The Los Angeles County Fair opened today. The Times’ Scott Harrison has a roundup of photos from years past.

More from The Times: New shade areas may be hot attraction at L.A. County Fair

Photo: Queen DiAnn Lawson waves her scepter urging all to come to the fair. Her court poses behind her, from left: Joyce Stevens, Deanne Bowler, Ann Fuhrman, Sharon Tennyson, Carol Taylor and Gail Brooker. This photo was published on Sept. 13, 1963. Credit: John Malmin / Los Angeles Times 

"Mary Poppins" began its "regular engagement" at the Chinese Theater 50 years ago today. When The Times reviewed it (earlier in August of 1964), Philip K. Scheuer wrote:

"Mary Poppins" is the complete fantasy. It will amaze and delight more people than you can count, and I imagine quite a lot of them won’t be kids, either. I must admit that it entertained me most of the time, but I must add that I am something of a square: It also discombobulated me.

Scheuer goes on to explain that the fantastical elements — the fact that in the film “reality is nearly nonexistent” — weren’t to his liking. 

But soon we become conscious that the feats the dancers are performing are plainly beyond human ability to accomplish. And “Oh!” we say. “Trick stuff.” In direct ratio then, our admiration for the skill of the dancers as dancers (despite its having been considerable) is dissipated in a more routine respect for what the special-effects men can do.

That seems to rather miss the point of a movie that pairs Dick Van Dyke with dancing penguins. But Scheuer has a lovely turn when he addresses the stars, Van Dyke and Julie Andrews.

It is the first movie role for Miss Andrews of the stage’s “My Fair Lady” and “Camelot,” and she plays it coyly and captivatingly. Her singing voice, of course, is liquid sweetness. And she swings a wicked soft shoe. Paired happily with her (no romance, you know, but the two seem to share a winking secret) is Dick Van Dyke as Bert, who shows up in various guises — a street musician, a chalk-pavement artist, a sport, a chimney sweep and a surprise character — without any explanation. What they have in common are Dick Van Dyke and a cockney accent.

Read the rest here: Disney Fantasy Film — Amazement and Delight, Even for Grownups, Squares (1964, “Mary Poppins” review in the Los Angeles Times)

That singing voice of “liquid sweetness” helped Andrews win the Oscar for best actress at the 37th Academy Awards — Andrews is seen above with Audrey Hepburn, who starred in 1964’s best picture, “My Fair Lady.”

Matt Ballinger

Original published caption, April 6, 1965: TWO ‘FAIR LADIES’ — Audrey Hepburn, the film’s “My Fair Lady,” congratulates Julie Andrews, right, star of the stage version, on winning the best actress for her performance in film “Mary Poppins.” Credit: Los Angeles Times

Do not miss Scott Harrison’s post about Los Angeles’ Watson family. 

Salvation Army minister and photo hobbyist James Watson migrated to Los Angeles in 1900. Two sons, six grandsons and one great-grandson continued in photography. All 10 Watson photographers are represented in the new gallery show “LA Stories: 100 Years of Watson Family Press Photography.”

The show opened last night at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. More info here: Fathom Gallery.

Original published caption, April 7, 1978:

WORLD’S BIGGEST — Rightly named the Colossus, this granddaddy of all roller coasters is nearing completion at the Magic Mountain amusement park at Valencia. Scheduled to open in middle or late May, it will be the longest, tallest and fastest such ride anywhere, with two steep falls of more than 100 feet. It is being built entirely of wood, including the side-by-side tracks on which cars will cover 1.75 miles at more than 60 m.p.h. The huge structure, more than 150 feet tall and 1,068 feet long, is being built in three sections that gradually are growing closer to one another. Credit: Joe Kennedy / Los Angeles Times

If you’ve never had the chance to ride Colossus between 1978 and now, you’d better get yourself to Valencia. The famous roller coaster at Magic Mountain is closing Saturday (representatives of the park are so far mum about their plans for the ride).

The Times’ Hugo Martín has more: Six Flags’ Colossus wood coaster to close Saturday

Matt Ballinger

Los Angeles International Airport, October 1947: Lauren Bacall, who died Tuesday at 89, with her husband, Humphrey Bogart, and other stars get ready to fly to Washington, D.C., to protest the House Un-American Activities Committee’s investigation of Hollywood Communism.

They said the Congressional inquiry — which was long on allegations but short on evidence — used “un-American tactics.” Read the story: Screen Stars Fly to Protest Inquiry on Reds

The page on which that story and another on Hollywood Communism (“Name Red Films, Industry Demands”) appears is full of journalism gems. A sampling of headlines:

British Army to Quit Iraq

Wary Princess to Compromise on Skirt Style

Slain Dry Era Gang Chief Given Flamboyant Burial

These Car Thieves Better Get Going

Idaho Senator Begins ‘Paul Revere’ Ride East

More on Bacall:

Lauren Bacall | 1924-2014

Matt Ballinger

Original published photo caption, Oct. 27, 1947: THEY PROTEST— Part of a group of 25 film actors who flew to Washington to protest the manner in which the Un-American Activities Committee hearing is being conducted, get tickets at Los Angeles Airport from Passenger Agent Barbara Hughes. Front row, left to right, June Havoc, Marsha Hunt, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Evelyn Keyes and Paul Henreid. In rear, behind Marsha Hunt, is Comedian Danny Kaye. Credit: Times Photo

As Robin Williams is mourned around the world, let’s look back to 1978, when he burst into stardom on TV’s “Mork and Mindy.”

