Hidden Treasures

Where The Dam Collapsed: Exploring The Ruins of the St. Francis Dam

Just before Christmas, I was driving up north of LA when I happened to notice something odd on the map I was following… A marker for the “St. Francis Dam disaster site.” Pictured below is the St. Francis Dam, located in the remote San Francisquito Canyon. On March 12, 1928, the dam catastrophically failed, flooding all the way to the Pacific 54 ... Read More »

This Gravestone Knows What Card You’ve Chosen

OK, let’s do a magic trick. Think of a card – any card. Got it? Now let’s take a a trip to Forest Lawn Cemetery in the Hollywood Hills. Head into the cemetery, then bear right in front of the Old North Church (an accurate recreation of the Boston landmark)… Turn left after the church and park, then walk north ... Read More »

A Japanese Palace Hidden in the Hollywood Hills

When I first turned off Franklin onto Sycamore in Hollywood… I honestly didn’t expect to find anything other than the usual tangle of homes clinging precariously to the hills. So as I drove up North Sycamore… …I was a bit surprised to find a steep set of stairs climbing up the hill to my left… …leading to what appeared to ... Read More »

Philip Marlowe’s Los Angeles: Tracking Down The Real 1930s Locations of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep

Your name’s Marlowe. You’re a private detective. The year is 1939, the city is Los Angeles, and you’re about to embark on one of the most famous murder mysteries in history: The Big Sleep. The best part of your hard-boiled adventures? The Los Angeles locations you refer to are all real. Oh, sure, you use fake street names and addresses, ... Read More »

These Two Desert Best Friends Would Love To Find A Home

OK folks, I know this is a hell of a long shot, but here goes… I’d like to introduce you to two inseparable pals: this is Rusty and Max… …and this is their home: Over the past two months, I’ve been scouting out in the desert about an hour and change from Los Angeles, and every time I drive down ... Read More »

Where Planes Go To Die: A One Way Trip To The Mojave Boneyard

When you first see it in the distance, you wouldn’t think it anything other than a typical airfield. A fleet of planes, all carefully aligned with noses pointing west… Ready to take off into the desert sunset at a moment’s notice. But walking amongst the planes up close, it doesn’t take long before you start to notice… Something is very ... Read More »

Stumbling Upon An Abandoned Farm in the Mojave Desert

One evening last week around dusk (or “magic hour,” as we call it in the film business), I found myself lost in the Mojave. Which, admittedly, was somewhat intentional. In the particular area of the desert I’ve been scouting, there are the roads which meet your standard definition of a road – those with pavement and painted lines and the ... Read More »