Flights of Fancy: L.A.’s Air Travel-Inspired Roadside Novelty Buildings

It was a veritable juggernaut—the number and variety of roadside novelty (“vernacular,” “programmatic,” or “mimetic”) buildings that once dotted the urban landscape in Los Angeles.  Like the examples featured in an related earlier post, these “hey-you-can’t miss-me!” buildings were made to pull automobile drivers right off the road—to eat, shop, … Continue reading

PICTURE THIS: Remembering Burbank’s Great Pumpkin Building

Years ago I found this image in a box of old family photos. It was undated, unlabeled, and probably taken to show off my grandparent’s new car. But the star of the picture for me was the gigantic pumpkin building in the background. It was one of those roadside oddities (often … Continue reading

PICTURE THIS: “Who Wants Coffee?”

  “Novelty,” “mimetic,” “programmatic,” “vernacular”—all are terms used to define the same crazy kind of “art imitates life” architecture that once dotted the L.A. cityscape (and much of the rest of the country, for that matter) starting in the 1920’s. You knew it when you saw it (and that was … Continue reading