A daredevil in golfing attire traipses along a steel beam high above the street during construction of the Los Angeles City Hall, 1927. The Hall of Justice and the old courthouse can be seen in the background.
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Top this, Bruno Mars. At Super Bowl I, played in Los Angeles, the halftime entertainment was a blast. Scott Harrison at Framework has the story. The Seahawks and Broncos face off today in Super Bowl XLVIII. Mr. Mars is the halftime entertainment.
Previously on L.A. Times Past:
Photo: The Bell Rocket Air Men soar above the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum during the Super Bowl I halftime show, titled “Super Sights and Sounds.” Credit: Ben Olender / Los Angeles Times
As good as Bruno Mars’ performance was last night, it’s hard to top jetpacks.
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Foggy Hill Street tunnels
A look at the Hill Street tunnels, seen from Temple Street in downtown L.A., circa 1954.
Photo: Howard Maxwell / Los Angeles Times
"Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” was released 50 years ago this week. The film is regarded as a cinematic masterpiece today (AFI ranked it No. 39 in its’ 10th anniversary Top 100 in 2007), but in February 1964, Times’ film editor Philip K. Scheuer didn’t find much to like. I’m partial to the deadpan of the subheadline: "Kubrick’s ‘Satire’ Tells All About End of World, Ha Ha." But this is a great line too:
… a publicist at Columbia, which is distributing the picture, assured me it would be my “cup of tea.” After suffering through two screenings of “Dr. Strangelove,” I would sooner drink hemlock.
Scheuer issues no spoiler alerts while giving away the ending and laments that “[a]ll members of our armed forces are pictured as either utterly unscrupulous or just plain stupid.”
And then he makes a point that is rather jarring to a reader in today’s era of the antihero.
Is all this necessary? I submit that, as with “[It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad,] Mad World,” villains are not funny per se — especially when there are no good guys around to offset them.
Scheuer doesn’t spare the actors either.
Peter Sellers plays three parts, all in widely disparate make-up: the President, an RAF exchange officer and Dr. Strangelove, a Nazi fanatic employed as our top nuclear scientist. His bumbling Briton comes through; the others are, with all due respect to his talent for mimicry, simply preposterous. George C. Scott (I have never seen him give a bad performance till now) makes the staff chairman — Gen. Buck Turgidson — a mugging, stomach-scratching, gum-chewing vulgarian.
That’s Peter Sellers above, later in 1964. He’d had a heart attack and was photographed leaving the hospital with his wife.
Original published caption, May 8, 1964: GOING HOME — British comedian Peter Sellers, 38, stricken with a heart attack April 6 that almost cost him his life, gets a hug from his Swedish actress wife, Britt Eklund, 21, as he leaves Cedars of Lebanon Hospital on an ambulance litter Thursday. Credit: Los Angeles Times
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A tiny, retro run-in with the law
From a 1970 story we ran on some highly restrictive anti-motorbike measures that brought an 11-year-old boy at odds with the law:
Randy West, 11, took it like a man Wednesday – his first brush with the law and the news that his favorite minibike trails were off limits.
The sandy-haired youngster was one of the first to receive a warning citation from police as the result of a new ordinance which places virtually insurmountable restrictions on use of private property for motorcycle or minibike riding in the city.
“If it’s the law, you gotta obey it,” said Randy moments after receiving the warning citation for riding his minibike on a popular trail between Huntington Center and the San Diego Freeway.
Photo: Cliff Otto / Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles is built on top of a lost city of Lizard People
Or at least, that’s how the theory goes. G. Warren Shufelt, an earnest engineer believed early last century that L.A. had been constructed on the same grounds as an ancient Lizard People stronghold, as mapped out above.
From our 1934 story on the bizarre belief:
Busy Los Angeles, although little realizing it in the hustle and bustle of modern existence, stands above a lost city of catacombs filled with incalculable treasure and imperishable records of a race of humans further advanced intellectually and scientifically than even the highest type of present day peoples, in the belief of G. Warren Shufelt, geophysical mining engineer now engaged in an attempt to wrest from the lost city deep in the earth below Fort Moore Hill the secrets of the Lizard People of legendary fame in the medicine lodges of the American Indian.
Read more on the lizard people whose former homes may rest right below your very feet at L.A. Times Past.
This Throwback Thursday, we’re taking you back in time at the happiest place on earth. Yes, we’ve dug into our archives and found some old Disneyland photos, including some of Walt Disney himself (seen in the middle photo inspecting plastic heads for a “Pirates of the Caribbean” addition to the park) and then-Vice President Richard Nixon (shaking hands with a man in a spacesuit in the bottom photo).
