The Studies 1950-60

The passage of the California Community Redevelopment Law in 1945 and Title 1 of the Federal Housing Act of 1946 and 1949 provided cities with legal and financial tools by which to deal with problems of “blight.” In 1948 the city of Los Angeles created the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) to use the new instruments. The immediate results were a series of studies conducted by the City Planning, Health and Housing departments for the CRA. In 1956 architects Pereira and Luckman began another series of reports which would become the basis for the Bunker Hill Redevelopment Plan.

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Odd Incarnations: The Bunker Hill of Towne’s Ask the Dust

fromthetrailerBunker Hill of old is gone, never to be again. Until we concoct some Disneyesque Colonial Williamsburgian simulacrum, complete with sullen teenagers hired to pose as grimy grifters, we‘ll never be able to amble down Third toward Hill and catch Angels Flight up to battenboard and gingerbread. (Imagine, the collapse of the Vanderbilt will be repeated at two, four, and six! Visit the souvenir stand outside the Elmar! We gotta get Eco on board. Dang, too bad Baudrillard just died.)

But the Hill did rise again, for one brief moment, when Robert “Chinatown” Towne said full speed ahead, we‘re building this thing. We‘ve got Ask the Dust to film. And with all that devalued Rand, what did they build down in a Capetown rugby field? A presumptuous pastiche. A goofy Golem. A dopey doppelgänger.

Bear in mind this post is less a criticism than an investigation, because it‘s not so much they got it wrong as they got it weird.

AtDWhat is this Asking of Dust, you ask? Fine, a little background. It‘s the 1930s, and while the world was awash in novels of the mannered drawing-room variety, aspiring writer John Fante was banging out gritty realism, as best he could, considering that at every turn he‘d find the “mechanism of [his] new typewriter glutted with sand.” This is the titular dust, the tiny brown grains that‘d blow in from the Mojave, that‘d get in his hair and ears and find its way into the bedsheets of his little room at the Alta Loma, his Bunker Hill flop.

Ask the Dust is Bunker Hill. And AtD‘s protagonist Arturo Bandini is our displaced dago everyman, there at the Alta Loma, built on the hillside in reverse: he climbs out the window and scales the incline to the top of the Hill and walks “down Olive Street past a dirty yellow apartment house still wet like a blotter from last night‘s fog.” Via Fante/Bandini‘s description, the Hill takes on all necessary romance and despair:

I went up to my room, up the dusty stairs of Bunker Hill, past the soot-covered frame buildings along that dark street, sand and oil and grease choking the futile palm trees standing like dying prisoners, chained to a little plot of ground with black pavement hiding their feet. Dust and old buildings and old people sitting at windows, old people tottering out of doors, old people moving painfully along the dark street.

(In actuality, Fante wrote Ask the Dust in a [recently-demolished] pad on Berendo. But he had lived at the Alta Vista, seen here…


….and whose plot is now here:)


Anyway. Robert Towne reads the 1939-published Ask the Dust in 1971 while doing research for Chinatown. Towne decides then and there to make a picture out of the novel; it takes him a while to do so. Come 2006, voila, Ask the Dust.

I won‘t comment on the performances or the diegetic structure of this oft-maligned film. While the reviewers cobbled cranky critiques, none cast aspersions on this piece of celluloid for any abuse of architectural accuracy. I would, however, were I to have an appropriate forum to do so. This being barely it, we‘re off to the races.

Towne beat his brains out making this movie, befriending Fante, writing the script on spec (unheard of for a man of his stature), jumping through every archetypally ugly financing hoop and unearthing some undiscovered ones in the process. But yes, this labor of love paid off, because I was there opening day, ignoring the performances and diegetic structure to sit gape-mouthed at–what else? Bunker Hill. And sit in wonder and disbelief I did, mostly at the sheer strange world into which I‘d been injected: Bunker Hill was dementedly askew. Therefore I was dementedly askew. Well, Mr. D.A., I hear you say, if you‘re so All That, you try to make period picture.

