Monday, July 23, 2012

Q&A With Author Paul D. Marks


Paul D. Marks on the MGM backlot before it was demolished.

Paul D. Marks has the distinction of being one of the last people to film on the historic MGM backlot. It wasn't a goal he set out for. In 1976, he was just a young and enthusiastic filmmaker who had an idea for a musical. What place would be a better filming location for a musical than MGM, the same place that was once home to musical stars such as Judy Garland and Fred Astaire? Marks talked his way onto the MGM backlot and was able to shoot his film. In the following years the MGM backlot was sold off and demolished.

I had a chance to ask Marks, a Los Angeles native and author, about his experience filming on the MGM backlot, some of his memories of growing up in Los Angeles, and about his new novel, White Heat, a noir story set in Los Angeles. As you will see, Marks is full of great stories, such as the time he got a call from Cary Grant.

How did you end up filming on the historic MGM backlot?

Well, I was doing a musical – so when you think of musicals you think of MGM.  Of course, it wasn't what it was in its heyday.  And we didn't exactly have an MGM musical style budget.  But I figured it couldn't hurt to ask.  Kind of like asking someone out on a date – what's the worst they could do, say no.  But they said yes.

What were you filming?

"Show Biz."  A musical about a guy who wants to make a musical, but everyone tells him he can't.  It's too big of a project.  It was sort of autobiographical.  But I had songs commissioned for it, found a choreographer, all that good stuff.  The plot starts out in the present (the present of that time) and then switches to the past as the main character finds himself in a weird, magical land and he's not quite sure where he is.  But it turns out he's on a movie backlot in the 40s.  

The lot was pretty run down, but that was okay for my purposes.  And with a little imagination you could see what it might have been.  You could imagine Clark Gable, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire walking down New York Street.

A view of the MGM backlot from Marks' film shoot.

At the time, did you know you would be the last film crew to shoot on the MGM lot?

No.  And it's bittersweet knowing that.  They had already sold off their other lots I believe.  And they'd had the big MGM auction where they sold off costumes and props and the like.  Which I went to, but I don't think I bought anything there.  But still, even though that stuff had happened I think there was part of me that hoped the studio might return to some of its former glory days.

I did, however, keep some souvenirs from the lot.  A brick off the Andy Hardy street and a torch from the De Laurentis King Kong set that they were filming around the same time.  I think I still have the torch.  Unfortunately, my wife, wonderful as she is, made me throw away the brick, which she'll never hear the end of.  After all, it was a famous brick. 



What was your favorite part about the experience?

Walking on so many sets that I'd seen in movies and knowing Jimmy Stewart, Katherine Hepburn, Myrna Loy had been there.  So much movie history.

I also liked the idea of being able to turn the corner and go from a mid-western town to a medieval village to a jungle to New York City,  – which is just what happens in my movie.  And it sort of freaks the guy out as he's not sure where he is or how he got there.

I believe we filmed on sets from "Singin' in the Rain" and "Philadelphia Story" and God knows how many other great movies.

In the following years I went to MGM's main lot many times but by then they had gotten rid of all the backlots.  And, while it was a trip to be on the lot and in the Thalberg Building and on the stages and even see Sidney Portier playing handball against one of the soundstage walls, basically a soundstage is a soundstage.  But a backlot, with its standing sets of brownstones, cobblestone villages, western towns, is unique, a fantasy world, as exciting to me as Disneyland would be for a little kid.  And just like at Disneyland where you can go from Tomorrowland in the future to Frontierland in the past, that's what a backlot is to me.  A magical world where you can turn a corner and go from mid-century New York to Middle Ages Europe in the blink of an eye.  


You've done a variety of writing from screenplays to short stories to a novel. How did you get interested in writing?

I'm not sure I can say specifically.  But what comes to mind is that as a kid moving my army men across the battlefields of my bedroom floor I often thought of them as being in a movie as opposed to being in a real "war".  And I'd often set up TinkerToys as Kleig lights and make up dialogue and scenarios for them and play them out as if they were epic movies.  So growing up I think I just transferred that energy to putting pen to paper so to speak – or at least fingers to keyboard – and I'm still just playing out scenarios only now on paper or a computer screen as opposed to on the floor.  The problem is being a rewriter or optioning scripts that don't get produced you don't get screen credit so my dad still can't quite figure out what it is I did, which is one of the reasons I turned to writing short stories and novels. 

