Bronson Canyon – The Batcave and More

Over the years on the blog, I have made my love of two particular TV shows, Batman and The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., very apparent, whether through cosplay, cons, museum visits, or filming locations. One thing these two shows have in common is the use of the Bronson Canyon and Caves as a filming location, and we recently made the pilgrimage to this famous filming spot.

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The Forbidden Zone

It should be noted in advance that this post talks about the ending of the 1968 film Planet of the Apes and contains spoilers.

In the ever long list of places to go and things to do here in California, filming locations are one of my favorite things to go out and visit. The Point Dume Beach, aka the “Forbidden Zone” from Planet of the Apes has been a place I’ve wanted to visit for some time, and we finally made it out there last Saturday, and boy what a day. In the days leading up to our visit I had been doing research on the location as well as rewatching my favorite show, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., and realized that Point Dume was also used in the episode “Bounty Hunters’ Convention”. Then I read that the location is also where Major Nelson finds Jeannie’s bottle in the Pilot of I Dream of Jeannie, another favorite show of mine!

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Universal Studios

After living in California for nearly a year (seriously, where does the time go, but I’ll reflect on that in a later post), Patrick and I finally made it to Universal Studios yesterday. I hadn’t been since I believe 1997, and Patrick had never been. With the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening in spring of next year, I assumed there is going to be a mob of people visiting the park, and decided that we should go and experience Universal prior to all of that madness, and then return once Harry Potter opens and enjoy it without the stress of needing to visit other portions of the park. Thankfully Universal Studios was also doing a promotion of buy one day, get two days free, so we have two more days (until mid-February) to return.

A lot has certainly changed over the years, gone is the Back to the Future ride, as well as the E.T. ride, and sadly the Wild West Stunt Show has also shuttered its doors. With a fire in 2008 that took out many iconic sets, as well a King Kong animatronic, which was part of the studio tour, a 3-D experience has been installed, featuring a scene from Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake of King Kong. Additionally, for you Fast and the Furious fans, Universal has added a 3-D aspect to the end of their studio tour that incorporates the latest film. 3-D has a much greater presence at Universal verses Disneyland, with multiple attractions using in, such as Despicable Me, Transformers, and the Simpsons ride. Which, I won’t lie, is kind of disappointing. I often feel like 3-D, simulation attractions are cop outs. We see movies every day that are images on screens, which use special effects, having an image virtually come toward me doesn’t feel much different. I am much more impressed physical and practical effects when visiting amusement parks. But these feelings aside, Universal Studios is still a really neat place to go, and the studio tour offers a unique look behind the scenes of movies and television, and it’s always wonderful to be so close to such iconic locations that have been used in countless movies and television series. Some of my favorites that have graced Universal’s backlot are I Dream of Jeannie, The Muntsters, Back to the Future, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jaws, Psycho, and Universal’s classic horror films such as Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Frankenstein, just to name a few.

Shirt: The Wigwam Motel, Rialto, CA
Shorts & Belt (I think…): Buffalo Exchange
Jewelry: Here and there
Mocs: Minnetonka
Purse: Target, bought when I had a purse tear on me while on vacation awhile back, has turned out quite useful actually.

La Carlotta

Well, I’m home from Florida! Sadly, I didn’t get that much shopping in, but I did have fun seeing the sights and lounging around on the beach. Just before I left something absolutely delightful came in the mail, which I am so happy to finally share!

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. To those who have been long time readers of my blog, you’ll remember my trip to San Francisco where I pretty much forgot about shopping altogether and focused instead of tracking down the filming locations from Vertigo. And even visiting Mission Dolores in a grey suit, although sans the hummingbird pin, which has since been remedied, but a revisit has not occurred. Additionally, I’m the type who wants to get her hands on movie prop replicas, and for years I have searched for a reproduction of Carlotta Valdes’ necklace.

Recently I was on Pinterest I saw someone pin a replica of the necklace from Rosemary’s Baby. The pin reminded me it was time to look for a Carlotta necklace again and I screamed out loud when I actually found one. Good thing I was in the privacy of my own home. I promptly ordered the beauty and it arrived the day before we left for Florida. Hollie Gofightly, the website I found the necklace specializes in making jewelry that is inspired by movies and television shows, including Lily Munster’s classic bat necklace, and even a charm bracelet inspired by Friday the 13th! Her site it worth a peek, especially if you dig horror!

