Fannish Places PDF Print E-mail

[An Ex-Siteing Tour]
by Fred Patten
[as updated by Lee Gold, for the 1972 The Best of APA-L #3]

The twelve buildings shown [in this article] have all featured prominently in the social life of LASFS, at one time or another.  Some have been Freehafer Halls, places where the LASFS has held its Meetings.  Others were known as social centers of fandom over various periods of history -- the private homes of some of our members where the weekend parties were usually held or where fans tended to congregate outside of the LASFS Meetings themselves.  One way or another, each of these buildings has some claim to fannish fame.


For pictures of the first LASFS Clubhouse (at 11360 Ventura Bld.), click here for Moffatt photos and here for Menace photos.


Silver Lake Playground

(click image above for larger image

1.  In the Silver Lake Playground at 1850 Silver Lake Drive, where the LASFS met weekly (with a few exceptions) from April 19, 1962 until fall, 1967.  [No,  LASFS had moved to the Hill at 508 South St. Andrews by mid-August, 1967; more likely by late June or early July. -- LG]  This was just a temporary meeting place when we moved in, a way station until we found another fan whose home we could turn into LASFS HQ.  Virginia Hill found the Playground for us, after we had been forced out of Mathom House by legal action and were enduring a wretched makeshift existence in the "concrete bunker" that was the Alpine Playground; we shall always credit this in Virginia's favor.

2. is Kal's Coffee Shop at 3rd and Vermont, the site of the after-Meeting when LASFS met at Silver Lake Playground or at Lab DuQuesne.  The club originally frequented Kal's from the beginning of 1959 through October, 1960, when the club was meeting at Zeke Leppin's home.  One of the best features of Kal's was that waitress par excellence, Phyllis Elzey.  Come back to us, Phyllis, wherever you are.

Lab DQ

3. is the current -- and last -- of the Labyrinths, the Labyrinth DuQuesne.  This is the fourth in the series of slan shacks started by Jack Harness and Owen Hannifen; the address is 330 South Berendo, and it's the upstairs right apartment.  Jack and Owen took residence in July, 1965, and the after-Meeting card parties immediately moved there.  After the Meeting, you could go over to the Lab and play cards, make out, and/or just fangab until daybreak Friday if not later.  And I won't try to count all the weekend fan parties that were held at the Lab.  After the original founders moved out, Tom Digby moved in and held his Fourth Saturday parties there until the building was cleared so it could be torn down in 1971.

Booby Hatch

4. is the Booby Hatch or Galt's Gulch or other names of Ayn-Randist significance.  This slan shack at 3117 West 5th Street came into existence in June, 1965 when Don Simpson, Phil Castora, Ed Baker and Hank Stine all got together to rent it.  The Booby Hatch twice served as a Freehafer Hall.  Our Halloween Costume Ball was there in 1965, and you can still see the bullet hole where we came under fire from evicted party crashers.  Within walking distance of both Kal's and the Lab DuQuesne, it helps make what is known as the Fan Square Mile. 
Margrave Manor

5. is Margrave Manor, the residence of Bill and Jayne Ellern at 975 North Oakland in Pasadena.  The weekend parties that weren't held at the Lab were held at the Manor.

6. is the Trimblehaus, at 12002 Lorna in Garden Grove.  It was a little far from the regular fannish scene, but there are always fans wherever the Trimbles are.  When the New York fans came out here for the Wester Con, they stayed at the Trimbles, and Tom Schluck, our German TAFF representative, was their house guest for several days.Half World

7. brings us into Fandom Past, and this is the Half World, Zeke Leppin's old home at 2548 West 12th Street.  The LASFS met here regularly from the beginning of 1958 after we lost our lease at the Prince Rupert Arms at the end of 1957 till October 27, 1960 when the club moved into the Fan Hilton.  Every Thursday evening, the LASFS took over the bottom floor of Zeke's.  The upstairs living quarters were sometimes rented out to fans, including then-Bjo Wells.  I think Zeke's lime punch and his budgerigar were prime influences on our decision to leave. 
Mathom House

8. is Mathom House (222 South Gramercy Place) where John and Bjo Trimble, Ernie Wheatley, Jack Harness, and the LASFS moved after a callous landlord tore down the Fan Hilton to create a laundromat.  We moved in at the beginning of October, 1961, but the LASFS last met there on Feb. 15, 1962, due to police enforcement of a city law prohibiting meetings of public organizations in residentially-zoned areas.  Mathom House continued to serve as our After-Meeting gathering place and LA fan center (the residents could legally invite as many house guests as they wanted provided we didn't hold formal, dues-collecting Meetings there) until the end of June.