TreasureIslandI may only know the bare minimum about making period pictures, but at least it‘s something. Ten years ago, Richard and I–Kim‘s Richard, builder of this blog–were the art department for “indie” film Treasure Island. Treasure Island was shot on film and set in 1945–and who on earth has ever made a serious period feature with no budget? We built sets in a makeshift soundstage, shot at locations with cajoled props in a manner that would make Ed Wood blush, and shut down City streets (necessary when staging a riot). That‘s how you make a big, sprawling period picture (which went on to win the top honors at Sundance, the “Special Jury Prize for Distinctive Vision in Filmaking,” aka the coveted “What the Hell was That?! Award”) for less than the latte budget of Beverly Hills Chihuahua: make sure you have neither money nor expertise. But I‘m not here to impugn the excesses of studio excrescence. I‘m just pointing out that we did more with less. We were historically accurate. To an annoying degree.

Ask the Dust, less so. Oh, it looks great, but it‘s Bunker Hill Bizarro. Batman once pointed out to the Mystery gang that the Joker did first-rate counterfeiting, save for one thing: President Lincoln never wore a turtleneck sweater. Suffice it to say, Bunker Hill‘s neck will never get cold.

Consider. Towne was in development on this project for thirty years. During that time he could have learned the difference between the Second and Third Street tunnels. Or spent an hour finding someone who did. Look, no-one is here to talk smack about Ask the Dust Production Designer Dennis Gassner. Many have gone into production design to be Dennis Gassner. And the production looks terrific–but there are those among us will forever be at a loss to understand what the hell it was that Towne/Gassner & his team/whoever‘s responsible was doing.

Ask the Dust
–it‘s not that it‘s full of rampant anachronism (if The Sting is set in the 30s, why are they listening to 1890s Scott Joplin, and have 1970s hair?), nor does it feel just altogether wrong & parachronistic (Ha! Ha! Harlem Nights!)–no, it‘s anatopistic, which is a ten-dollar word meaning strange as all get out. Instead of mere chronological anomaly, we have full-bore objet-out-of-place, for example, a tunnel that‘s moved over. (I‘m just talking about the giant corporeal set they built. The actual CGI they dropped on top of it is a monument to chronological anomaly. We‘ll get to that.)

Let‘s talk tunnels. The designers read the script, and it says Angels Flight, Third Street. Ok. Art Department gets to work. Now then:

This is the Third Street tunnel:

This is the Second Street tunnel:

This is what they elected to build:


Got it? It‘s the Second Street tunnel with Angels Flight next to it. And other Third Street whatnot atop. Some of it, anyhow.

This is no mere clickety-clack of computer, or making of matte painting (do people still do those?), this was built:


1924 looked just like 2004…


Yes, I find this peternaturally exciting, but then, I need to get out more. In any event:






Let’s again turn our attention to AtD‘s world of Third and Hill, 1933.



Here then is your standard pre-June 1908 Crocker Mansion shot. There‘s the Crock, the observation tower, no Elks gate of course. Down from the Crocker there‘s the Nelson House and the Ferguson house. On the east side of the street, in descending order, the Hillcrest, the Sunshine Apartments, the McCoy House, and the St. Helena Sanitarium.

elksahoyWhat I find really intriguing in Ask the Dust‘s interpretation is the inclusion of the six-bay arched entry to Angels Flight, up top on Olive Street (you can see four of the open bays because the two on the left were closed in for the ticket booth). This pavilion would naturally butt up against the Hillcrest, but because the tunnel below is now so wide, there exists this odd empty area. The six-bay pavilion up top also thrusts us into an all the more peculiar place within the time-space continuum; it only existed between 1910 and 1914. While the Crocker Mansion existed before 1908. And the here-absent Observation Tower was not removed until 1938, five years after the Ask the Dust shot was “taken.”

So why use the Second Street tunnel and not the Third? I have a possible explanation for this. Here is a passage from the book:

I took the steps down Angel‘s Flight to Hill Street: a hundred and forty steps, with tight fists, frightened of no man, but scared of the Third Street Tunnel, scared to walk through it–claustrophobia.

So there you have it. They couldn‘t build the Third Street tunnel because Bandini‘s character was scared of”¦so they built the”¦OK, so there was a time when everyone was coked out of their skulls and something like that could have occured. But nowadays there‘s oversight, and bottom lines, and so on. Right?

