Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Adventures on the Esotouric Tour aka Being a Tourist In My Own Town-"The City of Angels"


Had a great time on saturday when we took our second tour with Richard Schave and Kim Cooper (founders and tour guides for "Esotouric Tours of L.A.." ) This time we chose "Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: In a Lonely  Place" bus adventure.  These themed tours are so cleverly  planned and such a unique way of seeing Los Angeles.*

We started out by meeting our guides at the Los Angeles Athletic Club at 6th and Olive in downtown Los Angeles.
The LAAC was founded on September 8, 1880 and used several locations before settling into its own twelve-story building in downtown Los Angeles in 1912. 






Invited my brother, Randy and my sister-in-law Barb along for the adventure.


We entered the lobby of LAAC and were directed to meet our group in the newly refurbished bar area on the 3rd floor. Fun to explore this great facility.


The library area had a vast selection of books.



Lots of wonderful objects to look at.
This Club is also a hotel with full amenities.

Onsite health club
Recreational amenities at The Los Angeles Athletic Club include an indoor pool and a health club. Other amenities include a bar/lounge and massage/treatment rooms.


Everything looked beautifully appointed. We checked out the sparkling marble bathrooms.

The meet up sign in time was 11:00 a.m. so we relaxed till all the others arrived.


Time to sign in and get our briefing of the days itinerary.
Our tour guide and founder of Esotouric tours, Richard Schave, gives us an overview of the day and a history of this important club in relationship to the moguls and wheeler dealers of early Los Angeles c.1920's onward and how all this played into the life of mystery writer Raymond Chandler.


Murder, mystery and intrigue-all the  needed elements in good old  hard boiled crime fiction.  


After some interesting facts about the early years in Raymond Chandlers life and the interplay between key characters that brought him to Los Angeles and the Athletic club (it was directly across the street from his place of employment), we hit the streets to begin our tour. Next stop the famous Oviatt Building.



There is a penthouse at the top of this building which was built for James Oviatt.**

We were led on an up close and personal look at the lobby and interior of the first floor of the Oviatt by
Marc Chevailer, the historian of the Oviatt Building. Marc researched/wrote/produced a feature-length  documentary on the Oviatt Building’s history and is currently writing a biography of James Oviatt.


The Oviatt Bldg. and the fascinating view of the beautiful art deco interior 1927. Once the habidashery for the most wealthy and influential men in Los Angeles

Lalique glass and brass doors to the entrance of the Oviatt







Interior of the once famous mens store "The Oviatt" bldg. now a restaurant but used in movies such as "The Artist". Classic Art Deco with a penthouse on top floor.



Drawers in the habedashery where ties, shirts, socks where kept. Once you were a client you had the same sales person help you for life. They had your measurements on file and your likes, taste in suits etc all written. This was the epitomy of customer service. Nothing but the finest imported from Europe and custom tailored to you.


The Oviatt first floor is now the Cicada restaurant: http://www.cicadarestaurant.com/restaurant.php

Time to board the bus for more interesting sights that were directly related to the life and writings for Raymond Chandler. Next stop the Barclay hotel

The Barclay built in 1896 and the oldest still functioning hotel in L.A.




Interior of Barclay used in many t.v. and film productions (ie. Mad Men etc.) scene where a murder takes place in one of Chandler's novels. Chandler would frequent Single room hotels in the area.




Back on the bus we get many views of downtown Los Angeles

A typlical Los Angeles downtown scene, hasn't really changed in many ways from the early 1950's days architecturally there are many many beautiful exteriors, you just have to look carefully.


Making our way to Hollywood...

The Bryson Apt. on Wilshire ties in with the mystery writer Raymond Chandler's life...many tangled intrigues not only in his novels but his life...wild stories in the making of films from his novels, eccentric demands to studios when meeting with Billy Wilder and John Housman. You'll have to take the tour to find out for yourselves.


MacArthur Park off of Wilshire Blvd.



Lots of interesting behind the scenes stories of writers demands to studio heads of production when books turned into movies such as "The Big Sleep" , "The Long Goodbye" and "Double Indemnity" (James Cain author of Double Indemnity was not available for the movie script and the studio hired Raymond Chandler for the job.  A butting of heads occurred frequently between Chandler and Billy Wilder.

A short stop for gelato at "Scoops" where the owner features among the many flavors theme based Chandler specials like "Nicotine". We opt for more traditional yet wonderfully different flavors like Basil Coconut.



3/4 through our 4 hour tour! Barb and Randy enjoy their gelato. 





Next stop Hollywood Blvd. and the famous Musso and Franks, mystery and intrigue continue as we learn about secret passes between the restaurant and the book store and stories about conversations between Raymond Chandler and the host of beautiful clerks at these bookstores...more fodder for his novels.

Inside Larry Edmunds bookstore-http://larryedmunds.com/
Books on anything and everything to do with Hollywood movies.


Time to head back to where we began downtown Los Angeles.

Back to where we began on 6th and Olive. What a great 4 hr. tour this was.  Our day doesn't end here. Now we are off to Alhambra for an early dinner with friends at a new Korean bbq place on Main Street Alhambra.  Come back tomorrow for a peek at the rest of our adventure.

*We highly recommend Esotouric tours for a unique and wonderful insight into Los Angeles. Go to their website to see all the tours they feature.  A fun way to spend some time getting to know the City of Angels. Kim Cooper and Richard Schave are knowledgeable and entertaining guides.
http://www.esotouric.com/
**http://www.cicadarestaurant.com/pent_history.php

See this blogpage for our first Esotouric tour:
http://followbarbsbliss.blogspot.com/2011/09/esotouric-bus-adventure-weekend.html

2 comments:

Stacy Brady said...

Barb,
I stayed at the Athletic Club last year (April) for a conference. Beautiful building! I walked around the corner and took a bus all the way to the J. Getty Museum. Have you ever been? Los Angeles is a fun town to explore. I like things off the beaten path. Thanks for sharing!
Stacy

Verlene said...

This is cool!

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