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Quentin Tarantino backs out of Rialto deal November 2, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Movies, Preservation, Theaters.
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Oscar-winning movie director Quentin Tarantino recently withdrew an offer to buy the closed Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena, California, reported the South Pasadena Review.

According to South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce President Scott Feldmann, Tarantino agreed to a contract for a short period of time, before pulling back on his offer prior to closing the deal. However, Feldmann said he’s hopeful a second bidder will finalize a deal to purchase the Rialto.

Mark Friedman, Tarantino’s business manager, reportedly told Feldmann that Quentin became heavily involved in a huge filmmaking project in Europe shortly after putting in an offer to buy the theater, and could not devote the time and resources necessary to carrying out the purchase of the theatre.

Feldmann said Tarantino’s plans for the Rialto had included re-opening the movie house to screen classic films in a 35mm format, while focusing attention to completely restoring the theater, once known for its Vaudeville shows in the 1920s.

Tarantino — famed for his Academy Award-winning films “Pulp Fiction,” “Django Unchained” and “Inglourious Basterds” — is set to begin production on a new western film in January.

Feldmann told the newspaper he was “bummed” Tarantino nixed the deal, but remained optimistic a buyer would be found and the theater reopened.

Tarantino also owns a movie house in the Los Angeles region — the New Beverly Cinema, where it shows double features of old films.

The Rialto Theatre, at 1023 Fair Oaks Ave., is part of the original 1926 alignment of Route 66. Built in 1925, the theater is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The theater will need a lot of work. Its vertical neon sign worked itself loose two years ago to the point where city officials thought it would become a safety hazard. The theater was put up for sale in June.

(Hat tip: Chris Willman; image of the Rialto Theatre by Scott Lowe via Flickr)

Anthony Quinn mural in downtown L.A. to be restored November 1, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Attractions, Movies, Preservation.
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The nearly 30-year-old mural of actor Anthony Quinn on the side of the Victor Clothing Co. building in downtown Los Angeles will be restored, according to several media outlets.

Titled “The Pope of Broadway,” the 70-foot-tall mural at 242 S. Broadway shows Quinn with his arms outstretched, a la a scene from the 1964 film “Zorba the Greek,” touting the Victor business. Eloy Torrez painted it in 1985.

According to L.A. Downtown News:

Fourteenth District City Councilman José Huizar helped secure $150,000 for the restoration of the mural, which over the years become chipped and faded, and was also vandalized.

The idea of restoring the mural was first floated by Quinn’s son, Francesco, who tried to bring attention to the artwork before his death in 2011.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

“Anthony Quinn’s rise from humble immigrant beginnings to worldwide recognition as one of the greatest artists of his day continues to inspire many here in the city of Los Angeles,” Huizar said in an interview. He added: ” ‘The Pope of Broadway’ is not only an important part of our Bringing Back Broadway initiative, it is a masterful piece of art that reminds us of the importance of mural restoration and the reason we overturned the 11-year ban on murals on private property: so artists can create new masterpieces.”

The project is scheduled to start in early 2015, led by the Mural Conservancy, which is also restoring the 1984 Olympic Arts Murals along the 101 Freeway. The group hopes to finish that work by 2016, conservancy Executive Director Isabel Rojas Williams said.

Conservators will work closely with Torrez during the restoration process to maintain the integrity of the mural.

The Broadway district in downtown Los Angeles was where Route 66 terminated in the highway’s early days, until 66 was lengthened to Santa Monica.

(Hat tip: Scott Piotrowski; image of “The Pope of Broadway” mural in 2009 by Javier Carcamo via Flickr)

Voices of Tulsa October 9, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Movies, Towns.
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“Route 66: The Mother Road” author and Route 66 Alliance co-founder alerted me to this new video made for the Tulsa Historical Society.

Voices of History from Kirkpatrick&Kinslow Productions on Vimeo.

An explanation of the video by its creator, Kirkpatrick & Kinslow Productions:

“Voices of History” is a branding film from Kirkpatrick & Kinslow Productions, developed for the Tulsa Historical Society. The film showcases a 3rd grade curriculum created & implemented by the organization. The film also profiles pivotal points in Tulsa’s history, set against the backdrop of Tulsa’s historic Council Oak Tree.

To help tell the story, Producer Russ Kirkpatrick worked closely with THS Executive Director Michelle Place and writers Bond Love and Michael Wallis to create messaging that was beautifully put to film by Director Bunee Tomlinson & Director of Photography Sam Calvin.

The branding project is the first of two films being produced by Kirkpatrick & Kinslow Productions with the Tulsa Historical Society. The second is an untitled feature length documentary, produced for a national TV audience, that will answer the important question of why history is important.

