Just Above Sunset
Volume 5, Number 10
March 11, 2007

In the Clouds

 The world as seen from Just Above Sunset -

"Notes on how things seem from out here in Hollywood..."

Catalina as seen from Mulholland Drive, Tuesday, March 6

Catalina as seen from Mulholland Drive, Tuesday, March 6 - and that would be Santa Catalina Island, often called Catalina Island, or just Catalina, seventy-five square miles of mostly rock, about twenty-two miles south-southwest of San Pedro, or twenty-six miles from Los Angeles, California, or about thirty-five miles away in these shots.  The highest point on the island is Mount Orizaba - 648 meters - and the only city is Avalon, with about four thousand residents.  There are about three hundred folks in the unincorporated town of Two Harbors, in the north. The island is actually part of Los Angeles.

The first European to set foot on the island was the Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, sailing for Spain - that was on October 7, 1542. He claimed the island for Spain and christened it San Salvador. Another Spanish explorer, Sebastian Vizcaino, rediscovered the island on the eve of Saint Catherine's day (November 24) in 1602. He renamed it Santa Catalina to honor the feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria.  That name stuck.

You know the song from the twenties, I Left My Love in Avalon.  It's a famous place - Benny Goodman discovered Lionel Hampton playing in a dive in San Pedro while Goodman was waiting for the ferry to take him over to a gig at the Avalon Ballroom, and hired Hampton on the spot. There's more pop trivia below the photos.

Catalina as seen from Mulholland Drive, Tuesday, March 6
Catalina as seen from Mulholland Drive, Tuesday, March 6
Catalina as seen from Mulholland Drive, Tuesday, March 6
Catalina as seen from Mulholland Drive, Tuesday, March 6

The clouds to the north -

Clouds to the north - as seen from Mulholland Drive, Tuesday, March 6
Clouds to the north - as seen from Mulholland Drive, Tuesday, March 6
Clouds to the north - as seen from Mulholland Drive, Tuesday, March 6

The view the other way, to the north -

View north from Mulholland Drive, Tuesday, March 6

If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me.

These were shot with a Nikon D70 - using lens (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300mm telephoto, or after 5 June 2006, (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0

The original large-format raw files are available upon request.

Catalina, what you need to know -

    In an effort to generate tourism towards Catalina, William Wrigley Jr. tried to convince Gertrude Ederle, who had just become famous as first woman to swim across the English Channel in 1926, to swim from Catalina to the mainland which was roughly the same distance. She declined, so he launched the 1927 Wrigley Ocean Marathon: offering $25,000 to the first person to cross the channel, with $15,000 for the first finisher of "the fair sex." Out of a field of 102, only one man finished, Canadian swimmer George Young, finished 15 hours and 44 minutes after the start. The two women who came the closest were awarded $2,500 each.

    In 1936, Ronald Reagan, as a young radio announcer for WHO in Des Moines, Iowa, traveled to Catalina to cover the Cubs during spring training. While there, he took a screen test and was offered an acting role.

    After visiting Catalina Island, Jack Owens, The Cruising Crooner, a popular radio vocalist of Don McNeil's Breakfast Club, was inspired by the friendly greeting people used there, "Hi, Neighbor," and wrote the music and words in 1941 for a song of the same name, and it went on to be a top selling pop tune that year.

    In the early 1940s during World War II, Marilyn Monroe, as a young, married woman, briefly lived in Avalon with her first husband, James Dougherty, a lieutenant in the Merchant Marine, who was stationed on the island. Monroe often was a babysitter for neighborhood children.

    On May 31, 1950, actor Gregory Harrison was born at Avalon on Santa Catalina Island. His father, Ed Harrison, operated a glass-bottom boat sightseeing service on the island. Harrison went on to star in many stage, screen and television productions, including Logan's Run, Trapper John, M.D., Centennial, and It's My Party. In 1980, Harrison and a partner founded an entertainment production company, the Catalina Production Group Ltd., named after his island birthplace.

    In 1958, the Four Preps recorded the hit song "26 Miles (Santa Catalina)" - the song reached the #2 position on the U.S. popular music charts.

    The 1966 romantic comedy film The Glass Bottom Boat, starring Doris Day and Rod Taylor, was filmed on Catalina Island.

    The 1967 teen comedy film Catalina Caper, starring Tommy Kirk, was filmed on Catalina Island.

    Several scenes from the 1974 film Chinatown, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, were filmed on Catalina, including one showing the Casino.

    Actress Natalie Wood drowned off the coast of Catalina in 1981 while on a boating trip with husband Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken.

    Catalina Island is briefly mentioned in the 1987 movie Lethal Weapon as the place where Roger (Danny Glover) would like to fish with his new boat.

    The 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit featured an oft-referenced vacation to Catalina Island as a subject in the failing relationship between Eddie Valiant and Dolores.

    In 1982, Descendents released the album Milo Goes to College, featuring a song called "Catalina."

    In 1989 actor Chad Allen is seen visiting Catalina Island in the promotional video The Real Chad Allen. Allen is seen visiting Avalon there and also snorkeling off the coast in the vicinity of a sunken ship.

    In 1998, actor Phil Hartman was fatally shot by his wife Brynn Hartman, who committed suicide several hours after the murder. The couple's ashes were scattered in Emerald Bay off the coast of Santa Catalina Island as specified in Hartman's will.

    In Dan Brown's popular novel Deception Point, published in 2001, there is a reference to sailing off the coast of Catalina.

    In Sandra Byrd's Faithful Friends: The Hidden Diary Series (published in 2001), the main setting and location for all the books is Catalina Island.

    In 2002, the hit TV show Endurance was filmed on the island.

And so on and so forth.

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Last updated Saturday, March 10, 2007, 10:30 pm Pacific Time

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 - Alan M. Pavlik