NOTE: Book reviews featured here are “reprints” from the SCA Journal, both recently published and from our archives. Not all titles may still be in print, or if in print, offered at the price or in the format listed.

Saving Neon: A Best Practices Guide

Saving Neon: A Best Practices Guide By Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan
San Francisco: Giant Orange Press/San Francisco Neon, 2018
Magazine format, 40 pages, $20
Available at

Reviewed by Paul Sherman

If you’re reading this, chances are, at some point, you have passed a stylish neon sign battered by age and the elements and thought, “Someone ought to bring that sign back to its original glory.” Like most of us, though, you might have no idea how actually to do so. There are the costs, the physical logistics and the simple nuts and bolts of how to repair the neon lighting, painted metal base, and electrical wiring.

Cocktails Across America

Cocktails Across America: A Postcard View of Cocktail Culture in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s

By Diane Lapis and Anne-Peck Davis
New York: The Countryman Press, 2018
223 pages, $24.95 hardcover

Reviewed by Harold Aurand Jr.

Diane Lapis and Anne Peck-Davis probably had no plans for contributing anything to the field of commercial archeology when they were writing Cocktails Across America. Avid collectors of old linen postcards, they noticed that a big part of their collection was focused on restaurants, supper clubs, and other establishments from the 1930s through the ’50s, where drinking, especially cocktails was the order of the day.

A Guide to Architecture in Los Angeles & Southern California + Art Deco Los Angeles

A Guide to Architecture in Los Angeles & Southern California
Gebhard, David, and Winter, Robert
Santa Barbara: Peregrine-Smith, 1977, pap. $11.95

Pildas, Ave. Art Deco Los Angeles
Text by Liza Williams
New York: Harper and Row, 1977, pap. $4.95

The commercial architecture of Los Angeles has long been renowned for its imagination and creative spirit. Two recent books prove the reality of the image. David Gebhard and Robert Winter, established experts in the area, have produced an impressive guide to Los Angeles architecture. Within electric blue covers is a valuable survey of the notable roadside restaurants from the 1920s and 1930s - what the authors call "Programatic" architecture for want of a better term.