1 My formulation of the concept of "ghosts" as serious social phenomena is derived primarily from my reading of Hegel's theory of alienation, in combination with a theory of "social distance" derived from Georg Simmel (see further notes below). For another and very important formulation, see Avery F. Gordon, Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997).
2Norman Bel Geddes, the designer-prophet of the freeway, predicted in his Magic Motorways (1940) "Their grades are constant, never excessive. Their curving radii are constant, always generous. All over the United States, the motorways are uniform and function in exactly the same way." Quoted in Edward Dimindberg, "The Will to Motorization: Cinema, Highways, and Modernity," October 73 (Summer 1995), 123. Dimindberg's essay is an excellent exploration of political aesthetic of modernist transportation planning agendas in Germany and the United States.
3I recognize many definitions of "modernism," which range from left to right in political ideology. The sense of "modernist" planning used in this paragraph refers primarily to the international Style that thrived in the period my essay covers: the 1940s-60s. "Everywhere," writes George Lipsitz, "cultural domination by metropolitan elites evicerates and obliterates traditional cultures rooted in centuries of shared experience." Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Popular Culture (Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press, 1990), p. 133. The cleansing utopianism of urban modernism, and the possible emergence postmodernism as a more powerful "cultural dominant," is explored in Frederic Jameson, Postmodernism: Or, the Cultural Logic of late Capitalism (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1995); and David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Cambridge, Mass.: Basil Blackwell, 1990). Concerning Bunker Hill, Mike Davis writes: "With historical landscapes erased, with megastructures and superblocks as primary components, and with an increasingly dense and self-contained circulation system, the new financial district is best conceived as a single, demonically self-referential hyper-structure, a Miesian skyscape raised to dementia." City of Quartz 229.
4Interview with four houseless residents of the Four-Level Interchange, Ron Wells, Curtis, Joseph Guajardo, and "You can Call Me Whatever You Want," 24 January 1999. My pairing of "citizen" with "homeless" is directly based on Hegel's paring of "lord" with "bondsman," and my sense of alienation is drawn principally from upon his. Hegel's discussion of the "unhappy consciousness" follows immediately, in The Phenomenology of Mind, upon the conclusion of his famous explication of the illusory freedom of the master in the relationship of Lordship and Bondage: "For, just where the master has effectively achieved lordship, he really finds that something has come about quite different from an independent consciousness. It is not an independent, but rather a dependent consciousness that he has achieved. He is thus not assured of self-existence as his truth . . . . The Truth of the independent consciousness is accordingly the consciousness of the bondsman." (236-237). The resistance to recognizing such contradictions, and thus the loss of basic elements of self-consciousness, is the condition of "alienation." In Hegel's words: "Thus we have here that dualizing of self-consciousness within itself, which lies essentially in the notion of mind; but the unity of the two elements is not yet present; hence the Unhappy Consciousness, the Alienated Soul which is the consciousness of self as a divided nature, a doubled and merely contradictory being." Tr. J.B. Baillie (New York: Harper Colphon Books, 1967), 236-237, 251. For the historian's use of Hegel, especially revealing is Michael S. Roth's Knowing and History: Appropriations of Hegel in Twentieth-Century France (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988). I am particularly influenced by Martin Heidegger's 1931 lectures, republished as Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit Trans. Parvis Emad and Kenneth Maly (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988).
5I retain quotation marks around "citizen" as the houseless use that phrase, and then freely associate with that label the critical concept of social citizenship. Clearly the houseless when using this label for their Other testify to their own disfranchisement. Regarding "recognition," I draw on the work of Axel Honneth. See especially Honneth, "Integrity and Disrespect: Principles of a Conception of Morality Based on a Theory of Recognition," in Honneth, The Fragmented World of the Social ed. Charles W. Wright, (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995), pp. 247-260.
6At this point I merge the Hegelian theory of alienation with Georg Simmel's formulation of "social distance." The career of Simmel's concept has taken many turns, emerging in a de-spatialized, metaphoric notion widely employed by sociologists today. I suggest a return to Simmel's original, dual geometric-metaphoric intentions for the concept in "The Intellectual Construction of 'Social Distance': Toward a Recovery of Georg Simmel's Social Geometry," in Cybergeo, the electronic edition of European Geography Journal (posted September 1997: HTTP://www.cybergeo.presse.fr/)
7The evidence that this particular family was Mexican or Mexican American is indirect: the signage along the street is primarily in Spanish, and the girls seem to have returned from a parochial school. In any event, the neighborhood was identified by the authorities who wrote the HOLC's neighborhood description as begin a Mexican one (see below).
