Videos of Interest


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Atomic Lounge: A Documentary by Filmmaker Robert Fantinatto

This is the trailer for a fascinating looking documentary from filmmaker Robert Fantinatto.  He writes,"Atomic Lounge is a 90 minute documentary that looks back at the Space-Age inspired architecture, design, fashion, and lifestyle of post-WWII America. The film will explore the conditions that led to a unique time in history when Americans experienced a dual sense of optimism for the future and fear of impeding nuclear holocaust. This period represents the critical point in the Western world when a culture of sincerity, confidence and conformity gave way to a general atmosphere of irony and pessimism."  While we're waiting for Atomic Lounge to become available, be sure to check out his other great documentaries at

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles. Opened 1923. Architects: Schultze & Weaver

A magnificent example of early Jazz Age architecture, the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel (today known as the Millenium Biltmore) was the first major commission for architects Leonard Schultze and S. Fullerton Weaver, who started the firm of Schultze & Weaver in 1921.  A blend of Spanish and Italian Renaissance with an overall Beaux Arts style, it was meant as an homage to Los Angeles' Spanish heritage.  Modified through the decades (the main lobby was moved to the back of the building to allow for easier automobile access) it has received a multi-million dollar restoration and is quite a site to behold.  If you're in Los Angeles, don't miss the fascinating walking tour given by the Los Angeles Conservancy that takes place every Sunday starting at 2pm.

The monumental scale and Beaux Arts detail of the exterior facade of the entryway to the old lobby, Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel (Nov 2009)

Interior view of the enormous window and moldings of the entrance to the old lobby, now the Rendezvous Court, Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel (Nov 2009)

The old lobby, now the Rendezvous Court, Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel (Nov 2009)  Afternoon tea is served, as well as Lunch and Dinner when it becomes La Bistecca.

One of the two chandeliers suspended over the Rendezvous Court, Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel (Nov 2009)

Detail of the intricate Spanish Renaissance style ceiling above the Rendezvous Court, Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel (Nov 2009)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bob's Big Boy Broiler, Downey, California. Opened 2009. Architect: Chattell Architecture

Much has been written of the miraculous resurrection of architect Paul B. Clayton's 1958 original Harvey's, then Johnie's, and now Chattell Architecture's 2009 restoration Bob's Big Boy Broiler.  One has only to look through the pages of the marvelous book Googie Redux at the laundry list of buildings that have been bulldozed into history during the past few decades, to recognize what an amazing feat has been accomplished.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Friends of Johnie's, the Coalition to Save Harvey's Broiler, the City of Downey, Bob's Big Boy proprietor Jim Louder, Adriene Biondo, and the Los Angeles Conservancy, the newly reborn Broiler is once again serving malts for all!  For detailed accounts of the history, illegal demolition and rebirth of the Broiler, as well as plenty of wonderful photographs be sure to check out these sites:
Roadside Peek  Los Angeles Conservancy  Coalition to Save Harvey's Broiler  Bob's Big Boy Broiler

John Apodaca and I were lucky enough to be the first to dance inside the vacant restaurant during it's reconstruction, and then during the first car show in the parking lot.  These photos were taken during that car show in October 2009.

Bob's Big Boy Broiler, exterior facing west (2009)

Bob's Big Boy Broiler, exterior facing east (2009).  Detail of the imaginatively recreated sign overlooking Firestone Blvd.

Bob's Big Boy Broiler, exterior signage (2009)

Swing dancers with proprietor Jim Louder (second from left) at entrance, Bob's Big Boy Broiler (2009)

Swing dancers Teresa London and John Apodaca pose in front of Bob, Bob's Big Boy Broiler (2009)

Swing dancing in the carhop area, Bob's Big Boy Broiler (2009)

Dancer John Apodaca posing with a Bob's Big Boy carhop, Bob's Big Boy Broiler (2009)

Carhop service menu, Bob's Big Boy Broiler (2009)

Interior booths with vintage photo enlargements in background, Bob Big Boy Broiler (2009)

Bob's Big Boy Broiler, ceiling detail (2009)

All Hail Charles Phoenix!

If you haven't experienced one of his slide show performances yet then run, don't walk, to see one!  He is THE historian extraodinaire of mid-twentieth century architecture, fashion, pop-culture - you name it.  Make sure you visit his site regularly and sign up for his slide-of-the-week newsletter at

Don't miss out on his books either: Books by Charles Phoenix

Charles Phoenix (center) posing with myself (left) and John Apodaca at the Heath Ceramics grilled cheese patio party at their Los Angeles studio (2009).

Pann's, Los Angeles. Opened 1958. Architects: Armet & Davis 1956

Another Armet & Davis design that must be experienced first hand.  The details on the interior and exterior are amazing.  Thanks to the owners and loyal patrons this icon remains intact for future generations to enjoy.


Pann's exterior (2009).  Three views of the classic Googie style sign that towers over La Tijera Blvd.

Pann's exterior (2009).  There doesn't appear to be one 90 degree angle in the entire building.

Pann's exterior, opposite wall (2009).  This seems to be reminants of what appears to have been topiary lettering spelling out 'Pann's'.  Does anyone know if this is true?

Pann's exterior rear wall facing parking lot (2009).  Lush tropical foliage against an exposed stone wall was a hallmark of the Southern California Googie style.

Door handles, Pann's entrance (2009).  The asymmetrical shape and patterns employed here would come back into vogue in the late 1980's.


Pann's interior, ceiling detail (2009).

Pann's interior, light fixture detail (2009).

Pann's interior (2009).  The lighting over the booths against the expansive glass front overlooking the patio seating area.

Pann's interior signage (2009).  Two marvelous neon signs facing the counter seating area inside.

Pann's interior (2009).  Polished metal gleams from every surface.

Pann's interior, men's room (2009).  Even the restrooms have mid-century graphics, as displayed on these tiles found in the men's room.