Stan’s Obligatory Blog


Hollywood Hills and The T. Marvin Hatley Estate

Filed under: — stan @ 4:16 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today I got to play ride leader for the Sunday bike ride. I made up a route to go to the Hollywood Hills and pass by the former T. Marvin Hatley Estate. T. Marvin Hatley was a composer, and he did the music for a lot of movies from about 1930 to about 1950, and he wrote the Laurel and Hardy theme song. His house had a very large sign painted on the front wall that said, “The T. Marvin Hatley Estate”.

We started out taking the direct route west on Orange Grove, Colorado, and Yosemite across Eagle Rock. Then we turned and went down Eagle Rock Blvd. That was where we saw the church sign asking if we wanted to spend eternity “smoking or non-smoking”.

Turning off on Fletcher, we crossed the L.A. River into Los Feliz. A quick bit on Rowena and St. George brought us to Franklin Ave and the Shakespeare Bridge.

Continuing west on Franklin, we passed the über-creepy Scientology Celebrity Center and moved on into the center of Hollywood. There, we took a right on Cahuenga and headed up into the pass. The road was right next to the Hollywood Freeway, and it was loud, but there was very little traffic on the road with us, so it was all right.

At the top of the pass, we turned off and crossed the bridge to get to Mulholland Drive. From there, there are two ways to climb the hill. Mulholland is a long and gradual climb, and Woodrow Wilson is two steep sections with a flat bit in between. The general consenus is that Mulholland is the easier way to go. So we took a right there and headed up Woodrow Wilson.

When we got to the top of the hill, we stopped to catch our breath, and I had a look to see if I could remember which house was the former T. Marvin Hatley Estate. Since Mr. Hatley died in 1986, I figured that the new owners of the house would have probably removed the painted sign on the wall. In the end, I think I identified the house, but being that this was the first time I’d been up there in 15 years, my memory was a bit fuzzy. And being cross-eyed and seeing stars from the hill climb probably didn’t help.

A left turn on Mulholland took us back down to Cahuenga Pass. Along the way, we passed the Hollywood Bowl overlook, and we also got to dimly see the Hollywood sign through the fog. Then we crossed the bridge over the freeway. That was where I saw the signal-box graffiti about “So many things, too little poetry”.

Next, we headed up Wonder View toward Lake Hollywood. This is another stiff climb, but it’s worth it to avoid having to ride any more on Cahuenga. It’s quiet, and there is very little traffic. Also, at the top of the hill we got to see the bright-orange house. You don’t see one of those every day.

Heading down into Burbank, we passed Warner Bros and the somewhat shabby-looking Starlet Apartments. Then we stopped at Priscilla’s for a bagel and orange juice. They have very good fresh-squeezed orange juice there. And it’s definitely worth the extra $0.25 to get the large size. If they offered a “Super Size” I’d even get that.

After our snack stop, we came home by the standard route across Glenoaks and up Verdugo to La Cañada. Then down Descanso and Chevy Chase and back into Pasadena on Woodbury Road. Finally, we went down New York Drive and came back to the park.

49 miles.


That bear cost HOW MUCH?!?!?!

Filed under: — stan @ 8:27 pm

Today we went to two kids’ birthday parties, back-to-back.

The first party was a Michael’s in Glendale. The kids all made a tic-tac-toe set, which involved much painting and gluing and pizza and cake. It looked like they had fun.

After that, it was on to the Glendale Galleria and Build-A-Bear. This is apparently quite the sensation with the young kids these days.

When we got there, they were just getting started. Each kid had a $20 budget to work with. They all started out picking out their animals. They have rows of bins with unstuffed animals ready to be picked. Lucinda picked out the rabbit, which turned out to be $20 for the animal alone. So we were on the hook for any accessories. And with racks of stuffed-animal clothing, shoes, hats and even little “Livestrong” bracelets for the bears, there were guaranteed to be accessories. A whole store full of accessories. Oh, the humanity…

They actually did a very good job with the birthday party. They had the kids singing songs while they stuffed the animals. They had them pick out little hearts to put inside the animals. They did everything to keep the kids entertained and engaged through the whole process. I guess that’s what we’re really paying for here.

Anyway, the kids had a good time. And as we were leaving, I noticed that the mall had thoughtfully provided an AED unit just outside Build-A-Bear, perfect for parents when they realize they just spent $50 on a stuffed animal.

After that, we all went to dinner at Islands. The kids had one large table, and the adults got two small tables. And cake was had by all.

More home improvement follies

Filed under: — stan @ 2:24 pm

Today was the big push to finish the window-removal project. Cathy got a piece of paneling on Friday, so I cut the old paneling around the window to make a smooth edge. Then I cut the new paneling to fit the opening and nailed it up. The final bit was to put some caulking in the cracks around the edge to fill the gaps. And now it is ready to paint.


Food Pr0n

Filed under: — stan @ 12:51 pm

Just saw this on Susie Bright today:

And just to make it complete, have a look at:

I gotta go eat now…


T. Marvin Hatley, or Another Mystery of the Ages Falls

Filed under: — stan @ 12:42 pm

Since we went on the Tour of Laurel and Hardy last weekend, I was reading a bit about them today, and I ran across this:

“Trivia: The composer of the famous Laurel and Hardy theme song was T. Marvin Hatley.”

