a daily photo from Southern California's little town in the big city
Monday, August 9, 2010
William Holden Slept Here (well sort of)
When cinephiles trek to South Pasadena in search of William Holden's childhood home, they're often befuddled. Census records list 1911 Fletcher Avenue as the residence of 11 year old William Beedle -- Holden's name before Paramount Pictures changed it. (The rent for the Fletcher Avenue home was $62.50 a month. The census report also made note that the house had a radio.) But at some point 1911 Fletcher Avenue was consumed by the parking lot behind Huntington Cleaners, now bordered by this lovely hedge.
In 1921 three year old William Beedle moved with his family from O'Fallon, Illinois to South Pasadena. His mother taught school in neighboring Monrovia. His father was a chemist with Gooch Industries. The family was pleased that sleepy, respectable South Pasadena was aligned with their Midwestern values and seemed light years away from the wild, outrageous antics of nearby Hollywood.
But after Billy Beedle graduated from South Pasadena High School he began inching closer to the fast lane. He performed in radio plays at Pasadena Junior College (merged in 1954 with John Muir College to become Pasadena City College.) He got his big break playing the part of an 80 year old man in a play at The Playbox -- a small theater owned by the director of Pasadena Playhouse. A Paramount talent scout spotted him and offered him a contract. His mother was happy about her son's career but begged him to "date only South Pasadena girls" because she thought they weren't corrupted like those poor souls in the movie business. What's a mother to do!? (We can only guess what Mrs. Beedle eventually thought of this scene from Picnic.)
In December of 2007, after many years on the west side of Los Angeles (and at least a third of those years spent stuck in traffic on Pico Boulevard) my family settled into a happy little house in South Pasadena. This daily blog covered over 4 year as I put down roots in my new home town.
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Thank you Charlie's Coffee House for hosting my recent photo exhibit, South Pas: Observed. From October 2011 through January 2012 my pictures graced the walls of the best place in town to get a cup of coffee!
Read the nifty story on photo bloggers Petrea Burchard, Ben Wideman, Kat Likkel and little old me featured in the September, 2011 issue of Pasadena Magazine.
For over 4 years, I presented a picture a day from South Pasadena, California -- an incorporated city within the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. All photos up to November, 2008 were taken with a Fujifilm Finepix E900 camera. I added a Fujifilm Finepix S2000HD megazoom in December 2008, a Nikon D3100 in 2010 and a Lumix DMC-DS8 in 2011. I shot with them all. In August 2010 I joined the iPhone camera craze and sometimes included pictures captured by my phone. I regularly cropped images and used basic editing software to adjust the brightness, intensify the contrast, and increase color saturation. Other than that, all images came straight from the camera with minimal alteration. (If I couldn't have done it in a darkroom, I wouldn't do it with a computer.)
The bigger picture:
Consider it a love letter to the place I call home.
You can click on any picture to see a larger version.
All photos and prose on this blog copyright Laurie Allee. Reproduction without written permission is prohibited. (Plus, it's really uncool.)
Run, don't walk to the nearest bookseller and pick up a copy of Margaret Finnegan's delightful debut novel, The Goddess Lounge -- undoubtedly the kookiest, most wonderful riff on Homer's Odyssey ever written. Margaret never ceases to inspire and make us laugh at her blog Finnegan Begin Again. Her book is magical, silly, smart and a wonderful love letter to the all the goddesses among us.
Kevin McCollister of East of West LA blows our minds with haunting images of Los Angeles. But since we can't put his blog on our coffee table, we can buy his fantastic book. I believe Kevin's images truly capture the quixotic and often heartbreaking soul of LA. Don't take my word for it, see what The LA Times had to say.