So my cousin Margaret is coming out to visit my mom later this month and to prepare I helped my mom clear out some boxes of stuff she’s been storing in the unused spare bedroom of her apartment. One such box happened to contain, a veritable treasure trove… at least to me.

Consisting of issues of Colliers, Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, Look, Life and other magazines from the 1920s through the 1970s, the box holds an amazing array of periodicals (remarkably well-preserved) that my late stepfather William R. Cox collected — topped off with issues from the Herald Examiner and the Los Angeles Times from none other than November 22, and 23, 1963, respectively.

In the days since I’ve leafed through issues at random, totally blown away by the documents that I was holding in my hands. And while many of the events and stories chronicled are familiar from an historical perspective, what’s really been drawing my eye are the advertisements, awesome works of art and many of which I’d never seen before.

As a sample I’ve taken rough snapshots of six gorgeous full-pagers appearing in the August 21, 1994 1944 issue of Life, galleried below (click the thumbnails to supersize the images):

I’m seriously thinking of opening up a new blog devoted strictly to posting and sharing these incredible ads.

A set of darts, given to me when I was 12 years old by the dart-loving father of childhood dart-loving friends Casey and Brady Riggs, has sat unthrown for almost 35 years, until today when I finally hung a dart board outside the backdoor that I bought a few months ago and decided to commemorate their first throws in more than a third-of-a-century.

Man, I’m old.

No, not that one. The anniversary of my very first-ever official blog post: January 5, 2001. Yep, I’ve been blogging for 10 — count ’em! — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 years. Back then I owned the domain for no other reason than I like the name, and the blog was called re:collections — hand-coded by your’s truly. Back then there wasn’t much in the way of turnkey blogging solutions like Blogger or WordPress.

Back then I lived in Encino and worked at the LA Zoo. Given my penchant for helping out animals, surprise: my first long-forgotten post (stumbled accidentally upon in my archives) was about coming to the aid of a lost kitten (click the screengrab below for the bigger picture):

Six months later I’d move out of my apartment and in with my mother to save money and help her out with the mortgage/sale of her place. Scooter came with me but, despite spending the initial two weeks locked up in his new home to get acclimated to it, the first time we let him out was the last. He was never seen again. It’s another story entirely, but that led to my mom believing she found found Scooter in a shelter. But Scooter turned out to to be Pepper, who’s still with us.

Ten years… damn!

I continue to pull random negative strips out of the file cabinet and run them through the Imagebox negative scanner I got. Most of images aren’t worth sharing, but this one might induce nostalgia in anyone familiar with Pershing Square before it underwent its “It Came From The ’80s” transformation about a year or so after this shot was snapped in 1992 (click it for the bigger picture):

As best I can tell this is somewhere near the center of the park looking towards the southeast corner where Hill and 6th cross. What’s there now is that odd fountain which displaced the statuary to that after-thought of a nook where they huddle today.

Tony Pierce went to see Roger Waters’ “The Wall Live” concert last night and it brought back memories of Pink Floyd’s original “The Wall” tour. The show was sold out for a week in February 1980 at the Sports Arena.

With no money to my name and a mother who was not a fan of the album and certainly not my obsession with it (I listened to it daily in its double-platter entirety for months), I tried my best to win tickets on radio show giveaways, but failed. So entirely desperate to see what was uncategorically The Rock ‘N Roll Event Of My Lifetime I even contemplated burgling a neighbor or worse robbing someone of their tickets outside the venue.

Fortunately I went neither of those felonious routes, and instead on Wednesday, February 13 — the last day of Floyd’s LA stay I pretended I wasn’t feeling well immediately after dinner, went to bed fully clothed, and after about a year-long 30 minutes of laying there, I stuffed clothes under the covers to simulate a body sleeping, snuck out the window, pausing while straddled half in and half out to not give a fuck if my mom decided to check-in on me and discover my escape. Then I went down to the garage, got on my battered BMX bike and pedaled out from the slums of Beverly Hills in the general direction of downtown via Olympic Boulevard, with neither a golden ticket nor knowing precisely where the Sports Arena was.

Come to think of it, from a cycling perspective that trip could qualify as my first-ever bike commute.

Anyway. When I finally arrived, sweaty, adrenaline filled and out of breath, the place looked and felt deserted with only a few people outside the entrance I was nearest, and I was gripped in horror that I’d screwed up and come all this way a day late. Then as if in reassuring answer “In the Flesh?” exploded from within the arena and I knew the concert was both going on and had only just started.

