Tag Archives: wish you were here

Eleven-Eleven-Eleven

This past week, there was another palindrome granted to us by the calendar gods (Do geese see god?)

Barring the creation of the immortality pill (Will you please get on this, Eli Lilly!), this will likely be the last 11-11-11 we will experience in our lifetimes. (Of course, at the rate I’m going, if I do happen to make it to November 11, 2111, I’ll just about be finished with my degree and the back yard).

This type of timekeeping symmetry is just what I needed to rouse me back to the keyboard to share updates on some of the “DD” posts for the non-palindromic past.

I promise you’ll hear from me again before 12-12-12.

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I’m giving tours at Warner Bros. these days. One of the places I like to point out (especially if I have a graying group along for the ride), is the intersection between the Mill building and Stage 16. This was the place where Pink Floyd’s iconic 1975 Wish You Were Here album cover was taken over 35 years ago.

As part of a new Why Pink Floyd? marketing campaign, last week EMI re-released WYWH as both a 5-disc “Immersion” edition and in a 2-disc “Experience” format.

Speaking of Pink Floyd, 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon passed a major cultural milestone this past June when it charted on Billboard for the 1000th week!

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Speaking of milestones, Deadwrite’s Dailies will pass 75,000 views for the year sometime in the next day or so. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by for a peek.

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It’s a bit after the fact, but October 12 was the 40th anniversary of the passing of rockabilly legend Gene Vincent, who is buried in Newhall’s Eternal Valley Cemetery. My family and I pass by this cemetery a couple of times a day driving on the Antelope Freeway and often call out a “personal Hi Gene” to the late legend.

I learned an interesting fact around the time of the anniversary. I had always thought that Gene had died at the Henry Mayo Hospital in Newhall back in 1971. It turns out, that hospital hadn’t been built yet, and thanks to some great investigative work from my friends Chris Bouyer and Tony Newhall, the real location was found to be what was then the Inter-Valley Community Hospital at 21704 Golden Triangle Road in Saugus. The place is known today at the Hillside Professional Center (and it looks kinda creepy).

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I don’t know if you caught this or not, but President Obama recently authorized the deployment of a small contingent of troops to Uganda to help fight a brutal guerrilla force known as the Lord’s Resistance Army. The LRA, under the leadership of Joseph Kony, has been carrying out a campaign or murder, dismemberment, and kidnapping in central Africa for decades.

This was welcome news to African activists all over the world, including our friend The West Wing actress Melissa Fitzgerald, who has been campaigning for the citizens of Uganda for years. Well done.

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BTW – Congrats to the late, great cowboy hero Roy Rogers, who would have turned 100 on November 5.

Twenty years ago on November 7, Magic Johnson made the stunning announcement that he had the HIV virus. Magic, glad you’re still with us and going strong!

So long to the Western Black Rhino, which was due to poaching, was declared extinct last week. (When are we actually going to learn to live on this planet?)

On a personal note, my second book will hit the shelves tomorrow. It’s called Griffith Park and was co-authored with Hollywood historian Marc Wanamaker. The book covers the story of L.A.’s “Central Park,” with tons of photos of some of the hundreds of films that have been shot there. Keep watch for details of upcoming lectures and book signings.

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“Burning Deal” Turns 35

The "burning deal" photo, taken on the Warner Bros. Studios lot.

I’m sure all of us have albums that were important to us at pivotal times in our lives. I happen to have several, but none more than Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, which was released 35 years ago this week. The record is not only a true classic progressive rock album that gave me hours of listening pleasure over the years, but it actually served an instrumental role in finding me a wife.

The story goes like this: In 2003 I got a job at the Warner Bros. Studios lot in Burbank. During my first few months there I spent lots of time exploring the studio during lunch breaks. One spot near the massive Stage 16 proved enigmatic to me. Whenever I stood at the intersection looking north towards the commissary I was struck with an intense feeling of déjà vu.

A few weeks later I was going through a stack of old CDs when I saw the Wish You Were Here album with the famous “burning deal” cover, which features two men shaking hands, with one of the gentlemen lit on fire.

That’s when it hit me. The reason it felt like I had been to the spot by Stage 16 was because I had been there before, mentally of course, every time I looked at the cover of the Wish You Were Here album.

I met a WB co-worker named Kim at around the same time and took her to the spot one day during one of our first commissary “dates.” As we stood in the approximate spots as the gentlemen on the cover, a guy walking by us started cracking up. I asked him what he was laughing about and he told us that the guy on the cover was named Ronnie Rondell who just happened to be his uncle!

He gave me his uncle’s phone number and I later gave him a call. Ronnie was very friendly and told me that he was paid $500 for the shot, and that yes, he was really set on fire. I asked him if he got lots of requests for autographs, and he could only recall ever signing one CD previously. I later mailed a poster of the album cover to him, which he signed and mailed back to me. Stuntman Danny Rogers, the other guy in the picture, later autographed the poster as well. To the best of their knowledge, it was the first poster the both of them had ever signed.

Kim thought it was all pretty cool, and the dates continued. Two years later we were married and today the poster with the two autographs hangs in the hallway outside of our bedroom.

Thanks to Pink Floyd, the world got a classic album, and I got a unique piece of rock and roll memorabilia, to go along with a perfect wife.

The same spot today.

For more history of the Warner Bros. Studios lot, check out Images of America: Early Warner Bros. Studios, which I co-wrote with Hollywood historian Marc Wanamaker.