grounds.
Maybe this is the step in the right direction. This past July, the HSLB started the “CHROME” display and information for all to come and see the history of hot rods and drag racing in the community at large. The ongoing display will be running until March 2019. The February event will showcase Lions Dragstrip.
“…Our latest exhibit, Chrome! Cruisin', Clubs & Drag Strips, showing now at the Historical Society of Long Beach gallery through March 8, 2019. Chrome examines local history through the fun-filled and nostalgic lens of SoCal car culture. View the exhibit TWF 1-5, Th 1-7 & Sat 11-5. Free - donations appreciated. Oh, did we mention we have AC?” http://hslb.org/
As small as the storefront is, the historical aspect of hot rods in Long Beach plays a big part of local lore. It is just part of the whole, big picture of Long Beach history. The Historical Society is just trying to preserve it for future generations. The greater Los Angeles area was the core of this history.
There is Rod's Grill in Arcadia, just east of Santa Anita Raceway. Started in 1957. The breakfast is from my childhood so good!
Just a bump and a suggestion to all of those who posted pics. I was going back to re-read some of the thread and there are a lot of bad links with the pictures. A loss for those who just found this thread.
Unfortunately this is a problem that plagues almost every single older thread. The only way to post pics back then was to use a 3rd party hosting site. Most folks used Photobucket for some reason, had to pay money to keep pics up. I used a free service, so most of the pics I posted should still be there. Damn shame, many great older threads have lost their luster as a result.
LA Sports Arena, the LA Coliseum, and the LA Olympic Swim Complex
In our So Cal hot rod/car show history, the famed Los Angeles Sports Arena played a big part of the show circuit. It was mostly from the R.G. Canning Group, but there were others that were just as cool. The car show circuit also included the Great Western Expo Center, the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium and in 1962, that city’s big, sports arena.
But, with the inclusion of the Los Angeles Sports Arena, everyone had access to the big shows. It was centrally located, had easy freeway access, was inside of the fabulous Exposition Park Complex and next door to the famed, Los Angeles Coliseum Stadium.
This place had its own history from sports teams to awards ceremonies. It is sad that it will be replaced by an outdoor soccer stadium, although it will bring a new look to the very old city attraction.
proposed new stadium
We have been going to the LA Coliseum since the 50s and when the LA Sports Arena was built to attract the LA/Minneapolis Lakers. As a little kid and later as a teenager, it was an amazing place. Later on, in order to impress my date (future wife) I bought some tickets to a Lakers game with Elgin Baylor as the leading star. I had no idea where the seats were, but we went anyway.
As we walked into the arena, it was the largest indoor place we had ever seen. It was bigger than the nearby Shrine Auditorium for rock concerts. Little did I know that our tickets and an usher with a funny look on his face, told us to climb some stairs towards the top of the arena. By the time we got to our row, the players warming up looked like ants. Luckily I brought my binoculars. The seats were in the last row. The roof was right over our heads and it was very quiet.
Did I impress my date?(later became my wife) It was the first time in a huge sports arena watching a professional sports team, despite the size of those players.(teeny) So, yes, it was impressive. But that was the last sports event we went to, as our likes were locked into the big name rock concerts, where we were/are usually sitting a few rows from the stage as possible. It was nice seeing expressions on the rock performer's faces instead of ants.
p.s. Around half time at the LA Sports Arena, the Lakers were so far in front that most of the early fans left their seats. They went home early to beat the LA traffic just outside the arena. So, as they left, my binoculars searched for the closest empty seats we could see, nearest to the basketball court.
As luck would have it, we were on the first section up from the floor and now, those giant guys looked, well, giant. My wife was impressed with our new seats, for the last 20 minutes of playing time. It was one impressive way to start our long lasting relationship with events, including the Sports Arena and So Cal area car shows. Plus, our favorite LA eatery was just a short drive East, Phillipe's on Alameda.
Clancy's Hamburgers in 1961. We mostly ate at the stand in Manhattan Beach but sometimes at the Lawndale stand.
Hamburger Handout at Sepulveda & Centinela did need a "Sale" for $0.15 hamburgers in 61'. That was the normal price.
Reading the fine print in the Clancy's ad says they had their own truck delivery system, delivering to at least 6 locations in 1961. WOW!, I'd like to see how those trucks were painted! It's a shame that as we knew it Clancy's was long gone by 1968.
The most odd ball interchange in So Cal... LA Freeways
OLD ROAD SIGNS AT THE CRAZY 4 LEVEL INTERCHANGE IN Los Angeles. At this interchange, the 101 STILL RULES, THE CA99 IS NOW I-5 AND THE FAMED 66 IS NOW I-10 WEST
Since we have/had history driving into and out of Los Angeles, we certainly were amazed at this 4 level interchange going from Long Beach through to all parts of Los Angeles and elsewhere. The interchange was used as the main route North on the 101 freeway to the San Fernando Valley and farther up the coast to Santa Barbara.
One sector, the 110, was a lead in and traffic saving trip after those “all streets blockages” from the Rose Bowl events. My dad had this sneaky way of circumventing the massive traffic jams from the huge Rose Bowl events by going down the 110 back to Long Beach.
The Four Level interchange as seen from above in 1959. Courtesy of the California Historical Society Collection, USC Libraries.
We were always amazed anytime we drove into the huge interchange. It still marvels at the site and experience of driving through any of the freeways in this jumbled interchanged. Actually, it looks jumbled, but it flows smoothly except during the morning/evening work traffic times. Something we definitely avoid.
Since we started driving our own cars, thorough out the years, this interchange has played a big part when traveling. It is a downtown Los Angeles hub for all points of the compass. Locals and visitors can’t help it, but to experience the interchange as their travels take them to the downtown areas or just about any events in So Cal. Hollywood, Angeles National Forest, Griffith Park Zoo, Rose Bowl, etc. were all points of interest using the interchange to go in a different direction.
For all of you naysayers, who would like to be on the lowest level during the “BIG ONE?”
“Fifty-eight years ago today (1953), the Four Level interchange first opened to traffic. This iconic concrete ribbon that binds the 101 and 110 freeways is an almost inescapable feature of many Southern Californians' commute. Admired by some and feared by others, the Four Level was—like many other highway innovations in Los Angeles—the first of its kind and destined to be copied elsewhere."
"The Four Level, also known as the Stack, gets its name from its multi-tiered structure that separates traffic heading in each direction into dedicated lanes. On the bottom level are curved ramps for those changing from the 110 freeway to the 101. One level above is the main trunk of the 110 freeway, named the Arroyo Seco Parkway north of the interchange and the Harbor Freeway south of it. On the third level are the arcing flyover ramps carrying traffic from the 101 freeway to the 110. Finally, on the fourth and top level is the main trunk of the 101 freeway, named the Hollywood Freeway to the West and the Santa Ana Freeway to the East.” KCET
I remember doing the cloverleaf with the kids in the car. Going North on the 710 and getting off on PCH then back on the 710 going South then off on PCH and back on the 710 going North again on our way home to Redondo. Doing those four right circles could make you dizzy.
I remember that when we would have family visit from small towns in Illinois with populations of 2,500 or less, my dad would always take them downtown to show them that four level interchange, or stack as you called it. At that time the Harbor Freeway only went to somewhere around Gardena. I remember passing the Twin View drive-in on our way to get on the freeway.
Anyone care to guess where this is located?
Separate names with a comma.