In light of Bob Hoskins’ passing, I recently rewatched Who Framed Roger Rabbit ($2 VHS at Amoeba!) I’m always amazed by this zany farce’s re-imagining of the freeway’s replacement of the Redcar and the resulting social dislocation of Los Angeles.
“Hey mister! Ain’tcha got a car?”
“Who needs a car in L.A.?
We got the best public transportation system in the world!”
Grandma Snail would have agreed. Born in L.A. in the 1920s, trains, streetcars, and funicular lines like Angel’s Flight were a constant part of her life. Many a time Grandma Snail (her first name is Alma) has told me her admiration as a wee snail for the streetcar driver on her route home from school. Without fail, he’d call out “Alma!” to let her know her stop was coming up. “How does he know my name?” she’d wonder. Turns out, he was calling out the street name–the stop before hers was Alma Avenue!
Grandma Snail later became an active member of the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation. Mostly consisting of former engineers, signalmen, and other veterans of public transportation, the foundation organizes exhibits and lectures, and hopes to establish a railroad museum in Union Station.
In an unmarked manilla envelope among her mother’s papers, Mama Snail just discovered a clutch of mailings from the Foundation, mostly folded cards and postcards! You can tell she loved to look at them, because they all have pushpin holes from hanging on her bulletin board.