The Port of Long Beach Administration Building was designed in 1957 by Warren Dedrick and James Friend. The mural was designed by Sheridan Stanton (Gladding McBean) and Paul Souza. Slated for demolition. #mcm #modernist #longbeach #vintage by @esotouric
Gentle Reader. . .
Every good little historian dreams of finding a golden thread that pulls taut the tiny beads that shimmer in the beautiful past, revealing an important narrative that transforms our understanding of what came before. If you're very thorough–and very lucky–you might find one or two of these threads in a lifetime.
Earlier this year, while researching the sequel to her novel The Kept Girl, Kim was fortunate enough to stumble upon one of these golden threads. When she had finished unraveling it, she saw laid out before her an alternate history of the life and work of one of L.A.'s most iconic figures, the detective novelist Raymond Chandler.
If you know anything about Raymond Chandler, it's probably that he didn't start writing seriously until the early 1930s, after he was fired from his oil company job for absenteeism and alcoholism. And you've likely heard that he fell in love with a friend's wife in 1919, and convinced her to get a divorce and marry him instead.
Kim's discovery is a Gilbert & Sullivan-esque comic operetta called The Princess and the Pedlar, written in 1917 with words by Chandler and music by Julian Pascal–none other than the friend with the wife who Chandler would make his own! You can fill in the blanks on why the men might have walked away from the nearly-completed project and never mentioned it again. Chandler didn't just walk away, though: he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces and shipped off to France, where he saw brutal combat. It was on his return to Los Angeles that he "officially" wooed and won Cissy Pascal.
The Princess and the Pedlar was never published or performed, and Chandler suppressed all mention of it in his bibliography. Yet for the past 97 years, it has been sitting on a shelf at the Library of Congress, just waiting for the right person to come looking for it. Today, The Guardian reported on Kim's discovery and the secret is out at last.
We've thought a lot about The Princess and the Pedlar in the months since Kim discovered it, and we believe that the right thing to do is to stage it here in Los Angeles. To that end, we've assembled a talented crew of collaborators under the direction of Tony Award-winner Paul Sand who are eager to turn this historic manuscript into a lively contemporary production–one we'd love to invite you to attend.
Unfortunately, there is some question about whether the libretto to The Princess and the Pedlar is definitely in the public domain, and our request to the Raymond Chandler Estate that they permit us to move forward has been met with a polite refusal, and the claim that this charming, unknown work is nothing more than a curiosity.
Please, won't you help us convince the Raymond Chandler Estate that people care about The Princess and the Pedlar by signing our petition, and passing it on?
And if you'd like to know more about the discovery, and our ideas for the theatrical debut, click here.
We're back on the bus this Saturday, with a Pasadena Confidential crime bus tour that's your chance to caper with Crimebo the Clown (just the thing for those last minute holiday cards). Then on Sunday, we'll be hosting author Barry Day with his new collection of Raymond Chandler's writing, then leading a walking tour of Chandler's lost Downtown. Join us, do!
The Crown City masquerades as a calm and refined retreat, where well-bred ladies glide around their perfect bungalows and everyone knows what fork to use first. But don't be fooled by appearances. Dip into the confidential files of old Pasadena and meet assassins and oddballs, kidnappers and slashers, Satanists and all manner of maniac in a delightful little tour you WON'T find recommended by the better class of people! From celebrated cases like the RFK assassination (with a visit to Sirhan Sirhan's folks' house), "Eraserhead" star Jack Nance's strange end, black magician/rocket scientist Jack Parsons' death-by-misadventure and the 1926 Rose Parade grand stand collapse, to fascinating obscurities, the tour's dozens of murders, arsons, kidnappings, robberies, suicides, auto wrecks and oddball happening sites provide a alternate history of Pasadena that's as fascinating as it is creepy. Passengers will tour the old Millionaire's Row on Orange Grove, thrill to the shocking Sphinx Murder on the steps of the downtown Masonic Hall and discover why people named Judd should think twice before moving to Pasadena.
LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association and The Larry Edmunds Bookshop invite you to join Barry Day for a celebration of his new book, "The World of Raymond Chandler: In His Own Words" (Random House). There will be a short talk and questions, followed by a book signing and free walking tour of Chandler's Downtown haunts, hosted by Richard Schave and Kim Cooper. The event is free, but reservations are required.
Go East, young ghoul, with our most unhinged crime bus adventure. Come visit Boyle Heights, where the Night Stalker was captured and a mad dad ran amok. Roam the hallowed lawns of Evergreen, L.A.'s oldest cemetery and home of some memorable haunts and strange burials. Visit East L.A., where a deranged radio shop employee made mince meat of his boss and bride–and you can get your hair done in a building shaped like a giant tamale. Explore the ghastly streets of Commerce, where one small neighborhood's myriad crimes will shock and surprise. Visit Montebello, for scrumptious milk and cookies at Broguiere's Farm Fresh Dairy washed down with a horrifying case of child murder.
Join us on this iconic, unsolved Los Angeles murder mystery tour, from the throbbing boulevards of a postwar Downtown to the quiet suburban avenue where horror came calling. After multiple revisions, this is less a true crime tour than a social history of 1940s Hollywood female culture, mass media and madness, and we welcome you to join us for the ride. This tour always sells out, so reserve your spot today.
