Documentary Week on Ask Chris: Googie Architecture


This week on the Ask Chris blog, we’re going to highlight some of our favorite documentary films about Los Angeles. If you’ve ever spent five minutes with me, you’ve heard me express my love for Googie architecture. It’s my origin story, my inspiration, my whole everything. I love the modern design of coffee shops, car washes, and bowling alleys of the 1950s. I’ve spent most of my life researching them (have you seen my own mini documentary on the history of Denny’s?) and trying to save the best examples. The best of this optimistic, exciting architecture emerged in Los Angeles and—with the exception of a few years in Las Vegas—we did it better than anyone else. This circa 1984 video captured the key players: architect Eldon Davis, Bob’s Big Boy owner Bob Wian, and historian Alan Hess in two parts. Hess’s book Googie: 50s Coffee Shop Architecture was the first to compare Norms, Bob’s, and Ships to the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and the modern masters. Long live Googie!

Googie Architecture – Part 1 from Sunny & Mild Media on Vimeo.

Googie Architecture – Part 2 from Sunny & Mild Media on Vimeo.