Beware of Big Promises: 1963


Community leaders, developers, planners, business people, and boosters are forever promising a brighter day tomorrow. So it was in Van Nuys nearly 60 years ago. The new police station, a striking piece of $5 million dollar architecture, whose inspiration appears to be many vertically positioned Philco televisions, was nearing completion on March 29, 1963. The…

July 28, 1962: Youth Shot to Death in Van Nuys Apartment


Clearly, there was crime and murder in Van Nuys in 1962. In great staccato shorthand a woman is described as "a 22-year-old divorcee and dime store manager" (doesn't that say it all). Divorced and managing a dime store. Things could be worse at 22. Miss Colleen K. Mitzel was alone, in her apartment, and called police from…

1962: Fear Free Junior Colleges May Begin Charging Tuition.


In 1962, junior colleges like Valley College were as free as high schools. Legally they were prohibited from collecting tuition. "Pictured is a student walking the campus of Los Angeles Valley College with the photograph edited to show the word "Free?" hovering above. Photograph article dated August 13, 1962 partially reads, "There is increasing talk…

Modernity and Kitsch.


I recently came across these 50-year-old photographs by Allan Grant that were published in the November 23, 1962 Life Magazine. They show a brand new supermarket, Piggly Wiggly,that had recently opened at 15821 Ventura Blvd. in Encino. The structure is now gone, replaced by a long, white office building. What surprised me most was seeing the…