subway! They have been around for a long time; almost as long as modern railways themselves, believe it or not. Underground construction was carried out seriously by the people in the 19th century, who set out to build a network of stations so that residents could quickly and efficiently explore the city.
When you watch this wonderful retro video from 1992, this fact should be kept in mind. “Los Angeles Underground-Extreme Security” It is a guide for Californians and aims to introduce residents to the new B line subway that will open the following year. The video acts as if the subway is a novel, mysterious thing, and there are some confusing and bizarre moments. If you are a traffic lover or are excited about weird public movies, this is for you.
Immediately, we ushered in a lively and energetic man in a red shirt. He was obviously here to introduce us to some new and fashionable things. “Get to the Union Station of Hollywood and Vine in 18 minutes! You said it’s impossible? Well, no more!” he said. He challenged the audience and pointed out “No, Scotty won’t take you there, and it’s not a helicopter.” What happened after that? “It’s the subway!”
This optimistic, interesting and free-willed tone is the standard of this video course, it aims to provide a lot of information while also attracting the audience. The production is not cumbersome, smooth and clean, the lens composition is exquisite, and the information is straightforward. It is also refreshing, with no fancy transitions and harsh Muzak, which is rare in this genre. This proves the skills of the team that made this movie.
This is a movie that may surprise many viewers because it seems to treat the audience as if they had never heard of the subway before. Given the importance of the famous New York subway in American culture, and any number of other systems nationwide and in the world, it may be confusing why this is even needed.
However, as always, context is everything. The Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 was new to many Los Angeles residents in 1992. In San Francisco, the earthquake caused the terrible collapse of the upper layer of the Bay Bridge. Thousands of people were injured and 63 people died in the disaster. Therefore, it is easy to understand why the population of this city is reluctant to go deep underground for fear of being trapped in the event of another earthquake.
In fact, a lot of time in the film is devoted to alleviating these concerns. It pointed out that despite the high intensity of the Loma Prieta earthquake, the BART subway system suffered minimal damage-its construction is another focus of our Retrotechtacular series. After proper safety inspections, these lines were in operation again within a few hours after the accident. It turns out that The subway station is actually a relatively safe place during the earthquake, And is generally safer than skyscrapers or other above-ground buildings.
The concern for safety is, well…extreme, as you might guess from the title. The advanced nature of the system has also been explored. Discussed the high level of technical integration, and look at the retro-futuristic Central Control Facility (CCF) now. Rows of computers and wall monitors make it look like a distant cousin of NASA’s Mission Control Center. CCF is portrayed as a benevolent and loving God, watching the subway and its passengers all the time.
CCF staff were even shown instructing the police to help an old lady find her glasses. We are not sure whether this service will be provided in 2021. When the host crossed the line at the edge of the platform, he was immediately warned by an invisible voice, instructing him to leave. It seems that CCF’s ship is very tight, and there will be no such stupid behavior in their subway.
It is worth noting that the subway relies on the honor system of ticket revolving doors. “We know that the honor system is effective,” the host said, “because 98% of the passengers on the Metro Blue Line paid the fare!” Again, that wide-eyed, friendly smile. This movie spares no effort to tell the fate of the other 2%.
The host introduced the emergency procedures in detail and pointed out step by step what would happen if there was a problem. The sidewalk in the subway tunnel is the highlight so that passengers do not have to walk on the track in the event of an accident. Special attention is also paid to the bright lights and large double doors, which to a large extent alleviate concerns about underground claustrophobia. The sequence ends when the owner leaves an emergency hatch leading to the sidewalk. It was here that he delivered the greatest line in the entire movie. “Good evening! I want to introduce myself,” he announced boldly with a credible impression of Dracula. “My name is Earl Security, this is my subway!” Then he continued to lose himself in crazy laughter.
All the jokes aside, this is indeed a glorious piece of public information. I have read it more than a dozen times since I first discovered it last year. I believe it has done a good job of adapting Los Angeles residents to their shiny new subway system.
A copy of this film comes from Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library and Archives. It was originally established in 1895 as part of the Los Angeles Union Electric Railroad and has been maintained since then and has a catalog of traffic information for Southern California and its surrounding areas. The library catalog is available online for those who are eager to find more gems like this.
This video is the work of the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission’s own internal video production facility. Producer Erica Goebel was responsible for bringing the project together, which is one of many great public films she has produced during her respected career in the organization. Sadly, the internal department closed in 1993 and future work was outsourced. Given the quality of this video, we think it is a huge shame that you will agree with this decision. In any case, this is a beautiful relic of the era, and the entire team should be proud of their achievements. They will definitely put a smile on this writer’s face, that’s for sure!