Oil and fame: Two ends of the dreams of Los Angeles


Los Angeles is not at all like what you see on television. Although, admittedly, the television show of Lethal Weapon often shows scenes filmed in my neighborhood of downtown LA.   I have even, I believe, seen them filming scenes for that show. Which is very cool. But, I must admit, on my old work block in New York City Law and Order was filming there every other day; as well as Spiderman and many more. Thus, I did not come to Los Angeles hoping to catch a scene being filmed. I’m a bit over that.


Even with my jaded self, I still stretch my neck out to see what is being filmed in my neighborhood. Why not?


Just this weekend, though, I was reminded of the multi-faceted nature of Los Angeles that goes beyond the film industry.  As we embarked on our wekeend ritual of going to look at open houses we decided to explore new more southern bay areas. As we drove around we came across a site that always startles me out here. We came across wells. Oil wells. Apparently, this is a longstanding tradition. Even the Atlantic Magazine did a piece on the urban oil fields of Los Angeles.  And these are plenty. Its not just a one-off here and there.



Can you imagine buying a home in Los Angeles and finding that there is oil there under? It’s a dream come true. One dream that is not necessarily expected in this area. Texas, we ain’t.


As we contemplated the houses that we had seen, we stopped for a good bite to eat. I wzs ecstatic because I got to order a Loco Moco -one of my favorite dishes from my happy place (Hawaii). How yummy it was to eat come comfort food in the middle of an urban oil field. Dreams and wishes can come true.



We went home soon thereafter not set on any home we had seen. Our search was to continue another day. When I got home and looked out my window, funny enough, I caught a film crew setting up for a night shoot. The dream always continues here.


10 replies »

  1. I love ruthless engineering, the raw mechanics​ of a machine are great to and that shot really captures it
    The most you get to see in my area is a barn or a tractor!

    Hope you enjoyed your grub, looks epic


  2. OK more reminders here of my dear old South Bay! The Torrance neighborhood where my mom still lives had oil derricks still in operation until I moved out of my childhood home, I believe. They were finally pulled out and new homes built in their place, in the 1970s or 80s, probably. Besides Hollywood, California was a prime discovery area for oil, and there are still oil wells off the coast and on top of Signal Hill in Long Beach, and probably a few other places around the area, too.

    Have you taken your son to the La Brea Tar Pits yet? If not, I’m sure he’ll be fascinated to see all the dinosaur bones that were discovered in that congealed oil patch. The last So Cal city where I lived was Huntington Beach where, in the early 20th century, oil was discovered in the area, and enormous development of the oil reserves followed. Though many of the old reserves are depleted, and the price of land for housing has pushed many of the rigs off the landscape, oil pumps can still be found to dot the city. I can verify this!


  3. Like you mentioned, things in LA changed from the past 40 years. Specially related to “oil and fame” 🙂 however you still can find the benefits of the “fame” part of it. For example, I was taking a Marketing course at University and for the topic of successful franchises of the 80’s I read the book “The Films of John Avildsen”, the director of Rocky and The Karate Kid and wrote a blog. For my surprised after 30 years of KK1, there are still fans visiting the filming locations in San Fernando Valley and posting on social media. Lots of articles comparing the sites “then and now”. For a movie that took only 45 days to make with small budget, and unknown actors, not bad at all. Fans now wanted a sequel filmed in SFV, bringing the characters of “Daniel and Ali” together as a tribute for Pat Morita and Dir John Avildsen. The KK with Jade Smith had the name KK for brand recognition to attract fans, but there was nothing to do with the original one 🙂


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