Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Los Angeles architect John Lautner designed a Hollywood coffee shop called Googie's on Sunset strip in 1949.

Googie's Coffee Shop has long since vanished, but the name lives on as a shorthand for a style of extreme modernism that emerged out of Southern California's car culture in the post-war years. A style epitomized by futuristic 'Jetson' type buildings, with a space age, optimistic look to the future. It represented America's dream of a Utopian future and its anticipation of the space era. Whimsical, and sometimes absurd, ultra-modern restaurants, futuristic bowling alleys and drive-in theaters, and roadside gas stations, motels and burger stands sprung up virtually overnight.

Typical Googie elements include sharp, angular lines, upswept roofs, concrete domes, boomerang shapes, huge plate glass windows, natural or false stone walls, and exposed steel I-beams with circle cut-outs. These buildings usually have elaborate, oversized signs featuring bulging letters surrounded by geometric shapes, and are often decorated with starbursts, atomic models or other futuristic ornaments. Rules applied to this style are as follows: it can look organic, but must be abstract; ignore gravity altogether; include multiple structural elements.

Although Googie architectural examples still exist throughout the United States, "progress" means they are being bulldozed at an alarming rate. Go see them before they disappear.

Theme Building, LAX

Pacific's Cinerama Theater - Hollywood, CA

Eden Roc Motel. Anaheim, CA

Hody's Restaurant - Los Angeles,CA (La Brea & Rodeo)

Fantasy Motel. Anaheim, CA


Tang was first introduced to the American public in 1959 by General Foods. Thanks to clever marketing and advertising, it has long been associated with the space program. But long before its launch into space that made Tang a household name, this artificially colored and sweetened orange-flavored beverage sat languishing on supermarket shelves. Then in 1965 the Gemini astronauts took Tang into outer space and the modern breakfast beverage was dubbed "the drink of the astronauts". To serve Tang instead of OJ for breakfast was to say you were riding high on the wave of progress. It's easy to understand Tang's appeal back in the 1950's and 1960's when you remember that post-WWII Americans put their faith in the march of progress and to scientific and industry ingenuity. New products were being created for modern convenient living and what could signify progress better than nutritional value in a single glassful of Tang?
Tang pie is a light, creamy confection of artificial orange and vanilla flavors, with a scrumptious pale orange glow.

Tang Pie
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 8-oz carton sour cream
1/4 cup Tang instant breakfast drink
1 9-oz carton Cool Whip; thawed
1 10-inch gram cracker crust
Mandarin oranges slices (optional)
  1. Combine milk and sour cream; mix well. Stir in Tang (this will congeal rather quickly).
  2. Fold in Cool Whip. Add mandarin slices, if desired.
  3. Pour in graham cracker crust. Refrigerate overnight. Garnish with additional Cool Whip, if desired.

No comments:

Post a Comment