Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Canyon Crier

This post concerns not a documentary, but a document, dear readers.

I recently helped my friend Fritz clear out the Van Nuys home of his aunt, who had recently died. It seemed she threw nothing away, and there remained the physical evidence of over 50 years of her life in that house. Most of it was not worth saving, but there were gems among the trash. Ironically, the most important papers of the time, the legal documents of her lawyer father (Fritz's grandfather and namesake), were now worthless, but the "disposable" paper - product boxes, magazines, flyers, ads, and newspapers, are now gold to those interested in the history of the middle of the 20th Century.

I found a few copies of a local paper called The Canyon Crier, from late 1959 to early 1960.

The Crier served the communities of Whitley Heights, Outpost, Vine Crest, Beverly Glen, Sunset Plaza, Beverly Hills, Bel Air; Laurel, Benedict, Coldwater, Nichols, Beachwood and Bronson Canyons; Hollywood Knolls, Roscomare, Hollywood Manor, Cahuenga View, Toluca Lake and Briarcliff.

Though the actual articles tend to be of limited interest (zoning hearings, junior league tennis tournaments, rummage sales, etc.), there is plenty to attract the eye of the historically inclined. For example, Alan Watts is giving a lecture.

Notice that even the then he was heard on KPFK. We usual think that the turn toward Eastern spirituality in the U.S. happened much later in the 60s, but it's clear this trend had already begun - there's an ad for the Vedanta Temple in Hollywood on the same page as this announcement.

What's playing at the movies?

The ad gets it right: these are two British classics, playing at the Fox Lido, on Pico at La Cienega (which is long gone.)

Michael Todd's Smell-O-Vision spectacular, SCENT OF MYSTERY, at the Ritz (also long gone.)

At the Monica International Theater (also long gone - I sense a pattern here), the portmanteau ANATOMY OF LOVE and Russ Meyer's THE AMORAL MR. TEAS.

Happy that the Supreme Court saw fit to allow our forebears to watch LADY CHATTERLY'S LOVER. Finally, a theater that still exists - the Vista!

Back to defunct theaters, the Oriental and the Pan Pacific. Satyajit's Ray's masterpiece, PATHER PANCHELLI [sic - PANCHALI] on the bottom of a double bill with Jules Dassin's HE WHO MUST DIE.

Reginald Denny, British born silent film star, later had success as a character actor in talkies. He served in the Royal Flying Corps in World War I, and opened a model plane shop in 1934. He and a partner  manufactured drones during World War II!

"Theme" and "ethnic" restaurants were popular. Visit the new Foreign Correspondents Room! (Stroll on over after seeing LOOK BACK IN ANGER - Pico and La Cienega was a happening spot).

Who knew that in 1960 Big Corporations had a sense of humor? Can you imagine an ad like this today?

Real estate prices were a little different then. Of course, so were salaries.

1 comment:

  1. Although not mentioned in this post, the masthead of your edition of The Canyon Crier was drawn by famous Warner Bros. cartoon director Chuck Jones, who lived in the vicinity.

    The image was used for this blog entry by the way!