But go back to the Ask the Dust image. The (pre-1933) Ferguson home down on the street by Angels Flight is sort of correct, though its gable faced at an angle to the street. And where is the entry arch to Angels Flight, pre-1910 or post? The buildings on the other side of the street are entirely fanciful”¦vaguely correct in their massing, but that‘s about it. The Hillcrest never had bay windows. The McCoy house wasn‘t double gabled–and the Sunshine Apts are gone, presumably so that the Sanitarium could be shoved up the hill.

In theory Gassner made a conscious aesthetic decision to go with the Crocker because it played better visually. Or there was an unpaid intern who saw a stack of postcards and slapped this together.




(Someone apparently saw an image of the Bath Block, once on the SW corner of Fifth and Hill.)





It doesn‘t seem to bother Bandini much that he lives in a counterfactual alternate time universe. (Also, the Confederacy won, and because of that we have gills. Perhaps, rather than being doomed to an episode of Sliders, Bandini‘s existence in this new world of speculative fiction where the Crocker survives is more akin to Delenda Est, and isn‘t, therefore, you know, that bad?)
notonhillWhat‘s also interesting is that Bandini doesn‘t actually live on Bunker Hill. The Alta Loma slopes down to Hill Street, in the middle of the 300 block–to the right of the St. Paul neon.

Back in the day, in the 300 block, that St. Paul Hotel was the site of the Western Mutual Life Bldng, the Alta Loma where the Hotel Columbia stood.


A shot from the Graf:


The entrance to the tunnel is on the right; the Alta Loma, bottom center.

Let us note too that while they built this:


It gets barely a nod in the film. (Probably because while they constructed a working PE Red Car that got lots of camera time, there were no Olivet or Sinai.) Nevertheless, it‘s all the more effective when we‘re not hit over the head with the thing.





I don‘t even want to discuss the unexplainable “flying in” opening credits–which, of course, is exactly what I‘m going to do. So we‘re flying in, and Bunker Hill has all of, oh, nine structures, and Bandini‘s Alta Loma on Third is one of them, which we recognize as 512 West Second Street, once just above the Second Street tunnel:





I could go on and on (haven‘t even deconstructed Third Street) but think I‘ve made my point: weird, and enjoyably so. It‘s not that the sets were treif out of lack of effort. They had the opportunity to rebuild Bunker Hill from the Ground Up, something never attempted before and will likely never happen again (until I‘m given thirty-six acres and a drunken bank president), and I commend them for doing most impressive work:


(The first rule of any period LA picture: when in doubt, stick City Hall in there.)


Yes, impressive, impressive work. Now consider, if all had been perfect, what would I have had to write about?




I should point out as well that the costuming was first-rate (Albert Wolsky won the Oscar for Bugsy).



Bet when you got up this morning you weren‘t wondering whether you‘d see Arturo Bandini with his Discman today.






For more on Fante and Bunker Hill, ask a teacher or librarian. Or better yet, get on the bus.

Speaking of CGI, what’s next on deck? Again starring our City Hall, CGI removing modernity like debridement.changy
Yes, Changeling. Which yeah, I‘ll see in the theater, but won‘t be as good as Choke, because it‘s about a woman yelling “Give me back my son!” and also because they shot it in San Bernardino and San Dimas.


I get so tired of hearing about you can‘t shoot old LA because there‘s no old LA left in which to shoot (yes, I know they‘re not actually just sloppy and lazy; it‘s just a disingenuous way to get around verbalizing that it‘s cheaper to shoot in fill-in-the-blank). But give me a camera and some crazy people and twelve dollars I‘ll make you the best damn Bunker Hill movie yet.

2nd St. tunnel 1923, TICOR/Pierce Collection, University of Southern California; Alta Vista, Bath Block, 215 W 2nd, 2nd St tunnel 1960, Arnold Hylen Collection, California History Section, California State Library; I especially want to thank Jon, Lead Fabricator for AtD‘s Art Department and his collection of images without which this post wouldn’t have been nearly as complete; Bandini and his Discman, and the Third and Hill mock up, come from here; the shot of the set from above is from here; super special thanks to the good people at Viacom/Paramount Motion Picture Group for not sending their thugs and/or lawyers after me, because they are I‘m sure very nice people. Oh, I also stole screen grabs from that GE/Vivendi "Changeling" thingy. I am so headed for an earthen dam.

