Saturday, December 12, 2015

For your viewing and listening enjoyment:

On December 4, 2015, UCLA presented a conversation about the Olympics: Why History Matters: L.A. 2024 and the Lessons of Olympics Past with panelists Zev Yaroslavsky, Barry Sanders, David Phillips, Peter Chesney and Caitlin Parker.

You can watch all of it here.

Professor/Moderator Steven Aron jokes that "history is too important to be left to to historians," meaning academics. If you love history enough to listen to how the talk came to be and why certain panelists were chosen, you're in luck: it's all here. And Professor Aron is an engaging speaker. Or you can jump into the discussion of Greece and how the ancients conducted their games, starting at minute 12, and enjoy from there.

Alternately, if you want to hear Barry Sander's comments about the status of Los Angeles' bid for a future Olympics, and Supervisor Yaroslavsky's warnings about hosting costs, that starts about 27 minutes in.

I learned a lot of trivia, which I love. Did you know Tom Bradley, our former mayor, hopped fences to sneak into some of the events in the 1932 Games? Or that 25,000 palm trees were planted here in anticipation of the 1932 Olympics? And that palms live, on average, about 90 years so they're all about to die? Hah!

The entire talk is about one hour and twenty minutes long.

It that is too much or too serious for your Sunday afternoon, then here is a 1946 police training film on how good traffic cops should behave. This film is quite officious and smug but in a most campy way. Officer Tommy, at 9th and Hill, does everything wrong. Oh, Officer Tommy! You silly man! But the fun is not just seeing our traffic almost 70 years ago and spotting landmarks like the Orpheum Theatre and the Eastern Building--or Eastern Columbia Building (about 3 1/2 minutes in). What I found so fascinating is how much things have changed. Would any traffic cop today wave cars into crosswalks and hold pedestrians just inches out of harm's way?

This film appeared on the LAist, and their comments are well worth reading

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