Matt Weinstock, Dec. 7, 1959
December 7, 2009 | 4:00 pm
The Rainbow's End
One by one the old landmarks are disappearing. Last week the Rainbow, with its old-fashioned mahogany bar, folded.
The shabby Rainbow was known in bat cave circles as the saloon that cared. Great men drank there, or at least they thought they were great while drinking there.
Now the plaintive cry is heard around 2nd and Hill Sts., "Where will we cash our checks? Where else can we run up a tab? Where can we find bartenders who will find a clean shirt for a patron so he may go to work looking presentable, or raise the bail money when a customer makes the jailhouse?"
Of course, there's another side to the passing of the Rainbow. Dapper Abe Stein, the owner, puts it simply, "Too many headaches."
"ONE PICTURE is worth 10,000 words," some obscure Chinese philosopher is supposed to have once stated. Ever since there has been sharp disagreement as to the relative impact of the written word, the spoken word and the picture.
I happen to be partial to the written word although the emphasis these days seems to be on the spoken word and the picture. The written word requires thought, as does reading. This is not always true of the other two.
Anyway, it's always nice to hear one's feelings echoed. In the quarterly journal, Arizona and the West, editor John Alexander Carroll offers this perhaps prophetic "dash of candor":
"First and last, it is a journal for readers; the mere lookers will do better to look elsewhere. We realize that mere looking has been in vogue in the United States for a generation and more, that the Pulitzer Prize for the best photograph of the year is twice as much in cash as the award for the winning book in history. Nonetheless we are convinced that ultimately the law of supply and demand will right the scales. A good paragraph today is worth a hundred ordinary pictures. Ten years from now, if American cameras are still clicking so much faster than the typewriters of talented authors, a good sentence may be worth a thousand of them."
SHORTLY AFTER noon the other day newsman Joe Laitin, in pursuit of a story, phoned Mt. Wilson observatory. The man who answered said he was sorry but he'd have to call back after 1 p.m. "Nobody's ever here during the lunar hour," he explained. Twitching slightly from the "lunar hour" bit, Joe asked, "Who's this?"
"The janitor," was the reply.
BRACE yourselves, we seem to have another plateau. The woman next door came to the home of a Beverly Hills matron and said, "My husband just called and said he'd invited a Russian engineer for dinner and I wondered if you had any caviar I could borrow."
IT'S ONLY natural that the crew at Lou MacKenzie's electronics firm in Inglewood should be closely following television's agonizing self-scrutiny, particularly of synthetic and rehearsed phases of its output. Their work is creating automatic audio systems. For one thing, they create applause and laugh tracks for TV programs. They also did the jungle and cave noises for some of the Disneyland rides.
Out of curiosity, Phil Worth, shop foreman, looked up the word "quiz" in the dictionary. You, too, may be surprised to learn that in addition to the definition, "to examine or instruct by close questioning," it can mean "hoax."
ONLY IN PASADENA -- The topic for debate in a Muir High School speech class was whether this country should provide birth control information to foreign nations -- until a mother objected. The new topic: The Mike McKeever incident.
AROUND TOWN -- On the main floor of the County Museum there is a marble statue of Hercules resting his arm on a club. A small boy studied it a moment as Russell J. Smith, chief of the education division, happened by, then asked his dad, "Is he the father of baseball?" At that, old Herc looks as if he had the "take" sign . . . A lady named Mary Louise heard a newscaster say, "Widespread to moderate eye irritation is expected tomorrow" and asks, "What's that?" It means you cry bitter tears.