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courtesy Jed Cline

Pat and I took some time on a nice Sunday to go visit the LA Natural History Museum. It was built in 1889, and the name Natural History Museum is a bit of a misnomer. Since there was never an actual Museum of the City of Los Angeles, it has a lot of extra goodies thrown in like an old curio cabinet. Sure we've seen dinosaur bones and stuffed Mastodons and such, but also Thomas Jeffersons' overcoat, and one of Lincoln't stovepipe hats. The German artist who poses dead bodies, Fra Junpiero Serra's letters, Items from the Mexican War,tickets to the 1932 Olympics.

Click this thumb and it is Walt Disney's original camera stand, that they used to photograph Steamboat Willie (1928). Walt donated it to the museum in 1938.

They also had artifacts from the first stop-motion dinosaur movie 1926 The Lost World, and illustrations by Charles Knight, the art director of King Kong.

Outside you can stroll the rose garden with over 15,000 bushes. It was built in 1927 to replace an earlier horse racing track.

The grudgingly small amount of movie memorabilia to represent a city world famous as the movie capitol, is symptomatic of an old split between Hollywood and Downtown Culture. There was a Old-Society Downtown attitude that refuses to admit such a thing as the movie business was even there, much less vital for the cities greatness. While in Hollywood, Burbank,the Sunset Strip, Beverly Hills and Studio City, there is a complete apathy as to what goes on in the Downtown LA area. Like the LA city skyline exists only to give the local Eyewitness News anchor a pretty backdrop. It was fun to see in the films LA Confidential and Dragnet, but who actually goes there?
If I didn't teach at USC downtown, maybe I would never visit either.

This rivalry was there in the 1920s, and I think lives on. Over the years I've seen the LA City Council, regardless of political party, spend millions and millions on new sports complexes and convention centers to try to get people to visit downtown, while Hollywood Blvd decays like Times Sq in New York once did. Yet Downtown on weekends you can still hear the echo of your own shoes in the corridors of these new complexes, while throngs of foreign tourists continue to shuffle past Hollywood & Vine's boarded up storefronts, rubbing elbows with crackheads and homeless vagrants. A local program once dedicated a half hour to the incredulous question: Why is the intersection of Hollywood & Vine so famous?"

I heard an interview with the editor of Fodor's Tourist Guidebooks for the USA. He expressed an opinion about this argument that I sums up the outside world's attitude nicely. "Build all the convention centers you want, no one gives a damn about seeing your downtown! When tourists around the world think of visiting LA, they think of Hollywood, Disneyland and the Beaches." I think that's a lesson local politicos are yet to learn.

As for the LA Natural History Museum, a way I hope they never totally renovate the old place. It's an attitude frozen in time. It's chaotic order is a kind of throwback to museums of the past. The lack of corporate slickness is it's charm.

Question: Animation fans, Who was Arthur Q. Bryant?

Answer to yesterday’s question below: We know that the birth of the Internet was a communication between UCLA and Stanford in 1969. What was that first message?
history for 9/22/2008
Birthdays: Anne of Cleves 1515- Henry VIII’s fourth wife. Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins, Mafioso Joe Valachi, Michael Farraday, Meryl Streep, John Houseman, Joanie Jett, Erich Von Stronheim, Tom Lasorda, Paul Muni, Debbie Boone, Scott Baio, John Woo is 60

1692- Seven witches hanged in Salem, Mass. When the daughter of the Royal Governor of the Massachusetts Colony was accused the Governor finally stepped in and stopped the madness. He overturned the decisions of the Salem court and ordered it's disbandment. These were the last witch executions in America.

1761- King George III’s coronation in London. All the great men of the day were there like Pitt the Elder, Edmund Burke and Dr. Samuel Johnson. In the crowd in front of Westminister Abbey, dazzled by all the pomp and circumstance, was a young colonist from America named John Hancock. Presented at court, he received from his sovereign’s hands a silver snuffbox. Ironically this was the very same Hancock whose bold signature would one day adorn the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

1776- Nathan Hale is hanged as a spy by the British in New York. The Connecticut schoolteacher had only been a spy for nine days until he was sniffed out and exposed by Colonel Robert Rogers, the French and Indian War hero who was now a Tory Loyalist. Today the spot where he was executed is near the w44th st. entrance of the PanAm err..Sony building near the flagship store of Brooks Brothers. Hale met his death cooly, one account later by a English officer named Montrose was that his last words were a quote from Addison’s play Cato:”I regret that I have but one life to give for my country….”

1925- Lon Chaney’s horror classic film the Phantom of the Opera premiered.

1927- The Dempsey-Tunney championship fight. Tunney wins in the famous 'long count', meaning the referee delayed the count because Dempsey wouldn’t return to his neutral corner. The extra time allowed Tunney to recover his wits and continue the fight to victory. Jack Dempsey was world heavyweight champion for ten years but retired a year later.

1964-Jerome Robbins’ “The Fiddler on the Roof “ opened on Broadway. In 1953 Robbins had named names to the MacCarthy HUAC committee to save his career. Now in Fiddler he had to use blacklisted actors like Zero Mostel and Beatrice Arthur who despised him.

1975- A emotionally unstable FBI worker named Sarah Jane Moore tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford in front of the Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Her gun arm was deflected at the last second by a man named Bill Sipple. In the subsequent media attention Sipple was outed as a gay man and his career was damaged. “I can’t see what my sexual orientation had to do with saving the President’s life!”

1976- TV show Charlie’s Angels premiered.

1979-Hanna Barbera's Super Globetrotter's Show, featuring Multi-Man, Sphere Man, Gizmo-Man,Spaghetti-Man and Fluid-Man.
yesterday’s question: We know that the birth of the Internet was a communication between UCLA and Stanford in 1969. What was that first message?

Answer: UCLA wrote “LOG” and Stanford answered: “ IN”. UCLA Program director Leonard Kleinrock recalled: You will find in my logbook, the first breath of the Internet. Oct. 29th 1969 at 10:00PM- “Talked to SRI (Stanford Research Institute). Message received.”