It doesn’t seem so long ago that I was standing in the roadway of the about-to-be-dedicated and opened 405 Freeway. I was a newsreel cameraman shooting film for KHJ-TV of the dedication ceremony presided over by then Mayor Sam Yorty. The year was 1963. I was 24-years old. I remember thinking how damned high that Mulholland Bridge looked, and then someone told me the bridge was constructed from the top down. Hmm, top down? Yes, that’s correct. The person went on to explain the pylons supporting the bridge were sunk into the mountain, much like a pile driver pounding a steel girder into the ground. Next, the concrete roadway was built , and then all of the dirt was scooped out, and voila, there was the Mulholland bridge. I marvelled at the fact that scafolding didn’t have to be built, and men didn’t have to work on scaffolds at dizzing heights.
Mayor Sam Yorty, an affable enough gentleman, gave a brief speech, followed by a ribbon cuttting ceremony, and then coming over the rise beneath the impressive Mulholland Bridge were a bunch of antique automobiles. ‘Old meets new’ made a nice shot . Mayor Yorty then was whisked away by helicopter, I presume to go back to work at City Hall. Little did I know that I would direct and photograph the “This is the City” openings for the hit TV show “Dragnet ’69.”
Fast forward to July 15, 2011, when half of the bridge is being demolished in what many people are calling Carmagedon. I’m not going to predict whether or not traffic throughout Los Angeles will be a nightmare.
I remember the prediction the 1984 Olympics would be a nightmare for City Folks. But guess what? No traffic jams. In fact, no traffic congestion at all, and no smog, a magnificent royal blue sky everywhere one looked. Then the milllenium computer scare. The clocks inside our computers would stop, thus shutting down main frame computers and personal computers in Los Angeles and all over the world. But , again, this didn’t happen!
So, here we are approaching this momentous occasion. What actually will happen no one knows for sure. But one thing I do know is that I will miss that damned bridge, or rather half of that damned bridge, perhaps more than anyone else.
In 2012, for nostalgia’s sake, I may decide to find a way to stand in the middle of the closed 405 Freeway again, just before they tear down the other half, and then I would be the only person in the City of Los Angeles to lay claim to having said a personal “hello” and “farewell” to the Mulholland Bridge.
In closing, Good Luck dealing with all of the traffic this weekend!