L.A. & O.C. Getaway

I took a little weekend jaunt to the L.A. and Orange County areas to shoot some stuff that’s been on my list for a while.  Lots of remodeling, repainting, etc. and some things that I only found out about recently.

Callahan’s Restaurant in Santa Monica opened in 1946 and closed last year.  Here’s my photo from 2013 (note Callahan’s was on the white side of the building on the left):


Thankfully, things have not changed all that much.  Ingo’s Tasty Diner opened in the space last month and the interior still has a similar & only slightly fancier look.  There still the counter & booths.  The exterior is now painted entirely white.  I’m relieved that the terrazzo and Vienna Pastry are still there.  The signs have been scaled-down a bit.  Actually, pretty classy.


I’ve passed this Bill’s Liquor sign in Santa Monica hundreds of times during the day but never stopped for it.  Today, with the sun right on it, I realized it was truly an ancient ripple tin sign.  So, most likely, very late 1920s or 1930s.   Although there are probably a dozen layers of paint on it, you can still see the little vertical grooves [clicking on photos at my posts gives you a larger view]


I shot this sign at night for a blog post last year:

This nifty bank building in Reseda looks like it’s been boarded up for years.  I’m hoping that it will eventually find a tasteful tenant or developer that will preserve this graceful gem.   It was built in 1961 as a Metropolitan Savings & Loan.  By 1974, it was an Allstate Savings & Loan.  After that, I don’t know.  The wavy roof & exposed beams remind me a lot of these Dairy Queen building which seem to have been only built in California:


Another change I was fretting about in North Hollywood that didn’t turn out badly.   The Starlite Room in North Hollywood opened in 1955.  This sign might have been from then — or it might have been added in the 1960s.  This photo was taken in 2013 just before the bar closed:


Later that year, new owners changed the name to the Starlite Cantina & changed the text a bit on the sign.  I wish the “Cantina” font was more vertical like the original — but, hey, can’t complain too much:


I stumbled upon this bizarre scene in Silver Lake.  The abandoned Sunset Pacific Motel and surrounding palm trees got a limewash treatment as an art project.  The building is scheduled to be demolished and the limewash is supposed to wash off when it rains.  But, since it only rains about once a year for 10 minutes in Southern California, I don’t know when those palms will look normal again.  The lime is supposed to be safe for the palms but many people are worried about the birds.  More about this project here:

and here:



This was another little surprise in Los Angeles:  this wonderful streamline apartment complex.  Poking around on-line today, it looks like it was designed by Milton Black and built in 1936.  A two-bedroom goes for about $2700:



This Schwinn sign in Los Angeles is looking very sad these days.  Here’s my photo from 2008:


And now:


Since the store was open, I stopped in to get the scoop.  Safety Cycle is actually in the building next door now so they no longer own the sign.  The fate of this sign will be up to the developer.  That space is empty now but work is going on.  Of course, Safety Cycle would like the sign to stay since it’s advertising for their store.  But if it gets much worse, maybe they won’t want to be associated with it.  The City might even want to see it gone at this point with all the tagging and rust.  I’ll nudge MONA (the Museum of Neon Art) in hopes that the museum might want to get moved to the top of the list in case the owner decides to remove the sign.  This sign was never animated and, as far as I know, was not mass-produced by Schwinn.

This cigar sign is in a back alley at The Grove shopping center.  The panels appear to be old but the neon looks fresh.  I know nothing about its history:


This Norge Ball, beat-up as it is, was also a pleasant surprise to me.  The laundry is long gone and Benny’s Market looks like it’s been there for decades.  Too much time and trouble to remove it from the pole on the roof I suppose.  There are two other Norge Balls in Los Angeles — one as crunched as this one, and one in great shape.  There are only about 60 of them left around the country:



Some good and bad news about the Royal Viking Motel in Los Angeles which closed last year.  It promptly reopened as the Pod Inn and adapted the signs.  This nice neon sign was stripped of the neon channel letters.  The panels were painted a peachy orange and backlit plastic Pod Inn letters were installed on the faces.  Here’s the sign in 2012 — I’ll spare you what’s replaced it:


At least the sign around the corner was left pretty much intact — just the name change.  From 2012:


and today:


Just as I pulled off a freeway exit, I heard a “pap, pap, pap” sound that I knew immediately had to be a tire thing from the frequency during acceleration & deceleration.  Sure enough, a rear tire was impaled by a giant bolt but no loss of air yet.  There was a Pep Boys straight ahead — but a two hour wait.  I found another small tire shop “Loco’s Tires” which patched the tire in 5 minutes.  Not even enough time to find out who “Loco” was.  Passing by the Pep Boys again, I spotted this little sign at Tony’s Shoe Repair which shares a corner of the building:


I’ve seen this one many times from the 710 Freeway and finally got off to shoot it.  Melmac Dinnerware is now highly collectible.  This must have been the factory for all those nifty melamine (plastic) plates & cups:


Spring makes me miss all the magnolias, dogwood, forsythia, tulips, etc. back East.  But we DO have purple jacaranda trees here!


And we also have some not so natural trees.  This faux pine cell tower was in East LA. which made it even more humorous:


Two more signs for this post.  These two are just a couple blocks apart:  This one at Ed’s Welding:


I think Chase Equipment is gone now.  The place seemed to be selling used car parts:


That’s it for now.  I’ll try to get you a post with some of Sunday’s photos later today.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s