Re: Sam Hall Kaplan’s “To See L.A.'s Past, Visit Florida” (Feb. 25):
I came to L.A. in February, 1961. I enjoyed breakfast at Dupars on North Vine Street (remember?), visited the Pantages (still standing, amazing!), viewed the Brown Derby (gone), and started my walk west on Hollywood Boulevard.
A rainstorm the night before had transformed the skies above to a clear blue and white canopy but, unknown to me, had also made the “Walk of Fame” treacherous, and I slipped and fell somewhere near Musso & Frank’s (hooray for Hollywood, still standing). I thought then, and still do, their installation was a disastrous idea.
I fell in love with the area, even though I easily detected signs of decay. But I reassured myself that surely the city of Los Angeles realized its economic and historical importance, and assistance to improve the area was on its way.
Today I realize fully how young and naive I was on that day I first met the middle-aged and tawdry Hollywood.
I share Kaplan’s heartsick feelings (and outrage) to the extent I deliberately go out of my way to avoid looking at it and thinking what might have been.
I am not speaking exclusively of the Hollywood area.
This city of ours, because of its comparative youth and climate, scads of creative people and great wealth should have evolved into one of the great beauties of the world. Alas, she has not grown old gracefully.
To start some reconstructive surgery, couldn’t we begin by removing all of the cancerous billboards?