The Carlotta necklace from Hollie Gofrightly is almost an exact duplicate, with only a few exceptions, such as the original has more gold around the teardrop stones and has stones going around the larger stone in the middle. But I’m personally fine with the differences. I’m in no position to hire a jeweler to make me an exact replica, nor do I possess the skills to make the necklace myself, otherwise I would have done that ages ago!

The pendant arrived on a long chain, as seen here, which was fine for this particular outfit, which I wore out with some friends last night, but I think I’ll put it on a shorter chain for other ensembles. Now I just need to get my mitts on the dress Judy wears in the film’s haunting conclusion!

Blouse: Living Threads Vintage, Portland, Oregon
Skirt: Bettie Page Clothing (now Tatyana)
Nude Fishnets: Oroblu, Nordstrom
Tooled Leather Clutch: Birthday gift from my dad
Shoes: Miss L Fire
Earrings: 4TheLoveOfVintage
Bangles: Buffalo Exchange, Portland, Oregon
La Carlotta Necklace: Hollie Gofrightly

Going Attractions

In my last post, I mentioned I had the pleasure of talking with the operator of the 99W Drive-In, Brian, about the drive-in business, and he informed me about recent documentary, Going Attractions, about drive-ins, and it was available for purchase at the concession stand. So we popped in and purchased a copy, along with some tasty treats that we enjoyed before showtime.

Director April Wright gives a very good history of the drive-in in America, chronicling its birth, boom after World War II, the downfall in the 1970s and 80s and the current state of drive-ins, complete with countless images of drive-ins from their heydays to the heartbreaking images of faded signage and broken neon.

The rise of the automobile in America made everyone want to do everything possible in their cars, including going to the movies, and by the late 1950s America was pushing 5,000 drive-ins. They were a place where families could come together and enjoy a night out, but without the hassle of getting dressed up, as the pre-show and intermission reels boast, “Come as you are!” Many drive-ins catered to families, offering playgrounds, some even had bumper boats and clowns! But as the years went on, drive-ins fought to get first-run movies, and lower-budget, B-movies became the norm, and the age of the teenager came to the drive-in, and that is when the passion pit days came. The 1970s saw not only an economic crisis, but a gasoline crisis as well, and fewer and fewer people were willing to go to the drive-in, which is when drive-ins really began to suffer, and many were forced to cater to the X-rated crowd to keep their gates open. Many also blame the shift in interior design in cars as a factor, as cars began to have bucket seats, and middle consoles, making the drive-in less comfortable. The advents of the VCR, multiplex cinemas and cable television in the 80s saw an even bigger decline in drive-in attendance. Today however drive-ins have seen a slight uptick. Some drive-ins have reopened, and even a few brand new ones have sprung up! Today drive-ins are back to their family state, with pick-up beds full of families hanging out on big inflatable mattresses and folding chairs out front.

Wright also interviews many drive-in operators and historians to really get a good grasp on the times that surrounded the birth, rise and fall of the drive-in. Unlike cinema in its broadest sense, the drive-in is certainly a product of its time, and is not a static entity. It fluctuates with not just the times, but the seasons and Mother Nature as well, and the owners of drive-ins offer a perfect insight into what troubles they faced in the past, and what issues they continue to face.

While not perfect (I found some pixelated photos and a few of the songs annoying), Going Attractions has its heart in the right place, and I admire its warmth, and in-depth look at the drive-in and its owners. One owner mentions that maybe the owners of the remaining drive-ins need to get together and do a Superbowl commercial, and I personally think that’s a marvelous idea! Drive-ins need as much coverage as they can get. These are mom-and-pop operations, small businesses to their core! They are not a part of a huge corporation. They are a part of a unique, and truly American history. The documentary makes mention that there are a handful of drive-ins in other countries (highlighting a few in Germany, Australia and Canada) but the drive-in was born in America and evokes an time period that many of us love and emulate on a daily basis with our clothing. I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of Going Attractions and sharing it with your friends and family! And don’t forget to support your local drive-in!

Going Attractions is currently available on DVD at many drive-in movie theatres, but is coming to other formats of viewing in the near future! Like Going Attractions on Facebook to stay tuned!

