Best wishes to — and from — the Class of ’65.
Best wishes to — and from — the Class of ’65.
This terrific historical tour of Westwood Village has been circulating on social media, but in case you’ve missed it, you can find it online courtesy of the UCLA Newsroom.
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thanks to Andy Asher and Mitch Blumenfeld for the heads up
We happened to notice that our Uni ’65 classmate Marc Wanamaker has a new podcast project underway, so we talked to him to learn more.
A Hollywood kid, born and raised among stars of both big and small screens (like many Uni High kids), Wanamaker discovered his true calling, as historian and witness, when he founded Bison Archives in 1971. In the five decades since, he has accumulated a collection of some 300,000 images; worked as a professional research historian on the subjects of motion pictures, television, and California and Southern California history; written or collaborated on about 30 books on those subjects; and served as a consultant on numerous motion pictures and television programs.
In 2012, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Margaret Herrick Library acquired more than 70,000 of Bison’s prints, transparencies, and negatives of motion picture production, biography, and subject photographs (that’s 88 linear feet!). Marc continues to identify, digitize, and preserve the remaining materials with the hope of finding a safe and permanent home for the balance of his one-of-a-kind collection.
With a particular passion for the lesser-known stories of the industry, Wanamaker was involved with the production of “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché,” a documentary narrated by Jodie Foster about the pioneering female director and studio owner.
With Wanamaker’s industry knowledge and resources, it’s hardly surprising that Christopher Ewing turned to Marc when he wanted to add Hollywood history to the offerings on his Poverty Row Studios podcast channel. The premier episode, “The History of Hollywood,” is now available online and will soon be followed by episodes on the Lincoln Motion Picture Company, early female action stars of the silent film era, and early Hollywood aviation, as well as a video series.
Follow the links for further details or contact Marc Wanamaker at Bison Archives.
It’s a little embarrassing, from the perspective of the spring equinox, to see that our most recent post was back in December. This is just to let you know that we’re still here, figuring (hoping?) that no news is good news, marking our progress with vaccinations and hoped-for visits with friends and grandchildren.
We’re a fortunate bunch, for many reasons, and I think most of us were astonished to find ourselves listed in a most vulnerable category early in the pandemic for no more reason than the accident of being post-war baby boomers. Is the local senior center really meant for us?
If our generation is meant to redefine old/ancient/elderly/senior citizen (who, me?), the first step is to survive. Please take care of yourselves. Say hello. Click Like. Send news.
Fifty-five years after high school graduation, I am grateful to be breathing and in possession of most, or at least many, of my faculties.
And speaking of faculties, warmest gratitude to the Uni High teachers who urged or badgered or coaxed us toward graduation. Though at the time they all seemed old, in retrospect it’s easy to see that some of them were hardly older than our siblings, yet somehow they filled our hungry brains and left many of us feeling that a good education was worth pursuing into college or beyond.
I am so thankful for the friendships that date to high school, junior high, and even elementary school, and for the technology that allows us to see and speak with each other in this time of isolation. It is quite a remarkable thing to witness one another’s lives over so many decades.
To the classmates who send along the occasional email, text, photo, comment, or Facebook post, thank you. Your words and pictures offer cheer and connection and relief from the swirling rant of politics and pandemic.
The challenges of navigating a masked and distanced holiday season will be numerous and unprecedented for most of us. Please stay safe and healthy. Be grateful. Send news.
Maybe it was a good thing we didn’t plan a 55-year reunion. We probably would have had to cancel it anyway. If people are eager to get together, they do. A couple hundred of us wish each other happy birthday and share bits of news on Facebook. Old friends gather in whatever way they can — in person or on Zoom, at homes or parks or, alas, at online funerals.
Too many of us are lost forever, each name pulling us up short as we recall the bright face of an 18-year-old. Of the original 900 or so in two classes, nearly 115 are gone that we know of, and with imperfect tracking of students and graduates, that number is likely somewhat higher.
As we discovered when we contacted people in the runup to previous reunions, a lot of our classmates don’t care or would rather forget their high school years. Many of those who do care have connections that go back even further — to elementary school or junior high. Those early friendships are profound and, at this point, very, very long. We have seen each other at our most awkward and our most beautiful. We have celebrated triumphs and grieved losses. We have made families and careers and many of us have retired. We have disagreed and made up and rediscovered old friends.
Who knows if we’ll have another reunion. In 2025, 60 years from our Uni graduation, those of us still standing will be well on our way to 80 years old. And even if we feel 20 or 40 in our hearts, who knows if we’ll have the inclination or stamina to organize another reunion and be seen one more time.
But that’s still a ways off. In the meanwhile, stay healthy and stay alive, okay? Contact an old friend and say hello.
Look around this site — there are lots of wonderful photos. Leave a Comment. If you’re on WordPress, click Like at the bottom of this post.
And vote — if not for yourself, for your grandchildren.
Here’s another take on the Uni-adjacent West L.A. neighborhood, officially designated as “Sawtelle Japantown” by the Los Angeles City Council in 2015. “Redefining Community: the evolution of Sawtelle Japantown” is a short documentary created by GameTrain Learning in the Minecraft-like machinima style. Using animation, historical photographs, archival video footage, and audio narration, the film introduces the history of Japanese Americans in the area before and after World War II.
Though we may identify Uni’s location as West Los Angeles, the campus sits in a neighborhood known as Sawtelle. Samuel Dórame has put together a fascinating website on Sawtelle’s history from 1897 to 1950. Click on Sawtelle History at the top of the page for links to scores of pages featuring historic and contemporary photos, documents, etc. The chronological list includes a page on 1924 and the construction of Uni High, first called Sawtelle High School and quickly renamed Warren G. Harding High School. A terrific site for browsing.
With coronavirus restrictions in place and more time on our hands (and, apparently, no 55-year reunion!), we’ve begun the slow migration of the Class of ’65 from a conventional website (one that requires a webmaster) to this WordPress site, which can be managed more easily.
When, years ago, we launched the original site at unihi65.com, our ’65 classmate Stan Lieberson stepped up and offered to be webmaster. In all the years since, he has added, moved, and deleted content on demand, without complaint and without charge. The class of ’65 owes him a huge debt of gratitude. Thanks, Stan.
In the meanwhile, as we migrate and expand class information, we invite you visit the old site and browse the new one. We appreciate it when you click that little Like box at the bottom on posts and your comments on any page, post, or image are welcome. We gratefully accept updates, photos, and other musings by email at unihi65 AT gmail.com.