Saturday, September 22, 2007

P&M Plumbing

P&M Plumbing, Santa Ana, CA.

Located right across the street from Vodie's is a fun ol' sign with a little raindrop on it. Sorry about the crummy picture, I took this one through my windshield, while driving. Either way, a great sign, again in Santa Ana.

P&M Plumbing, Heating, & Air Conditioning
1139 W 17th St.
Santa Ana, CA
(714) 972-9662

Friday, September 14, 2007

Vodie's Auto Center

Vodie's Auto Center, Santa Ana, CA.

Wow, ok, so this sign is really swell. I wish I knew a bit of its history. It's not quite Googie, I don't know what to call it, but it's certainly a beautiful part of the otherwise drab OC skyline. Right around the corner from here is one of those ugly pre-fab shopping centers with a big ol' Target... zzz... I'll take this big teddy bear of a sign any day!

Vodie's Auto Center
1240 W 17th St
Santa Ana, CA 92706
(714) 543-8297

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Islander Apartments

The Islander Apartments, Santa Ana, CA.

Two giant A-frames-- one over the entrance to the complex (with two Tiki poles on the front and back to support the middle of the frame), and one near the pool (with another Tiki pole supporting the middle of the frame). Click on the images to see them larger and close-up!

This is a little, old apartment complex in Santa Ana. Gated, quiet, filled with lush tropical foliage-- why it's a neighborhood Tiki paradise. Your escape to the Islands! I've tried to get into the manager's office to talk about renting one of these apartments several times, but no one ever answers!

Sorry about the hiatus, it was a heck of a semester at school, but now that it's summertime, I'll attempt to be regular in my updates, although I'll be taking another short leave in a few weeks to go to Europe for a month.

The Islander Apartments
2724 N. Bristol St.
Santa Ana, CA

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Bailey's Drive-In Liquor, Whittier, CA.

Ok, it's been open since 1922, so it's not quite Googie, but I still get a kick out of the architecture, the shapes, the signage, and the fonts enough to post it here. It's a Googie precursor, a predecessor if you will. And don't worry, you purists, I'll be coming home to Orange County soon (as in once I find time to do some more hunting!) Until then, enjoy Bailey's.

Bailey's Liquor Beverage
11415 Whittier Blvd
Whittier, CA 90601
(562) 695-7341

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Whittier Area Commerce Building

Whittier Area Commerce Building, Whittier, CA.

As a graphic designer, I find myself not only enthralled by Googie's and Mid-Century Modern's architectural forms, but also the typographical particularities of the age. I usually find a combination of these two great design elements only in neon signage, so it was a treat to finally take notice of this building, sitting on Whittier Blvd. as it likely has for decades. Geometric and decidedly Modern, the building is livened considerably by the typography which describes the building's purpose. The tracking, the kerning, the mish-mash of uppercase and lowercase letters-- it's enough to even get the most jaded and cynical of designers to smile a little!

Maybe this isn't the best example of lettering from the era, but with months of studying Googie, it's easy to wonder where the joy of gimmicky typography went, and why we don't live in a world where the "Googie's" logo for which this whole architectural movement is named isn't functional today, in a design sense. It's kitsch, it's retro, it's almost pandering, but Googie typography is fun and carefree. I hope fun typography will make a comeback someday.

Whittier Area Commerce Building
13601 Whittier Blvd
Whittier, CA 90605

Friday, February 16, 2007

Real Estate

Realty Executives Cornerstone, Whittier, CA.

I'm not a photographer. I'd think over the six months of reading this blog, many of you may have come to realize this. My camera will take a heck of a crisp picture as far as a basic digital camera goes, but I can not for the life of me manipulate lighting, composition, etc. Christine at eleventwentyseven is a photographer, though. Click here to see her photo of this same sign.

When I was a little girl and Dad used to take me and my sister up to Uptown Whittier to eat my usual basket of popcorn chicken at Rocky Cola and buy a "The Girls are Prettier in Whittier" tee shirt at Melrose Vintage, I used to wish that one day I could buy this old building and reopen it as a really hip clothing store called "Real Estate". Maybe it sounds silly now, but this is one of my all-time favorite old signs.

Of course, it only contains a real estate agency, nothing quite as cool as a great coffee shop. Contents aside, this is a great sign. Wish they'd sell it to me.

Realty Executives Cornerstone
13604 Whittier Blvd.
Whittier, CA 90605

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Whittier Budget Inn

Whittier Budget Inn, Whittier, CA.

A motor motel turned "inn", this delapidated sign still stands between dozens of others along the west side of Whittier Blvd. It's hardly even legible any more.