So ya thought ya might like to go to the show…

Increasingly and frantically desperate would be an understated way of describing how I spent the time basically pedaling around the arena begging a succession of rejecting gatekeepers that getting inside was a matter of life or death until finally finding a somewhat sympathic ear.

“I don’t even need a seat! Please just let me stand somewhere inside!”I implored.

I say the person was “somewhat sympathetic” because he didn’t let me in for free. I had to fork over the seven bucks I had in my pocket — and my bike.

I gave both over without hesitation.

And in I went. The moment I burst through the outer doors I was greeted with the acoustics of “Mother” and I almost cried. In fact I did, but for a different reason as I was immediately approached by a security guard wanting to see my ticket.

Instead, I showed him the performance of my young life, channeling that tearful relief into total sorrow as I turned on the waterworks and bemoaned losing my ticket and only being able to get in because the person outside made me give him all my money — and my bike.

Mother will they tear your little boy apart?

Miraculously, it worked. Embarrassed by my outburst, the guard led me to an access tunnel and told me to calm down. I did, a little. Then he looked around before telling me to go in but insisted that I couldn’t sit in a seat.

“If I find your crybaby butt planted anywhere it shouldn’t be I’m throwing you out!”

I nodded my head off in understanding and gratitude and when he looked the other way I did my best not to bolt headlong down the tunnel to experience what was indeed The Rock ‘N Roll Event Of My Lifetime.

Afterwards, given the amount of second-hand marijuana smoke I inhaled there’s little in the way of specifics regarding the looooong walk home other than I don’t recall my feet touching the ground and in getting back to the apartment not long before dawn I still didn’t give a fuck if my mom had discovered my absence. Slipping the screen off the window and sliding it open, I peered inside the darkened room and nothing appeared out of the ordinary. The door was closed. The clothes I’d stuffed under the covers still there.

Sure enough, the next morning I was awakened with my mom’s typically gruff and no-nonsense call to get up, but that was it. Though completely exhausted, I rose in triumph that the entirely AWOL evening excursion had been a total success. I had torn down several walls to see “The Wall.”

When my mom got home from work that afternoon you know what she found me listening intently to on the old Admiral hi-fi. Rolling her eyes, I turned the volume down and told her that my bike had been stolen. I pretended to be appropriately upset, then I turned up the volume and climbed back into the album with visions of the mindblowing concert in my head.

So with the addition of a negative scanner, I’ve of course been going through sheets of negatives from back in the prehistoric days shooting black and white film — most of which were related to class assignments from the early ’90s. Pulling a sheet out of the batch on my desk I found what looks to be a series of shots that made up a panorama of the San Fernando Valley from a vantage point somehwere atop Mulholland (I’m guessing between Laurel and Coldwater Canyon boulevards).

Then there was one with it that to the naked eye didn’t look to be from a camera pointed at the valley. In fact it looked to be the other direction. Putting it up to the light and under a magnifying loupe, sure enough, that’s an island in the distance out to sea and a couple tankers making their ways northward across the bay (click it to get the bigger picture):

It’s not a good image in the slightest, which is probably why I never printed it up. But what I surmise is that while cruising Mulholland sometime in 1992 or ’93 most likely on my motorcycle on the way to or from the panormama I shot (which didn’t turn out very well either), I spotted this view from a turnout and snapped it because it’s just not every day one can see such a scene. Trouble is, I’m not sure where was this turnout and what things are we seeing. My guess is it’s from a vista point between the Sepulveda Pass and Beverly Glen Boulevard looking out over Bel Air and that’s Catalina Island with a bit of San Clemente to the left of the frame. The buildings seen past the dip in the ridge line are no real help in pinpointing so that’s the best I can come up with.

Back in October I discovered that mesmerizing long-lost film clip on YouTube, filmed from a streetcar in San Francisco. Purported to have been filmed just days before the 1906 earthquake and saved because it was reportedly shipped out of town before the disaster, there’s debate about that owing not only to the sheer coincidence but also to the types and amounts of motor vehicles seen. More than likely it was filmed there in the teens.

This one below, very similar in style and POV, is identified as having been shot in Barcelona in 1908, and whether that’s exactly true or not doesn’t matter. It’s even more captivating owing to the better visual quality.

Just watch. And enjoy:

« Previous PageNext Page »