Sunday, September 10, 2017

How to Go to a USC Football Game

The USC campus. The skyline of downtown L.A.
can be seen in the upper left corner.

The football team at the University of Southern California -- hereafter to be referred to by their initials, USC (and nobody outside their State calls the University of South Carolina "USC") -- have opened their 2017 season with a 49-31 win over Western Michigan, and a 42-24 win over Pacific-12 Conference opponent Stanford, who came in ranked Number 14 in the nation, so this is a notable victory.

USC are now ranked Number 4, and face another of the game's historic powers, the University of Texas, this Saturday afternoon at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Before You Go. Unlike the Seattle and San Francisco Bay Areas, the Los Angeles area has very consistent weather. It's a nice place to visit. If you don't mind earthquakes. And mudslides. And wildfires. And smog. Check the weather forecast on the Los Angeles Times' website before you, so you'll know what to bring. Currently, projections for the weekend are in the high 70s in daylight, and the mid-60s at night.

Los Angeles is in the Pacific Time Zone, which is 3 hours behind New York. Adjust your timepieces accordingly.

Tickets. USC  averaged 68,459 fans last season, one in which they lost 3 of their 1st 4, then won their last 9 to reach and win the Rose Bowl. (They finished 2nd in the Pac-12 Southern Division, but because Division Champion Colorado lost the Conference Championship Game and winners Washington went into the College Football Playoff, USC, the league's next-highest-polling team, got the Rose Bowl bid.)

They got 61,125 for their home game against Western Michigan, and 77,614 for their home game against fellow Californians Stanford. The fact that Memorial Stadium in Austin is 1,383 miles from the Coliseum would suggest that the game won't come close to being a sellout. The fact that UT-Austin is a huge school with a massive number of alumni, all over the world, and that these are 2 of the Top 10 dynastic college football programs, may bring a lot of Burnt Orange in with the Cardinal and Gold.

Whether that will be enough to fill the Coliseum's current listed capacity of 93,607 remains to be seen. But considering each program's reputation, don't presume that, even with one of the largest stadiums in the world, getting tickets will be easy.

For this game, seats in the closed, west end zone are going for $96, while midfield seats are $169. Expect seats for the UCLA game, which USC hosts this season, to be equally ridiculous. For most other games, end zone seats could be as low as $28, and midfield seats $84.

Getting There. It's 2,779 miles from Times Square in New York to City Hall in downtown Los Angeles. In other words, if you're going, you're flying.

After all, even if you get someone to go with you, and you take turns, one drives while the other one sleeps, and you pack 2 days' worth of food, and you use the side of the Interstate as a toilet, and you don’t get pulled over for speeding, you’ll still need over 2 full days. Each way.

But, if you really, really want to drive... Take Interstate 80 West across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. Just before leaving Nebraska for Colorado you'll get on Interstate 76, and shortly before reaching Denver you'll get on Interstate 70 West. You'll take that all the way to its end in Utah, where you'll take Interstate 15 South. You’ll go through a short strip of Arizona before getting into Nevada (where you’ll see the Strip, Las Vegas), before getting into California.

Assuming you're not going to a hotel first (and you really should), either in Los Angeles or near the stadium or Disneyland in Anaheim), you'll get off I-15 at Exit 109A, and get on Interstate 10 West, and almost immediately onto U.S. Route 101 North, the San Bernardino Freeway. That will take you into downtown L.A.

Given an average speed of 60 miles an hour, you'll be in New Jersey for an hour and a half, Pennsylvania for 5:15, Ohio for 4 hours, Indiana for 2:30, Illinois for 2:45, Iowa for 5:15, Nebraska for 6 hours, Colorado for 7:15, Utah for 6 hours, Arizona for half an hour, Nevada for 2 hours, and California for 3 and a half hours hours; for a total of 46 hours and 30 minutes. Factor in rest stops, you'll need more like 3 full days. And, remember, that’s just one way. And if you end up using Las Vegas as a rest stop, well, you might end up missing the game and end up, yourself, as what "stays in Vegas."

That's still faster than Greyhound and Amtrak. Greyhound will take about 68 hours, changing buses twice, $550 round-trip, although it can drop to $431 with advanced purchase. The station is at 1716 E. 7th Street, at Lawrence Street.

