You need two ingredients to be a competent historian, memory and curiosity. I don’t care how much education you have. Without those two elements, you’re lost. We get so much distorted history today because people attach a political or ideological agenda and mold the text accordingly. Case in point, the US Civil War. History books would have you believe it was fought over CIVIL rights. Wrong, it was fought over STATES rights. This is not a recent phenomena. I look back at old newspaper clippings and the only thing approaching accuracy is the date and sometimes that’s questionable.
I got started with this depraved interest in 1944. I observed an airplane flying over Hol-lywood. Its engine had a deep throaty roar unlike anything I’d heard before. During WWII we knew the aircraft of all the belligerents and this was a Japanese Mitsubishi type AEM5, a Zero. It didn’t belong here flying over Hollywoodland. The following day I dutifully reported my observation to my school yard cronies who roundly criticized me for my obvious fabricated statement. It wasn’t a week later. I was down at Mines Field (now LAX) and there sat the subject airplane among a group of North American P-51s on their flight line. (North American used the former Los Angeles Air Terminal for their flight line. Now the extreme southeast corner of LAX). I had a 127 size camera and snapped a photo of the plane. It turned out the plane was being flown by US personnel to learn the peculiarities of its flight characteristics. I still have that photo
Back during the late 1930s and early 40s my dad would take me on weekly tours of Loa Angeles often to the more seedy neighborhoods. This was an era when Mack Bulldog trucks reined, when horse drawn wagons were still in use and you shared the street with massive fire breathing steam locomotives. It was wonderful for a young kid.. All of this would end with WWII and we would become modern. Years later I would make periodic visits to my old haunts camera in hand.
Over the years I have accumulated a massive collection of photographs both mine and by others. I also have a collection of memorabilia probably of no interest to anyone oth-er than myself.
Christine Mills O’Brien
I am a native Wisconsinite and 35 year transplant living in Hollywoodland. In my long ago professional life I worked in Consumer Research at S.C.Johnson , Neutrogena and Foote Cone and Belding. I have always had a passion for history and felt the interesting story of the Hollywoodland Gifted Park needed a story teller. To tell that story effectively I wandered libraries and dusty halls meeting people who were willing to share knowledge and facts. In turn now I can share this with you.
Gregory Paul Williams
AUTHOR: THE STORY OF HOLLYWOOD: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY
Born and raised near the Hollywood sign, Gregory Paul Williams interest in Hollywood’s history began with a book he wrote about the neighborhood where he grew up, The Story of Hollywoodland. Since then, he has devoted many hours to the preservation of Hollywood’s Historic District.
A former board member of Hollywood Heritage, Inc., he has chaired the group’s Preser-vation Issues Committee and edited their newsletter. Greg is currently a member of the Hollywood Project Area Committee. His television appearances as a Hollywood historian include the American Movie Channel, PBS KOCE TV, PBS KCET TV and E! Enter-tainment Television.
A puppeteer by profession, Greg began performing at age 15 with the well-known Bob Baker Marionettes, appearing throughout California, and at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater near downtown Los Angeles. His performance skills expanded his horizons into feature and television productions including Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Greg established Puppet Studio in 1982. His credits as a puppeteer and puppet design-er include CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX and Comedy Central television networks, feature films and live venues. Credits include ABC Weekend Specials, Men in Black 1 and 2, Child’s Play 3, Mighty Joe Young, Beakman’s World, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, Primetime Glick, The Showbiz Show with David Spade.
An alumnus of Hollywood High, Greg attended UCLA where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Motion Pictures/Television.
As an author, Greg was hired by Jim Henson to write a series of children’s books for the Muppets beginning in 1980. His work landed him on the best-seller lists for the Fozzie Bear mystery, The Case of the Missing Hat, published by Random House/Muppet Press.
Greg Williams is currently working on several original projects involving puppets and live action via his Puppet Studio in North Hollywood California. Plans are also underway to produce a documentary on The Story of Hollywood book.