Love in linen, plus losing two LA legends   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.02.14 at 08:40

Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard 2647a

From Carole Lombard’s early days at Paramount (from the hairstyle and background, it was taken no later than 1931), here she is in a mellow yet studious pose. It’s an actual vintage photo, trimmed and measuring 7 1/4″ x 9 1/2″ with linen backing and in very good+ condition:

carole lombard 2647b

This image definitely is a rarity, which is why it’s on sale for $299.95. Think you can shell out that kind of money? If so, go to

Fans of Los Angeles broadcasting still are in shock over the loss of two area titans — one a pioneering local television journalist, the other a radio, TV and voiceover artist who entertained millions both locally and beyond. We’ll begin with the TV newsman, Stan Chambers, who died Friday morning at age 91.

ktla stan chambers 00b

Chambers worked at KTLA (channel 5) from 1947 (not long after it signed on) until his retirement in 2010. While he occasionally anchored the news, his strength was as a reporter; he filed more than 22,000 stories during his career. He broke the story of the beating of Rodney King in 1991 after a viewer sent him the videotape of the incident, and also covered Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 assassination at the Ambassador Hotel as well as the 1965 Watts riots. And throughout his 63 years at KTLA, Chambers’ hallmark was his professionalism, making him the city’s most respected and trustworthy TV journalist.

He participated in an event that showed the power of news in this infant medium — the April 1949 story of 3-year-old Kathy Fiscus of suburban San Marino, who had fallen into a well and was trapped in a pipe 14 inches wide. Chambers co-anchored the 27 1/2 hours of coverage that transfixed those few Angelenos who then owned TV sets; its ending was tragic, as Kathy was found dead.

Sixty years later, Chambers said of the story and its impact on viewers, “It was like they had lost their own little girl. It was such a shared moment. That’s when television became television as we know it today.”

Here are some video highlights of his extraordinary career:

On Friday night, ESPN’s Keith Olbermann, at one time KTLA’s sports director, paid tribute to his former colleague:

Chambers has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. So does another broadcast legend we recently lost, one certainly better known to people who lived beyond Los Angeles.

gary owens laugh-in 00b

If you’re from outside LA, this is probably how you best know Gary Owens, who passed away Thursday night — as the voice of “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” during its five-year run. Or you may know him from his prolific voiceover work for commercials or animation (his characters included Roger Ramjet and the original Space Ghost). But Angelenos recall him as a radio legend; he spent decades as an announcer, mostly at KMPC (which shared the Sunset Boulevard building with KTLA, then a fellow Gene Autry broadcast property, so he and Chambers likely crossed paths a few times).

Owens was delightfully funny, winning huge audiences for his afternoon drive-time program on KMPC. Like Ed Walker and Willard Scott (the “Joy Boys”) in Washington or Bob & Ray in Boston, Owens’ absurdist humor made him a Los Angeles broadcast institution. Here’s an aircheck of Gary from September 1970 to give you an idea of his radio sound:

And check out this flubbed holiday commercial from later in the ’70s (the product, Preparation H, was a hemorrhoid cream):

Not only was Gary Owens a great announcer, but a great guy as well. He helped launch the career of many people, including my blogosphere buddy Ken Levine, now a renowned sitcom writer and director, a major league baseball announcer and a former Top 40 DJ. Ken paid tribute to him yesterday: Like me, Gary was both left-handed and a diabetic (although it wasn’t until after his passing that I knew we had those things in common).

Thank you, Gary, and thank you, Stan. Both of you did so much to improve life in Los Angeles.

Posted February 14, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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