Saturday, March 28, 2009


In celebration of the Santa Monica pier's Centennial this year, local historian James Harris has put together Santa Monica Pier/A Century on the Last Great Pleasure Pier, a neat little book retracing its history from public utility to fishing and entertainment destination to international landmark and movie celebrity. The book is filled with photos, anecdotes and memorabilia, with a foreword by Robert Redford, a pier fan and key advocate for its restoration in the 1980s.

The flavor and contents of Harris' book are best summarized in Dane Robert Swanson's review for the SMDP. Not only is the Santa Monica pier a rare survivor to a bygone era that saw so many piers rise and (literally) fall, its life reads like a rich plot of love, glamor, intrigue, drama, and successive rebirths -- like a good old American story.
And yes, Popeye was "Born in a typhoon off Santa Monica" in 1929. A character among so many described in the book, the famous sailor man was created by pier regular E.C. Segar, and modeled after Captain Olaf Olsen, one of the pier's fishing boat operators.
book cover via

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