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From the Archives

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Today, a rummage in the RPS archives brings up Jim’s fond farewell to Eve Online from late 2009, documenting his dramatic half-decade as a leading member of a successful corp. He’s seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Oasa. He watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tenerifis Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to repost.

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Nov. 19, 1946: Early morning view of scores of jackrabbits watching activities at Los Angeles Municipal Airport, slated to open to major airlines about three weeks later.

Former Los Angeles Times staff photographer Art Rogers remembers “someone was using a jackhammer and suddenly stopped and all the rabbit ears went up.”

This photo ran the width of the page across the top of the daily L.A. Times picture page. It was well-received by editors and readers everywhere — except at City Hall.

Los Angeles Times columnist Gene Sherman explained Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron’s reaction in 1948:

About two years ago you may recall the startling picture taken by Times Photographer Art Rogers. It showed Los Angeles Airport framed above a row of bunnies alert along the east end, ears aloft. For some peculiar reason the picture created quite a stir….

… Setting some kind of precedent, Mayor Bowron categorically denied the photograph. When the picture later appeared in a national magazine, the mayor again challenged the integrity of photographic plate and flash bulb and informed the world that the idea of jackrabbits on the airport was pure poppycock….

… From time to time passengers in giant air liners are amused when giant jacks race the plane on take-off. Until now, none of the rabbits has left the ground. …

A week later Mayor Bowron capitulated and visited Sherman at The Times office. Bowron presented Sherman a real airport bunny. Sherman named the rabbit “Poppycock.”

In a 1955 column, Sherman wrote:

Mr. Robert A. McMillan, general manger of International Airport, received a desperate request from a lady named Willie Mae Rogers in New York who happened to mention over a lunch table that she’d seen hundreds of rabbits scampering over the runways down in Inglewood during a take-off some years ago. Apparently everyone had laughed at her. …

… Mr. McMillan got a copy of [Art Rogers'] picture and dispatched it hurriedly to Miss Rogers with a letter. “Yes Willie Mae, there are rabbits at Los Angeles International Airport.”

In 1959, The Times published a full page of photos by Art Rogers of wildlife — including more rabbits — at the airport. A week later Sherman followed up with:

Art Rogers, the Audubon of the airport, had a fascinating page of pictures of various fauna that inhabit L.A. International in The Times last week.

It was Rogers, who can shoot A-bombs and zebras with equal skill, who straggled Angeltown a few years ago with a picture showing a horde of cottontails hippity-hopping down the airplane trails.

Much to the consternation of former Mayor Bowron, the place thereafter was referred to as International Hareport.

In a 1961 publicity stunt for dedication of a new terminal, a 6-foot-tall “rabbit”  named Harvey joined the festivities. As reported in The Times:

A 6 ft.-1 in. rabbit named Harvey Lepodorae flew into Los Angeles International Airport by jet Thursday to attend opening ceremonies for the $70 million new terminal. …

“When I left here in 1946,” he said … “this place was strictly Rabbitsville.”

He was referring to the embarrassing fact that when the airport first became a terminal for major airlines back in 1946 there probably were more rabbits on the scene than passengers.

The rabbits were such a feature of the early days that they became nationally famous through a prize-winning picture made by Times photographer Art Rogers, who crept up on the airfield one day at dawn and caught hundred of them flocking around a couple of DC-3s.

By 1990, the wildlife at LAX had changed. Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Harvey reported that pigeons had replaced rabbits as the scourge of LAX.

Four decades ago, Times photographer Art Rogers (now retired) took a striking shot of the fearless intruders.

Most of the rabbits, says Mario Polselli, the chief of airport operations, were eventually eliminated by a local force: Foxes.

Now, however, “most of the foxes are gone” as well, Polselli noted this week. “Some of them were run over, I guess. I hadn’t seen any for a long time and then one day, three or four weeks ago, I saw one running parallel to the runways.”

Destination unknown.

The jackrabbit photo by Art Rogers was published in the Dec. 2, 1946 edition of LIFE  – - pages 36-37.

Middle: Cartoon published with Gene Sherman’s Cityside column on April 6, 1959.

Bottom: A six-foot rabbit named Harvey Lepodorae arrives at LAX to dedicate a new jet terminal. Photo published in the Los Angeles Times on June 23, 1961. Credit: Los Angeles Times.

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Sept. 8, 1974: A movie set of fake brownstone structures burns on “Boston Street” at the Burbank Studios ranch. The set was a total loss. The multimillion-dollar fire destroyed three soundstages and four movie sets.

The Sunday morning fire occurred during a two-day community fair. Some of the rides, exhibition booths and several antique cars were destroyed. According to an Oct. 6, 1974, Times article, the cause was believed to be sparks from an electrical cord.

The site was formerly the Columbia Pictures ranch and became Burbank Studios after a merger of Columbia and Warner Bros.

This photo by retired Los Angeles Times staff photographer Boris Yaro was the lead image on Page 3 the next morning.

When Burbank Fire Department units arrived on the scene, according to Yaro, they first tried to hook up to hydrants that they quickly discovered were nonworking props. After the blaze, special markings were added to the real hydrants.

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Nov. 5, 1986: Jockey Jack Kaenel flips off his mount, 3-year-old Years of Fun, after leaving the starting gate in the second race on opening day at Hollywood Park.

Kaenel was only shaken up and Years of Fun was not seriously injured.

