Sunday, November 27, 2011

As my random thought process is wont to do..........

One of my favorite blogs out there is Jon Patrick's The Selvedge Yard, and I have it linked here on my blog. I'm a religious reader of TSY, and you'll find it in my links list on the R/H side. One of Jon's recent posts is about a movie that is on just about everybody's "favorites" list - American Graffiti. The direct link is here:

Be sure to read the "Comments" section in the post, because it contains a couple more links from a couple people who left them there in that section, that provide a wealth of background information on the movie itself. In one of the links, it provides a mini-bio of Wolfman Jack, one of the driving forces in AG that ties the whole movie together as only the Wolfman could have done.

While I was reading Wolfman's bio, I recalled The Wolfman's move from across the Border, back into L.A. in '66, from reading his auto-biography Have Mercy! Confessions Of The Original Rock 'n' Roll Animal. A great read if you can find the book, I might add. Virtually driven/legislated out by the Mexican Government, Wolfman Jack had headed for L.A., to re-establish radio station XERB on this side of the Border. The studio/offices he set up were on Sunset Blvd., just a couple blocks east of Crescent Heights.

On a little triangle at that intersection of Sunset and Crescent Heights, sat Pandora's Box, a former beatnik hangout, now given way to the Counter-culture/hippie movement. If the name Pandora's Box doesn't ring a bell, it was the epicenter of the famous "Riots" that occurred in '66 on the Sunset Strip, and that incident inspired Steven Stills to write For What it's Worth, and also the exploitation B movie Riot On Sunset Strip as well, filmed and released a mere 6 weeks after the Riots went down. Below is an excerpt from The Wolfman's book, where he relates what he experienced while he had his offices there in that time period in '66. Also, here's a link I found, explaining the full story of Pandora's box from the great website Laurel Canyon Stories:

"Even back then (My note: Wolfman Jack referring to the late '50's-early '60's) The City wanted to tear down Pandora's Box. It created a traffic flow problem for all the people trying to get home to their expensive pads in the Hollywood Hills. Mostly, though, the pressure was on to demolish the club because the hippies were a lot crazier than the beatniks who used to hang out there a few years earlier. They smoked dope in public, flashed bare boobies at people driving down Sunset, and balled each other right on the sidewalk. They also attracted a lot of greasy, sex-hungry biker dudes into the scene. Plus the L.A Free Press, the local underground newspaper, had their offices underneath the club. So, Pandora's Box kinda had The Establishment pissed off in several different directions".

Pretty current satellite photo of the former location of Pandora's Box.

" Lou (My note: referring to his wife), for one, was glad to see Pandora's Box go. She was still a very proper Southern Belle, and every time she walked from our offices to the bank, she had to pass in front of the club. There she was, striding along in her nylons and high heels, dressed like she just stepped out of a Beverly Hills shop window, while the Hells Angels and Iron Horseman were standing around, smoking pot, and saying, 'Hey baby, how about climbin' on my hog, and taking' a magic ride?'. "

Don't short change yourself on the rest of the Laurel Canyon Stories's site, it's a wealth of historical information on The Sunset Strip, it's clubs, the "scene" in the '60's, and Laurel Canyon in the '60's and before. Just remember to allow yourself several hours, or bookmark the site to go back to in the future:

1 comment:

wade said...

rich: good stuff. the essay on "cars and culture, the cars of American Graffiti" was also worth a look.