Guy Clark's L.A. Freeway HHLA50


What can a country song about driving on Los Angeles freeways tell us about our city? This episode examines Guy Clark's song L.A. Freeway and the city's connection to country music.

Previous Episodes

Clarence Darrow and the Bombing of the Los Angeles Times HHLA1


Clarence Darrow is probably best known as being the attorney in the Scopes Monkey Trial. But what is lesser known is that he represented two brothers accused of bombing the L.A. Times building in 1910 before Darrow himself was put on trial for allegedly bribing a juror.

Azusa Street Revival HHLA2


Pentacostalism is a movement within Christianity which today has hundreds of millions of followers around the globe. But what is lessor known is that the modern day Pentacostal movement traces its origins back to a street in the Little Tokyo section of Downtown Los Angeles. 

Chinatown Massacre HHLA3


In 1871, approximately 500 Los Angeles residents, almost one tenth of the city's population, laid siege to L.A.'s original Chinatown and lynched 18 Chinese immigrants, making it the largest incident of mass lynching in American history. 

L.A.'s Original Name HHLA4


Everybody knows that the name Los Angeles is Spanish in origin. But what is lessor known is that there is no agreement as to what the original name given to Los Angeles by its founders was back in 1781. This episode explores the debate over LA's original name. 

St. Francis Dam Disaster HHLA5


Everyone has heard the story of Los Angeles stealing water. But what is lesser known is that a dam that was built to store water from the Owens Valley collapsed in 1928 resulting in the death of at least 600 people. 

Origin of the name "Echo Park." HHLA6


Echo Park is the name of a park and lake as well as the neighborhood which surrounds it just north of downtown Los Angeles. This edpisode looks into the origin of the name "Echo Park."

Shooting of William Warren HHLA7


In 1870, L.A.'s City Marshall, William Warren, was shot and killed, making him the first regularly employed L.A.P.D. officer to be killed in the line of duty. But Warren wasn't killed tryng to stop a crime. Instead, he was killed by another L.A.P.D. officer in connection with a dispute over a reward for recovering a runaway Chinese prostitute. This podcast tells the story of the shooting of William Warren. 

Downey Block HHLA8


This episode tells the story behind a bizarre auction that occurred in downtown Los Angeles during the 1850s.

Two Stories of the California Dream HHLA9


This episode explores two stories of the California Dream - a murder mystery and a mythical tale. 

Naming Azusa and Pasadena HHLA10


This episode discusses the origin of the names Azusa and Pasadena. 

Toypurina HHLA11


In 1785, a group of Native Americans revolted against the Spanish at Mission San Gabriel. This episode tells the story of one of the members of the rebellion named Toypurina. 

Clifford Clinton HHLA12


During the 1930s, a cafeteria owner named Clifford Clinton began an unlikely crusade against corruption in Los Angeles. This episode tells the story of Clifford Clinton. 

L.A.'s Never Built Freeways HHLA13


This episode explores the history of L.A.'s never built freeways. 

Battlefield Los Angeles HHLA14


This episode explores some of the times where Los Angeles has served as a battlefield. 

Mayor Foster HHLA15


This episode discusses an incident in 1855, when Los Angeles Mayor Stephen C. Foster took the law into his own hands. 

L.A.'s Oldest and Newest Freeways HHLA16


This episode discusses the oldest and newest freeways in Los Angeles and what they tell us about the city. 

Colonel Griffith HHLA17


This episode explores the story behind the namesake for Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory, Colonel Griffith J. Griffith. 

Terrorism in Los Angeles HHLA18


Today, terrorism is a major concern in Los Angeles. But many Angelenos would likely be surprised to learn that L.A. has, in decades past, been the target of multiple terrorist attacks. 

L.A.'s First Subway HHLA19


This episode tells the story behind L.A.'s first subway which operated between 1925 and 1955. 

The Hunt for Tiburcio Vasquez HHLA20


This episode tells the story of Tiburcio Vasquez, a bandit who was active throughout California during the mid-nineteenth century.

Edward Kewen HHLA21


This episode tells the story of California's first Attorney General and L.A.'s seventh District Attorney, Edward Kewen.

The Triforium and an Interview with Tom Carroll HHLA22


The Triforium is a six-story, 60-ton public sculpture on the corner of Temple and Main Streets in downtown that was supposed to be a symbol of L.A.'s future. Unfortunately, technical problems plagued the project from the beginning and made it the subject of much ridicule. Now a group of L.A. enthusiasts want to restore the piece and realize the project's ambitious vision. This episode discusses the history of the Triforium and includes an interview with Tom Carroll, the creator and host of the web series "Tom Explores Los Angeles," who is involved in the restoration effort.

Q&A L.A.: Why does the 2 freeway end abruptly in Echo Park? HHLA23


Why does the 2 freeway end abruptly in Echo Park? To answer the question, we must delve into the history of freeway development in Los Angeles and the world of L.A.'s never built freeways. 

Mack Robinson's Pasadena HHLA24


This episode tells the story of Mack Robinson, a silver medalist who came in second to Jesse Owens in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, as well as his relationship to his hometown of Pasadena.

Q&A LA: Why are there peacocks in Arcadia? HHLA25


Why are there peacocks in Arcadia? To answer the question, we must go back over a hundred years and learn about the founding of the City of Arcadia.

Interview with Josh Nelson HHLA26


In anticipation of his July 16, 2016 performance at Boston Court in Pasadena with his Discovery Project, a multimedia project which explores the past, present and future of Los Angeles, Robert interviews the piano player and composer Josh Nelson about the show and writing music about Los Angeles.   

