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The Birth of Noir: James M. Cain’s Southern California Nightmare Bus Tour

October 21 @ 11:00 am - 3:00 pm


Southern California 1931: Amongst the burgeoning urban sprawl built atop bulldozed orange groves and the bitter realization that you can’t eat the sunshine, recent emigre James M. Cain found a kernel of truth and his voice, which would eventually distill through his Los Angeles novels, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce and Double Indemnity and subsequent film adaptations into the unique American genre: Film Noir.

How did this East Coast sophisticate go from managing editor of The New Yorker to populist novelist accused of writing dirty books? The tour explores Cain’s Los Angeles from Hollywood to Glendale and along old Route 66, and includes illuminating visits to Forest Lawn Memorial Park (site of the funeral of Mildred Pierce’s “other” daughter, Ray), the Glendale Train Station where the Double Indemnity murder plot played out, and the punch line to a Billy Wilder joke so subtle, it took six decades for anyone to get. The tour includes cameo appearances by the artisans who transformed Cain’s fictions into Film Noir classics, including Billy Wilder, Raymond Chandler, Joan Crawford and Lana Turner.


Tour begins at 10:30am sharp, with check-in time 10am at the patio outside Grand Central Market at 324 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90013. Please arrive on time and proceed to the check in table to get signed in and logged in to the smartphone slideshow. Scroll down for tour rules and recommendations.


BE PREPARED: This is a bus tour lasting approximately 4 hours, which will be split fairly evenly between time on and off a 56-seat coach class bus. The bus has A/C, video monitors (the tour has a slideshow), and a restroom. There will be a complimentary coffee and snack break during the tour, and you’re welcome to bring a packed lunch to enjoy at this time, as well as any non-alcoholic beverages.

COVID SAFETY: Guests are required to wear a mask while boarding and traveling on the bus. Please bring your own mask, or ask for one on check in. The charter company that we work with cleans the bus cabin before each trip, and also requires passengers to wear a mask when on board. Thank you for working with us to help keep each other healthy so we can enjoy exploring today and in the future.

If you need more information about what to expect, please email us.

Parking & Public Transit:

There are numerous paid public parking lots around Grand Central Market, including GCM’s multi-level lot at 308 South Hill Street Los Angeles, California 90013.  The nearest Metro stations are Civic Center/Grand Park and Pershing Square. If using public transit, this link can help you plan your trip:


Emailing is the best way to communicate with us, but after 8am on tour day you can call or text Richard on his mobile phone, 213-915-8687.


If you feel like you’re getting sick, if you test positive for Covid-19, or if you have knowingly been in contact with a positive case of Covid-19 in the last 7 days, please do not attend the tour. Let us know not to expect you. If notified at least 72 hours before tour departure, we can refund or reschedule your booking. If notified at least 24 hours before departure, we can honor the booking on a future date. You may also gift your ticket to someone else—we will need their name, email address and phone number to make this switch.


October 21
11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


213 915 8687
View Organizer Website


Grand Central Market
308 South Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013 United States
+ Google Map
(213) 359-6007
View Venue Website


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Birth Noir
$ 85.00
41 available