9. is the Empire (more mundanely, the Tudor Apts., 738 South Mariposa Ave)..  Bruce Pelz and Jane then-Gallion moved there when the Fan Hilton was torn down in October, 1961.  Jack Harness joined them when Mathom House broke up, and Owen Hannifen was invited into the party when he moved to Los Angeles in April, 1963.  Four fan-inhabited apartments in the same building, and fans kept crossing in and out of the rooms like a sequence in an Abbott & Costello comedy.  The LASFS held at least one Meeting in Bruce's apartment.  By September, 1963, Bruce and Jane had gotten married (not to each other) and moved to larger quarters elsewhere, and Jack and Owen decided to become roommates in a bigger flat.

10. The Labyrinth at 3056 1/2 Leeward Avenue (upstairs right apartment).  Jack and Owen lived here between September, 1963 and August, 1964, and the Lab became the closest thing to a fan center we'd had since Mathom House broke up.  Fans wandered in & out at all hours of the day and night, playing cards, publishing fanzines and performing similar fan actions.  Floor space and sleeping bags were available to any out-of-town fans visiting the L.A. area, and the LASFS held at least one Meeting there.  The long drawn-out nature of the apartment, with its narrow hall, gave it its name of "The Labyrinth."  A satellite meeting place was Gail Knuth's apartment a few doors away, where we sometimes met for smaller card parties.  After a year, Jack & Owen discovered another apartment of the same size for less rent and moved to: 

Lab 3

11:  Labyrinth Three.  "We're going to call our new slan shack the Labyrinth, too," said Owen.  "Labyrinth Three." 
    ["What happened to the second Labyrinth?" everybody asked. // "No, no, Labyrinth of Space, and then Labyrinth Three," and the next one will be the Labyrinth of Valeron...." // (The first Lab then retroactively became the "Labyrinth of Space.)]
    Jack and Owen hadn't been in Labyrinth Three (2843 Sunset Place, downstairs right) for more than a week, though, when they found out why the rent was cheaper.  They moved in in August, 1964; by October they had been almost literally thrown out by cockroaches.  Labyrinth Three was never actually a fannish social center, due to its too-brief existence.
Lab Val

12.  The next Labyrinth had to be the Labyrinth of Valeron, of course.  Lab Val was at 619 South Hobart Street #3 -- the upstairs right again.  Jack and Owen were still the main tenants, but Don Simpson lived there too, off and on.  (Who knew what was in the broom closets?)  The Lab became a regular after-Meeting gathering place, and a regular Meeting or two was even held there.  Lab Val came into existence in October, 1964.  By June, 1965, the landlord's refusal to attend to needed repairs caused Jack & Owen to move to the Labyrinth DuQuesne.  (Doc Smith got that last book written just in time.)
    At the time Lab Val was established, Jack and Owen began a campaign to get other fans to move into the three other apartments in the quadruplex, so that fans could take over the whole buildings.  The only ones to take them up on it were Ted and Lin Johnstone, who moved Tara Hall into Apt. 4 (downstairs, right) [where they resided until 1969 -- LG].  Ted's home has never been a big social center (though the LASFS did meet there once), but as long as it's in the pictuer I might as well get mileage out of it.  In fact, that's Worsel, Ted's green Cadillac ambulance, parked out in front.  (Ted bought Worsel from Frank Coe under whose administration it was known as "Doctor Destrukto's Getaway Car.")  Who but a fan would conduct his social life under a pen name, write fiction under his real name, and drive a green ambulance?
    I'd like to thank Tom Digby for his time and expense in driving around with me, taking these pictures.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 27 September 2009 )

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