Years ago, I used to ride a lot in the Hollywood Hills. I would go down Mulholland Drive to Cahuenga Pass and then make a loop by going up Woodrow Wilson Drive. This was a steep hill, and by the time I got to the top, I was usually seeing stars. And at the top, there was a house with a wall in front with large letters spelling out “The T. Marvin Hatley Estate”. For fifteen years, I’ve wondered who T. Marvin Hatley was, and now I know. Here is his biography from

Of course this means another bike ride. I need to go back there and do the climb up Woodrow Wilson to see his house again, even though it probably doesn’t have the letters on the wall any more.

Music history

Filed under: — stan @ 9:27 am

I saw this today on Len’s blog: This Day in Music

On the day I was born, the #1 song was “Mack the Knife” by Bobby Darin. On the day I turned 18, it was “You Light Up My Life” by Debbie Boone. And people wonder why I immediately took to punk when I first heard it in 1977…


Magic: The Science of Illusion

Filed under: — stan @ 10:45 pm

Today we took Lucinda and her friend Lucy to the California Science Center for the Magic Exhibit.

We saw the ‘disembodied head’ illusion, the ‘heavy crate’ illusion, the ‘levitating chair’ illusion, and a whole host of card tricks. It was a fun time. There are more pictures in Lucinda’s photo album.

Laurel and Hardy and some T&A

Filed under: — stan @ 8:43 pm

Route map and photo locations

Since the weather forecast for Sunday involves rain, I thought that a ride today might be just the thing. Gene and Philippe were game, so we set out from the park at 8:30.

The plan was to do the grand tour of Laurel and Hardy, visiting both their grave sites and the staircase where they filmed “The Music Box“.

We started out going west through Eagle Rock and Glendale. When we got to Burbank, we took some small streets behind IKEA and then got on Burbank Blvd. Crossing the freeway, we turned off onto Victory Blvd. That was where we saw our first T&A. It was T&A Hobby Lobby. We decided that this was in the same class as S&M Liquor, and I may have to start a gallery of funny business names.

Continuing on, we got to Valhalla Memorial Park. I got out my portable GPS unit. I’d written down the coordinates of Ollie’s grave, but it turned out that I’d written them down in decimal degrees, and the GPS unit was displaying degrees, minutes, and seconds. Not having a calculator or the GPS unit manual handy, we were stuck. So I just looked for the low wall and clump of trees I’d seen in the Google Maps satellite view. Fortunately, I’m pretty good at seat-of-the-pants orienteering, and a peek over the wall brought us Ollie’s plaque, placed by his grave by the Sons of the Desert. We paid our respects to Ollie, reflecting on seeing his movies when we were kids, and also about how we was not very old when he died.

When we left, we noticed a set of four adjacent markers for four members of the Stiff family. Talk about having an unfortunate name.

Heading south through North Hollywood and Burbank, we passed the Warner Bros ‘ranch’ where they have their big outdoor sets. Then we went past the main Warner Bros studio and turned on Forest Lawn Dr.

At the main entrance to Forest Lawn, we turned and went up the hill. Just above the church we came to the terraced area where Stanley is buried. We had to walk our bikes up two sets of stairs to find him. We paid our respects to Stan, remarking on how they were among the pioneers of film comedy.

Leaving Forest Lawn, we went up the back side of Mt Hollywood. We rode up the long hill and then down the front side, passing through the Griffith Park tunnel and coming out by the Greek Theater. Continuing down the hill, we came into Silver Lake and Sunset Blvd.

We rode down Sunset, but somehow we missed the turnoff for Vendome St. Before we knew it, we were at Alvarado and we realized that we’d gone too far. Since it was getting late, we didn’t have time to go back, so seeing the stairs will have to wait for another time.

We took Glendale Blvd north to Fletcher, and then took Fletcher to Eagle Rock Blvd. That was where we saw the last bit of T&A. This time it was T&A Seafood.

Going north, we went around Occidental College and then took Meridian St across Eagle Rock. At the end, we took Ave 64 down to York and took a left to go over the bridge to South Pasadena. Then we took Monterey Road across San Marino to Sierra Madre Blvd. Then it was straight north on Sierra Madre back to the park.

52 miles


More image search funnies

Filed under: — stan @ 1:12 pm

image search results
I noticed today that I had close to a thousand hits on this one blog picture from last year. So I had a look at the server logs to see how it was being referenced.

Turns out that a Google Image Search for “parallel parking” returns my picture as the #14 result, right on the first page. I’m always glad to make it on to the first page of any search. Besides, I was extremely pleased with the parking job I did that day.


Security posters

Filed under: — stan @ 7:28 pm

Today I saw a pointer to this:

He has some pretty funny security posters there. So of course I have to show my all-time favorite. It’s from McDonnell Douglas, circa 1984. These posters went up on a Monday morning, and by noon they were already disappearing. By the end of their two-week run, there were only a few of them left.

I actually have a whole collection of security posters, mostly from the late ’80s. I made friends with our department secretary at Hughes Aircraft. She gave me the posters when they were going to be thrown out. It’s all part of our collection of Cold War Memorabilia.

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