Friday, March 9, 2018

West Wing's Tornado Disaster

I just learned that the town hit by a tornado in the 5th season of The West Wing (episode "Disaster Relief") was actually represented by my home town, San Pedro. 7th Street and Centre Street, to be exact. 

Of course, lots of special CGI effects were added, but yup, that's us. The "Glenn R. Th" that you see to the right is actually the old Liberty Auditorium, which is now being refurbed and opening as the Port Town Brewery. 

The Brewery is not open yet; their Facebook page shows pictures of the construction and progress being made. Below is a picture of the building when it's not been ravaged by a TV-land tornado. 

The Liberty Auditorium was a dance hall built in 1918. Apparently it was a garage for a few decades too, but at the time the TV episode was filmed, it had been vacant for several years.

Right next door, with the Wiley Feeds sign, is All O Fit, a gym, and next to that a law office. It had a torn up awning in the show.

I understand the street scene, with upended trees and cars and debris strewn everywhere, stayed unpassable for close to three weeks while the show filmed. 

Below on the left, you see the back of what is now the Crowne Plaza that faces 5th Street.  Beyond that is the 7-story Municipal Building that had a jail on the top for many years. 

Across the street from this devastation was a vacant lot. It's vacant no more. The San Pedro Bank Lofts went up there about ten years ago. But the vacant lot made it easy to film, I'm sure. 

Go, President Bartlet, go. Lead us!

Behind the president and crew, above and to the right, are two more old, three-story buildings that are also gentrified lofts now, the LaSalle Lofts. These are all lovely, interesting, historic places to live in an area full of artists, but residents must deal with homeless folks on the street - something they probably didn't plan on a few years ago when they bought their lofts. 

I'll ramble a question here. What has worked to help the homeless? I hear lots of debate about why this or that plan will work or won't work, but surely there must be something that has worked well in other cities. Let's do that! 

Why am I just learning about this filming now? I never watched The West Wing when it was on. It's a long tradition with me, never watching popular and great shows when they are fist broadcast. I don't even watch Star Trek series until they've been seasoned for a few years. The advantage is that I can watch them all without waiting for next week and the new episode.

People have been telling me to watch The West Wing for years. I finally started, and now I'm hooked. I want this alternate history. With the real news that's on TV today, The West Wing has become my happy place.

Sadly, I have only one more season to go. But my plan is to start on Mad Men next.

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