Manufacturing Decline (1920-1944)

<p><img src="" alt="" width="386" height="500" align="right"/>

The powers that be decided that Bunker Hill was an eyesore and an impediment to the development of downtown Los Angeles, and the case was slowly created that the neighborhood was on the decline very quickly and the best thing to do would be the remove it. It was in this era that the CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) was created to deal with the city’s chore of rehabilitating Bunker Hill. The breadth and scope of this agency’s early history and Bunker Hill (inextricably intertwined) is beyond the scale of this post, but future ones will begin to address it.

<p>This entry by Yukio, <a href="" title="1920-44">The Evolution of Bunker Hill&#8212;Part Three</a>, simply creates the stereotype of a blighted neighborhood, which would become its self-fulfilling prophecy.  </p>

<p>It should be noted in reference to the article&#8217;s mention of the Hill&#8217;s much appreciated housing during WWII, that it was considered the safest place in the city for single women to live.</p>

Field Trip!

nhmHey kids! Grab your duffels and get on the bus. We‘re headed into the wilds of Exposition Park, to the Natural History Museum. No Timmy, and sorry Susie, no dinosaur bones or stuffed lions today; prepare to be shrunk like Bugaloos and fly! Fly over Bunker Hill! Bunker Hill–1940.

Woosh! We‘re flying in! Over the Richfield Building now, we‘re going to swoop down between the rooftops of the California Club and the Bible Institute, across the top of Central Library, soaring toward the Edison and the Sunkist Building…flyingin

(…ignore those strange giant floating numbers and letters, by the way; be advised they are as harmless as they are, for our purposes, useless.)

And now with a great dip we zip toward the corner of Fifth and Grand–eagle of eye will note that behind the Engstrum on Hope Street stands the Touraine and the rooftop of the Zahn‘s Wickland Apartments ”¦beyond that one can just make out the turreted Hildreth Mansion. Up Grand from the Edison are, of course, the Sherwood, the Granada, and the Zelda.

Blast off into the sky! We shoot up and over to the west, then point ourselves east to view Bunker Hill of the soul”¦devoid of light and life”¦the great red beast that appears ready to burst is the Elmar”¦the center slender building jutting from the Elmar is the Van Fleet . Note the dusty stretch of dirt to the north of the Elmar, where invisible children cavort–may someday there they plop a playground! (And see how Bunker Hill looms over the likes of the California State Building, the Hall of Records, the Hall of Justice!)



Aha”¦down there”¦with the Clift Hotel on our left, the Stanley above the Second Street tunnel, that means that red T-shape is the Winton”¦shall we dare shoot down past its backside”¦?


Ah! Blinded by sprites! Those who protect the Marcella! the St. Regis! Away! Away!


Let us retreat up Flower toward First, make a hard right just past, why, the s(t)olid rectangular yellowish edifice at the corner, if it isn‘t the Rossmere in all its rectitude.

And wethinks we espy the Melrose beyond? Let‘s glide down over Hope and have a look-see! That‘s the Melrose all right, across Bunker Hill Avenue, sitting on the other side of Grand between First and Second.

Now we‘re aeronauting down Grand, looking across the intersection of Second”¦there‘s the Dome on the corner”¦
Raising the spyglass to your eye, you‘ll see that at one o‘clock above the Dome sits–with the green roof–the Brousseau. (The wide building beyond, spanning Grand to Bunker Hill Ave., is the Alto.)

Sailing over the Melrose now! To its west, of course, the Richelieu. The yellow building behind is the Argyle.

Let‘s fly up and swing wide–turn back to see Hill and Olive across First and Second”¦the Moore Cliff and El Moro perched on their Hill Street bluff. In the distance, at Second and Olive, the Mission Apartments”¦

Coasting out even further now, on the other side of Broadway, from here the raw maw of the Second Street tunnel looks like a tiny gasp”¦over which the Northern holds dominion.

Venturing in closer now…that squat red building hiding behind the eerily-white seven-story Glove Cigar Mfg. Bldg. at 319 S. Hill is the Hotel Lorraine/Clayton/Central. L/C/C’s blocky red brethren over its left shoulder are the Elks Lodge and Annex.


