Los Angeles’ “Googie World” Architecture Tour Took Us Back to the Future


Exterior of a car wash in San Bernardino, CA via Cogart Strangehill/Wikimedia Commons

From Print Magazine: Driving in Los Angeles can be a dangerous game. There’s the stop-and-start traffic, the Tesla-wielding egomaniacs with immortality complexes, the TikTokers filming videos from the driver’s seat. But there are also those architecture looky-loos who find their eyes wandering from behind the wheel toward the many very stunning buildings in LA that steal focus.

Of these distracted drivers, I think we can cut the building rubberneckers the most slack— and I’m not just saying that because I am one. Los Angeles is a sun-soaked mecca of architectural splendor, home to a rich tapestry of styles that range most notably from Spanish Mission Revival and Craftsman to Art Deco and Midcentury Modern, not to mention many others. At its worst, LA is a city filled with narcissistic pipe-dream-seekers, but at its best, it’s a stunning time capsule of aesthetics that need to be protected at all costs.

None more so than the cult favorite, Googie.

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World’s Largest Mechanical Neon Sign: world record in Las Vegas, Nevada


City of Las Vegas Government

From World Record Academy: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States–Vegas Vic, a neon sign portraying a cowboy stands watch over Fremont Street and the Pioneer Gift Shop below, and stands 40 feet tall; he is a beloved part of downtown Las Vegas and Fremont Street Experience and sets the world record for being the World’s Largest Mechanical Neon Sign, according to the WORLD RECORD ACADEMY.

“Vic has changed over the years. The “Howdy Podner” is gone and he’s not moving anymore. He’s got a video canopy overhead now — he barely fit when the Fremont Street Experience was built,” the 8NewsNow.com reports.

“His arms moved. They pivoted for 50 years.” Jeff Young, senior vice president at YESCO, still marvels at the engineering of the iconic sign. “To engineer something that moves 24 hours a day for 50 years …”

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Landmark Eatery Featured in ‘Mad Men’ Shutters After Almost Seven Decades


Lindsay Blake for Dirt

From Dirt: Last week, San Gabriel Valley denizens were shaken by the news that local landmark Rod’s Grill was shuttering after nearly 70 years in business. Loyal patrons promptly flocked to the historic and oft-filmed eatery, lining the sidewalk out front waiting to grab one final meal within the spectacularly retro confines and bid adieu to its many longtime employees. After serving up its last Manny’s Snack Burger and Nutty Nutty Turkey Salad Sandwich just four days later, the beloved café closed its doors for good, thereby marking the end of an era. Sold to new owners, the future of Rod’s Grill is currently up in the air.

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Why Pizza Hut’s red roofs and McDonald’s play places have disappeared


Pizza Hut’s red-roof restaurants have come down, replaced by sleek new designs. Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images

From CNN: For decades, bright, playful and oddly-shaped fast-food restaurants dotted the roadside along America’s highways.

You’d drive by Howard Johnson’s with its orange roofs and then pass Pizza Hut’s red-topped huts. A few more miles and there was the roadside White Castle with its turrets. Arby’s roof was shaped like a wagon and Denny’s resembled a boomerang. And then McDonald’s, with its neon golden arches towering above its restaurants.

These quirky designs were an early form of brand advertising, gimmicks meant to grab drivers’ attention and get them to stop in.

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Egyptian Motor Hotel’s neon lights up Grand Avenue again. Get inside the renovated Phoenix gem


The original look of the Egyptian Motor Hotel on Grand Avenue in Phoenix. The motel was updated and reopened in January 2023. Courtesy of A.A. Berluti

From azcentral: Plentiful palm trees line Grand Avenue in downtown Phoenix. One palm in particular stands out, with a cartoonish aesthetic, a trunk resembling a dotted line and fronds that rest against a vintage 1950s-era sign.

That colorful, blocky neon sign evokes nostalgia for a bygone era of tourism when roadside kitsch was king.

The Egyptian Motor Hotel reopened Jan. 27, reviving a former midcentury motel and reinventing it as a modern boutique property with nods to the past.

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