Monday, January 28, 2008
Neon Lights on Broadway
Wow, I finally was able to upload a few of the pictures of the
"Bringing Back Broadway" program that was held this morning. The top picture is that of Mr. Delanjoni. I will correct the spelling later. He owns the Los Angeles
Theater. The other picture is, of course, the Mayor of our beloved city, Anthony Villaraigosa.
Mayor Villaraigosa recounted memories of his childhood on Broadway. I too had memories. My father brought me to the Los Angeles Theater to see
the "Guns of Navarone" starring Anthony Quinn. I was just a little boy. I used to visit my mother at her LA County office where she was an auditor. We too would got to Clifton's and eat lunch. My favorite moment was when we reached the dessert section. That was the last thing before you reached the cashier. I would always pick the big, rich Chocolate Cake. I loved Cliftons and it was the first thing I visited when I landed on Skid Row. I forgot about the Los Angeles Theater until I was inside of it during the Jules Verne Festival. Immediately I remembered the intricate craftsmanship in the theater. There is no other place like it.
Cliftons, at that time, was always crowded. Lines extended way outside of the doors. The streets of Broadway were packed with men and women in business suits going to the department stores at lunchtime. My mother and I would always go to Bullocks. That was my favorite spot.
She told me about the times she visited Broadway as a teenager. She told me of the many times she later danced up and down Broadway as a professional before joing the USO and working with Bob Hope in Europe during World War2. She told me of the times when she worked in the movies and when she worked for Edith Head. Ronald Reagan later gave her the much cherished SAG card.
Today people from all walks of life shared alot of the past of Los Angeles. It is clear that no matter who you are, in the City of Los Angeles, we are connected by a common bond, the memory of Broadway back then. It does not matter what your race, creed or color is, we all are connected by a place that we love, a place that we want to preserve because it preserves our common history.
As we approach Black History month, I am especially grateful to have been at the Los Angeles Theater today. The owner talked of his special friendship with former Mayor Tom Bradley. I grew up a few doors from Tom Bradley's house in Leimert Park.
I remember him and his wife,Ethel, coming over to my parents house and I would play with their two daughters.
When Tom Bradley ran for his first seat in City Council, I was a little boy. Tom Bradley was a Los Angeles Police Officer. I remember when he told me to sit next to him at the dinner table during a fund raising event at his house. I could remember this tall, attentive man in his police uniform making sure I had enough to eat.
I am glad he convinced the owner to purchase the theater. It not only has allowed me to remember my past but it allowed me to participate in a historic day in the history of Los Angeles that will be remembered far into the future.
Black History month is a month for everyone to share. It is a month that not only marks significant moments in American History but significant moments in the nations history for ALL PEOPLE TO COME TOGETHER. Today is a continuation of that history, of the journey that Los Angeles has taken over decades for people to share something.
We bonded today again and today sets the stage for the future for people to come even closer as we learn about each other.