Now let‘s aviate our way ever closer”¦closer”¦just a stone’s throw from Angels Flight…til we hover near the Astoria . What terrible deeds did there occur!overastoria
Granted, the streets may be deserted. But may we not still run afoul of Robert Nixon? He only went to the chair a few months ago. This is quite obviously a haunted place. We must turn tail and soar away with great urgency and return to our world”¦bid farewell”¦


What have you just seen? A model of Los Angeles, built by the WPA from 1938-40, for the purposes of city planning (via which they evidently deduced “it all goes!”)”¦on a related note, this model was once many, many times larger. The County (whose infinite wisdom never ceases to inspire) dumpster‘d the majority of it in the 70s.

Nevertheless, your trip today showed you only a smidgen of Bunker Hill, and a fraction of the model. I guarantee that in the flesh–it, yours–you‘ll stand gape-mouthed for an eternity staring deep into LA‘s prewar theatre and financial and industrial districts.

Plus down at the museum they‘ve endless tonnage of interesting old LA, e.g. the clock-face from the County Courthouse. (And in the same room as the WPA model there‘s an ancient oil well beam pumping unit with a counter-balance one‘d fill with river rocks–worth the price of admission right there. [Does this fan of vintage petroleum exploration a world of good, anyway.])

So go there now. The model and the rest of the LA stuff in the basement, in the California History room.

And yes, Timmy and Susie, there‘s also lots of dinosaur bones and stuffed lions. And Bugaloo specimens in the insect gallery.

Downtown L.A. and the Long Beach Earthquake of 1933

Having spent the earthquake today underground on the Wilshire/Vermont subway platform, I, for one, am grateful for the building codes and seismic retrofits of today.

unshakenAnd the downtown Los Angeles of today came through the quake swimmingly, with the most significant damage being sustained by the Literature & Fiction Department at Central Library, which was briefly closed this afternoon after many of its books were flung from the shelves by tremors.

However, everyone knows that Southern California hasn’t always escaped these quakes quite so unscathed. For today’s Bunker Hill time travel, let’s step back to the Long Beach Earthquake of 1933.

Centered on the Newport-Inglewood Fault, the 6.4 quake hit Southern California in the early evening on March 10, 1933. Rubble filled the streets, fires broke out, and approximately 120 people were killed in the quake, with hundreds more injured filling the Southland’s hospitals. The cities of Long Beach, Compton, Watts, Huntington Park, and Huntington Beach were particularly hard hit.

Though downtown and the Bunker Hill area fared better, there were more than a few close shaves.

At 130 S. Broadway, 19-year-old Morgan Gordon was sitting in his car when two 3-foot square blocks plummeted from the cornice of the building. One crashed through the car’s hood, the other through its roof, fortunately, landing in the empty passenger seat.

crushed carsNearby, witnesses watched in horror as the tops of the Federal Building, the Hall of Justice, and City Hall swayed visibly, and the screams of prisoners being held on the top three floors of the Hall of Justice could be heard from the street below: "We want out! We want out!"

Paint was literally knocked off of all four exterior walls of the Hall of Records, broken glass filled the streets, and people were struck and injured by falling bricks and debris (though no downtown fatalities were reported).

Dramatic as the scene downtown was, the long-term damage was limited. Most of the debris was cleared over the weekend, and of all the large buildings in the area, only three were deemed potentially unsafe: the Detwiler Building at 412 W. Sixth, the Edison Building at Broadway and Third, and the Great Republic Life Buildling at 756 S. Spring. In all, the damage to downtown buildings was estimated at a relatively modest $250,000 ($4.2 million USD 2007).

Photo from the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection

Tales From Bunker Hill (A Traveling Lecture Series)

Tales From Bunker Hill is a 45-60 minute multi-media presentation consisting of some of our favorite posts featured on the On Bunker Hill blog, a presentation of an original map of the neighborhood, and a brief look at the forces which created and shaped the current Bunker Hill (this portion is a short introduction to the themes of the four-hour Esotouric bus adventure The Lowdown on Downtown). The presentation concludes with a question and answer period. If interested in booking this lecture, kindly email us. 

