Sunday, August 14, 2011

Smoking at the beach and drinking at the helm

The image above, taken from the Sept. 1, 1927 issue of the Los Angeles Express, is an ad for Motor Transit Stages. (Click image to embiggen.) In 1920, this service took over the old White Bus Line, which began in 1916. The Motor Transit Stage line, in turn was taken over by the Pacific Electric Motor Transit Lines, which operated from 1930 to 1953. These services were similar to the stagecoaches of the Old West in the sense that they took passengers to places the railroads (or trolleys) could not. An example of such a location is Laguna Beach, which never did get a line on the Pacific Electric Railway.

As far as the ad itself goes, I'm particularly taken with the fact that the man is enjoying the clean ocean air with his wife and child while puffing away on a cigarette. More than the old touring car, and more than the outmoded beach attire, that cigarette shows how much times have changed.

The Register recently reported the theft of the century-old school bell that served Buena Park's first school and which more recently stood in front of the Buena Park School District's office. One reader responded, "From now on when we catch these aholes I want their hands chopped off..." Sounds fair to me.

An article about the Los Rios Historic District in San Juan Capistrano also made the Register recently. Glad to see them promoting some fun historical sites lately.

I recently heard that The Helm has finally closed in Costa Mesa. Personally, never entered the place. It looked like the kind of joint where people go strictly to get drunk and stay that way. (A concept nearly as out-of-date as the smoking beach-goer at the top of today's post.) However, one also got the sense that The Helm was a time capsule. The exterior, at least, looked like it was locked in time in about 1958. For a description of the interior, I refer you to Gustavo's colorful article in the O.C. Weekly. I should point out that this closure came on the heels of an ADA lawsuit. (Can't historical landmarks be grandfathered in?)


Anonymous said...

The smoking contrast (then is pretty huge for sure - I'm always struck by that when watching classic movies. And yes, the Helm may have been around a while, but sadly it was not kept in good condition. It would be nice if owners of historic buildings would keep them in at least minimally well-maintained condition, which might prompt sales to new owners, vs. destrution -H

CoxPilot said...

The current price of bronze is about (being an alloy, it varies) $9.00 a pound. It's a shame that history is lost for less than a $1000.

Major Pepperidge said...

When you see old ads, they often claim that smoking is "healthful"! Some brands even touted the fact that they were doctor-recommended.