rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,

More Vanished Stuff Gets Linked

UCLA has made available a collection of digitized images from the archives of The Los Angeles Times. There are only a bit over 5000 of the pictures on-line, from a collection that totals about 3,000,000, but they are an interesting sample. Being newspaper photos, and from a Los Angeles paper at that, there are quite a few celebrity shots. I've run across one that I found surpassingly strange. Beefy, jowly, gravel-voiced Broderick Crawford is probably best known for his role as a fictionalized version of Huey Long in the 1949 movie All the King's Men, and for his portrayal of a tough cop in the 1950s television series Highway Patrol. Thus I found it amusing to see a 1950 photo taken backstage at a Friar's Club event, showing Broderick Crawford and George Burns either before or after their turn in the Friar's Frolics, with Crawford half in (or out of) costume.

I'm guessing that Crawford is not clearly remembered these days, as the recently-composed caption for the photo identifies him as a comedian. Well, he did play a straight-man role, a worthy foil for Judy Holliday, in George Cukor's 1950 movie Born Yesterday, but I can't recall ever seeing him in a comedy role himself. The photo makes me wonder, though. George Burns was usually the straight-man in his routines with Gracie Allen, so maybe Crawford did deliver the comic lines on this particular occasion. I now wish that I could have attended that particular Friar's Frolics. The Friar's Club events were usually... well, fairly dirty, even in the staid 1950s. The photo suggests that this event was no exception. It also suggests that Crawford might have possessed untapped comic talents. I'll always be wondering now.

The collection also contains this nice night photo of a diesel powered freight train rolling down the traffic lane on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood in 1970. The tracks are gone now, as are the Paris Theatre and P.J.'s nightclub. That scene I actually got to see, though, several times. But from now on, I'm going to picture the train's engineer being Broderick Crawford in his Friar's Frolics outfit.

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