Come explore Charles Bukowski's lost Los Angeles and the fascinating contradictions that make this great local writer such a hoot to explore. Haunts of a Dirty Old Man is a raucous day out celebrating liquor, ladies, pimps and poets. The tour includes a visit to Buk's DeLongpre bungalow, where you'll see the Cultural-Historic Monument sign that we helped to get approved, and a mid-tour provisions stop at Pink Elephant Liquor.
We're delighted to have been invited to speak at the DRW Auditorium of the Pasadena Central Library, a National Register building and a great place for literary conversations. At this free presentation, Kim will discuss and read from her 1920s mystery, The Kept Girl. Kim's illustrated talk will draw on her years of research into the lost lore of Los Angeles, with a focus on the bizarre Great Eleven cult, which ensnared dozens of credulous Angelenos in their mystical rites before one disgruntled ex-believer brought the whole enterprise tumbling down. You'll hear about Raymond Chandler's pre-literary life as an oil company executive, the idealistic L.A. policeman who is a likely model for Philip Marlowe, the real woman who inspired the character of Chandler's secretary Muriel, and the terrible secrets revealed by the fraud investigation in the Great Eleven's activities. Richard will share insights into how he used cutting edge computing tools to evoke the look and feel of a mid-century book, and Kim will talk abut the deluxe Art Deco wraps created for the Subscribers, whose pre-publication support covered a big chunk of the print cost. Copies of the book and the new Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles will be available for purchase and signing after the talk. We'd love to see you there!
Join us for a journey from the downtown of Chandler's pre-literary youth (but which always lingered at the fore of his imagination) to the Hollywood of his greatest success, with a stop along the way at Tai Kim's Scoops for unexpected gelato creations inspired by the author. We'll start the tour following in the young Chandler's footsteps, as he roamed the blocks near the downtown oil company office where he worked. See sites from Lady in the Lake and The Little Sister, discover the real Philip Marlowe (the inspiration for Kim's novel The Kept Girl) and get the skinny on Chandler's secret comic operetta that we discovered in the Library of Congress nearly a century after it was written.
Ride along on a very pulpy path on a wide-ranging tour that digs deep into the literature, film and real life vices that inform that most murderous genre, film noir — from Double Indemnity (where Raymond Chandler's Hollywood career intersects with Cain's) to The Postman Always Rings Twice to Mildred Pierce and beyond. The tour rolls through Hollywood, Glendale and old Skid Row, lost lion farms, murderous sopranos, fascist film censors, offbeat cemeteries — all in a quest to reveal the delicious, and deeply influential, nightmares that are Cain's gift to the world.
This rare Sunday tour in our California Culture series rolls through Vernon, Bell Gardens, Santa Fe Springs and Downey, and the past two centuries, exploring some of L.A.'s most seldom-seen and compelling structures. Turning the West Side-centric notion of an L.A. architecture tour on its head, the bus goes into areas not traditionally associated with the important, beautiful or significant, raising issues of preservation, adaptive reuse, hot rod kar culture and the evolution of the city.
Come on a century's social history tour through the transformation of neighborhoods, punctuated with immersive stops to sample the varied cultures that make our changing city so beguiling. Voter registration, citizenship classes, Chicano Moratorium, walkouts, blow-outs, anti-Semitism, adult education, racial covenants, boycotts, The City Beautiful, Exclusion Acts and Immigration Acts, property values, xenophobia, and delicious dumplings–all are themes which will be addressed on this lively excursion. This whirlwind social history tour will include: The Vladeck Center, Hollenbeck Park, Evergreen Cemetery, The Venice Room, El Encanto & Cascades Park, Divine's Furniture and Wing Hop Fung.
A Valentine's Day treat for lovers, or those who are in love with urban exploration, and back by popular demand, it's our Route 66 bus adventure. Join us on a time travel trip due east along California's Mother Road to explore the building of its dream, from citrus ranches to oddball roadside attractions, sinister sisters, an ancient hidden graveyard (perhaps the most remote and haunted site we visit on any of our tours) and the many mysteries of the northern San Gabriel Valley.
Come discover the secret history, and the fascinating future, of a most beguiling neighborhood. This is not a tour about beautiful buildings–although beautiful buildings will be all around you. This is not a tour about brilliant architects–although we will gaze upon their works and marvel. The Lowdown on Downtown is a tour about urban redevelopment, public policy, protest, power and the police. It is a revealing history of how the New Downtown became an "overnight sensation" after decades of quiet work behind the scenes by public agencies and private developers. This tour is about what really happened in the heart of Los Angeles, a complicated story that will fascinate and infuriate, break your heart and thrill your spirit. Come discover the real Los Angeles, the city even natives don't know.
AND FINALLY, LINKS!
There are more annoying things than giant new hotels, Mr. and Mrs. Malibu.
Mole-Richardson had to fall so other great, non-landmarked buildings might survive.
Magnificent Eastside cemetery on the downswing.
In memory of our friend Bob Baker.
Paul Sand shares memories of a summer spent above the Santa Monica carousel.
Photos from Richard's birthday bus adventure.
KEEP THE TAGS AS THEY ARE FOR EMPHASIS SO THE SIGN OFF IS NOT LOST
Kim and Richard