The Monuments Men

Yesterday Portland received a mid-winter treat; snow! Portland proper really doesn’t get a lot of snow, as we are basically at sea level.  So when we do get snow, the whole city pretty much freaks out and shuts down. But seeing as The Monuments Men came out today, Patrick and I braved the snow covered city to go to the movies.

When I was in college I took a World War II course.  For one essay, we were told to access the Foreign Relations of the United States Diplomatic Papers (FRUS) and select a topic within it to write an essay about, using FRUS as our key source of information.  In scanning through the FRUS documents that covered WWII, I came upon a letter written by Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone to President Roosevelt.  Stone was not only a Chief Justice, but also the Chairman Ex-officio of the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Art, and it was with this role that he chose to write his letter to the president.  Stone expressed concern over works of art and monuments in Europe that were being damaged, stolen, and/or destroyed by the Axis and suggested a group be created to halt such actions and repair damages and return works of art.  Eventually the American Commission for the Preservation and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in Europe, also known as the Roberts Commission, was created, and eventually led to the creating of a special branch within the military known as the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Organization, nicknamed The Monuments Men.  These men, and a few women, worked on tracking down what the Nazis had systematically stolen, as well as attempt to alleviate the damage that was being done to historic buildings, and return stolen works.  My essay lead me to a few books on the subject, and I recalled upon and rewatched a documentary titled The Rape of Europa, and became enthralled with the work this group was doing, as well as the reasons behind the Nazis’ actions (fact: Hitler wanted to be an artist!).  As I worked on my essay, I began to wonder why this had not been made into a film, and now finally, it has, starring favorite actors such as George Clooney and French dreamboat Jean Dujardin.

While I am thrilled that there is now a film covering the exploits of the Monuments Men, it does fall short in many ways.  The film makes it out to seem that the Monuments Men were a ragtag group made up of but a few men, when this isn’t true (there were over 300), but we all know things need to be pared down for the sake of simplicity and storytelling.  The film also shows the destruction of some items that we do not actually know the fate of, such as Raphael’s “Portrait of a Young Man”.  Some paintings may have been painted over, or sold on the black market. But, despite these issues, I’m happy that this subject, one that was glossed over in every US and European history class (or art history class for that matter!) I’ve ever taken, is finally being showcased in the main stream and I hope that it brings to light what great lengths people went to to protect some of the most meaningful works of art in the world as well as call attention to the still missing works of art.

To learn more about the Monuments Men, and the astounding trials that the Louvre went through to protect its works, I beg that you watch The Rape of Europa (which is currently available to watch instantly on Netflix), and if that isn’t enough, read the books that both films are based upon, which are under the same titles, The Monuments Men and The Rape of Europa, and also check out The Spoils of War.  You can also learn loads on The Monuments Men website.

Fur Cape & Ostrich Purse: Found by my dad
Green Sweater Set & Heart Earrings: Antique Alley, Portland
Belt: Red Light, Portland
Stockings: Coffee Seams, What Katie Did
Fur Overshoes: Woo Vintage, Vancouver, BC
Shoes (that you can’t see because they are in the overshoes): Buffalo Exchange, Portland
Gloves: ???
Snood: April’s Bag
Army Man Brooch: Expo

Portland’s Sinful Past

Long time Atomic Redhead readers may recall a few years back when I was a humble college student.  As a history major we were required to take part in a themed seminar where we would write a research paper.  I took the Oregon History themed seminar, where I settled upon a period of Portland history that really has not gotten too much attention…a time when the vice of gambling and prostitution was near rampant, and the police and politicians were in on it too.  I was literally buried in mounds of newspaper articles, city reports and first-hand accounts in the form of biographies and emerged with a 25 page essay that attempted to sum up the accounts.  Those interested can visit my About page and read the essay.

And prior to this endeavor, I had purchased the poster for a film based on the events of my essay, Portland Expose.  While I didn’t think the film was that great, I love it regardless, and I was both enthralled and flattered when I was contacted by Anne Richardson of Oregon Movies, A to Z.  Anne works on Oregon film history and is participating in a swell event taking place June 12.  The Mission Theater is showing Portland Expose! And Phil Standford, author of Portland Confidential, and Robert C. Donnelly, author of Dark Rose, will be in attendance.

I am so eager to attend and watch the film as well as hear Standford and Donnelly speak.