I also like that romanticized Hemingway-Left Bank thing of sitting in a cafĂ© with fellow writers tossing out witty bon mots kind of thing.  But that never materialized…

You mentioned when you started out as a writer that you would send letters to everyone, including Cary Grant and Gene Kelly or anyone who would listen. How did that strategy play out? 

When I first started out, I tried everything including sending letters to big stars, producers, directors.  It's funny, but it seems like generally the bigger the star, the nicer the response.

I got Gene Kelly's address and sent him a pitch letter about a script. To my surprise he actually invited me over to drop it off and then to pick it up…  When I got there, he invited me in to chat for a few minutes.  And though he didn't want to do my project, he was very hospitable.  Can't imagine doing this today.

I also sent a letter to Cary Grant, despite the fact that he had been in a self-imposed exile from making movies for many years.  I thought, well maybe he'll come out of exile just to be in my little movie…  (Yeah, right, but the naivetĂ© of youth makes you do things you might not do later on.) At that time I dreamed big so I wasn't deterred or intimidated from contacting anyone.  Then one day the phone rings and the voice on the other end says "Hello, is Paul Marks there?"  The voice had that distinct accent and tone and my first thought was "okay who's pranking me and pretending to be Cary Grant".  I thought it couldn't be Cary Grant because he sounded too much like him (as if he should sound like William Bendix or someone else in real life…)  Once I regained my balance, we had a pleasant conversation and even though he ultimately turned me down and didn't want to do my movie, he was as gracious and debonair as his onscreen image.  The irony of the story though is that I was talking to the most suave, sophisticated man in the world while I was on, shall we say, the "throne," as the phone was on a little hall table outside the bathroom door.  A funny image and thankfully this was before Skype and video chats…

Others were nice as well, though didn't invite me to their homes.  And I'm not sure I'd do this today as there's so much more security and you'd probably get arrested.  Can't you get arrested for just looking at some stars in public these days?

Were there any other stars that you looked up to or maybe admired that you were able to meet?

If we're talking about stars from the classic period, well, of course Gene Kelly.  Cary Grant on the phone.  Phil Silvers.  Walter Matthau.  Some behind the scenes people like director Norman Taurog who was, I believe, the youngest director to receive an Oscar in that era. 

And not a star, but a friend of mine knew a friend of Joan Crawford's.  I think he was her publicist, but I can't remember for sure at this point.  So she took me to his house in Beverly Hills and it was like a shrine or museum to Crawford.  He had her dresses displayed on the walls, like in a museum.  And all kinds of other little gimcracks of hers.  Everywhere you looked were echoes of JC.  It was a trip and kind of spooky in a "Sunset Boulevard," preserved-in-formaldehyde way.  But also interesting and he was a nice guy.

Unfortunately a lot of the stars that I would have liked to look up had passed by the time I was doing all this.  Bogart, in particular.  And some others who were still alive, though I might have enjoyed meeting them, I didn't have a project for them so I didn't get in touch.  But in retrospect I'm sorry I didn't even if I didn't have anything in particular for them.  

I did meet a lot of people who were more current in the course of business, though you really asked about the more classic stars.

Of someone more current then, I did have an interesting encounter with Robin Williams, though I doubt he'd remember.

I was visiting a friend on the set of "Mork and Mindy" during a rehearsal and I freaked out Robin Williams.  They were blocking.  No audience.  I was the only stranger there, someone he didn't recognize. He was nervous seeing a stranger on the set, having had some trouble with the tabloids.

He asked me if I worked for the National Enquirer. Strange question, I thought.  But I can give as well as receive, "Yes," I said, joking.  He freaked, though he didn't get nasty or anything like that, just uptight.  I finally told him I was kidding.  After the rehearsal he apologized.  It was fun kidding the kidder though.

I also got to visit the sets of two great directors, Spielberg and Coppola.  Of course, my luck being what it was, I was on for both of their worst movies, "1941" and "One from the Heart," respectively.  But the "One from the Heart" set was really cool, a glowing neon Vegas on a soundstage.  As was the 1941 set on the Warner's lot, though at that time I think it was called The Burbank Studios still (long story).  They had a plane rigged up to fly down the middle of one of the backlot streets.  But what I remember most was seeing Spielberg running around interviewing his actors with a small camera, like a kid in a candy shop. 

On my post for the filming locations for the Joseph Losey film, "The Big Night," which stars a young John Drew Barrymore, you had mentioned that you had met him. What was he like? I thought he was great in that film and I'm surprised he didn't go on to have a bigger career.