8The story of the Four Level Interchange lies primarily in the massive and mainly untapped archives of Los Angeles. I am indebted to Matt Roth for sharing his research-in-progress on freeway building. For a brief account, see Matthew W. Roth, "The Four-Level Interchange, Los Angeles" Westways (Forthcoming, January-February 2000).
9I estimated the figure of 100 in the following manner. I have personally met and observed for more than one year the community under the Four Level along Figueroa Street, between Sunset and Temple. There are more than 20 persons on average at any given time in this segment alone. From observations and discussions with knowledgeable homeless persons, 100 would be a very conservative guess for the entire Four Level and its many bridges and rights-of-way. A more realistic number might be between 200 and 300.
10California Highways and Public Works, (January 1954), pp. 8-9. For the initial tip that the Four Level Interchange appeared in Paramount Films' War of the Worlds, I am indebted to Arthur Krim, "The Four Level Stack as Los Angeles Icon," paper delivered at the Society for Commercial Archeology, Annual Conference," Los Angeles, April 1996.
11On Bel Geddes, see Dimendberg, "The Will to Motorization: "; on the 1939 New York World's Fair: Burton Benedict, The Anthropology of World's Fairs (London and Berkeley: Scolar Press, 1983), pp. 13-16; Jeffrey A. Kroessler, "world's fairs," in The Encyclopedia of New York City, ed. Kenneth T. Jackson (New York: Yale University Press, 1995), pp. 1275-1276.
12Concerning Bunker Hill, Mike Davis writes: "With historical landscapes erased, with megastructures and superblocks as primary components, and with an increasingly dense and self-contained circulation system, the new financial district is best conceived as a single, demonically self-referential hyper-structure, a Miesian skyscape raised to dementia." City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (London: Verso, 1990), p. 229.
13The original "Bigelow Plan" was conceived by C.C. Bigelow, president of the Southwestern Investment Corp. of Los Angeles, sometime in the mid-1920s. By 1928 Bigelow had produced an complete engineering report. This early plan is summarized in "Razing of Bunker Hill, Los Angeles,' Western Construction News 10 July 1929, pp. 339-340. The Bigelow Plan fell victim to the Crash of 1929. More generally, see: Norman Klein, History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory (London and New York: Verso, 1997); Don Parson, "'This Modern Marvel': Bunker Hill, Chavez Ravine, and the Politics of Modernism in Los Angeles,' Southern California Quarterly (1993): 333-345; Pat Adler, The Bunker Hill Story revised edition (Glendale: La Siesta Press, 1968).
14Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space tr. Maria Jolas (Boston, Mass: Beacon Press, 1994), p. 14.
15Howard Koch, Radio Script for "War of the Worlds" by Mercury Radio Theatre (CBS Broadcast 30 October 1938). Transcribed from cassette tape recording: "War of the Worlds" © 1967 Howard Koch Golden Age Radio (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Metacom, Inc., 1994).
16Michael Denning, The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century (New York: Verso, 1997), pp. 262-402.
17Jack Bivash, who was Pereira and Luckman's head of the Bunker Hill project, remembers using the 1940 Model of Los Angles as basis for the 1950s redevelopment plans. Interview with author, 22 October 1999.
18As Norman Klein points out, Chandler had very little experience on Bunker Hill after he moved away from the neighborhood in 1913. History of Forgetting, pp. 51-52.
19Western Housing, July 1956, p. 10.
20Pereira and Luckman's initial redevelopment plans for Bunker Hill are dated in 1955. "65 year-Old Bunker Hill House converted into Modern Apartments," Western Housing, January 1954, p. 8.
21The story of the HOLC's racial redlining project was first and most authoritatively detailed by Kenneth T. Jackson, in chapter 11 of his Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (New York; Oxford University Press, 1985), pp. 190-218; An important exploration for the Los Angeles case can be found in the wide-ranging essay by George Lipsitz, "Cruising Around the Historical Bloc: Postmodernism and Popular Music in East Los Angeles," in Lipsitz, Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Popular Culture (Minneapolis; University of Minnesota Press, 1990), pp. 133-162. The following two paragraphs are based largely on these two works. See also George Lipsitz, The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit From Identity Politics (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998).
