Orange, Orange Plaza

Photography and audio by Karen Tapia-Andersen

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Grown-ups who don't believe in wrinkles in time might want to visit Old Towne Orange on a warm summer afternoon and seek out the fountain in the Orange Plaza.

Pivot slowly. The hometown streetscape has appeared in scores of movies and commercials for Buick and McDonald's. Those who grew up in smallish towns in the mid-20th century will likely recognize it all: brick storefronts, antiques shops, park benches, the dignified bank with its ornate wood ceiling.

The square-mile Old Towne is California's largest historic district. The barbershop is "circa 1955." The Coba Academy beauty school sign boasts "Creating a World of Beauty Since 1965."

The circle is not immune to change. Bank tellers now share their grand lobby with Starbucks baristas, and around the corner, business is brisk at a hip nightclub and at the Pa-Kua martial arts/yoga/reflexology studio.

But Razzles and Choward Violet candies are still sold at Watson Drug and Soda Fountain, where, last week, 6-year-old Mia Conti discovered that 25 cents buys one 45-rpm song on the jukebox. She chose the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" and returned to her booth for lunch in a cardboard tray shaped like a yellow 1960s Mustang.

--Deborah Schoch

What is Street Scenes?

Southern California is a vast land of neighborhoods. Drive Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles, for example, and you'll encounter industrial blocks, the garment district, Koreatown, West L.A. bungalows and the burgeoning entertainment district at the eastern end of Santa Monica.
But most of us don't spend time driving from neighborhood to neighborhood--so L.A. Times photographers have done it for us. Throughout the summer, we'll spotlight their portraits of a variety of neighborhoods, ranging from the Fairfax District to Newport Harbor.

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