No, her car radio wasn’t broken:Dona Dower,...

No, her car radio wasn’t broken:

Dona Dower, a traffic reporter for KNX radio, was 18 minutes late to work the other day. Seems she was in a traffic jam.

“It was probably the traffic gods getting back at me for the accidents I’ve missed,” she quipped.

What caught our ear, though, was that Dower said she wished she had known about the tieup beforehand.


Investigative columnist that we are, we had to ask her if she, uh, listens to traffic reports while commuting.

“Of course not,” she said with a laugh, explaining she gets her fill of such bulletins during working hours.

Dower added that colleague Jim Thornton, who works the early traffic shift, “knows the way I take to work. And he’s nice enough to call me when he knows about a problem in my area. But he wasn’t aware of that one.”

Now that’s a status symbol: Your own personal traffic reporter!


POST-POST-PRODUCTION EDITING: You may remember the old episode of TV’s “Seinfeld” in which Elaine dates a guy who feels self-conscious because he has the same name as a real-life New York serial killer--Joel Rifkin. She tells him he should change his first name. And she suggests a substitute--a name associated with an athlete-turned-actor/broadcaster who was very popular at the time the episode was made.

“O.J. Rifkin!” she proclaims.

Well, Mike Kerrigan of Redondo Beach saw a rerun of “Seinfeld” the other day and says the O.J. line “has been excised.”

DAMAGE CENTRAL: A building isn’t a real landmark in Southern California unless it’s been obliterated, or at least damaged, in a movie scene. Some victims:


* First Interstate World Center: Incinerated (all 73 floors of it) by a spaceship in “Independence Day” (1996)

* Beverly Hills Hotel: Leveled by the Big One in “Escape from L.A.” (1996)

* Bonaventure Hotel: Lots of breakage during an indoor chase involving bad guys, a motorcycle and a horse, and culminates with most everyone bursting through windows into the hotel pool in “True Lies” (1995)

* Rodeo Drive shopping area: Ravaged by hoodlums in “The Taking of Beverly Hills” (1992)


* Capitol Records Building: Toppled by a previous Big One in “Earthquake” (1973)

* Johnie’s Cafe, Wilshire Boulevard: One of the targets of a nuclear attack in “Miracle Mile” (1989)

* KTTV (now Fox) Studios: Attacked by slow-moving space aliens in “The Slime People” (1960)

* City Hall: Zapped by spaceships in “War of the Worlds” (1953)


* 444 Building, Flower Street: Suffers collapse of one floor during a session of ardent love-making by Arnie Becker in TV’s “L.A. Law” (1992)

SPEAKING OF SPACESHIPS: Kate Podegraez of Apple Valley sent The Times a striking photo of a cloud formation near her home. She said she has never seen anything like it. We have. It looks like the mother ship in “Independence Day.” We’d be nervous, but it’s too hot to get much worked-up about anything.


Universal CityWalk is holding open auditions Wednesday at 10 a.m. for people interested in inhabiting a “Chamber of Chills” haunted house during the Halloween season. CityWalk said it’s looking for “basically scary people.” Good news, CityWalk. Basically scary people is one thing L.A. has plenty of!