More info: Bunker Hill was the first grand Los Angeles neighborhood to flourish outside the bright and dusty Plaza. It was home to the city”™s finest families, who built exquisite gingerbread houses with hillside gardens that reflected their wealth and taste. A jaunty funicular delivered residents into the midst of downtown”™s commercial center. It was the pride of the west.

Yet somehow, through the vagaries of decades of bust and boom, Bunker Hill became a carbuncle on downtown, filled with social misfits and pensioners, just another deficit in the tax base. By the 1950s, it seemed the only solution to this urban social problem was for the city to reclaim and redevelop.

Or was it? With its demolition went the testament and legacy of a rich and varied community, a densely populated downtown which today”™s developers can only dream of. The On Bunker Hill blog was launched in Spring 2008 by a consortium of writers, social historians, librarians and tour guides to shine a light upon this lost community, its demolished mansions, famous and infamous citizens, and the forgotten lessons of downtown”™s most successful residential community.

Our goal with this project is to unearth the lost stories of old Bunker Hill, because they are interesting, instructive, and timely, and because those who forget the past are doomed to make the same mistakes their ancestors made.

More exquisitely apt advice


Eddie Quette here again, with another installment of my ongoing campaign for excruciatingly appropriate behavior.

Our first question comes from to us from a Carol Gwenn, who writes

Q. "Mr. Quette, you simply  MUST help me! I’m a person of interest to
several major law enforcement agencies, for reasons you will deduce
below.  I must beg you, under no circumstance are you to reveal my
identity in your blog!

A. Thank you, Carol Gwenn, I’ll see what I can do. Now what was your question?

Q. Oh, I am SO relieved!  I knew I could count on you Eddie! 
Anyway, when preparing to divest oneself of a troublesome tenant,
(those room renters of the lower sort), is it appropriate to arrive
bearing arms or is it acceptable to pick up whatever the lowlife have
to hand (gun, knife, etc.)  Also, must one wear a hat – as well as
gloves — for such an occasion?  These may seem like unimportant
issues, but it’s the small things, the grace notes,   that make life
worth living.

A. You are so right!  I opt for the BYOW approach (bring your own
weapon) as so often the gats and pieces encountered in such wretched
conditions are encrusted with microbes, bacteria, or even (in the worst
scenarios) COOTIES!

Gloves and hats are always tasteful in such circumstances, and this
being summer, you can’t go wrong with white, cream, or eggshell
shades.  Whatever you do, avoid loud colors or horizontal stripes in
your attire, as in LAPD booking photos these simply SCREAM  "I just
pigged out on white chocolate cake at Bernard’s at the Biltmore!"  The
LAST thing you need is to draw even more attention to yourself, Carol

Q.  I’m the Mother Superior of the Monastery of the Angels, a
Dominican convent located near the foot of Bunker Hill.  We are
considering moving from here to Hollywood, to escape the noise, sin,
and depravity of the downtown area. Do you think this advisable? 

A.  You’re moving to HOLLYWOOD to escape depravity?  Isn’t that sort of like moving to Phil Spector’s house to avoid gunplay?

Q. I’m a wealthy oil baron here in L.A., with extensive petroleum
leases throughout California.  Recently an acquaintance, May Otis
Blackburn, requested that I transfer all my oil stock to her at the
behest of the Angel Gabriel, who speaks to her occasionally on her
lunch hour.  Is this wise?

A. Well, my expertise is in etiquette, not stock tips.  But it just
so happens that last night I was channeling my own Spirit Guide, the
Archangel Michael, over at the Aetherius Center, and boy have I got the
straight skinny for you, Bud.

Keep half that oil stock in the ground, and invest the rest of it in
California real estate until around 2007, when something called the
sub-prime real estate crisis will render it worthless. But by that time
you will have put everything BACK into oil, which by June of 2008 will
be worth 135 smackeroos a barrel! Trust me on this, and pretty soon you
will be raising tankards of Pouilly Fuisse in my honor!

Do you have a question for Mr. Eddie Quette?  Write him care of this
, and he will either answer, or, if he deems you beneath his
station, he will issue a hearty YAWN on your behalf. 

