California Crazy

California Crazy is a style of architecture popular in the Los Angeles area during the early to mid part of the 20th century. Some of the best examples, such as the Darkroom duplicated on Hollywood Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios (above), were outrageous physical representations of what was offered inside. The Darkroom is a photo supply shop (the Hollywood original is now a restaurant). Tail o' the Pup, shaped like a giant hot dog, sold... you guessed it... hot dogs!

There's another great example of California Crazy at Hollywood Studios, on the far edge of Echo Lake. And the fun of it extends to other details beyond just the architecture. Approaching from the area of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, you might first notice these enormous footprints pounded into the pavement:

A little further, and you'll discover the culprit: a giant, concrete dinosaur which has apparently stepped over the fence, down the grass, and into the lake:

It's Dinosaur Gertie, home for Dinosaur Gertie's Ice Cream of Extinction. Steam flows from Gertie's nostrils, and a coating of snow lies across her back. The connection to ice cream is somewhat tenuous (at one time, the theory was that dinosaurs were driven to extinction by the last Ice Age). The connection to Hollywood and animation history, however, is much cooler.

"Gertie the Dinosaur" was the first character animated with true personality. The creation of animator Winsor McCay, Gertie made her debut before vaudeville audiences in 1914. McCay himself would appear on stage and "summon" Gertie to step forward. As the animated film of Gertie played behind him, McCay timed his movement to appear as if he were interacting with the dinosaur in real time.

As for the ice cream. Today, Studios Guests can find a selection of soft serve flavors here. Back in 1989, though, the offering truly was ice cream "of extinction." For a short time after opening, the location specialized in the sort of ice cream treats once popular in America, but hard to find in modern times. Sadly, those treats became more and more difficult to keep in stock, so the original concept itself became extinct.

1 comment:

  1. I've loved these Studios stories, thanks for sharing them Shawn!