I so enjoy LA. Of course, I don’t deal with its weaknesses and frailties on a daily basis.
There were a few stops for me to make today. First, I headed into Old Hollywood to visit my secretive friend. He has an office at small, older, studio complex. These are really more akin to office parks with various independent vendors, usually selling their services to each other.
Yes, it tried to have me drive into construction barriers, but for the most part it’s been my faithful friend. It is much more sophisticated than it seemed at first glance. Learning how it works was time well spent.
I left The Valley on the Hollywood Freeway, turned onto Santa Monica and then into a gated driveway. This was “The Lot,” formerly Goldwyn Studios.
It’s funny how a studio really does have a distinctive look, no matter what its size. I’ve been to a few, though briefly. When busy, you’re walking through a movie factory. When they’re not, and this one wasn’t, they are lonely.
Make no mistake, this is an industry town. When you see all the movies and TV shows being promoted, you realize it’s for more than the audience at home.
Burbank was where I headed next. I was going to see David Kulka. Dave… everyone else now seems to call him David… and I met in 1968. It’s a very unusual story.
He and I were BCBDXers. That means we listened to AM radio, trying to find more distant and difficult catches. Dave and I belonged to the same radio club.
Oh – we lived an entire continent apart. He lived in Marin County, just north of San Francisco and I lived in Queens.
Somehow we began corresponding and decided to go to a radio convention together. He was 15. I was 18. We were both leaving home for the first time.
We met in Los Angeles. Within the first hour, jaywalking tickets for both of us outside the Roosevelt Hotel! It was my fault 100%.
This was an amazing adventure, going from LA to Riverside and finally the San Francisco Bay Area and Dave’s house in Greenbrae. His family made me welcome in a way they probably never appreciated. That was huge.
He was a great guy, but 40 years ago the coast-to-coast distance was a lot more daunting. We fell out of touch.
The Internet changes everything. That how Dave and I got back together.
Dave’s house is on a small street that looks like it should be quiet. But this is Burbank. There’s a lot of business being conducted, even on a residential looking street like this. That includes Dave’s company.
In a small building behind the house sits an electronic workshop. It is the product of extreme organization – bright, neat, eat-off-the-floor clean. There were four people working when I arrived. They were mainly fixing audio equipment.
At first glance, this is old equipment. The circuits were hand wired with discrete components decades ago. There are dials and meters. It’s very analog. I worked with some of this equipment in radio 30+ years ago.
The bottom line is, this stuff outperforms much that’s digital. Maybe more importantly, some of it is built in as integral pieces in pre-existing studios and needs to be replaced as-is.
We left the shop and headed to the house. That’s when I saw the first turtle.
Dave’s wife Cholada collects turtles. In a small pond out back is a colony… pack… gaggle… whatever you call a group of turtles. There were at least a dozen, in and out of the water. None of them were in much of a rush to go anywhere.
Oh, there’s one more living thing in the yard. It’s a tortoise. He’s fourteen years old, nearly 100 pounds and lives in a heated doghouse. Pretty standard stuff really.
Dave and I sat and talked. Our lives have taken such different paths. There was so much to learn.
This was such a good idea. I’m glad I went. A case can be made that contacting people you haven’t seen in decades is wrong. No! At least not in this case.
Our conversation reminded me of so many things we had done. The summer of ’68 was intense. So much was going on in my world and the real world. You really should have been there.