Well, I hope I didn't make it sound like more than it was.  I met him at a dinner or lunch – I can't even remember anymore – and though we talked for a bit it wasn't a relationship that developed.  As I recall, he seemed nice enough but very distracted, I'm not sure by what.  But I agree with you that he should have had a bigger career. 

Who's the one star you would have liked to have met?

Probably Bogart……….if he was really like the characters he's known for.  The problem is they're often not like their characters, though I'm not sure with Bogey.  But to paraphrase from the [Jose Ferrer] version of "Moulin Rouge": "One should never meet a person whom they admire.  What they do is always so much better than what they are."  This might not always be the case, but often enough.



Getting back to your writing, you have a new book, "White Heat," that just came out. Can you tell us a little what it is about?

"White Heat" is very different from my musical.  It's a noir thriller that begins where the Rodney King riots leave off.  And I just learned that it got a good review in Publishers Weekly, which is a pretty cool thing.  Duke Rogers is a screwup in more ways than one and now he's screwed up a case really badly and finds himself in the middle of South Central L.A. just as the riots explode.  And since this is Dear Old Hollywood, one of the things he screws up is a case where a client came to him to track down an 'old friend'.  The old friend turns out to be an actress and the client never really knew her.  She ends up dead and Duke knows he inadvertently helped the badguy, the Weasel as he calls him, find the actress.  This jumping off point is, of course, based on the Rebecca Schaeffer case from 1989.  Only in "White Heat" the actress is black.  Feeling guilty, Duke sets out to find the killer.  And though the novel is a mystery on one level it's also a very harsh look at race and racism in our society on another level as Duke must deal with the racism of his partner, the dead actress' brother and perhaps his own, even while having an interracial affair with her sister.

You're a Los Angeles native so you would have been in the city during the L.A. riots. Did you think then this would make for a dramatic backdrop for a story and has this idea for "White Heat" been with you all this time?

I lived in West LA at the time, in Rancho Park, just west of 20th Century-Fox.  The riots didn't quite reach that far west, but they did come pretty far west – farther west than previous disturbances of that type.  And one could see the smoke and certainly see it on the news constantly.  And it was in the air, so to speak, people talking about it.  Worried.  I think in realizing how much tension still existed under the surface – or maybe not even so much under the surface – I wanted to write about it, but not in a pedantic or didactic way.  So it became a mystery, with a level of seriousness.

As a born and raised Angeleno, do you have any fond childhood memories of the city and surrounding area? You had mentioned to me before that you would visit the now gone Kiddieland amusement park on Beverly Boulevard and the Corriganville movie ranch?

When I was a kid, L.A. was like a large, spread out small town.  People would complain about how overly polite the drivers were, if you can believe that.  At one point, when living with my mom and grandparents, I could actually hear a rooster crowing and that was pretty much the middle of the city.  There was also a windmill nearby.  And still oil wells around.  And, as you say, Beverly Park or Kiddieland was a favorite place.  On one side of the parking lot was the little amusement park that supposedly inspired Walt Disney to build Disneyland, though I don't know if that's true.  On the other side was the pony rides.  And, I believe, there were three lanes, fast, medium and slow, and kids couldn't wait to get up to the fast ponies…  Lots of birthday parties at Kiddieland.  Lots of movie stars there with their kids or grandkids on weekends – Jack Benny, Charles Bronson: it was known as a place for divorced dads, though I'm not sure if Benny and Bronson were divorced.

And Corriganville (www.corriganville.net) was a working movie ranch in Simi Valley, second in size only to the Iverson Ranch a few miles away.  On the weekends Corriganville was open to the public.  They'd put on shows and you could tour the sets.  The coolest thing was that on the western street (sadly burned down) if you went into the saloon it was a cafeteria on the inside for the guests.  For a little kid that was totally cool.  Like you were really inside a western saloon…but with all the modern amenities.  Plus you could wear your cowboy boots and hat and even holster with guns.  Wouldn't be able to do that today.  I think my favorite thing there was the fort where they filmed "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin" TV series, which was originally built for the John Ford-John Wayne movie "Fort Apache".  I've been back to Corriganville a couple times as an adult, once in the 80s for a chili cookoff, but really to see what was left of it.  And then a couple years ago.  It's now a state park.  None of the sets are left, but there are still some foundations.  And most of the ranch has been sold off for development, but the main 200 filming acres are still there.  If you watch old westerns it shows up a lot.

