Posted by: cassymuronaka | April 11, 2009

The ones that did and did not get away


For every “Helen Keller Beauty Salon” and “Joan Crawford Day Care Center”, there’s a “JFK Auto Repair” that I drove past for two years, never stopping to photograph because I was tired and always stuck in West Los Angeles rush hour traffic. And now I regret that I couldn’t be bothered to get my big one out of the car, because JFK Auto Repair is no more, and so the photo is gone forever.

Less reprehensible, but just as lost to me, is the missed opportunity at what was once the Santa Monica Ramada Inn. A UCLA student, I was just learning photography on the school newspaper, and I lived in an apartment that still exists on the northeast corner of 4th and Pico Boulevard, with an exhaust-spewing bus stop just five feet from my bedroom window. Up the street was the hotel. One night I noticed that two of the letters on its enormous rooftop sign were dark. The next night, one more flickered out.

I wistfully walked past the ironic composition of the remaining letters for a week, wishing that I had a tripod and knew something about night photography. It never occurred to me to grab one of the Daily Bruin photographers by the throat and force him to help me photograph:


I’m still kicking myself.

On the other hand, I learn from my lessons. It was about 102 in the shade when I was driving on east Melrose about 10 years ago. And this time, I got out of my car.



  1. You can’t get em all but I’m delighted that you got these

  2. i would patronize all of these places.

  3. I don’t doubt that for a minute, Bill.

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