by Marie Wilson

Goodbye City of Angels

On my last day in LA, I got to see Angels Flight – a funicular that once took Angelenos and visitors up and down Bunker Hill on a short but steep trip.

Its original location (pictured above) was destroyed by city planners in the 60s, when the area’s beautiful, historic and architecturally significant buildings were bulldozed under.

In 1996, due to popular demand, the city reinstalled the funicular a few blocks away. An enchanting form of transit as glimpsed in old photos and such films noir as Act of Violence (‘49) and Criss Cross (‘49), the Flight is now mostly a tourist attraction.

Pictured above – glass skyscrapers replace the ramshackle Sunshine Apartments and other lovely structures: Victorian Mansions that once housed the wealthy and would later become rooming houses. So much lost charm.

Still, riding the car beats climbing all those stairs. Today it costs 25 cents a ride – up 24 cents from when it first opened in 1901. That wonderful apartment building with the sunny (and often ironic) name can be seen on the right in the photo below – it’s one down from the Hotel Hillcrest. A much better view is had in Criss Cross, as Burt Lancaster and friends plan a heist in one of its rooms (although the interiors were studio built).

Also on my last day, I visited legendary Leo’s Taco Truck.

Nearby, in a laneway I noticed a beautiful tree with pale pink flowers hanging from its branches like elegant trumpets.

I learned that it’s called Angel’s Trumpet and that it has hallucinogenic properties if eaten. This was discovered by teenagers in Los Angeles a few years ago, and kids were landing in the hospital at an alarming rate.

While the flowers and seeds are used in modern medicine, the plant can be deadly if ingested raw. It sent the LAPD knocking on the doors of any home that had such a tree in its yard to warn them of its dangers.

No, I didn’t win Best Screenplay. But here I am pictured with my many Oscars. Actually the important items in this photo (shot by Aaron) are my jewelry: crystal necklace was my mother’s, colourful glittery beads were given to me by Aaron, bracelet is a gift from my son Tom – an old-fashioned “M” typewriter key on a silver band, the big sparkle ring is from my daughter Anna and the little silver heart ring is from my daughter Chloe. That old evening bag was a gift from my dear Auntie Elva and in it is a keychain from my big sister Terri. In my heart were all the well wishes from friends and family – if I’d have worn them like jewelry, I’d have been laden. Lucky charms for a lucky duck – so many people cheering me on.

And finally, “Sideshow Bandit” has been shortlisted in the Rhode Island International Film Festival as well as the Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards. The angels must be smiling on me.

Aaron and me. There is a red carpet beneath our well-travelled feet.

One thought on “Goodbye City of Angels

  1. Kim Atkinson

    Excellent and interesting to read about your experiences. I like how you exemplify the true gems and rewards of your life are the people closest to you. And how wonderful .. a reprieve for Sideshow Bandit!!! Thank you for your lovely & descriptive writing style Marie. I quite enjoy reading your words. A pleasure.

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