Betty White TV debut

No 1939 image could be located.

“…her connection with television dates to an appearance on an experimental Los Angeles channel in 1939. She and her high school classmate sang songs from the light operetta ‘The Merry Widow.’ They were sweltering in a small studio on the sixth floor of the Packard building while the viewing audience gathered in the ground floor auto showroom.”

Excerpt from 2010 Los Angeles Times article: http://goldderby.latimes.com/awards_goldderby/2010/06/betty-white-reflects-on-a-golden-career-.html .

“Even White has a hard time remembering the exact name of her debut show on screen back in 1939. However, there is one particular event she recounts as life-changing during a certain interview with Guinness Book of World Records. She was given the chance to dance on an experimental television show, based in downtown L.A. She wore her high school graduation dress and danced with the student body president (Harry Bennett) of their school: Beverly Hills High – to the tune of ‘Merry Widow Waltz.'”

Excerpt from http://moneyinc.com/things-you-didnt-know-about-betty-white/ .

Learn about 1930s television, including the Don Lee network in Los Angeles, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_television#United_States .

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Carl’s Drive In

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Image: “Dick” Whittington Collection/USC Digital Library photo via https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2013/03/15/los-angeles-1939/#comments-block .

Location may be Flower Street at Figueroa in Los Angeles.

“I see that one car owner still has his 1938 plate (3C 17 70), perhaps dating the photo in early 1939. And there’s a 39 Arizona plate on the coupe three cars to the right of the carhop.

“It’s hard for me to ID the cars here too, but I see two 36 Ford sedans, one right by the building and one between the drive-in sign and the carhop; a 36 Ford coupe by the building, a light-colored 38 or 39 Ford coupe at the left by the building, a light-colored 39 Pontiac at lower left, a 37 or 38 Ford slantback 2-door in front of it, a 37 or 38 Chevy coupe two cars to the right, and a 39 Ford convertible with whitewalls clear to the right. Those are the only ID’s I have any confidence in.”

Excerpt: Comment from reader Pete Madsen on the Hemming’s post of this photo at the image link above.

Arrowhead Springs Hotel

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After destruction by fire in 1938, an all-new hotel designed by Paul Revere Williams opened on December 16, 1939. The star-studded opening was broadcast over CBS radio.

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Images: uncited newspaper articles via https://www.sakoguchi.info/arrowhead-springs-hotelnew-gallery/ .

“Overlooking the San Bernardino Valley, the location was ideal for a resort. It sat atop natural hot springs, whose waters, at a scalding 202 degrees Fahrenheit, were much hotter than those at Europe’s most famous spas, one reporter dutifully noted. To partake of them, guests had only to press the down button when they stepped into the elevator. The curative powers of the springs had long been advertised, and the hotel that opened that December was actually the fourth on the site. Its predecessor, a massive Victorian pile, had burned down just the year before. That was the point at which an enterprising tycoon, Jay Paley, the uncle of CBS president William Paley, jumped in and recruited some of the movies’ biggest names to invest in what he hoped would be the industry’s most glamorous getaway.

“For the overall design, Paley hired Gordon B. Kaufman and Paul R. Williams. An African American who had done something unheard of in those days—he had erased the color barrier—Williams was one of Hollywood’s favorite architects and the designer of Paley’s own house in Los Angeles. He and Kaufman produced a U-shaped structure with six floors, 150 rooms and suites, a 300-seat theater and three dining areas. “Georgian modern,” it was called, but it also showed the influence of Art Déco. For the interior, Paley went all the way to New York and to a woman who knew very little about life in California but just about everything there was to know about interior design—Dorothy Draper. “First chop in the decorating business,” was how she was irreverently characterized in Westways magazine.”

Excerpt from Architectural Digest magazine: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/hotels-arrowhead-112008 . Click on the link for more information.

Learn about the architect at http://www.paulrwilliamsproject.org/about/paul-revere-williams-architect/ .

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For a complete history, read Arrowhead Springs, California’s Ideal Resort by Mark Landis. http://landispublications.com/Publications_pg1.html .

 

•  •  •

Today marks one year of daily posts about southern California in 1939. In the future, posts will be less frequent.

Lane-Wells

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Image: circa 1939 photo via https://martinturnbull.com/2013/10/12/lane-wells-company-headquarters-in-los-angeles-circa-1939/ .

“The work of architect William E. Mayer, Lane-Wells’ west coast headquarters was completed in 1937. Even in a city full of Streamline Moderne buildings, these two were exceptional. In addition to the horizontal banding typical of streamline style, Lane-Wells had vertical bands as well. On the main Administration Building these vertical bands cascade over the top, like a fountain.

“Were the vertical bands just a design flourish? Perhaps. Maybe they were meant to create a visual balance with the horizontal bars.

“I think the answer is none of the above. I think those vertical bands represent a fountain of oil. This place is an Art Deco temple to the gods of petroleum.”

Excerpt from http://www.decopix.com/the-lane-wells-story/ .

 

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Image: 1939 Lane-Wells company newsletter from http://www.decopix.com/the-lane-wells-story/ .

 

About Lane-Wells (from the excerpt link above):

“In December 1932, Walter T. Wells and Wilfred G. Lane convinced the Union Oil Company to let them test their “gun perforator” on a dry well in Montebello, California. The gun was a device, lowered into the well, that fired .45 calibre bullets laterally into the well housing.

“It was dangerous work and carried the possibility of damaging the well. But it worked. The next day, the “dry” well was pumping 32 barrels.

“Rejuvenating wells was good business. By 1947, the two-man startup had nearly 100 gun perforating trucks and had completed 92,000 perforating jobs. There were offices in Houston and Oklahoma City plus 40 field branches, but none could compare with company headquarters in Los Angeles.”