This photo by former Los Angeles Times staff photographer Steve Dykes was the lead image on the next day’s sports section front.

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Aug. 3, 1984: Traffic is light on the Harbor Freeway, left photo, next to the Los Angeles Coliseum at 8:03 a.m. on a Friday morning — right in the middle of rush hour. Light traffic was also found downtown, right, at 8:40 a.m. on the four-level freeway interchange.

The “Carmaggedon” closure of the 405 Freeway this weekend produced two days of light traffic. The 1984 Olympics had two weeks.

Officials in 1984 had predicted “Black Friday,” a day on which commuter traffic combined with track and field events at the Coliseum would produce total gridlock, only to be pleasantly surprised.

Times staff writer Ted Vollmer reported the next morning:

Years of warnings and intense preparations apparently paid off Friday as a predicted paralyzing combination of Olympic and commuter traffic failed to develop on the busiest day yet of the Games. Instead, drivers enjoyed another day of free-flowing freeway traffic across Southern California.

“Black Friday,” transportation officials smugly pointed out to reporters, had become “Good Friday.” Then, for the first time in more than a year, the experts uncrossed their fingers.

The driving public had apparently listened to the traffic congestion warnings and predictions. And the locals were not the only ones who noticed.

“Los Angeles hasn’t lived up to its reputation for traffic,” summed up Martha Orr of San Jose, who took a shuttle bus from Century City to the Coliseum Friday morning to watch the first day of Olympic track and field events ….

Traffic to Friday’s long slate of Olympic events at 19 venues had been expected to combine with normally heavy commuter traffic to produce freeway headaches. However, drivers cruised along nearly congestion-free freeways for the fifth consecutive day….

Aug. 2, 1984: Traffic is light at the downtown Los Angeles four-level freeway interchange at 8:35 a.m. on a Thursday morning — right in the middle of rush hour.  Credit: Penni Gladstone / Los Angeles Times

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June 25, 1938: More than 500 protesters march in downtown Los Angeles against German involvement in the aerial bombing of Spain.

The Los Angeles Times reported the next day:

Carrying placards and chanting slogans against Nazism and Fascism, more than 500 picketers marched yesterday in front of the office building at 117 West Ninth street which holds the headquarters of German Consul, Dr. Georg Gyssling.

The demonstration, aimed specifically at asserted German participation in Spain bombings, was sponsored by the North American Committee for Defense of Spanish Democracy and included delegates from many sympathetic groups. Starting at 11 a.m., it continued for two hours, the double picket line extending at times on to Spring street and Broadway…

Although several police officers stood by at the scene, the only minor disturbances were caused by several bags of water tossed from office windows toward the picketers.

Since former L.A. Times staff photographer Andrew H. Arnott did a good job using a low angle and filling the frame, I am leaving this image uncropped.

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Jan. 31, 1977: A horse and rider watch as the space shuttle Enterprise is towed from a Rockwell International facility in Palmdale to Edwards Air Force Base for a year of flight tests. Townspeople lined the route for a glimpse of the 110-ton shuttle. A 90-wheel transport was used and accompanied by a 20-vehicle convoy.

Never fitted with engines or a working heat shield, the Enterprise was not launched into orbit — it was only used for testing. The craft was used in a series of approach and landing tests — carried aloft in a 747, released and glided to landings at Edwards. Later the Enterprise was used for static tests in Alabama and California.

Los Angeles Times science writer George Alexander covered the public introduction of Enterprise. In the Sept. 18, 1976, edition, he reported:

To the theme music from the now-defunct television series “Star Trek,” the National Aeronautics and Space Administration rolled out the first Space Shuttle vehicle at Palmdale Friday and proclaimed the start of a new era in space transportation.

“Ain’t she a beat?” said NASA Associated Administrator John F. Yardley as the big black, white and gray spaceship was towed around the corner of a hangar at Rockwell International Corp.’s Palmdale facility and brought to a halt before a crowd of about 2,000 people…

….some of the actors who appeared in the “Star Trek” series were present. President Ford recently yielded to the petitions of many “Trekkies,” as devotees of the series call themselves, and named the orbiter “Enterprise” after the fictional spaceship flown by the “Star Trek” crew.

Space agency officials had planned to name the space shuttle “Constitution” both in honor of the historic U.S. document and in honor of the early American warship, but were overruled at the last minute by President Ford.

In 1985, Enterprise was transferred to the Smithsonian Institute.

Current plans are for the shuttle Discovery to go to the Smithsonian, with the Enterprise being transferred to the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City. The retired Endeavour shuttle is scheduled to come to the California Science Center in Los Angeles by the end of 2012.

All of the images in the above photo gallery were taken by Los Angeles Times photographers except one — the “Star Trek” cast is from NASA.

Additional images from NASA are in this space shuttle photo gallery.

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With the flight of Atlantis, the 30-year-plus space shuttle program comes to an end. Six shuttles — five operational and one test vehicle — were built. Two, the Challenger and Columbia, were lost in accidents, killing 14 crew members. The remaining four shuttles will be retired to museums.

This gallery consists of over 50 images released by NASA from the years 1972-2011. Most come from a package moved by Reuters earlier in June. A few others come from Associated Press. I added one important image — the Columbia breakup during reentry — shot by Dr. Scott Lieberman and moved to AP by the Tyler (Texas) Morning Telegraph.

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