Van Nuys Has Taken On Mythical Proportions
June 8, 2022

The Backyard of L.A.

The Treaty of Cahuenga, ending the Mexican–American War fighting in Alta California, was signed in 1847 by Californios and Americans at Campo de Cahuenga, the Verdugo Family adobe at the entrance to the Cahuenga Pass in the southeast San Fernando Valley (North Hollywood). – Wiki

And yet….

…there is still no treaty governing the rush hour traffic at the Barham Boulevard exit of the Hollywood Freeway. It’s still war out there. Territorial in terms of stay in your lane! Literally. One of the daily frustrations of living in Los Angeles for as long as I have lived here is that every single day you get to see history swept under the rug and overlaid with fresh concrete, new developments, and neon smoke signals. The fact is that if Angelinos knew (let alone understood) their own city’s actual history, they might feel a little more connected to it.

38 cities, towns, and villages

The term “the valley” covers vast territory. Los Angeles, Valley Village, Hidden Hills, San Fernando, Glendale, Calabasas, Burbank, Universal City, and Topanga, make up the list of incorporated cities, with unincorporated areas of Kagel, Hickson, and Garnsey are just a few. Each with their own self-identifier qualities. Read the full list of San Fernando Valley cities.

George Clooney

https://disney.fandom.com/wiki/George_Clooney

Multi-Personalities

“The Valley” has taken a mix of insulting hits and flowery compliments throughout the last 50 years of Hollywood movies, television, and music industry. Sometimes it’s romanticized, such as in P.T. Anderson’s Magnolia and other times it’s horrified, as in Anderson’s Boogie Nights, and other times it’s “Stupidized” and, particularly in the 1982 Frank Zappa / Moon Zappa song “Valley Girl” and the 1983 film Valley Girl. Probably the best filmic depicter of Valley Life is Cameron Crowe, who in his 1982 Fast Times at Ridgemont High, truly showed the Valley as a real place. Anxious and horny teenagers living in the 70’s, an updated version of George Lucas’ 1973 American Graffiti, which was set in Northern California, but really doubled for the cool car cruising of Van Nuys Boulevard in the same way the 1970 movie M.A.S.H., which was set during the Korean War, was really about Vietnam. “Fast Times” showed the last vestiges of modern Americana, a real Main Street USA, but instead of the hardware store run by “old Joe”, it’s overrun with the culture of teenager hustle and self-discovery. Whatever the Valley really is, it seems to constantly be trying to recover from it’s “little brother” image of “L.A.” which lies (in both senses of the word) just over the hill.

For Sure Valley Economy

Chopping Mall star Keli Maroney

Chopping Mall star and “scream queen” Keli Maroney https://www.slashfilm.com/552473/hdtgm-chopping-mall-interview/

Although virtually invisible, the Valley is widely recognized as the home of the porn industry.  The Valley competes with other famous industry valleys such as Silicone Valley in the north, best known for the microchip boom of the 80’s. (There’s a joke connecting the two in there somewhere, but we don’t have time.) Historically Valley centric industries have been the aerospace industry and movies and television. Lockheed and Rockettdyne are two, the second one reminding me of the fictional aerospace company in one of my favorite comedies of all time, Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension. The evil fictional company was Yoyodyne. Television studios include the major three: ABC, CBS, AND NBC. Film studios include Burbank Studios and Disney Studios. Probably the major cultural center of the Valley is the Galleria, which has been the center filming point for such classics as the much loved slasher Chopping Mall.

Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension movie poster

Famous Valley Residents

George Clooney, Samuel Jackson, Will Smith and Kim Basinger all have Valley homes.  Though George spends most of his time at his Italian villa and Smith owns a slapping studio on Ventura Blvd. (NOT! Just comedy, folks!) Other Valley celebrity residents (in particularly Encino) include Selena Gomez (who paid $4.9 million for Tom Petty’s old house), Channing Tatum, Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Dorit Kemsley and Teddi Mellencamp, and NBA baller Tristan Thompson. Back in the day, cowboy couple Roy Rogers and Dale Evans had horse ranches in Encino and Chatsworth. Their 1944 film Republic Pictures San Fernando Valley romanticized all the classic stuff of those Westerns we love so much. Adventure in the Wild Wild West, fighting the bad guys and of course romance. And by romance, I mean, of course, a man and his horse.

“Head ’em off at the Victory Boulevard overpass!”

 

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