The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Antiquated' started by Ryan, Jun 17, 2019.
I've read the book and have seen the movie several times. One of my all time favorites. My parents told me stories of growing up during the Depression. It really all sunk in for me after seeing this movie.
There were many stories that our mom told us about living and then later on, visiting Terminal Island during our arrival in Long Beach. It was the center of the West Coast Tuna Processing Plants from the various companies like Star Kist, Van Camp, and then Chicken Of The Sea building plants. The thriving location was called Fish Harbor and was also the home of the deep sea fishing fleets during this time.
One of our favorite rod trips from our Westside of Long Beach home was to go to the Fish Harbor area and have lunch at one of the little shops. Then after visiting friends and other shops, go to the docks to see the fishermen bring in their catches. We were amazed that so many tuna were out there in the ocean.
Wayward Kid 1951 Terminal Island, Fish Harbor.
Photo taken from the overhead walkway on Wharf St. In front of the fishing fleet.
I remember always driving around Terminal Island, visiting the Starkist Tuna Factory, the fire station, the greasy hamburger café near the ferry, etc. with my dad. The highlight was the ferry ride back and forth to San Pedro across the Main Channel.
The frequent trips had to do with visits to the places where our relatives lived and worked back in the 40s and 50s. The side roads within the factory areas leading to the fishing fleet were busy during the day, but it was pleasant to visit on the weekends.
Terminal Island was the birthplace of the tuna canning industry with popular names like Chicken of the Sea, Star-Kist Tuna (Single largest tuna canning plant in the world), and Pan Pacific Fisheries. Who could forget the “Charlie Tuna” ads on TV?
“The familiar Star-Kist Company traces its origins to 1918 on Terminal Island. It was founded as the French Sardine Company by Yugoslavian immigrant, Martin J. Bogdanovich.”
History: In 1952, it became Star Kist Tuna and eventually closed 32 years later, in 1984.
Even though my dad had this huge camera, he still had time to take photographs of us everywhere he took us when we were little kids. That was being a real fanatic photographer as it was a full time process to get the big 4x5 camera ready to shoot. It was not a point and shoot camera, that was for sure.
The process of opening the camera, adjusting the bellows and lens, load the film, take out the special light blocking tab, center the subject, focus and pull the shutter lever down and push the fine wire button to take the photo.
Then it was walking around with this huge camera ready for the next shot or reversing the process to fold it back up into the hard shell suitcase.
The camera was so heavy that I could not hold it up to shoot or do anything. My enjoyment came when it was sitting stationary, so I could play with the bellows, the flashbulbs, the wire shutter cord, and opening/closing the whole mechanism. It was a complicated mechanical process, just to take a photograph.
It wasn’t until I could actually hold the heavy box camera in my hands that I came to appreciate what my dad did for taking simple family photographs all of those early years. He skipped the 35mm generation. My mom took over and bought a small purse size, point and shoot 35mm camera for family photos. The big Graflex sat in its hard shell photo suitcase gathering dust.
Terminal Island offered many photographic moments, but it was not until we had cars, that allowed us to appreciate a little history and solitude near the water. It was/is still a cool place to drive when it is quiet. When the fishing boats were all cleaned up and empty, that whole row of the island was eerie. This place was and still is called, “Fish Harbor.”
My wife and I (dating times) used to drive down here just for the solitude, despite the federal prison just down the end of the road. How appropriate… “the end of the road.”
Recently, this Island is a ghost town, but still has a lot of history. The Ferry Terminal is long gone and so are the big tuna canning factories. Most of the area is still part of the commercial harbor industries.
We visited often as our family friends had shops and various businesses located there.
A. Nakamura (relative) grocery store in the middle of the community.
Mooresville is where we live in the summer. Cool pic.
This is Forest Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach...1933.
Seal Beach Powerhouse. The larger second picture is the day after the 1933 Earthquake.
Caught at the drive in.
Simply The Best ! xxx
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