Ask Chris: Who Voices the Red Line Announcements, Sign Language at the Hollywood Bowl, and More

Our in-house historian has the answer to all of your perfectly random questions

I’ve seen Sinclair gas stations popping up around town. Has this historic brand really come here?
Dino the dinosaur has been the adorable mascot for Sinclair Oil since 1930, but the western mainstay didn’t arrive in Southern California until 2013, when the big green brontosaurus established residence in Lincoln Heights. Seven stations have opened in L.A., and more are planned.

Does the voice that asks for “No Eating, Drinking, or Smoking” on the Red Line belong to the same guy who makes the Disneyland announcements?
“I wish,” says Marty Miller, the voice of Metro for the past 15 years. Recorded spiels by Bill Rogers, Corey Burton, and others instruct riders at the Magic Kingdom to keep their “hands, arms, and feet” inside the vehicle. “The old standard-bearer at Disneyland was Paul Frees,” Miller says of the famed ghostly narrator at the Haunted Mansion. “He’s what everybody strives to sound like.”

I read that Philippe’s moved to its current site in the 1950s. What was in that spot before?
The home of pickled eggs, pig’s feet, and French dip sandwiches relocated at least five times before settling at Alameda and Ord. Architect R.B. Young, who went on to design the structure that became Clifton’s in 1904, did the plans for the two-story red pressed-brick building in 1895. For the first decade it housed an ink manufacturer, a glazier, an oil-burning-stove dealer, and “artistic wire, brass, and iron works.” From 1911 until 1951, the ground floor was home to the Miller & Herlocker machine shop. I’ll bet those workers would have loved Philippe’s.

Do the sign language interpreters at the Hollywood Bowl rehearse with the performers?
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that sign language interpreters be available at public events. These translators download the entertainers’ albums, lyrics, and set lists and research previous concerts for variations and banter. Sometimes they do practice at the same time as the performers. “A two-hour concert can require 20 hours of prep,” says interpreter Dianne Nosch. “It’s our job to pass on the spirit and intent of the music. If it’s melancholy, the signs will be subdued. For rock concerts they’re a lot larger—more animated and forceful.”