Other things I miss are Pacific Ocean Park, an amusement park on a pier in Venice, which also burned down and then they tore down what was left of it.  They had some cool rides, the roller coaster of course, and these bubble things, sort of like the skyride at Disneyland, but it went out over the ocean.  POP also shows up in a bunch of old movies and TV shows.   There was also a club called the Cheetah on the same pier as POP.  It was one of those psychedelic places, with the bubbles on the walls and all that good stuff.  Saw some concerts there.  But before it was a hippie club it had been home to Lawrence Welk and before that was a swing ballroom in the 30s/40s.  Lots of history.

I miss the 20th Century-Fox backlot too – and all the other gone lots; they always intrigued me with their magic and fantasy worlds.  Most people probably don't know that all of Century City used to be Fox's backlot, stretching all the way from Pico on the south to Santa Monica Boulevard on the north.  There was a bridge over Olympic Boulevard that spanned one side of the backlot to the other.  I remember driving down Santa Monica Boulevard with my family as a kid and seeing the facades and sets sticking up over the fences.  I'd much rather have a backlot than Century City.  They say the Elizabeth Taylor "Cleopatra" forced Fox to sell it off.  Maybe so.  

In fact, LA was like one big backlot.  There was even a studio where Sunset meets the ocean (before my time), studios, backlots and ranches were just about everywhere.  In the city, in the valley.  The surrounding areas.  Amazing when you think about it.

Are there any Los Angeles attractions, restaurants, etc. that you remember that are now gone that you wish you could bring back?

All the above places, of course.  But also the Helms Bakery in Culver City and the Helmsman.  Their trucks used to come around and deliver baked goods.  The best donuts in the world.  And they had the first bread on the moon, literally.

Also the Wonderbread plant in Beverly Hills.  The smell.  It would waft out over the city.  Nothing like the smell of baking bread.  One night around 2am several friends of mine and I decided it would be a good idea to go there and ask for a tour – after all, they baked at night.  And we were hungry.  I guess we were doing something that gave us the munchies….  So we drove over there and went in and asked for a tour.  They couldn't have been nicer – they gave us the tour and some bread to go with it, I think.

Dolores Drive in near La Cienega.  Though my mom, who's also an L.A. native, remembers their other location up on Sunset.  I guess it's all when we went through it.  Tower Records which, of course, hasn't been gone all that long, but I remember when it opened and what a great place it was.  Duke's in the Tropicana, lots of rockers hung there.  Lots of restaurants.  Probably too many to name.

When I was a kid my grandmother would take me downtown by bus.  We'd go to lunch at the tea room at May Company or Bullock's, then she'd buy me a little toy and take me to a movie at one of those great movie palaces downtown.  And then we'd take the bus home.  To this day, every time I smell diesel exhaust I think of that.  Though I think in those days some of the buses were still electric with overhead wires and all of that too.

And MacArthur Park when it was a safer place and there weren't junkies around.  You'd go boating and have a picnic.  

Some punk clubs, like Madame Wong's and the Starwood, tons of other places, too many to mention.


Now for three questions I like to ask everyone.


What is your favorite classic movie and why?

"Casablanca."  It has everything, intrigue, romance.  Terrific dialogue.  All those great character actors.  The anti-hero, which has influenced a lot of my writing.  The Claude Rains and Bogart relationship.  The giving up of the girl for a greater cause.  And the most perfect script, everything plays off of everything else.  "As Time Goes By."  Everything.  It's just a perfect movie.

Who is your favorite classic Hollywood actor?

Bogart, of course.  And Cary Grant and William Powell, two great comic actors.

Who is your favorite classic Hollywood actress?

I have several: Myrna Loy, Carole Lombard, Jean Arthur.  They all have a spunk and vivaciousness that I really like.  Barbara Stanwyck.  She can do it all, and she's the ultimate femme fatale in the ultimate film noir, "Double Indemnity".


Thank you for having me, Robby.  It's been fun.  And I love Dear Old Hollywood and check it out often.

