Re: Oct. 12, 2012: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios, Part 4
When I first moved to Southern California in 1982, before I found a full time job, I spent time driving around the LA area looking for some of the more interesting architectural specimins. I was lucky to get to see and get pictures of the Pan Pacific before it burned down. I had seen it in Xanadu and then found out that it was a real building and where it was located. There is a Disney connection to the Pan Pacific. I don't remember the year offhand, but, Disney historian Jim Korkis reported in one of his articles that Walt Disney displayed his Granny Kincaid cabin model at an exhibition held there one time.
All of these buildings are gorgeous. It's too bad that only theme parks build things like this anymore, modern stores are usually just "boxes".
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A few years ago, when I was working on a similar article about real buildings that inspired Universal Studios Florida, I found a photo of an ornate Ralphs food market that had been in Hollywood. There's a "shrink and edit" replica of its facade at Universal Studios Florida. (I couldn't publish the historical photo due to the cost of rights.)
That Ralphs building in Hollywood was demolished and replaced by a Pier One Imports store in a plain, white box. So sad.
Architectural tastes change over time, just like clothing fashions and automotive styling. That's fine. But why do some people feel the need to destroy wonderful buildings from a few decades earlier or to "modernize" them beyond recognition?
The good news is that I've seen a steady increase in respect for the past and restoration instead of demolition during my lifetime. It seemed to gain momentum around the Bicentennial year of 1976 and it's been getting better ever since.
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There is a Disney connection to the Pan Pacific. I don't remember the year offhand, but, Disney historian Jim Korkis reported in one of his articles that Walt Disney displayed his Granny Kincaid cabin model at an exhibition held there one time.
There are other Walt Disney connections to Pan Pacific Auditorium. The Wurdeman and Becket firm's design of Pan Pacific Auditorium, their first major work, is what really launched the reputation and career of architect Welton Becket.
Later, Welton Becket and Walt Disney were neighbors. Walt Disney went to Welton Becket to design Disneyland, but Becket wisely suggested that Disney should use his studio's artists instead.
For Walt Disney World, WED Enterprises worked with Welton Becket & Associates to design Disney's Polynesian and Contemporary Resorts. The firm also designed Disney's never-built Asian, Persian, and Venetian Resorts.
Welton Becket was born less than a year after Walt Disney and died a little more than two years after Walt.