Orange County Weekend — Saturday

Hi there!  The gang and I went down to Culver City for Nik’s eyeball check.  Things are looking okay with that.  Keep giving drops and hoping that the lens will drop into the bottom of his eye and maybe, just maybe, he’ll be able to see better.  Right now, he’s working on about 2% vision with one dead eye and one full, inoperable cataract-ed lens in the other.  Not that it’s slowing him down or impacting his manic zest for life any.  He’s still running 60 mph chasing his ball using his hearing and sense of smell — and with my assistance (lefts and rights).

Friday night after work, I got a little bit of neon shooting in.  This one’s just west of downtown Los Angeles.  I think it’s still unknown what this sign originally advertised for.  And I was surprised to see it lit:




I haven’t been to L.A.’s Chinatown in ages:





On to this morning — from Redondo Beach.  I don’t know how old this sign really is.  Certainly, the paint job appears to be non-vintage — but still…. fun sign:




Still Redondo Beach.  Next to Joe Oliveri Hair Design.  This head is BIG.  The “hair” is fake (not real living greenery):




The Golden Donut in Torrance… now a Mexican Food restaurant.  Long live the sign!




Also in Torrance — the Carson Plaza shopping center:




In Wilmington — Lucky Star Chinese.  I have no idea what this building housed originally.  It doesn’t match up with any of the A-frame restaurant chains that I’m familiar with:




From San Pedro.  According to the counter guys, this was originally the Hamburger Hut — established in 1936.   And you can see some ghosting on this sign and holes for the neon that might match that name.  But I’m suspicious that this was a hot dog place with the Dachshund featured so prominently.  A San Pedro on-line source does show a Hamburger Hut at this address in the 1950s — so maybe the guys are right about that.  This sign is more typical of the 1950s than 1930s.




Also San Pedro:




Exhausted by mid-afternoon — thank god!   It was a VERY noisy morning (mucho barking).  An over-the-shoulder, at a red light shot of the new kid (Griz) and Grem.




Last one from San Pedro:




Moving on to Long Beach:




The Walter Pyramid at Cal State University Long Beach — built in 1994.  This one would probably shoot better on a cloudy day.  But it’s very mirage-like that blue on blue:




Still Long Beach — on the former Owl Drug building (now Olives Gourmet Grocer):




A couple more shots from Long Beach:





At day’s end, the dogs were treated to the huge, LEGAL dog beach in Huntington Beach.  After that, too late to shoot anything else.  But I thought you might like the sunset silhouette of the Naked Surfer statue:



More Orange County tomorrow — but I’ll have to cut off in the afternoon since I’ve got to work on Monday morning.  I’ll probably make you wait for the blog post and photos until Tuesday or Wednesday.  Stay tuned…

17 thoughts on “Orange County Weekend — Saturday

  1. On the Lucky Star Chinese building…that looks very close to an old A-frame style Tastee Freez. Perhaps that one was slightly remodeled?

  2. My dad made signs, especially neon signs – Ace Neon in the Catskills. What a nice post to wake up to on Father’s day. Thank you.

    • Hey! Yes, it’s fun if only for a weekend. Will try for a trip at least one weekend per month. Doesn’t quite add up to 10 weeks a year but… good enough for now!

      Love the giraffe, too. I shot lots of “deli” signs yesterday. Memories of NYC are never far away.

      • awwww… actually my first deli experiences were in LA (ah to be a young Nebraskan visiting family in Los Angeles)…. Jerry’s Deli in the Valley and Canter’s Deli. and then Zingerman’s in college.

        it’s sort of great / ideal that you will be able to very thoroughly document SoCal landmarks — which seem much cooler than East Coast counterparts. i’m so glad you are planning on some regular trips again.

        sort of verklempt at the idea of 10 weeks a year at this point. oy vey!


        p.s. that Olive’s Gourmet bared butt shot is pretty great too…. but then with your blog posts it’s always a Sophie’s Choice situation — i love all of the pics. i know i know, go to ipernity and your website for the real meat and potatoes!!! 🙂

      • I live in L.A. and never noticed or just don’t remember delis. Just like I never noticed the bizarro plants and trees that don’t exist anywhere but here it seems.

        I don’t know that SoCal “landmarks” are cooler than East Coast. L.A. & Orange Counties are certainly one big vast sprawl. Most of it malls and chains like everywhere else in the country.

        I’d gotten used to 10 weeks — and fantasize maybe half the year on the road when I “retire” in a dozen years or so. We’ll see.

        Those Coppertone clocks are very rare now. Anything plastic is maybe even more vulnerable than steel & neon. Much more breakable and easily remove-able. Easier to sell on eBay. The only other Coppertone sign that comes to mind is the giant one in Miami — about 1/3 the way down this page:

      • ohmy i didn’t realize that was the Coppertone baby. very cool. i’m going to dig around your agilitynut page more…. thanks debra jane.

        i guess it just seems like the california weather might be less harsh on the signage, and although the urban mall sprawl is definitely endemic to SoCal things probably survive longer in SoCal than in NYC at least. i dont know. pure conjecture. i have just been struck by this impression over the years of following your trips. there just seems to be more preserved signs in the southwest. i’m probably off base here.

        this 10 week or even better half or even three-quarter time roadtripping would be amazing. i truly thing it’s dooable and you will make it happen. i’ll send good vibes to that effect.

        thanks for the continued dialog. it’s great to stay in touch with you!


      • The biggest threat to vintage signs isn’t weather — it’s new development — and city ordinances. Chicago has more vintage neon signs than anywhere in the world — and it’s not a mild climate. NYC is just so smashed together — and expensive — that’s there’s more business “churn” and businesses change more frequently and most of the old signs have gotten tossed over the years. I wouldn’t say there’s any regional preponderance of neon sign survival. It’s more local: some cities HATE neon and make it as difficult as possible to repair them or keep them in place. While other cities recognize them as important local landmarks. And there’s no distinction size-wise of the city going either way.

        Actually, there’s practically no neon left in ME, VT, NH. I’m not sure there was even that much to begin with. Other states like PA, upstate NY & NJ there’s more left. But again, particularly in NJ, loads of development, rent goes up & businesses close, mall-ification, signs gone.

        And in most cities, most neon signs survive in the poorer neighborhoods or poor downtown areas where there’s no rush to re-brand a store or redesign storefronts. Old signs are left in place while the business below is something entirely different.

      • wow, this gives me a total appreciation for Chicago. i had no idea. very interesting, Debra Jane.

        thanks for taking the time to explain this…. city ordinances boo!


  3. The Neon Giraffe was originally the sign for a store called “Big Top Liquor.” It was also the namesake of a neighborhood gang called the Big Top Locos.

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