22C.C. Boyd, Field Agent, "Description of Areas. Security Map #1. Metropolitan Los Angeles, California. For the Mortgagee Rehabilitation Division Home Owners' Loan Corporation. [Typescript, dated Washington D.C. 18 September 1936]. National Archives , Federal Home Loan Bank Board (Record Group 195).
23Los Angeles County Housing Authority, Real Property Inventory and Low Income Housing Area Survey of a Portion of Los Angeles County, California (N.P. 1939/40). Copy in University of California Los Angeles Library. "Predominance" of any racial group at 8.3 percent is a very significant judgement, stemming undoubtedly from the "one-drop rule:" if you have only one drop of non-white blood, you are entirely non-white; by extension, if a neighborhood has just one non-white family on one block, then it must be a non-white neighborhood. The Bunker Hill neighborhood, then, was manifestly heterogeneous, and was primarily condemned for that diversity. (Hence the pejorative connotation of "melting pot").
24Howard Koch, Radio Script for "War of the Worlds."
25Review of Paramount Films' "War of the Worlds," Cue 15 August 1953. Clipping Files, Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
26"War of the Worlds" Treatment by Roy J. Pomeroy, 15 November 1926; Harold Matson and Pat Duggan to H.N. Swanson, telegram 31 October 1938; Synopsis, dated 28 November 1940, all manuscripts in the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Gail Morgan Hickman, The Films of George Pal (South Brunswick and New York: A.S. Barnes and Company, 1977), pp. 56-71. Conscious intent to allegorize the Cold War and the atomic threat is confirmed by the film's Director in Byron Haskin Interviewed by Joe Adamson (Metuchen, New Jersey: The Director's Guild of America and the Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1984), pp. 202-203.
27 Nozaki was a target of racial cleansing again in 1949, as Roger Friedland and Harold Zellman discovered, when he was expelled by the otherwise left-progressive Crestwood Hills development, by the force of a racial covenant in the deed to the property. I am grateful to Roger Friedland and Harold Zellman for the background history of Albert Nozaki.
28William Pereira's filmography includes the following credits: Producer, From This Day Forward (1946) and Johnny Angel (1946); Art Director: Aloma of the South Seas (1941) and New York Town (1941); Production Designer: Since You Went Away (1944) and Jane Eyre (1944); Special Effects: Reap the Wild Wind (1942). As of this writing, no published biography exists. See the forthcoming James M. Steele, William Pereira (Los Angeles University of Southern California School of Architecture Guild Press, 2000). I have had no access to this work nor knowledge of its contents at this writing.
29The precise timing has been established by Arthur Krim: "It appears that the actual production with cast on location in Los Angeles can be dated to May-September 1952, with site shots of the Four level Interchange near City Hall " Arthur Krim to Margaret Herrick Library 26 April 1996. Production File, War of the Worlds , Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
30For a completely different interpretation of the destruction of Los Angeles in science fiction novels and films, see Mike Davis, Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster (new York: Metropolitan Books, 1998), pp. 273-356.
31This paragraph is based on newspaper clippings Los Angeles Examiner, 4 May 1942, 13 August 1950; Especially useful is a two-part biographical feature in Los Angeles Times, 6 and 7 April 1959.
32Los Angeles Examiner, 26 June 1961. The suppression of that crisis, of course, was a notorious concrete wall plowed through the heart of a great city, an involuted "free"-way.
33"Bunker Hill Purchases Speeded," Los Angeles Examiner 17 May 1961.
34On parcels adjacent to the Four Level, the Los Angeles Unified School district has now squandered 130 million on a scandal-ridden and unbuildable high school project, called the "Belmont Learning Complex." Mainly Latino school kids are now forced to remain in their overcrowded rooms within sight of the derelict project. Los Angeles Times: 10, 27, 28 January, 16 February 1998; 15, 17 February , 20 March, 2, 9, 13 April 1999; La Opinión 19 October 1999. The quoted phrase is from the opening of Max Horkheimer and Thodore Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment Trans. John Cumming (Original edition 1944; New York: Continuum, 1972), p. 3.
35Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, p. xv.