Summer in Los Angeles—with movies stars, swimmers, gangsters, and Liberace…

The Summer Olympics took place in Los Angeles in 1984 when I was a sprout and my dad had a period of paternal custody. Those who drove were singing the praises of Peter Ueberroth for spooking the city into traffic calming, the likes of which had never been seen before, and I was in heaven (pure heaven!!!)  because my uncle, who remembered the ’32 Olympics, took me to the swimming events.

Here we have two future movie stars on the Swim Team circa 1932 – do you recognize Flash Gordon and Tarzan?

The 400 meter:

This is Dorothy Poynton executing a high dive:

My uncle, who was born in 1917, remembers taking his very little brother (my father) swimming, here — in Griffith Park:

And, because we’re still talking about Los Angeles and swimming pools (my blog, my rules!) here is the pool of a notorious mobster named Bugsy:

And, because Mr. Steven Soderbergh made an HBO film about a famous pianist, I give you this:


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  1. May 30, 2013

    I love how you ended this entry! =)
    At least his pool isn’t diamond-encrusted (like his wardrobe) …

    • May 30, 2013

      Let’s hope he didn’t have any diamond encrusted swim trunks 😉

  2. George Kaplan
    May 30, 2013

    Fascinating! I particularly enjoyed the recollection of the wonder of traffic calming! (which makes me think of cars having lullabies sung to them)
    Buster and Johnny 😉
    The photo of Siegel’s pool is atmospherie.
    And hey! Liberace, such tastefulness 😉

    • May 31, 2013

      Love the lido!
      And, we drive by that pool all the time… I wonder if the sign is still up?

  3. May 31, 2013

    Fascinating post as always. But can I be a terrible pedant and point out that Buster Crabbe played Tarzan as well as Flash Gordon? (Just to placate my father who made the self same comment!) 😉 😛

    Keep up the good work! 🙂

      • May 31, 2013

        Yup. Crabbe made a serial “Tarzan The Fearless” in 1933! 🙂

  4. May 31, 2013

    Johnny Weissmuller has better looking legs than most women I know. 🙂

  5. May 31, 2013

    Now that you point it out – wow!

  6. May 31, 2013

    George,Yes Liberace hits ahem the right note with the pool.I really do have a long list of awful jokes.Dont worry you will not suffer any more-for the moment.

  7. August 2, 2014

    Let’s start with the first picture. 2nd from the left – a SWIMMING SKIRT? 2nd from the right – how did he get any speed in the water with the drag coefficient from his ears? 1st from the right: I’ll take some of that, please!

    The piano pool is delicious! If I had an in-ground pool, I’d have it made just like this one. I’d have the keys rigged up to play like the one in F.A.O. Schwartz, seen in the Tom Hanks movie “Big”. With non-slip surfaces, of course!

  8. August 4, 2014

    I read this so quickly I thought Dorothy Parker was taking the high dive!!!

    I like the photo of Bugsy Seigel’s pool. If you’re going to visit that pool you had better be sure you’re wearing your best suit and fedora.

    • August 4, 2014

      Now, that would have been something! Madame Scribe…that’s a very funny notion!
      Re: Bugsy’s pool — I think body armor, but it would probably chafe in this heat 😉 .
      Hope you got your inscribed copy of the book, and apologies for taking so long. xox, V

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