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This Saturday, July 28, at 2pm, Paul will be joining authors Sue Ann Jaffarian (author of the Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery series and the Madison Rose Vampire Mystery series) and Michael Mallory (author of The Mural and the Amelia Watson Mystery series) for a panel/discussion on "Things That Go Bump in the Night" at the La Crescenta Library. If you want to learn more about Paul D. Marks and what he is working on visit his site, Cafe Noir. For his new novel, White Heat, the paperback can be found on BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com or as an e-book exclusively on Amazon.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Andy Griffith and Ernest Borgnine Connection

Ernest Borgnine and Andy Griffith

Sadly, earlier this month movie fans lost two more classic Hollywood stars: Andy Griffith on July 3 and Ernest Borgnine on July 8. During their long careers in both films and on television, I'm sure one could find many connections between these two actors. For one, both acted in an adaptation of the story From Here to Eternity. Borgnine played Sergeant 'Fatso' Judson in the 1953 film version and Griffith played General Barney Slater in a six part television mini-series. Both starred in successful 1960s television comedies: Griffith in The Andy Griffith Show and Borgnine in McHale's Navy. But, the one connection I'm thinking of involves Midwest Street on the Warner Bros. studio lot.

Griffith & Myron McCormick in No Time For Sergeants.

In the film No Time For Sergeants (1958) Griffith plays a country bumpkin who gets drafted into the Air Force. At the beginning of the film, Griffith is brought into town and handcuffed because he is considered a draft dodger. The town is Warner Bros. Midwest Street and the location is used as the pick up spot for all the new recruits who are going to be whisked away to the Air Force base.

Borgnine in Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came?

Twelve years later Borgnine would be on Midwest Street for the film Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came? (1970). In this film Borgnine plays a tough sheriff of a small southern town that is located near an Army base. Midwest Street is used as the location for the southern town and like in No Time For Sergeants, Midwest Street is where the new recruits are picked up to be taken to base. 

I've previously done film location posts for both of these movies. You can see the locations for No Time For Sergeants here and for Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came? here.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Off Limits (1953) - Film Locations

Mickey Rooney, Marilyn Maxwell, Bob Hope

In the film Off Limits (1953), Bob Hope plays fast talking ladies man Wally Hogan, a boxing manager-trainer who's fighter, Bullet Bradley, just won the lightweight championship. Unfortunately, Bradley just got drafted into the Army. Hogan's gangster partners convince Hogan to enlist in the Army in order to keep an eye on their fighter. The thing is, Bradley gets rejected while Hogan gets accepted. While stuck in the Army Hogan meets Herbert Tuttle (Mickey Rooney) an unrelenting little guy who thinks Hogan can turn him into a lightweight fighter. Hogan reluctantly takes him on because he is attracted to Tuttle's aunt Connie Curtis (Marilyn Maxwell) an attractive nightclub singer.

Although this film may not be at the top of any list for best Hope films, I still think this is a pretty funny, quick paced comedy. Hope delivers his usual rat-a-tat-tat comedic quips while getting decent support from fellow actors Rooney and Maxwell. And of course, for anyone that follows this blog, it is an added treat to see some of the location filming. In this case, there are scenes that feature the following Los Angeles area communities: Larchmont Village, Culver City, Hollywood, and Venice.

There is a chase scene that begins in Larchmont Village. Hope confronts one of his gangster partners who got him into the military and vandalizes his car that is parked on 1st Street, as payback. What Hope doesn't realize is that the car doesn't belong to the gangster, but to one of the military officers. Hope quickly flees the scene and a chase ensues. 

W. 1st Street at S. Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles

W. 1st Street at S. Larchmont Blvd as it appears today.

This scene takes place in the fictional "City of Ashton." You will even see in the screenshot below, that the service station has the Ashton city name painted on the side of the building, but of course, the real location is Larchmont Village. At the time the film was made, the Ashton Super Service really was a Richfield service station that was located at the corner of S. Larchmont Boulevard at W. 1st Street. The service station building has been demolished (now a Bank of America building stands at the corner) but the buildings seen in the background of the screenshot you will notice still exist.

Ashton Super Service, really Richfield Service Station.

The Richfield Service Station has been replaced by Bank of America.

The Service Station as seen in the film. 1st Street at Larchmont Blvd.

1st Street at Larchmont Blvd as it appears today.

In the screenshot below we can see the northwest corner of S. Larchmont Boulevard. Where the "Drugs" sign hangs is now a Chase Bank. Fourteen years later, Hope would be back at this same intersection to film another comedy, Eight on the Lam (1967), directed by the same director, George Marshall. In the distant background you will notice that the home at the end of the block is still there.

Hope confronts the gangster at 1st Street and Larchmont.