If you go by Amtrak, it's about 85 hours. You'd leave Penn Station on the Lake Shore Limited at 3:40 PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, arrive at Union Station in Chicago at 9:45 AM Central Time on Thursday, transfer to the Southwest Chief at 3:00 PM, and arrive and Union Station in Los Angeles at 8:15 AM Pacific Time on Saturday. It's $466 round-trip, Union Station is at Alameda & Arcadia Streets).

Flights will be more expensive, and you'll almost certainly have to change planes at least once, probably in Chicago or Dallas. But if you play your cards right, you can get a round-trip flight for a little under $700. The LAX2US bus will take you, as its name suggests, from Los Angeles International Airport to Union Station, taking 45 minutes and costing $8.00; from there, bus and subway connections can be made to downtown. 

Once In the City. Los Angeles was founded in 1781 by Spain as a Catholic mission, and means "The Angels" -- and so, that was the name of the Pacific Coast League team, and the subsequent American League team: The Los Angeles Angels. The city continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and is now just under 4 million people, making it the 2nd-largest city in North America, behind New York. (Unless you count Mexico, and thus Mexico City, as "North America" instead of "Central America.") The metro area has about 18.6 million people.

The "centerpoint" of the city, where east-west and north-south addresses begin, is 1st Street and Main Street. Numbered streets are east-west.

The Los Angeles Times is the leading (most-circulated) newspaper in the Western United States, and has long been known for a great sports section. The legendary columnist Jim Murray has been dead for some time now, but if you watch ESPN's Around the Horn, you'll recognize the names of Bill Plaschke and J.A. Adande.

ZIP Codes in Los Angeles start with the digits 900 and 901, and the suburbs 902 through 918. The original Area Code was 213, but it is now used only for Downtown, and 323 now overlays it. 310 and 818 are used for the Western suburbs, 562 for the Southern suburbs, and 661 and 747 for the Northern suburbs.

The sales tax in the State of California is 7.5 percent, in the City of Los Angeles 9 percent. A single ride on a bus or subway is $1.75. A 1-day pass is $7.00, and a 7-day pass (which might be a better value even if you're only staying for the 3 games of the series) Is $25.

Yes, L.A. has a subway now, the Metro, with Red, Blue, Green, Gold, Purple and Expo lines. (Expo? It goes from Los Angeles all the way to Montreal? No.)
The USC campus is bordered by Jefferson Blvd. on the north, Figueroa Street on the east, Exposition Blvd. to the south (separating the main campus from Exposition Park and the Coliseum), and Vermont Avenue to the west. It is centered on the Gwynn Wilson Student Union (shown below), at 3601 Trousdale Parkway, about 4 miles south of downtown. The Bookstore is adjacent, at 840 Child's Way.
In 1930, the Trojan Shrine, a statue sculpted by Roger Noble Burnham, was unveiled in front of Bovard Auditorium, on Childs Way at Trousdale Parkway. The statue of a Trojan warrior is popularly known as Tommy Trojan. This past August 17, a statue designed to represent the women of USC was dedicated, named Hecuba after the mythical Queen of Troy.
It seems odd to name your team after the nation that, until Germany lost both World Wars in the last 100 years, stood for about 3,000 years as the most famous losers of a war in human history. It makes even less sense for George Washington High School, a school named for the Father of Our Country and located in Upper Manhattan, to be named for ancient warriors who lost a legendary war. (It could be worse: Bishop Ahr High School in Edison, New Jersey, not far from where I live, calls its teams the Trojans, and Trojan is also a brand of condoms, and the Catholic Church is against birth control.)

Owen R. Bird, a former USC student and a writer for the Los Angeles Times, created the name Trojans for the school in 1912. He later said:

Owing to the terrific handicaps, under which the athletes, coaches and managers of the university were laboring at this time … appreciating their splendid fighting spirit and ability of the teams to go down under overwhelming odds of bigger and better equipped teams … it seemed to me that the name 'Trojan' fitted their case.

It is true that, while they lost the Trojan War to the Greeks, the Trojans fought with defiance and courage for 10 years. But Bird's story turned out nearly as tragic as theirs: In 1929, Bird caught his wife and his best friend together -- apparently, just talking. He shot and killed the best friend, but only served 2 years for manslaughter. A foreshadowing of USC grad O.J. Simpson, maybe? He lived until 1965, still trying to regain the positive side of his notoriety. 

