Last Chance, For Love

Before I moved to Los Angeles when I was 18, my only perception of the city was through television and movies. I imagined the valley to be like the Brady Bunch or Adam 12. The beach communities were a hotbed of swinging singles and fern bars like Three's Company. Hollywood was a place where teenage runaways became prostitutes and got syphilis via Dawn, Portrait of a Teenage Runaway. West Hollywood was incredibly hip and the center of disco and cocaine as in Thank God It's Friday.

If you are old enough to remember drive-in theaters, Thank God It's Friday is a movie that you would see at one. I think I saw it with some older cousins at a drive-in theater on the border of Reno and Sparks. It was a double bill with Corvette Summer. The only parts of the plot I recall is Donna Summer wanting to sing, the dance floor had a giant spherical DJ Booth, and everyone was rather seedy. It all seemed very dangerous and slick.

By the time I was in college, the disco in TGIF was still there, but was a rock and roll venue. There was also a restaurant with a big whale's mouth across the street. Today, I drive through this intersection every morning. Unfortunately, a hideous Loehmann's and bizarre upscale apartment building replaced the Fish Shanty and Oskars disco.

People in New York complain that neighborhoods are too gentrified and sanitized. They miss the urban danger and grit. In Los Angeles, the gentrification has taken away something more precious: glamorous disco glitter, rows of gas guzzling rust colored Cadillacs, lines of people in sequins and parachute pants, and restaurants with hungry whale entrances.


slick leather outfit

TGIF title

TGIF poster




The Millionaire's Club (pre-Oskars)

Oskars replacement: Loehmanns

the intersection

New apartment where Fish Shanty was

Fish Shanty

Noisy, crazy, dirty, lazy, loafers!

I’m at an age where you find yourself convinced that the current generation of teenagers is just plain lazy and shiftless. Friends who are parents complain about the bad attitude and refusal to do homework, or chores. “I certainly wasn’t like that when I was that age,” I hear. Or, “I knew the meaning of hard work, and consequences.” Of course, this generation is like every generation of teenagers, yes, lazy, shiftless, and sloppy. I was not without fault as a teenager. My parents complained about my attitude daily, “You’re never home. You’re too involved with school activities. You’re simply trying to avoid facing your emotions.” My response was, “And…”

One thing that my generation had that the unfortunate teens of today do not was the plethora of message television movies. There were the ABC Afterschool Specials, and other films that gave us clear moral lessons. Dawn, Portrait of a Teenage Runaway with Jan Brady, Eve Plumb, made it clear to me that running away to Hollywood would result in forced prostitution and trips to the VD clinic. Sarah T. Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic made it plain that riding your horse on Pacific Coast Highway drunk is a bad idea. Nobody over 40 will dismiss the emotional impact of The Loneliest Runner. This was a true story based on Michael Landon’s bedwetting issues. As a fourteen year old he ran home from school every day to retrieve the wet sheet his mother hung from his bedroom window to punish him. Like Carrie covered in blood, we all share the seminal image of the wet sheets hanging out of the house window to dry, humiliating the young Michael Landon.