From The Times’ September 1978 review:

Give the show a chance. You’re in for a surprise. Tonight’s episode is nothing less than uproarious. …

The reason can be summed up in two words: Robin Williams. He plays Mork from the planet Ork and he’s fantastic — wild, inventive, unpredictable. He’s a major comedic talent with an arsenal that includes crazy voices, credible imitations, excellent timing and a zany spontaneity that makes him refreshing an immensely likable.

Read the rest of the review (it’s at the bottom of a column of TV reviews and jumps to a second page).

Here’s The Times’ full coverage of Williams’ death: Robin Williams | 1951-2014

Matt Ballinger

Photo: Robin Williams performs at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles on July 1, 1979. Credit: Tony Barnard / Los Angeles Times

Richard Nixon resigned the presidency 40 years ago today (after a televised announcement the night before), boarded a plane with his wife, and came home to Southern California. Throngs of supporters greeted them at what was then El Toro air station in Orange County.
More on Watergate and the resignation of Richard Nixon:
Photos: Nixon resigns, returns home to California
Op-Ed: Think Obama should be tougher? Then think about Nixon.
Review: ‘Dick Cavett’s Watergate’ a showcase of TV host’s tenacity
Nixon reframes Watergate scandal in rereleased 1983 interviews
— Matt Ballinger
Photos: (top) Richard M. Nixon and wife, Pat, after arrival at El Toro air station from Washington. (Bottom) Part of a crowd of 5,000 flag-waving and singing supporters who greeted Richard M. Nixon. This photo was published in the Aug. 10, 1974, Los Angeles Times. Credit: Larry Anderson / Los Angeles Times Richard Nixon resigned the presidency 40 years ago today (after a televised announcement the night before), boarded a plane with his wife, and came home to Southern California. Throngs of supporters greeted them at what was then El Toro air station in Orange County.
More on Watergate and the resignation of Richard Nixon:
Photos: Nixon resigns, returns home to California
Op-Ed: Think Obama should be tougher? Then think about Nixon.
Review: ‘Dick Cavett’s Watergate’ a showcase of TV host’s tenacity
Nixon reframes Watergate scandal in rereleased 1983 interviews
— Matt Ballinger
Photos: (top) Richard M. Nixon and wife, Pat, after arrival at El Toro air station from Washington. (Bottom) Part of a crowd of 5,000 flag-waving and singing supporters who greeted Richard M. Nixon. This photo was published in the Aug. 10, 1974, Los Angeles Times. Credit: Larry Anderson / Los Angeles Times

Richard Nixon resigned the presidency 40 years ago today (after a televised announcement the night before), boarded a plane with his wife, and came home to Southern California. Throngs of supporters greeted them at what was then El Toro air station in Orange County.

More on Watergate and the resignation of Richard Nixon:

Photos: Nixon resigns, returns home to California

Op-Ed: Think Obama should be tougher? Then think about Nixon.

Review: ‘Dick Cavett’s Watergate’ a showcase of TV host’s tenacity

Nixon reframes Watergate scandal in rereleased 1983 interviews

Matt Ballinger

Photos: (top) Richard M. Nixon and wife, Pat, after arrival at El Toro air station from Washington. (Bottom) Part of a crowd of 5,000 flag-waving and singing supporters who greeted Richard M. Nixon. This photo was published in the Aug. 10, 1974, Los Angeles Times. Credit: Larry Anderson / Los Angeles Times

congressarchives:

On the evening of August 4, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson addressed the nation in a televised speech in which he stated that U.S. ships had been attacked twice in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin near North Vietnam. The following morning, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was introduced in the Senate. Although the version shown here is the original draft resolution, the language was not amended and therefore reads the same as the final version, which was passed by both house of Congress and signed into law on August 7. 
S.J. Res. 189: the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution as Introduced, 8/5/1964, Sen 88A-B2, Records of the U.S. Senate (ARC 2127364)

Here is The Times’ front page from Aug. 8, the day after the resolution passed: Congress Backs Firm Viet Stand
— Matt Ballinger congressarchives:

On the evening of August 4, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson addressed the nation in a televised speech in which he stated that U.S. ships had been attacked twice in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin near North Vietnam. The following morning, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was introduced in the Senate. Although the version shown here is the original draft resolution, the language was not amended and therefore reads the same as the final version, which was passed by both house of Congress and signed into law on August 7. 
S.J. Res. 189: the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution as Introduced, 8/5/1964, Sen 88A-B2, Records of the U.S. Senate (ARC 2127364)

Here is The Times’ front page from Aug. 8, the day after the resolution passed: Congress Backs Firm Viet Stand
— Matt Ballinger

congressarchives:

On the evening of August 4, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson addressed the nation in a televised speech in which he stated that U.S. ships had been attacked twice in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin near North Vietnam. The following morning, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was introduced in the Senate. Although the version shown here is the original draft resolution, the language was not amended and therefore reads the same as the final version, which was passed by both house of Congress and signed into law on August 7

S.J. Res. 189: the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution as Introduced, 8/5/1964, Sen 88A-B2, Records of the U.S. Senate (ARC 2127364)

Here is The Times’ front page from Aug. 8, the day after the resolution passed: Congress Backs Firm Viet Stand

— Matt Ballinger

Q

Anonymous asked:

photograph of carol leonard.1944?

A

I wasn’t able to find a photograph of any Carol Leonards, but I did find this wedding announcement from 1950:

image

Is that the right Carol Leonard? Click here for more.

Matt Ballinger

Marilyn Monroe died Aug. 5, 1962. Archival photos of the star and those who mourned her are at Framework.

More about Monroe on L.A. Times Past

Photo: On the day Monroe’s death was announced, a crowd gathered near her handprints outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Credit: Al Monte Verde / Los Angeles Times