And here we are again, at the dawn of another year. Amazingly,
I am still here, and you are still here, and if I am able to talk
to you in this manner it can only mean that this column, and therefore
Book Again itself, are both still here as well!
now that the Holidays begin to return to their hallowed boxes,
we find a different sort of excitement in the air, and it suddenly
becomes well nigh impossible to keep books with such titles as
"The Help" or "Dragon Tattoo" in stock.
have rung in the New and rung out the Old, and it is now time
for Oscar Fever. And that suggests a topic we have astonishingly
never covered: namely, the role the South Bay has played in the
this column being what it is, we dare not pretend to offer anything
remotely authoritative -- suffice it to say that the relationship
between the South Bay and Hollywood is long and prodigious.
a matter of fact, Hollywood and the South Bay have been entwined
from the very start. The film historians among you will recall
that it was Cecil B. DeMille's 1914 film "The Squaw Man"
that started it all. Not only was it the first feature film ever
shot in Hollywood, but it greatly inspired the swarm of eager
Easterners who soon followed, creating the giant Studios that
would so transform this city and, soon, the world.
apparently, that film was partly filmed in San Pedro!
San Pedro, being the closest wharf-like area to Hollywood, might
be expected to host its fair share of location shoots. However,
the rest of the South Bay has had more than its share of history
the century since "Squaw Man" there has been a great
amount of location shooting throughout the Los Angeles area. One
of the unexpected benefits of this is that many of those films
now give us our best glimpses at things that are no longer there.
of my favorite South Bay examples of this would have to be 1954's
3D "Creature from the Black Lagoon", which actually
shows the long-gone Hermosa Beach Aquarium that once held court
on the Strand, right at Pier Avenue. This film is also noteworthy
for allowing Palos Verdes' Portuguese Bend to stand in for Brazil's
probably fictional "Morajo Bay."
Verdes was also most famously host to 1963's "It's a Mad
Mad Mad Mad World", while, just north, Redondo Beach has
much more recently achieved fame as a principal location for "Pirates
of the Caribbean: At World's End".
to Hermosa, residents with reasonably long memories and a tolerance
for "B" Movies will recall the use of Pier Avenue Jr.
High for parts of Stephen King's "Carrie", as well as
Mira Costa High's inclusion in the Ramones' "Rock 'n' Roll
seems to have been a favorite for films of a more explosive nature,
as it served as one of the locations for the 1997 movie "Volcano",
as well as the classic James Cagney film "White Heat"
-- including his famous "Top of the World" finish.
must return to San Pedro, though, a host to innumerable classics
from 1933's "King Kong" to 1993's "Titanic",
even standing in for New York City in the World War II film "Stage
Door Canteen". One might also mention 1937's "Nothing
Sacred", and 1980's "Raging Bull", as well as Jack
Nicholson's "A Few Good Men" and "Chinatown".
One might mention quite a few others in fact, but --
Year may be brand new, but already the stern visage of Father
Time appears, reminding me that my time with you is done.
March, anyway... See you then!