June 20th, 2014

carole lombard 05
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My first day as an Angeleno

Earlier today, I became a resident of Los Angeles, though unlike Carole Lombard, I have no plans to raise poultry. I signed a lease for the apartment I had paid for a few weeks earlier -- though for now, I'm staying at a hotel a few blocks away since my furniture won't arrive for another few days.

It will give me time to take care of some of the odds and ends that accompany a move...getting a California residency card (in lieu of a driver's license, since I've been unable to drive the past few years), getting a Los Angeles library card, registering to vote, etc. It will result in a considerable change in lifestyle -- but I'm looking forward to it.

I first celebrated signing the lease by walking a few blocks to get a hamburger from the Original Tommy's at Beverly and Rampart:

This site, open 24 hours a day, has been serving up burgers (most of them topped with chili) since 1946. It's sort of the LA equivalent of Pat's and Geno's cheesesteaks in South Philadelphia or Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street in Washington. In May, when I first looked at the nearby apartment, I had a burger -- but ordered it plain because I was wearing a shirt and tie and had a few more apartments to see. I promised them that if I landed the apartment, I would return for a full-fledged Tommy's burger; today, I lived up to that promise.

The second part of the celebration will come tonight, when I'll head to Anaheim to watch the Angels face my friend Carole Sampeck's beloved Texas Rangers. Tonight's giveaway is a cowboy hat with the Angels logo...and no, it has nothing to do with the other team that plays in Arlington, Texas.


Gene Autry, who has five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was the first owner of the American League Angels. Autry, longtime owner of KMPC radio, had lost radio rights for the National League Dodgers to KFI after the 1960 season, but the AL had announced it would expand for 1961...and Autry attended the owners' meeting merely hoping to get a broadcast contract. He wound up with the team.

The Angels won a few division titles under Autry's reign and he was a favorite of players, but they were always snakebit in the postseason. Gene died in October 1998, four years before the Angels finally reached the promised land and won the World Series. (Autry also founded a museum dedicated to the history of the American West that has won plaudits for its thorough approach.)

In honor of Autry, here's his signature song, "Back In The Saddle Again":

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