George Mann’s Fabulous Vintage Views Of Los Angeles

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George Mann (1905-1977) might be the most fascinating Angeleno you’ve never heard of. Born in Santa Monica and raised on healthy food and sunshine, he shot up to 6’5” at Venice High School. His gangly limbs, dancing prowess and penchant for ridiculous costumes made him a natural for comic vaudeville, and with partner Dewey Barto (4’ 11” in his dancing shoes), they blazed a headlining path across the theater circuit.

With hours to kill in a new town every day before Barto & Mann’s set, George took up photography, and captured extraordinary candid backstage scenes of his talented friends, and the theaters where his name was on the marquee. Later, he added a film camera to his tool kit, which is why we can see his pals The Three Stooges clowning around on Atlantic City’s Steel Pier with George’s bride Barbara Bradford.

As vaudeville faded, George reinvented himself back in Los Angeles, developing a custom 3-D photo viewer that he leased to local restaurants and offices to entertain customers waiting for service. Designed with the help of his friend Bill Lear of Lear Jet fame, George’s photo viewers gave him the opportunity to travel across the Southland, capturing vibrant new scenes to keep repeat customers interested. Made for a small audience and never published, the images remained unseen for decades.

Join Esotouric, L.A.’s most eclectic sightseeing tour company, for a virtual celebration of George Mann’s creative and colorful life, his remarkable photographs, and the 3-D photography, performing and engineering communities with which he was associated.

Your hosts Kim Cooper and Richard Schave first encountered George’s work in 2010, when George’s daughter-in-law and archivist, the photographer Dianne Woods reached out with the generous offer to share some of his 3-D color photos with readers of the On Bunker Hill blog. The early 1950s views of Bunker Hill prior to redevelopment were a revelation, as were his photos of vintage restaurant signs, and a crowded and lively Pershing Square.

Check out the George Mann posts on the On Bunker Hill Blog with Meet George Mann and there is Much More Mann Where That Came From.

Joining us to tell George’s story are his son Brad Smith and daughter-in-law and archivist Dianne Woods and Chris Casady, a 3-D photographer, longtime member of the LA 3-D Club, animator and proud owner of one of George’s original commercial 3-D viewing devices.

Tune in to get to know a fascinating Los Angeles character and see rare mid-century views that will transform your understanding of Southern California landmarks famous and forgotten—including some never before seen.

This webinar is an illustrated lecture packed with rare photos that will bring Los Angeles’ cafeteria history to life. And you’ll find the look of an Esotouric webinar is a little different than your standard dry Zoom session, with lively interactive graphics courtesy of the mmhmm app.

After the presentation, Kim, Richard, Brad, Dianne and Chris will answer your questions about George Mann and 3-D photography, so get ready to be a part of the show.


About Esotouric: As undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz, Kim Cooper and Richard Schave inexplicably hated one another on sight. (Perhaps less inexplicably, their academic advisor believed they were soul mates). A chance meeting 18 years later proved much more agreeable. Richard wooed Kim with high level library database access, with which she launched the 1947project true crime blog, highlighting a crime a day from the year of The Black Dahlia and Bugsy Siegel slayings. The popular blog’s readers demanded a tour, and then another. The tour was magical, a hothouse inspiring new ways for the by-then-newlyweds to tell the story of Los Angeles. Esotouric was born in 2007 with a calendar packed with true crime, literary, architecture and rock and roll tours. Ever since, it has provided a platform for promoting historic preservation issues (like the Save the 76 Ball campaign and the landmarking of Charles Bukowski’s bungalow), building a community of urban explorers (including dozens of free talks and tours under the umbrella of LAVA) and digging even deeper into the secret heart of the city they love.

Rights and permissions: By attending an Esotouric webinar, you acknowledge that the entirety of the presentation is copyrighted, and no portion of the video or text may be reproduced in any fashion.

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