Whittier Budget Inn
14030 Whittier Blvd.
Whittier, CA 90605

Thursday, February 01, 2007

News & Updates

This will be my first post to this blog without any photos or frills-- if that's what you're here for (which would be understandable, it's all I've ever done), then you are invited to continue to page down to the other, more graphical entries. I just wanted to reserve a little space to play catch-up.

Of course, the biggest news story to concern Googie in years is raging all around us, in Downey. Johnie's Broiler, a classic Googie diner, featured in almost every publication on Googie architecture, even featured on the back cover of Alan Hess' Googie Redux, has been mostly demolished. The news has been pretty widespread, with many LA-area preservation websites taking notice and making a stand, showing up at Downey city council meetings to ensure that something is done about this blatantly illegal act of intentional damage to a building which was eligible to become a national landmark.

Here are several links related to the demolition, both in the news and across the web:

L.A. Times
CBS 2 (with video) (take action!)

I'm very sorry that something like this is what it finally takes for preservation societies like ModCom to take notice of Googie as a very important architectural style in the history of Los Angeles and the roadside landscape. Googie is important, it is a valid architectural style, and if somebody doesn't step up for it, and soon, it's going to be gone, and all we're going to have are watered-down remodels and contemporary remakes of the classics.

In other news, I had dinner tonight at the La Palma Chicken Pie Shop, and it was as delicious as it always has been. The current, original owners apparently have no interest in selling the place, and since it's been operating for about 50 years now, your best bet is to experience the great food to be had here before it's gone for good, along with another great Googie sign. The chicken noodle soup is the best you're ever had, and for less than $7, you can get a meal with several courses, all served up with a smile. It's a classic, don't put it off.

Googie is important. It needs to be preserved. We need to be reminded of what we used to think our future could be, to remind us how our current view of the future is so bleak. I won't rest until I have my floating car and my rocket ship, and my house made all of plastic. I want the future, I want it now, and Googie is a great way of finding it. We need to all remember that.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Twin Palms Village

Twin Palms Village, Whittier, CA.

A great old set of signs (yes, there are TWO!) along Whittier Blvd. A lot of great shapes, and it still lights up at night!

Twin Palms Village
14748 Whittier Blvd.
Whittier, CA. 90605

Friday, January 19, 2007

Friendly Hills Bowl

Friendly Hills Bowl, Whittier, CA.

Above are both sides of Friendly Hills Bowl's beautiful marquee. The "O" has fallen off on both sides. The place certainly announces itself, from it's quiet nook across the street from Whitwood Mall. I can't believe there's a hair salon INSIDE the bowling alley.

There's this great boomerang shape that makes of the roof overhang of the entrance to the alley, and some great stonework that supports it. Oh, that Googie satisfaction of primordial man and modern technology. The perfect anachronism.

The Brush Script font which has become so cliche in today's design graces the side of the alley, with that classic Googie font spelling out "BOWL", all in lavender.

I fell in love with there light fixtures, which looked old enough in person to be original. The shape is oh so Googie, I just love it.

Friendly Hills Bowl
15545 E. Whittier Blvd.
Whittier, CA 90603
(562) 947-3815

Friday, January 12, 2007

La Habra Motel

La Habra Motel, La Habra, CA.

Taken from the driver's seat of my car, through the windshield, traveling east on Whittier Blvd., one more shot of some of La Habra's Googie gold. I love how all these old motels have had the "no" part of their "no vacancy" signs removed. Always a vacancy at these now-crummy places.

La Habra Motel
200 E. Whittier Blvd.
La Habra, CA 90621

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Seafare Inn

Seafare Inn, Whittier, CA.

On my recent pilgrimage into La Habra for Googie hunting, I traveled a little farther into Whittier. Another town that's dear to my heart, though technically in Los Angeles County, Whittier is filled with most of the Googie architecture that I'm familiar with.

I'm going to say that January's going to be Whittier Month around here at the OC GOogie Archive, because I can't ignore some of the great stuff I took snapshots of. It's worth posting.

The Seafare Inn opened in 1961 and is still family owned and operated. Despite driving past it hundreds of times throughout the course of my life, I have never eaten there. If I rectify the situation, I will post photos. Either way, they whole front of the structure is built from stone, there's an outdoor seashell fountain, a shipwrecked skiff, and other sea-related paraphenelia. Of note most of all though, is the beautiful sign, with a swordfish for an "S". The pylons stick through the sign and emerge out the top. Beautiful place, someday I'll explore the inside too.

Seafare Inn
16363 Whittier Blvd.
Whittier, CA 90603
(562) 947-6645