LA as Subject

Collectively preserving, archiving and sharing the rich history and culture of Los Angeles

Meetings & Events

Union Rescue Mission Walking Tour and Rooftop screening of “Of Scrap & Steel”

Date: Thursday, October 10
Time: 5:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Union Rescue Mission
545 South San Pedro Street,
Los Angeles, CA, 90013

October is National Archives Month, and it's also Archives Month in the great state of California. To celebrate, LAVA - the Los Angeles Visionaries Association is scheduling a pair of free events exploring the newly discovered archives of the Union Rescue Mission, an incredible document of more than a century of little known downtown Los Angeles history, architecture, entertainment and charity.

On Thursday, October 10, a select group of downtown history fans will gather at sunset on the newly renovated roof of the Union Rescue Mission (URM) to see a lost piece of downtown L.A. history come to life and to get an introduction to the URM's century-plus of community service.

"Of Scrap & Steel," a 30-minute color film shop circa 1949 on Main Street and along Skid Row, is just one of the most remarkable artifacts of mid-century Los Angeles to emerge from the research that contributors to In SRO Land (a time travel blog in the 1947project series) has been doing in the newly-discovered archives of the Union Rescue Mission.

Also offered that afternoon is a free walking tour of historic Skid Row locations associated with the Union Rescue Mission and other institutions that served the needy and addicted in eastern Downtown Los Angeles from the late 19th century through the 1990s.

ABOUT THE FILM: In mid-1948 the Board of Directors of the Union Rescue Mission approved the expenditure of $5,000 to make the 30-minute film "Of Scrap & Steel" which portrays the redemption and good works of Arthur Hawkins, an alcoholic executive who ended up on the streets of Los Angeles and was whose life was saved when he turned to the URM for help. Porter Hall (Arthur Hawkins) is one of only two actors in a film otherwise populated by real Los Angeles characters. (You may recall Hall's performance as the pesky guy on the train in "Double Indemnity.")

"Of Scrap & Steel" was only shown in screenings organized by the URM or related organizations, and would have been completely lost if Liz Mooradian, URM historian, had not saved a deteriorating 16mm print and had it transferred to video before it was too late. "Of Scrap & Steel" is just one of the remarkable artifacts discovered in the Union Rescue Mission archives and explored in the In SRO Land blog.

This entertaining and powerful short film is a compelling snapshot of life on Skid Row (Main Street) circa 1949, and a fascinating document of the important work that the URM continues to do with the most needy in the community. Although downtown Los Angeles features in numerous noir films, it is extremely rare to see color images of eastern downtown, and rarer still to see full-color live-action footage of the vibrant street scene that included rescue missions, pawn shops, amusement parlors, bars, restaurants and the ever-patrolling paddy wagon in search of drunkards to haul away to jail or County work crews.

ABOUT THE SCREENING EVENT: This free rooftop screening is jointly organized by the Los Angeles Visionaries Association, the In SRO Land time travel blog and the Union Rescue Mission. Seating will be provided, and attendees are encouraged to dress warmly for the cool night air.

Gourmet box dinners, "Meals with a purpose" will be available for purchase ($7, cash only), with a choice of sandwich (vegetarian, roast beef or chicken), cookie, fruit, crackers and beverage. 100% of proceeds from your meal donation goes to the URM, and the proceeds from each dinner will feed two other people.

Free event, but space is limited. Reservations are required.

To register for the tour, click here

To register for the screening, click here