Q&A L.A.: Why are there huge holes in the ground in Irwindale? HHLA27


Why are there huge holes in the ground off the 210 and 605 freeways in Irwindale? This episode answers the question while also exploring the history of Irwindale and how these holes are connected to the greater Los Angeles area. 

Angels Flight and an Interview with Richard Schave HHLA28


This episode tells the story of Angels Flight, L.A.'s beloved funicular, and the effort to get it re-opened, including an interview with local historian Richard Schave.

Q&A L.A.: What is the oldest building in Los Angeles? HHLA29


What is the oldest building that is still standing in the City of Los Angeles? The answer is not as simple as you might think.

Pico Heights HHLA30


How does a well established Los Angeles neighborhood name disappear? This episode tells the story of Pico Heights. 

Q&A L.A.: Why is the L.A. River so ugly? HHLA31


With its concrete walls and customary meager flow of water, the L.A. River has often been derided as being ugly. So how did this river, which at one point served as the lifeblood of this community, become a glorified storm drain? Find out in the latest episode of Q&A L.A. 

The Cecil Hotel and an Interview with James Bartlett HHLA32


This episode tells the story of one of the most notorious hotels in Los Angeles. 

The Ten Block System for Numbering Country Houses HHLA33


On the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Holliston Street in Pasadena stands a concrete tablet that looks like a tombstone. Even though it looks out of place, it is probably the oldest thing on that street corner - a long-lost ancestor of the navigation system on your phone. This episode tells the story. 

Q&A L.A.: What was L.A.'s first automobile? HHLA34


When was the first time a car rode the streets of Los Angeles? This episode tells the story.

John Parkinson and an Interview with Stephen Gee HHLA35


John Parkinson is L.A.'s most important, but often forgotten, architect. 

The Mount Wilson Observatory HHLA36


On a mountain above Los Angeles, a group of astronomers at the Mount Wilson Observatory forever changed our understanding of the Universe. 

Charlotta Bass HHLA37


Charlotta Bass was a trailblazing journalist and fierce advocate for civil rights, but few Angelenos have heard of her name. This episode tells the story. 

Q&A L.A.: What is the proper way to pronounce Los Angeles? HHLA39


What is the proper way to pronounce "Los Angeles?" The episode examines the history of pronouncing the city's name.

The Mirage Factory: An Interview with Gary Krist HHLA38


The episode features an interview with Gary Krist about his new book The Mirage Factory: Illusion, Imagination, and the Invention of Los Angeles. 

L.A. Sounds: John Cage HHLA40


John Cage was one of the most influential and notorious avant garde music composers of the 20th Century. And he grew up in Los Angeles. 

Q&A L.A.: Why are there so many Craftsman houses in Pasadena? HHLA41


This episode looks into why there are so many Craftsman houses in Pasadena and features an interview with Brian Baker from Pasadena Heritage about their upcoming Craftsman Weekend event.

3 Laws that Shaped the Downtown Skyline HHLA42


This episode tells the story of three laws that shaped the downtown Los Angeles skyline.

Dear Los Angeles: An Interview with David Kipen HHLA43


An interview with David Kipen about his new book Dear Los Angeles: The City in Diaries and Letters, 1542 to 2018.

L.A. Sounds: Eric Dolphy HHLA44


Eric Dolphy was a multi-instrumentalist jazz virtuoso who played with the likes of John Coltrane and Charles Mingus. And he grew up in Los Angeles. 

Freeway Soundwalls HHLA45


There are thousands of freeway soundwalls across the United States, but their origin can be traced to Los Angeles. This episode grew out of a radio piece I did for the show Take Two on KPCC 89.3 FM and a corresponding written piece for LAist.



This episode explores the lesser-known Los Angeles movies and features an interview with Phoef Sutton and Mark Jordan Legan of the podcast Film Freaks Forever.

Los Angeles Plays Itself, Thom Andersen

A great documentary about how Los Angeles is portrayed in movies

Movies mentioned during this episode

Laurel & Hardy, Big Business (1929) -

Laurel & Hardy, Putting Pants on Philip (1927) -

Buster Keaton, The Cameraman (1928) -

Safety Last! (1923) -

Buster Keaton, Seven Chances (1925) -

Crime Wave (1954) – Wikipedia:  - Clip:

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950) –

Nocturne (1946) – IMDb -

City of Fear (1959) -

The Crimson Kimono (1959) – great overview of the movie by Colin Marshall -

Angels Flight (1965) -

Union Station (1950) -

To Live and Die in L.A. (1985) – Trailer:

White Cliffs of Dover (1944) - 

D.O.A. (1949) -

Touch of Evil (1958) – Opening scene

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) – Trailer

Cisco Pike (1972) – clip

Hickey & Boggs (1972) -

The Outside Man (1972) – Trailer

Trackdown (1976) -

The Long Goodbye (1973) – Trailer

Model Shop (1969)- Trailer

Mills Place HHLA47


In Old Town Pasadena there is a historical plaque which doesn't tell the whole story. 

Lost LA and an Interview with Nathan Masters HHLA48


The fourth season of KCET's Emmy winning documentary series Lost LA premieres October 15 so I sat down with the show's host, writer and L.A. historian Nathan Masters, to talk about the show and upcoming season. 

The Autograph Book of L.A. and an Interview with Josh Kun HHLA49


The episode features an interview with Josh Kun about his latest book, The Autograph Book of L.A.