On the road with Paul, Koop and Jim…
From the Bradbury Building, we made a jaunt over to the Silverlake area to see the “Music Box” steps, famous from the Laurel & Hardy short of the same title, wherein the boys attempt to deliver a piano to a residence at the top of the stairs. I can tell you from firsthand experience, it takes almost two minutes to climb the whole thing. I shot a video of it, but the sound of me gasping for air halfway through was too annoying.
We toodled down Sunset to the other side of Western Avenue, then headed north into the back side of Griffith Park. Winding up the canyon, we found Bronson Cave, which isn’t a cave at all; it’s actually a fairly short tunnel, a relic from the days when the adjacent area was a rock quarry. Filmmakers cleverly shoot it at an angle to make it look like a cave.
It’s the Batcave, from which George Barris’ wonderful Batmobile used to roar forth in every episode of the TV series. It’s also the cave from which the sinister “Ro-Man” attempted to conquer the world (and woo an Earth girl) in the MST3K classic Robot Monster, as seen here. If you’ve never seen Robot Monster, you’re in for a treat… if you have a taste for cheesy low-budget movies that are unintentionally hilarious.
From there, we wound around the canyons to the famous Griffith Observatory, which for some reason was extremely busy, or maybe it was overflow from the nearby Greek Theatre, but in any case, we couldn’t get near it, which was a pity; we wanted to check out the gigantic Tesla coil inside. For most people, the observatory is known for being a prominent setting in James Dean’s American Classic film Rebel Without a Cause, but for us, it evokes Dave Stevens’ Rocketeer. At least we got a great view of the exterior from across the canyon.
At this point, Koop needed to get going, so we cruised through Los Feliz back to Pasadena. We thought about seeking out the house where W.C. Fields once lived, which was later the home of Lily Tomlin; she famously repainted the interior pink (including the oak paneling). In 1941, when Fields still owned it, next-door neighbor Anthony Quinn’s two-year-old son Christopher accidentally drowned in the lily pond in the yard. But time was running short, so we had to head for home.
After sending Koop on his way, Paul and I headed out for more adventures. To be continued….