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Outtakes from the library talk
2008-04-03 19:22
by Bob Timmermann

Thanks to everyone who came to my talk at the Central Library in Los Angeles about the Dodgers and Chavez Ravine. I had a crowd of about 30 people, which was far more than I expected. And there aren't that many seats in that room.

I didn't have much time to prep and a few things got left out.

First of all, I wanted to thank Andy McCue, who let me read some chapters from his unfinished biography on Walter O'Malley and helped me out immensely. Andy is the true expert in this field. I'm just a guy at the library who has access to cool photos.

Speaking of cool photos, I omitted a crucial figure from my talk, Chad McClellan, who was a prominent L.A. businessman who did much of the day to day negotiation with O'Malley while the various politicos were off politicking.

McLellan is the man in the back of the photo on the right.




(Photo from the Hollywood Citizen-News collection of the Los Angeles Public Library)

I assume that most people can identify the man in the middle (if you can't, Jay Leno would like to speak to you.) If you can name everyone in the photo, you know your Los Angeles area politicians.

Although both O'Malley and Horace Stoneham had dealings with a pay TV service named Skiatron, the Dodgers did not bring out a pay TV plan until 1964 with a service called Subcription TV. It only lasted a few months until California voters declared pay TV illegal. And that lasted a few months until the California Supreme Court ruled that the voters of California had no right to declare pay TV illegal.

Norris Poulson, who was mayor of Los Angeles when the Dodgers moved out, lost his bid for a third term in 1961 to Sam Yorty. Poulson blamed his support for the Dodgers for his loss, although many others think that Poulson lost because: 1) he had laryngitis during much of the campaign, 2) he decided very late to run for a third term, and 3) Yorty was able to campaign on a platform that stated that it was too great of an imposition for Los Angeles residents to separate their trash for recycling purposes.

Roz Wyman lost her bid for a third City Council term in 1965 because Yorty didn't like her and found her too liberal. She lost her seat to Ed Edelman, who was about as liberal as Wyman. Wyman has never held elective office since then, but she's still a force in local politics and she's a superdelegate for the Democratic Party in 2008.

Suggested readings on the topic:

Sullivan, Neil J. The Dodgers Move West (Oxford University Press, 1987). Just about the only book that has come out about the Dodgers move to Los Angeles that aims for objectivity.

Shapiro, Michael. The Last Good Season (Doubleday, 2003). The best book on the battle between Walter O'Malley and Robert Moses.

Normark, Don. Chavez Ravine, 1949: A Los Angeles Story (Chronicle Books, 1999). Normark photographed the people who lived in Chavez Ravine before the City of Los Angeles cleared them out for the housing project that was never built. The images are often haunting. The stories from the people who lived there are often touching and always interesting. It's a great look back at a part of Los Angeles that most people never knew existed.

Henderson, Cary S. "The Great Dodger War" in Southern California Quarterly (1980), vol. 62, pp. 261-289. One of the first scholarly looks at the Dodgers move to L.A. and still one of the best.


2008-04-03 21:59:58
1.   BruceR
Since you spotted us McLellan, I only need the other guy in the back (to Doctor King's right).
2008-04-04 23:35:59
2.   El Lay Dave
I would not know McLellan, and I, too, recognize the others, except the one BruceR also doesn't know, but his is a familiar face.
2008-04-05 07:18:37
3.   Bob Timmermann
From left to right: Tom Bradley, Supervisor Warren Dorn, Martin Luther King, Chad McClellan, Sam Yorty.

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