Going In. The official address of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is 3911 South Figueroa Street, about a 10-minute walk south of the Student Union. If you're taking public transportation from downtown, take the Number 40 or 42 bus. If you're not, you should be: Private lots are charging $50 and up for Rams games. There are public parking lots that allow tailgating, as long as you limit your activities to your own parking space.
The Coliseum. In the foreground, the Sports Arena.
In the background, to the left, the Olympic swimming stadium.

The open east end is considered the main entrance, and features an arched "peristyle." In front of it are a pair of statues, dedicated for the 1984 Olympics, one of each gender, naked and spectacularly fit -- but no heads on them, presumably so that the viewer can imagine him/herself as one of them.
The model for the male statue was Terry Schroeder, then a 25-year-old American water polo player, who won Silver Medals with the U.S. team in 1984 and again in 1988. He is now a 58-year-old chiropractor in the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura Hills.

The female model was Jennifer Innis, a long jumper from the South American nation of Guyana, who had competed in 1980, and did so again in 1984, but did not win a medal. The only information that I can find about her now is that she is now 57 years old, married, and using her married name, and that she values her privacy enough that she won't give out any additional information.
The peristyle and torch, during the Opening Ceremony
of the 1984 Olympics

Opening on May 1, 1923, the Coliseum, a.k.a. "The Grand Old Lady," is probably the most famous building in the State of California, unless you count the HOLLYWOOD sign or San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge as "buildings." The list of teams and events that have called it home over its 94 years is extensive: 

* The Olympic Games, the events for which it is best known: The Coliseum was the centerpiece of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, and for a time in 1932, was officially named "Olympic Stadium."

* College football: The University of Southern California (USC) has played football here since 1923. The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) played here from 1928 to 1981, when they inexplicably moved out of the Coliseum, and the city that forms their name, into the Rose Bowl, a stadium that could arguably be called USC's other home field.

* Pro football: The NFL's Los Angeles Rams from 1946 to 1979, after which they moved to Anaheim; and again from 2016 to 2019, before they move into the City of Champions Stadium that is now being built in Inglewood. The NFL's Los Angeles Raiders from 1982 to 1994, after which they moved back to Oakland. The All-America Football Conference's Los Angeles Dons from 1946 to 1949. The American Football League's Los Angeles Chargers in 1960, before moving down the Coast to San Diego. The United States Football League's Los Angeles Express from 1983 to 1985. And the XFL's Los Angeles Xtreme in 2001.

Oddly, since both the Rams and the Raiders moved away after the 1994 season, the Oakland Raiders seem to be the most popular NFL team in Los Angeles County, but the Chargers, who played 90 miles away in San Diego from 1961 to 2016 before moving to the StubHub Center for the 2017, '18 and '19 seasons, are the most popular team in Orange County.

* Professional soccer: The United Soccer Association's Los Angeles Wolves in 1967. The National Professional Soccer League's Los Angeles Toros in 1967. Those leagues merged to form the original North American Soccer League, but the Coliseum only hosted that league in 2 more seasons, for the Los Angeles Aztecs in 1977 and 1981. It has hosted 20 matches of the U.S. soccer team. The U.S. has won 9 of those games, lost 7 and drawn 4. Only Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington has hosted more.

* Major League Baseball: The National League's Los Angeles Dodgers played here from 1958 to 1961 while waiting for Dodger Stadium to be ready. But the shape of the field led to a 251-foot left-field fence, the shortest in modern baseball history. They won the 1959 World Series while playing here, the 1st title for a team playing west of St. Louis.

They got the biggest crowd ever for an official baseball game, 92,706, for Game 5 of the 1959 World Series; 93,103 for Roy Campanella's testimonial, an exhibition game against the Yankees on May 7, 1959; and the largest crowd for any baseball game played anywhere in the world, 115,300, for a preseason exhibition with the Red Sox on March 29, 2008, to celebrate their 50th Anniversary in L.A.
The 2008 exhibition game

A crowd of 102,368 on November 10, 1957, for a rivalry game between the Rams and the San Francisco 49ers, stood as a regular-season NFL record until 2005. Ironically, the 1st Super Bowl, held here on January 15, 1967 (Green Bay Packers 35, Kansas City Chiefs 17) was only 2/3rds sold -- the only Super Bowl that did not sell out. Super Bowl VII (Miami Dolphins 14, Washington Redskins 7) was also played here, and did sell out.