Introducing Eddie Quette, Bunker Hill’s behavior baron

Greetings! My name is Eddie Quette, and the powers that be here at the Bunker Hill blog have requested that I write about proper behavior. Every week, hundreds of letters pour into the blog, asking about table manners, social refinement, polite human interactions, good taste, and the like. My job is to extract from this pile the most tasteful, insightful, and intelligent letters. Then I throw those away and attempt to respond to the rest.

So, without further ado, let’s dip into the ol’ mailbag and read our first letter. This comes to us from a
longtime resident of Highland Park.

Q. Hello, I’m from Highland Park….

A. We KNOW that, numbskull! It was in the intro!

A. Oh, sorry. Anyway, I’ve oft put off or bowed out of a ganking, as I struggle with what I imagine are common questions: is a pearl-handled
firearm gauche before dusk? Are they "not done" after Labor Day? Is an automatic more appropriate when holding up dinner parties than a revolver? Can I wear a blued nickel piece with brown shoes? Please advise!

A. I can see you are a man of taste and breeding. Offhand, my answers to your questions would be yes, yes, no, and yes, unless they’re Oxford brogans, in which case a mauve nickel piece would look more dashing. Also, keep in mind that High Society seems to be entering a "Green" phase, in which environmental consciousness has seeped into every social clique, even the Gangster set. Thus, whereas only last season the byword was that steel-jacketed tracer shells were "de rigeur," now the most fashionable shootists are employing recycled graphite shells, as they use less energy and don’t pollute landfills. (I know, a bullet is such a SMALL thing, but just think, if we ALL switched over, think how much of our country’s precious natural resources we could save!)

Q. I’ve just dumped a limbless torso on Norton Avenue in the Crenshaw district, and I need a cab ride out of town PRONTO! My question is, how much should I tip the taxi driver?

A. The standard answer is of course 15%, but there are some additional factors in your case. Remember you will be asking this hapless fellow to ignore all speed limit signs on the way out of town, so that should add at least another 10%. Plus, you will want to teach him to repeat the phrase "I ain’t seen nothin’" at least 5000 times to bumbling LAPD detectives and reporter Jack Smith, so that’s worth another 5%. Also, you didn’t mention whether the limbs from the body are dripping liquid evidence on the cabbie’s floor; if so, it would be both gallant and prudent to tip him with a bottle of New Improved Borateen Blood & Gore Remover.

Q. My name is Phineas J. Marsak. Recently certain rogues and scalawags have been spreading tasteless rumors about my alleged activities with animals at the pet store on 3rd and Flower. How can I convince my Whist and Billiards partners at the Jonathan and California Clubs that these innuendoes are utterly baseless, and originate from persons of low degree? You know how those sheep lie!

A. Mr. Marsak, I must urge you in the strongest possible terms to refrain from reproducing your kind, whether with human females or ruminants. Were the Marsak line to continue, there is no telling what horrors would befall our planet!

Q. I’ve been interested for quite a while in some of the more adventurous social encounters available in the Bunker Hill area, and recently I was invited to a rendezvous on a lane near Pershing Square called Vaseline Alley. My query is, is it proper to R.S.V.P. with a hand-written note? Or a phone call? Or via a liveried messenger boy, perhaps wearing short tight spandex bicycle pants? Also, my City Directory doesn’t list a Zip Code for Vaseline Alley. Please advise.

A. Well, they certainly have a "Zipper code." Namely, when you see the cops rounding the corner, zip up your zipper!

Well, that’s all the advice Eddie can dish out this time. Tune in regularly for further installments of his column, and should you find yourself in need of a little guidance as only Mr. Quette can provide, simply email your inquiry, or send it by carrier pigeon to On Bunker Hill, Clay Street, Old Los Angeles.

Bunker Hill History Part 2 (1867-1925)

Another installment, part 2 (1867-1925) of the 9 part history of Bunker Hill by Yukio Karawatani.

Photo is an exterior view of the historic Bradbury mansion at Temple and Court streets, which long before was the home of John and Lucy (daugther of Phineas) Banning Bradbury and a center of social life. It became a film studio and the home of Hal Roach comedies in 1914. Then Roach and Dan Linthicum founded the Rolin Film Co. and Harold Lloyd started his climb to fame in the “Lonesome Luke” comedies.