Friday, June 30, 2017

Zippy the Pinhead in Orange County

One of the wonderful things my old Googie Architecture Online website brought me was a connection to the great surreal comic strip, Zippy the Pinhead. The strip is, as the Baltimore Sun put it, "nuanced, full of pop-cultural references, non-sequiturs and social satire; a real comic for grown-ups." Anyway, I was thrilled in 2000 when artist Bill Griffith began using my Googie and other Roadside photos as settings for Zippy and his friends. Here are some examples of Zippy's adventures through my Orange County and Southern California imagery. (Sorry these are so small, but they seemed like big scans when I made them, at the turn of the century! We all had monitors about 8 pixels wide back then.)
5/5/00  The Parasol, 12241 Seal Beach Blvd., Seal Beach. Since this ran, the Parasol was threatened with demolition, saved by Adriene Biondo and her L.A. Conservancy friends, turned into a Mel's Diner, closed again, and reopened as a Panera Bread restaurant. The amazing interior you see here is gone, but at least the building still stands. 
5/9/00  La Habra 300 Bowl, 370 E. Whittier Blvd, La Habra. This place reads like three separate Googie buildings all squeezed together. Definitely worth a visit. For sports fans, this is also the home of the first 900 game ever bowled.
5/10/00  Lake Park playground, Huntington Beach. I grew up playing in the parks of H.B., including this one, so these concrete (yet abstract) play structures brought back a lot of happy memories.
6/00  The first two frames show us what was, in 1999, the Ron's World shop on Avenida del Mar in San Clemente. Originally this place was a beauty salon, with the roof shaped like an artists palette (presumably with two giant paint brushes sticking through the "thumb hole." The second two panels depict Johnie's Coffee Shop (originally Romeo's Times Square) on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. Johnie's is now closed but still stands as a popular set for Hollywood location shoots. My favorite scene of Johnie's is probably Walter Sobchek raising a ruckus at the counter in The Big Lebowski.
5/12/00  American Landscape Supply, Goldenwest Ave., Huntington Beach. I miss this place. The giant chicken was one of the least strange things about American Landscape Supply. Hidden in the warehouse and among the trees were parts of Chinese restaurants facades (think dragons), taxidermied lions, a giant cappuccino machine shaped like a row of Easter Island moai, the city's old central lifeguard tower, logo characters from the roofs of various businesses, and more, and more, and more...
5/15/00  La Habra 300 Bowl. Bert and Bob are recurring characters that are always chatting over cups of coffee at the counter of a diner or coffee shop. Today, they're in La Habra!
5/16/00  King Taco, 1795 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach. This former Norm's location still had the Armet & Davis architecture in place, but a taco place had moved in and armed security guards gave you a clue about what had happened to the neighborhood in the decades since the middle-class coffee shop was built.
5/19/00  Linbrook Bowl, 201 Brookhurst St., Anaheim. Happily, the Linbrook is still marching along. It's a great place to bowl, the historic sign and other features are maintained, and the coffee shop (last time I checked) serves far, far better food than you'd ever have reason to expect at a bowling center.
5/21/00  (Former) home of Pete and Portia Seanoa, Slater Ave. Huntington Beach. You can read more about the Seanoas and this location on my Tiki Lagoon blog. These Tikis once stood at Lion Country Safari in Irvine.
5/28/00  Pacific Car Wash, 12050 Beach Blvd., Stanton.  Not as striking an example of Googie as the Beach-Lin Car Wash up the street, but the tapered support beams with lighteners are still a classic Googie touch.
6/11/00  Jack's Coffee Shop, 13221 Whittier Blvd., Whittier. Jack's opened during the Great Depression, but was updated and modernized during the golden age of Googie. Of the exterior portions of the mid-century remodel, it seems only the sign and the back/side wall remain today. Inside, the lunch counter area is still largely intact. It was still open for business the last time I drove past.
6/14/00  Hope International University, Nutwood Ave., Fullerton. Designed as a shopping and entertainment center for the new Orange County State College (now California State University, Fullerton), this entire complex was later purchased by Pacific Christian College which eventually changed its name to Hope International University.
6/19/00  Hope International University. More views of the same Space Age place.
7/2/00  Jack's Coffee Shop again. This time, both interior and exterior views. It is truly one of the great works of art along Whittier Blvd., along with the Googie bowling alleys (already name-checked in this post), the old Home Savings building, the car wash by the railroad tracks, and the hidden treasure that is Oceanic Arts.
7/11/00  Friendly Hills Bowl, Whittier; La Habra 300 Bowl, La Habra. Another great DeRosa, Daly & Powers bowling center design. It was recently "adaptively reused" by a couple other businesses and the exterior was largely saved, which is wonderful news. The sign was saved, but was shortened and otherwise altered dramatically, which is too bad. Still, it beats the alternatives.
8/22/00  The first frame depicts the Baskin & Robbins ice cream shop on La Palma Ave., in Anaheim. I believe the second frame was sent to me by my friend Greg Ottinger and depicts a Googie roof in the Phoenix, Arizona area. And in the last panel, a view of Java Lanes on Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach.
 9/26/00  The first frame (if you'll pardon the expression) is the Linbrook Bowl again, followed by an view of the terrazzo door handle at Norm's/King Taco. The third frame shows a sample of the waitress-made, chicken-related wall art at Anaheim's late, lamented La Palma Chicken Pie Shop. No retro-fied diner can compete with the total-1950s-immersion one received while dining at the LPCPS. Sadly, it closed for good shortly after owner Otto Hasselbarth died in 2015.
9/27/00  Satellite Shopland, Katella Ave., Anaheim. When I went to photograph this sign, the bulldozers were literally parked next to it and the concrete all around was already jackhammered up. A guy who ran a sign shop later pulled the "sputnik" out of a dumpster and restored it. But then THEY didn't know what to do with the thing. Ultimately it was snapped up by the eagle-eyed Tod Swormstedt of the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati. This Anaheim icon has now been fully restored and is on display in Ohio.
10/10/00  Java Lanes, 3800 East Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach. Lord, but that sign was a work of art. The building was pretty outstanding too. Both are long gone now, replaced by boring things.
10/11/00  Java Lanes again. Pat B. DeRosa really outdid himself (which is saying something!) with this cantilevered entryway. One of DeRosa's great achievements was taking sweeping modernist forms normally created in concrete and creating affordable plywood versions for his clients. He used creativity to bring the big architectural ideas of the day to the masses.
10/25/00  Frame one shows us Lyndy's Motel, on Beach Blvd., in Anaheim, which was recently demolished. Frame two is probably the back side of the coffee shop at the La Habra 300 Bowl again. Frame three was inspired by the Firestone Tires on Euclid Ave. in Garden Grove. Frame four depicts the Westminster Memorial Park Chapel, in front of the cemetery on Beach Blvd. in Westminster.

Thanks for joining me on this little trip down memory lane. Are we having fun yet?

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Anonymous said...

Chris, seeing "your" strip hanging up in the Parasol many years ago inspired me to start contributing my own photos to Bill Griffith. I also found your Googie website when beginning my own journey into the world of Googie. Great stuff!


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