Super Bowl I. Green Bay in green, Kansas City in white.

Officially, the Coliseum now seats 93,607. The field is real grass, and is aligned east-to-west, unlike most American football fields, which are aligned north-to-south due to the Sun.
Ready for the Rams

Next-door to the Coliseum, at 3939 S. Figueroa, the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena opened in 1959, and hosted the Democratic Convention the next year, although John F. Kennedy gave his acceptance speech at a packed Coliseum, debuting his theme of a "New Frontier."

The NBA's Lakers played there from 1960 to 1967, the NHL's Kings their first few home games in 1967 before the Forum was ready, the NBA's Clippers from 1984 to 1999, the ABA's Stars from 1968 to 1970, the WHA's Sharks from 1972 to 1974, the 1968 and 1972 NCAA Final Fours (both won by UCLA, the former over North Carolina and the latter over Florida State), USC basketball from 1959 to 2006, and UCLA basketball a few times before Pauley Pavilion opened in 1965 and again in 2011-12 due to Pauley's renovation.

Due to its closeness to Hollywood studios, the Sports Arena was often used for movies that need an arena to simulate a basketball or hockey game, a prizefight (including the Rocky films), a concert, or a political convention. Lots of rock concerts were held here, and Bruce Springsteen, on its stage, called the building "the joint that don't disappoint" and "the dump that jumps."

Demolition began a year ago August. The 22,000-seat Banc of California Stadium, the home of Major League Soccer expansion team Los Angeles FC, is being built on the site, scheduled to open next March, in time for the 2018 season.

The Coliseum area is just off the USC campus, in Exposition Park. The California Science Center (including the space shuttle Endeavour), the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and the California African American Museum are also there, and the Shrine Auditorium, former site of the Academy Awards, is but a few steps away.

Because of its proximity to Hollywood, the Coliseum has been in many movies. Its 1st was in 1944, The Falcon in Hollywood. It served as both the Rams' home and the site of the Super Bowl in Heaven Can Wait in 1978. It was also used in the football-themed films North Dallas Forty, The Last Boy Scout and Jerry Maguire. It stood in for Memorial Stadium in Baltimore in the baseball film 61*, and was destroyed by the U.S. Army in World War Z.

On TV, it was 1st used in 1972 for Columbo and Banacek. Charlie's Angels shot 3 episodes there. It was used on The Incredible Hulk, Quincy, M.E. (not the episode on which former Rams star Rosey Grier guest-starred), CHiPs, Full House (for a Beach Boys concert at which the Tanner family were guests), 24, and, standing in for the Berlin Olympiastadion, Alias.

Food. The Coliseum is set up for college football, so don't look for anything particularly unusual or named for the Rams or any legends thereof. The Coliseum has Healthy Choices Stands at Sections 104, 116 and 126; Artisan Sausage Stands at 105, 109, 121 and 125; Combo Meal Stands at 106, 113, 117 and 124; Pizza Stands at 110 and 120; Chicken Sandwich Stands at 111 and 119; and Burger Stands at 112 and 118.

Team History Displays. USC claims 11 National Championships, the 1st 3 awarded by national organizations before the 1936 birth of the Associated Press sportswriters' poll: 1928, 1931, 1932, 1939, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1974, 1978, 2003 and 2004.

The 1974 and 1978 titles were awarded by United Press International, the coaches' polls, while AP voted Oklahoma and Alabama, respectively, Number 1 in those seasons. While the NCAA vacated their right to the 2004 National Championship due to their various rule violations, the AP did not, so USC still claims it. Flags honoring these titles fly from the rim of the Coliseum.
USC claims 38 Conference Championships. The league known as the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) from 1916 to 1958, the Athletic Association of Western Universities (AAWU) from 1959 to 1967, the Pacific-8 Conference from 1968 (with the addition of Oregon and Oregon State) to 1977, the Pacific-10 Conference from 1978 (with the addition of Arizona and Arizona State) to 2010, and the Pacific-12 Conference since 2011 (with the addition of Colorado and Utah) recognizes USC as Champions in 1927, 1928, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1938, 1939, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1947, 1952, 1959, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1993, 1995, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2008; and as Southern Division Champions in 2015. USC had also won in 2004 and 2005, but those were vacated along with the 2004 National Championship.