W. 1st Street at S. Larchmont Blvd as it appears today.

After Hope vandalizes the car he flees the scene in Larchmont Village and the chase begins. In the scenes below Hope and his followers drive pass the historic Culver Hotel in Culver City, from different directions. The Culver Hotel is located at 9400 Culver Boulevard. In the first scene comparison Hope and Maxwell drive pass the Culver Hotel and round the corner onto Van Buren Place. This part of the street is now closed to traffic and is a pedestrian only walkway.

Hope and Maxwell pass the Culver Hotel.

The Culver Hotel as seen from the end of Van Buren Place.

In the next scene Mickey Rooney and one of the military officers following Hope and Maxwell drive by the Culver Hotel and turn onto Van Buren Place from the other side of the hotel.

Looking at the Culver Hotel from Van Buren Place.

The Culver Hotel as it appears today as seen from Van Buren Place.

In the next scene below, Rooney and the officer drive by the Culver Hotel from the other end of the hotel. Rooney and the officer are in the jeep driving down Culver Boulevard and then making a right onto Cardiff Avenue.

Rooney drives down Culver Blvd, passing the Culver Hotel.

Looking across Culver Boulevard at the Culver Hotel.

As Rooney turns onto Cardiff Avenue we get a small glimpse of the building at the corner. That building is still there and today it is the site of a Bank of America. That's two Bank of America's now in one location post.

Rooney turns onto Cardiff Ave from Culver Boulevard.

The corner of Cardiff Ave and Culver Blvd as it appears today.

In the screenshot below, Rooney is seen driving down Hughes Avenue in Culver City and then rounding the corner onto Washington Boulevard. As he rounds the corner we get a glimpse of the historic Culver Theatre, now the remodeled Kirk Douglas Theatre. The Kirk Douglas Theatre is located at 9820 Washington Boulevard.

Rooney drives down Hughes Ave towards Washington Blvd.

The corner of Hughes Ave and Washington Blvd.

Rooney drives by the Culver Theatre.

The Culver Theatre is now the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

The side of the Culver Theatre.

The side of the Theatre. The liquor store on the right is now gone.

This next scene was the last one I found. I noticed there was what looked like a church steeple in the background so I was looking for churches that had that same style steeple, but I couldn't find any matches. Then, while walking down Washington boulevard it became obvious that the Studebaker building was the one located at 10003 Washington Boulevard. There is still a church down the street, the St. Augustine Church, but the steeple appears to have changed.

Studebaker dealership at 10003 Washington Blvd. Culver City

Looking towards 10003 Washington Blvd, Culver City.

This next scene I discovered on a lucky hunch. When I saw the building on the right of the screenshot I thought it looked familiar, like one I remember passing regularly on Highland Avenue in Hollywood. As it turns out, it is located on Highland Avenue at the corner of Romaine Street and the building is still  there.

The chase continues down Highland Ave at Romaine St.

Looking down Highland Ave. at Romain St. in Hollywood.

Highland Ave. at Romaine St. in Hollywood.

Highland Ave. at Romaine St. in Hollywood.

What's interesting about the film is that the chase scene is supposed to be in the fictional City of Ashton, but really takes place in four different Los Angeles area neighborhoods. In this last scene the chase suddenly jumps to Venice, California. 

In the scene below we get a glimpse of the 1939 Venice Post Office building located at 1601 Main Street, Venice. The Venice Post Office is located on the left of the screenshot. I just learned yesterday from a Los Angeles Conservancy e-newsletter that USPS is planning to sell the site to movie producer Joel Silver. According to the e-newsletter, Silver "has restored two Frank Lloyd Wright-designed residences, the Storer house in Hollywood and Auldbrass in South Carolina." The L.A. Conservancy is working with Silver to ensure the building is protected.

Looking down Winward Ave, near Main Street in Venice.

Looking down Winward Ave. Venice Post Office on left.

Another view down Winward Ave, looking across Main St.

Looking across Main St. down Winward Ave. in Venice.

In this final comparison, we have a close up shot of Bob Hope and the military police who have finally caught up with him. In the background are the buildings that today are the  Cafe Collage and the Winward Farms market located at the corner of Pacific Avenue and Winward Avenue in Venice. And also, a third Bank of America!

Bob Hope is caught. The Winward Farms building is in the background.

The Cafe Collage and Winward Farms buildings as they appear today.

Off Limits (1953) is a fun film and worth checking out. It's available on DVD and also currently available for streaming on Netflix.

Have you seen this film? What are your thoughts?

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