Jack Fraim (circa 1952) at Jack Fraim Ford in Culver City
SCENE: A model representing not must a place but a time in life. A young boy looks at the walls that surround the MGM Studios on Washington Boulevard in 1952. The young boy stands at the edge of the huge car sales lot of his father’s huge Ford dealership, Jack Fraim Ford. It is on Washington Boulevard, directly across Washington Boulevard from his father’s business. Jack Fraim Ford is on the NE part of the 30×20″ diorama. Washington Boulevard is a wide grey piece running through the scene and dividing Jack Fraim Ford from MGM Studios. (Does the MGM Studio run the entire length of the diorama below Washington Boulevard? Or, do we only catch the corner piece of the huge studio?) Whatever imaged captured, we (as that priviledged observer to a scene) can see that inside the walls of MGM as a famous movie is being filmed.
Outside the studios, on the walls facing Washington Boulevard, posters on the stucco walls announce this film as well as other films from the studios. There are big stars in the film being shot at MGM as we can read for ourselves (as well as the young boy). Do we look closer at the figures inside the studio gates that we can see but others in HO scale can’t see? The boy is no older than five or six and he spends a lot of time on the car lot talking to the car salesmen. Most of them have been hired by his father after they worked under him in the old Army Aircorp. Colonel Jack Fraim had hired many of the guys he commanded in the war.
Now, many of them work for Jack Fraim Ford. And, one might surmise, many of his old soldier buddy-now car salesmen for him, have been smitten by the movie business craze that possesed the town. It was a time beyond present times when all the stars have all fallen out of the sky. There was still a certain magic to the film business. There was a growing populist part of the industry in spite of those in control that wanted to keep doing things their way. The young boy is only hazily aware of this in the mindset of a young boy of that time. He still looks enchanted by the wall across the street.
The scene is based on the real car dealership of the author’s father. MGM was on Washington Boulevard but a few blocks across the street from Jack Fraim Ford. We take liberties to place it directly across the street. In the mind of a small boy, it didn’t make much difference.
The image for Jack Fraim Ford comes from a thick coin I have always carried on my keychain. It says to drop in any mailbox if found and that postage will be paid by Jack Fraim Ford. Keys were much more of a reaity at this time in history and people were running off with them left and right. Especially that group who test drove cars on sale at Jack Fraim Ford in 1952.
Images (scenes) of this project below.
Some Notes for the Project
First Paper Mock Up in S Scale
(On my birthday I was at Toys R Us in Polaris. It was the day the stock market tanked 666 points. I bought some 64 scale cars and loved them so much decided to do a diorama around them. The above is the result. Modeled from the impression in the key chain coin I carry with me at all times.
Reduced from S scale to HO scale. The application process of attaching the roof. Squeezed by Gorilla Glue to dry between literary theory, Woodland Scenics talus, an old Leo paperweight of my father and a yellow and black striped container of a special textured desert sand paint from a famous modeling company in Europe.
See below our two versions of the project in our S scale and HO scale mock-ups in this PDF link Jack Fraim Ford.
I have been in touch with the Librarian at the Culver City Historical Society. Attempting to get any photos or other information about this period in time. She has been a wonderful resource but she tells me my father’s business was not in Culver City but in the city of Los Angeles. She will continue searching records in Culver City for me. She is a great resource. I go to the website of LA Historical Society after her message to me and browse through a number of nostalgic older photos of the city. Los Angeles is good for these types of photo. I leave a message with LA Historical Society that I’m seraching for any photos or information on Jack Fraim Ford.
We recently laid out the basic symbolism of the scene onto a posterboard. Still in the paper mock-up stage. The north side of the diorama is dominated by Jack Fraim Ford. The south side of the diorama is dominated by the not-so-inviting walls surrounding MGM Studios. Washington Boulevard divides the two sides in a very Jungian manner it seems. The north side of military realism just back from the war. The colonel and his boys.
So, the project continues to take shape.