I first visited LA's famous Farmer's Market on Fairfax and 3rd Street in the mid-70's and it had already been going strong for almost 40 years at that point. It remains one of our favorite places in town and although diminished in footprint from what it once was before it was tucked into a corner of The Grove, it's still a small oasis of preservation of the past amidst the ocean of physical change and transformation that defines SoCal culture.
I found this vintage book of colorful illustrations and photos in a thrift store all the way in Woodstock, N.Y. of all places. Wonder how it got there?
According to the book, the market was the brainchild of one Roger Dahljelm back in the midst of the Great Depression, who took the notion to a friend named Fred Beck, an ad man, and Beck sold the concept to Earl Gilmore who owned a big farm including the tract of land that the current market sits on. The market will be 80 years old this summer, so I guess it was a pretty solid idea after all.
David Hollander wrote a wonderful play once called The Sun Diaries about a group of regulars, free lance script readers and analysts for the studios and independent producers, who meet at the market and kibbitz and trade horror stories about their low level wanna-be creative jobs. The conceit of the play is that, as expected and desired by the system, one reader has read and covered close to a thousand screenplays without ever recommending a single one. But to his dismay, he is reading a script that he loves, knowing that his recommendation could force his boss to actually have to read the thing, and perhaps cost him his job. It was a wonderfully droll piece of humor and so familiar and true to those of us who started in the business as readers and used the farmer's market as our office!
I have some great old color photos from the book to scan and share with you next.