But perhaps the sweetest and most surprising story is behind the top photo. It’s of 14-year-old Jong Sook Kim visiting Disneyland in 1964. She was from South Korea and was in America to get surgery on her eyes — doctors once thought she’d never see again. After the operation in San Francisco, she went to see Disneyland with her newly restored sight.
Read more and see more photos here.
(Photos: Los Angeles Times / UCLA Library)
A Throwback Thursday so good it survived until the weekend.
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A not-so-beloved Bob Dylan
Dylan’s always been deemed a musical hero by many for his groundbreaking songs, but critics weren’t exactly kind during his 1978 tour that brought him to the Inglewood Forum:
Dylan, the most stimulating American songwriter of the rock era, has been ripped repeatedly by critics during a U.S. tour that began last summer at the Universal Amphitheater.
Disturbed both by the singer’s looser stage manner and his sometimes drastically revised arrangements, reviewers have accused the ’60s folk-rock legend of trying desperately to catch up with the ’70s by polishing up his act.
And, it’s true: Dylan has changed. This Forum show was far from the urgency and drive of his 1974 appearances at the same arena with the Band…
Check out the rest of our former pop music critic Robert Hilburn’s write-up from the show over at Framework.
Photo: George Rose / Los Angeles Times Archive
Remembering the Northridge earthquake
Twenty years ago, a massive earthquake struck Los Angeles, killing an estimated 60 people and leaving billions of dollars in damages in its wake.
We’re looking to memorialize the quake on its Jan. 17 anniversary, so if you have stories from that tragic day, head over to L.A. Now and let your voice be heard.
Photos: Los Angeles Times archive
The hairy, mysterious “Jungle Boy”
Above is a photo of the 1950s-era wrestler known as “Jungle Boy,” vividly introduced by reporter Don Snyder:
The night has a thousand eyes. They glow like burning coals full of hate, blood, vinegar, old lemon juice and cigar smog. From their darkened sanctuaries they peer maliciously at the snarling figure before them.
For out there, on the white square where central lights beam down on the rope-caged canvas lurks the hairy horror. He is Jungle Boy, wrestler at large.
Small children sneer at him. Big men jeer at him. Medium-sized women leer at him. All other sized fans sneer, jeer and leer at him simultaneously.
It is one madhouse of screams inside the Olympic emporium. It is so noisy the barking crackerjacks man cannot put over his bargains.
The photo eventually won first place in an Associated Press contest for California and Nevada, but despite the acclaim, Jungle Boy’s identity remains unknown.
Photo: Art Rogers / Los Angeles Times
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Our readers take some awesome photos. Once more, we ran through your submissions and picked out our favorites, some of which you can see above.
The rest of our December selections are over at Framework, so take a look!
Photos: Gary J. Winterboer, Kevin Balluff, Anthony Samaniego, David Sanden, Steve Gaskin, Robert Larson
Bringing attention sexual abuse through photography
A master of documentary photography, Mariella Furrer has dedicated much of her career to placing the spotlight on the tragedy of child sexual abuse.
A victim of abuse herself, Furrer recently opened up with photographer Barbara Davidson:
The molestation could not have lasted more than a couple of minutes, but the incident affected my life in ways that are difficult to articulate. As a 5-year-old, I don’t think you really understand that you have lost something when you are abused. Yet you have; something does change.
You lose your childhood really, your innocence is snatched away, and what little is left of that once-pure child is now transformed into a sexual being, a child with a knowledge of things way before her time.
Photos: Mariella Furrer
Angels Flight crossing over Clay Street, Los Angeles, 1960. Every building on either side of the street would meet the wrecking ball within a few short years.
Yikes - a caption that quickly takes a grim turn.
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Archival tightrope walking
In this photos from April 2, 1976, tightrope-walker Steve McPeak crosses the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro. As impressive as his feat was, upon stepping off at Terminal Island, he and assistant Celeste Farr were quickly arrested.
Photo: Art Rogers / Los Angeles Times Archive
Mourning two titans of the classic silver screen
Both were renowned for their talent: Fontaine was honored with an Academy Award for best actress for her brilliant role in 1941’s “Suspicion,” and was nominated the previous year of “Rebecca,” and O’Toole was nominated for a stunning eight Academy Awards without a single victory.
"Always the bridesmaid, never a bride," he quipped upon receiving an honorary Oscar in 2003.
Read more on their lasting legacies over at Movies Now.
Photos: Associated Press, Martha Hartnett / Los Angeles Times, RKO Radio