May 22nd, 2011

Sally Salt Disgusted

People in the past were JERKS

Shared by me in an elevator in my office building Friday:

The original 19th-century elevator inside the Washington Monument took 20 minutes+ to rise the 500 feet to the observation deck. When that elevator was opened to the public, it was only opened to men, as it was considered "too dangerous" for women and children. This meant that women and children instead trudged up the 897 steps to the upper deck. I've walked those steps -- going down, I think that by the 1980s the National Park Service didn't even let people go up them -- and trust me, that's an effort.

The men, I told my fellow elevator riders? They'd have a party. Drinking and cigar-smoking.

"The 19th century? Really obnoxious," I said.

+ For the record, I'd heard that it was 50 minutes. Anyone hear any different?
NCC-1701 Regula

Fake ruins

Oh, this simply rocks. I'll try to explain why:

Los Angeles for years had a fake Babylon within it. In 1916, director D.W. Griffith followed up his both brilliant and horrifying movie Birth of a Nation -- a movie I once described as feeling like "a collaboration between Spielberg and Hitler" -- with the even more epic, and thank God not as horrifyingly racist, movie Intolerance. An episode of the movie took place in ancient Babylon, represented by a set that was four blocks long:

After filming, in this part of L.A., Griffith claimed he didn't have the money to tear down the set. No one else stepped forward to do so. Thus, for years, a crumbling version of Ancient Babylon sat in L.A. I once saw a picture of the pillars looming above homes in the rapidly developing city. What a backyard feature.

I always hoped that some filmmaker would learn or remember that, and make a period film, something like the film version of The Rocketeer, with a sequence set in the ruins of the Intolerance set. Maybe an action sequence that would demolish the set, more dramatically than how the set really was taken down, eventually, by the city. (Like what happens to the HOLLYWOOLAND sign in The Rocketeer, not at all what really happened. But it looked cool.)

It's not a movie, but the new computer game L.A. Noire had a programmer or two (or more) who, like me, remembered that set and said You know what? We should include it!

See? This idea had to happen sometime. I'm not the only one who thought so.

A Wiki for the game - - admits that it's anachronistic, as the game is set in the 1940s and the set was demolished decades earlier, but coolness still happens, man.