The feature-length film is a good idea. I was thinking for some time — especially while reading a new book about Cyrus Avery — that Tulsa’s history especially would make for a very good Ken Burns-type documentary.

Trailer for “Route 66 Revisited” September 26, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motorcycles, Movies, Road trips, Route 66 Associations.

In recent days, the Czech Route 66 Association posted this trailer for its upcoming “Route 66 Revisited” documentary.

The film premieres in the Czech Republic on Oct. 22 2014 in Zlin and on Oct. 24 in Prague.

“Easy Rider” motorcycle will be auctioned September 23, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motorcycles, Movies.
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It’s certain that many dream of driving the “Captain America” Harley-Davidson motorcycle in the “Easy Rider” film on a Route 66 journey.

Now you have the chance to do it, if you have a million bucks or so.

Several media outlets reported a few days ago the now-iconic motorcycle from the 1969 film starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson will be auctioned next month by California-based Profiles in History. The estimated sale price will be $1 million to $1.2 million.

A few details about the legendary chopper emerged:

  • Four such “Captain America” bikes were used in the film, in case one broke down during filming. However, three were stolen before the movie’s release, and their whereabouts remain unknown.
  • The motorcycle was featured in the film’s final scene. It was damaged during that climax, but repaired.
  • The film’s motorcycle mechanic was Dan Haggerty, best-known as the star in the “Grizzly Adams” movie and TV show. Haggerty kept the motorcycle for years after “Easy Rider’s” release.
  • The bike is owned by businessman Michael Eisenberg, who once owned a motorcycle-themed restaurant with Fonda and Dennis Hopper. The bike once was owned by the National Motorcycle Museum in Iowa.
  • It has letters of authenticity from the museum, Fonda and Haggerty.
  • A “significant portion” of the auction’s proceeds will go to the American Humane Association.
  • Yes, it runs.

More photos and details of the motorcycle can be found with the auction house’s book here (you’ll find it on page 382).

A really good website about all the filming locations in “Easy Rider,” including those on Route 66, is here. And you can’t have an “Easy Rider” post without this:

A look at Route 66 in 1985 August 28, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Movies, Music.
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This 1-hour, 42-minute documentary film from 1985, “Route 66,” has been making the rounds on the Internet since it was uploaded it on YouTube a few days ago and Route 66 yahoogroup creator Greg Laxton posted it on Facebook.

Roadies praise it because it provides the Mother Road’s most comprehensive look just before U.S. 66 was federally decomissioned. You’ll see things that have long since disappeared, including the Will Rogers Court in Tulsa (pictured above). You also will find footage of the abandoned John’s Modern Cabins near Arlington, Missouri, before its deterioration became severe.

Route 66 was in a sorry state. Many of the small towns had long since been bypassed, and the renaissance that came with Michael Wallis’ bestselling “Route 66: The Mother Road” was years away.

I also like the film because it offers an unflinching and unsentimental look of the time. You’ll see a few things that some may find disturbing, including cattle being killed at a meat-processing factory in Amarillo and scenes of inebriated American Indians in Gallup, New Mexico, back when public drunkenness in that town was epidemic. You’ll encounter great folks, and you’ll encounter people you’d never want to see again.

A bit of Internet sleuthing reveals “Route 66″ — subtitled “A Nostalgic Ride Down America’s Mother Road from Chicago to L.A.” — was produced for the United Kingdom’s United Central Television, now known as ITV Central. The film was skillfully directed by Belfast native John T. Davis, whose credits include other documentaries and television work.

The film also proves notable for using snippets of A.M. radio of that time and a lot of original music, including Johnnie Lee Wills, Lone Justice and a very young George Strait.

Don’t look to easily buy this film on the Internet. It’s apparently long out of print, and an eBay search proved fruitless. At the risk of a product plug, I found the best way to view it is on my television using a Google Chromecast device. It beats watching it on the PC, for sure.

Run Route 66 with Forrest Gump August 11, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Computer games, Movies.
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Marking the 20th anniversary of the Oscar-winning film “Forrest Gump,” Paramount Pictures and Genera Mobile have developed a “Run Forrest Run” game app you can download for free for iPhones and iPads.

And, yes, the app includes a section of Route 66, just like the film.

Here’s description of the game from the developer:

Recreating the famous scene in the film, Forrest Gump, sets off across the country collecting a band of followers. But the road isn’t as easy as he expected, and Forrest encounters unpredictable obstacles through different scenarios.

Guide Forrest on his trip and take control as he sets off from the humble countryside of Alabama, along the famous Route 66 and beyond.

Remember the world will never be the same once you’ve seen it through the eyes of Forrest Gump.

Here’s a trailer for the game:

And, for good measure, here’s the key scene from the film, with a brief appearance of Twin Arrows in Arizona and the Santa Monica Pier:

(Hat tip: AppAdvice)

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