Museum of Neon Art (MONA)

14 08 2008

Dive for fun and profit
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

On my recent trip to Los Angeles, while shooting pictures in the historic Broadway Theater District, I fortuitously ran into the Museum of Neon Art (MONA), on 4th Street.

They have an impressive selection of vintage neon signs (though only a smaller portion of them are on display at any one time), as well as recent neon art, kinetic sculptures, and other electric marvels. My faves were the Jantzen diver, as well as a Lancelot Tile sign.of m

I was sad to have missed their Neon Cruise, a nighttime bus tour of local neon landmarks. Guess I know what I will be signing up for next time I’m in the area.

More of my pics from MONA
As well as MONA’s flickr group

Be sure to check out the museum the next time you are in L.A.!

For additional neon pleasures of an ecclesiastical nature, join us at my new flickr group, Neon Gods (Religious Neon Signs)


Looking uptown from 46th Street

12 10 2007

Looking uptown from 46th Street
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

Here’s another vintage view of Times Square in New York (circa 1955). You can just barely see the billboard for Chevrolet (where the old Kellogg’s ad used to be), peeking out from behind the Canadian Club Imported Whiskey and Admiral Television Appliances ads.

Notice the billboards advertising Palisades Park, Bardinet Superior French Brandy, Manischewitz, Budweiser, and Drakes Devil Dogs.

You can also see the marquee for the Globe Theatre, showing the release of “The Sins of the Borgias” (1953), as well as the marquee promoting Cinerama Holiday, the second Cinerama presentation of 1955, shown at Warner Cinerama.

Can you make out any more of the signs? Look closely

The Largest Electric Sign Ever Built?

2 10 2007

I Want Kellogg’s!!
Originally uploaded by Paula Wirth

Now, I wonder how this sign compares to the electric signs of today.

From The Saturday Evening Post, August 17, 1912:

“The above photograph shows the monster Kellog Toasted Corn Flake electric sign on the top of the Mecca Building, at 48th and Broadway, NY.

This sign is 106 ft. wide and 80 ft. high—the letter “K” in Kellogg’s is 66 ft. high—the boy’s head and the package are 40 feet high.

Eighty tons of structural iron were required for the frame work, making necessary six mammoth trusses to distribute the weight and wind stress over the building.

A mechanical device changes the boy’s face and the heading. When he cries the heading reads “I want Kellogg’s.” He then smiles and the heading reads “I got Kellogg’s.” The sign portrays a true story told in millions of homes daily.”

Thanks to Mamluke, I have found out that the building has a very rich history, and has now been turned into more (offensive, IMHO) condos.

Also, The NY Times has a fab article which discusses the changes in signage over time, commenting on a current sign “three basketball courts” in size.

Here’s a 1937 photo (from Lileks) of the same billboard structure, with “Four Roses” instead of Kellogg’s. Note that by 1940, it was “Available.” Other advertisers included Maxwell House, Chevrolet, Braniff and Sony.

More history of the building before its demise…