“STOP THE PRESSES!”

LA_Times_Printer

I couldn’t yell, “Stop the presses!”, because this press wasn’t running when I snapped this photo.

Times01

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LA_Times_Lobby

The lobby of the news building had that art deco style found amongst much old Los Angeles architecture.

Times02

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Lettera Typewriter @ L.A. Times

The Lettera in this glass case was the only typewriter in the whole building (well, it was the only one I saw, and it was the only one our guide took note to point out to us).

LA_Times_Mailbox

I’m really enamored by art deco design, and this old mailbox in the elevator lobby was very cool. I wish I had this on my porch.

L.A. Times old equipment

Being into all things vintage, as well as photography, I really enjoyed the display cases with all the retro gear used by early reporters.

L.A. Times photography equipment

Another display with vintage photography equipment and the stories which were covered with such gear.

Betty Page L.A. Times Obituary

There was one particular room were the printing plates are developed, and on the wall they had copies of papers with some old, noteworthy events. Above this clock was an obituary for Betty Page (for all you Betty fans). Betty Page lived out here in Santa Monica. Dave Stevens revived awareness of Betty for a whole new generation by including her in his comic creation, The Rocketeer. 

 

12 thoughts on ““STOP THE PRESSES!”

  1. Wow. It’s sad to see a newspaper office in its last days. I dunno, BB, I don’t see a dozen witnesses offering a more truthful account of an event compared to a journalist’s viewpoint. A dozen witnesses would provide a dozen versions of the truth, with a lot of their own biases thrown in, whereas I would like to think that a journalist would be able to offer an account with an objective slant.
    Perhaps my stance is based on seeing too many people at the scene of a car accident, or watching a gang of punks on a train being obnoxious, with their smartphones held high, recording the event rather than offering assistance. Everybody’s a photojournalist these days.
    This Digital Age is killing a lot of long-standing symbols and methods of our society (poorly put) and I wonder (with pre-emptive regret) what will be left behind when our grown-up children walk around with an iPad in one hand and a smartphone in the other.
    Nice Atmos clock next to the typewriter, too. Those things are worth about seven grand.
    Great write-up, BB!
    And Dave Stevens did brilliant work on “The Rocketeer”, but, man, did he take ages between issues! Same goes for Matt Wagner with “Mr. X”. Great artwork, but long time between issues.

    • Although I’d like to think journalists would be objective, they have their biases just like any other human. That’s why I tend to think that even if I get a dozen different point of views from a dozen different people, there will be enough similarity between them to construct a reliable approximation of the truth. Moreover, with ten different cell-phone cameras recording an event, it’s difficult to find any newspaper report that could be more reliable than that. I’m not anti-newspaper. It’s just a matter of odds. The more witnesses reporting, the clearer the picture. Look at it this way. Imagine a professional photographer and a dozen bystanders with their cell phones all covering an event. Sure the professional photographer is more experienced, but if he misses a shot, that’s that. However, if a dozen people are shooting an event, the odds are better that someone will get a shot. Again, it’s just a numbers game.

      I think you’re right on the money about digital toys. I suppose they come in handy when recording an unplanned event; but other than that, they’re usually an annoyance. I understood what you meant about symbols and methods. I feel the same way. Maybe it’s just in our nature to hate change.

      Are you a Dave Stevens fan? He was a great artist. I used to talk to him every year at the San Diego Comic Con International, and I’d always ask him if he planned another Rocketeer comic (seeing as he produced them at a glacial pace, as you well noted). His response was always the same. “Nobody wants it”, he’d tell me. Huh? I never got that. What’s worse is that IDW is now doing a monthly Rocketeer comic with guest artists, none of which can come close to the magic that Dave produced. Well where the heck were these publishers when Dave was alive? He was a really nice, humble guy. I recall that at the Con prior to his passing, he didn’t attend the show. No one had any idea he was sick other than those close to him. His death came as a complete surprise. At least when Frazetta died, I was sort of expecting to hear the news about it at any time, what with his age and failing health. But Dave’s death just came out of nowhere. What an amazing talent he was.

      • The camera doesn’t lie, I agree. But I have this romantic notion of a reporter (rather than journalist) reporting the facts without letting personal opinion get in the way. Twelve people with their iPhones pointed at an event will capture that event from twelve different angles. As long as nobody asks those twelve people for an opinion about what they just saw.

        Dave Stevens, yes, I only know of his work with “The Rocketeer” back when I was heavily into my 1930s/Art Deco phase in the mid to late Eighties. So much detail in his drawings. If Norman Rockwell did comics, this is how they’d look. And his perspective and angles in his panels were just beautiful. But he gave Bettie Page a better body than she actually had. Actually, scratch that, her body was typical 1950s curves. Dave Stevens gave her an aerobically-toned late ’80s body. Probably drew her taller than she really was. It’s a shame that Stevens felt that there wasn’t enough interest in his work. It was high quality stuff.

      • Yeah, I actually have a lot of romantic notions myself (I suffer from too much idealism at times).

        Ha, that’s funny what you said about how Dave drew Bettie’s body. Did you get that from the Rocketeer trade paperback with the intro by Harlan Ellison? He noted that the comic “Betty” had the face of “Bette” [sic], but “with the body of Dave’s former wife, Charlene Brink Stevens”. Also, Dave’s comic Betty had a dress inspired by a character from Frazetta’s “Johnny Comet” newspaper strip (and Frazetta even seemed to model one of the girl’s in that comic after Bettie Page as well, though not as blatantly). In any case, I don’t mind so much that Dave didn’t draw Betty exactly like Bettie. Had he not drawn her at all, most people today would not know who Bettie Page is. She would have remained in obscurity. So my hats off to him for reviving a legend.

  2. The demise of a centuries old institution, the newspaper, is sad. There is something special and different about newspapers that electronic media can never duplicate. I subscribe to two papers and won’t stop until they do.
    Nice post, thanks,
    Bart

  3. What a gorgeous building—now sadly underused. There is a great romance to the newspaper biz for all of its flaws. Almost every time I’ve been involved in a journalistic report I have found that it turns out wrong or distorted, but we still need strong, professional journalists to keep politicians, corporations, and powerful individuals accountable.

    I’ve been reading the New York Times online since they started their website in the ’90s; the paper edition now seems like an unsustainable luxury. However, I’d be very sad if the NY Times or LA Times ceased publishing altogether.

    • Yup. I know it was unrealistic of me to expect it, but it would have been really cool to walk into a newsroom to hear phones ringing and the tap-tap-tapping of typewriters as reporters banged out stories just in time to make the next press run… Yeah, I probably watch too many old movies.

      • You can NEVER watch too many old movies. Regarding “The Rocketeer”, yes I have the Harlan Ellison intro version in hardback. And it’s true that Stevens introduced Bettie Page to a whole new audience.

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