There have been 7 USC players who have won the Heisman Trophy. All had their uniform numbers retired: 20, running back Mike Garrett, 1965; 32, running back O.J. Simpson, 1968; 12, running back Charles White, 1979; 33, running back Marcus Allen, 1981; 3, quarterback Carson Palmer, 2002; 11, quarterback Mart Leinart, 2004; and 5, running back Reggie Bush, 2005.

One of them has had the number officially unretired, because he had to give up his Heisman Trophy, although the number has not been reissued since that happened. But it's not the one you might think. While Simpson had to give up his Heisman as part of his civil penalty for having been found liable for the murders for which a criminal trial acquitted him, that was the law's penalty, not the NCAA's. Officially, the NCAA still recognizes him as having won it, and they have no jurisdiction to deny it, since he didn't break NCAA rules. Only Bush has ever been seriously threatened with being stripped of the Trophy, due to his involvement with USC's 2004-05 scandal, and he voluntarily gave it up before he could be officially punished.

Garrett, Simpson, White, Allen and Bush are part of a USC tradition known as "Tailback U," just as Penn State is nicknamed "Linebacker U." This also includes Frank Gifford (1951), Anthony Davis (1974) and Ricky Bell (1976).

Gifford, Simpson and Allen are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So are end Red Badgro (1926), offensive tackle Ron Mix (1959), safety Willie Wood (1959), offensive tackle Ron Yary (1967), receiver Lynn Swann (1973), offensive tackle Anthony Munoz (1979), safety Ronnie Lott (1980), offensive tackle Bruce Matthews (1982) and linebacker Junior Seau (1989).

Other USC players who experienced some NFL success include linebacker Tim Rossovich (1967), quarterback Pat Haden (1974), linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. (1977, Bruce's brother), safety Joey Browner (1982), linebacker Jack Del Rio (1984), quarterback Rodney Peete (1988),safety Mark Carrier (1989), linebacker Willie McGinest (1993), cornerback Jason Seehorn (1993), offensive tackle Tony Boselli (1994), receiver Keyshawn Johnson (1995), linebacker Chris Claiborne (1998), safety Troy Polamalu (2002), quarterback Mark Sanchez (2008), and linebacker Clay Matthews III (2008).

And the 1928 National Championship team had Marion Morrison, whose career ended in a dumb bodysurfing accident. Since he was already in Los Angeles, he became a Hollywood stuntman, and then an actor. Director Raoul Walsh knew a man named "Marion" would never be accepted as a leading man or a tough guy, and suggested "Anthony Wayne," in honor of a legendary General. Fox Studios chief Winfield Sheehan rejected this as sounding "too Italian." So Walsh suggested a new first name, and he was John Wayne from then on.

USC has had more players reach the NFL than any other school (493), more Pro Bowlers (162), and more NFL Draft 1st round picks (77). And all but 2 of the 1st 51 Super Bowls had at least 1 former Trojan take the field.

Other USC sports legends include:

* Men's Basketball: Bill Sharman, Alex Hannum, Paul Westphal, Gus Williams, Harold Miner, Brian Scalabrine, and Nick Young. In contrast to the great success of crosstown UCLA, they've only made the NCAA Final Four twice, long before that name was used, in 1940 and 1954. But they have won the league now known as the Pac-12 7 times: 1928, 1930, 1935, 1940, 1954, 1960 and 1985; and won its Tournament in 2009.

* Women's Basketball: Cheryl Miller, Cynthia Cooper, Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson. National Champions in 1983 and 1984.

* Baseball: Ron Fairly, Tom Seaver, Dave Kingman, Bill "Spaceman" Lee, Steve Busby, Jim Barr, Fred Lynn, Roy Smalley, Rich Dauer, Steve Kemp, Mark McGwire, Geoff Jenkins, Barry Zito, Mark Prior and Ian Kennedy. They've wn 12 National Championships: 1948, 1958, 1961, 1963, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978 and 1998. All but the last were won under legendary coach Rod Dedeaux, whose come-from-behind wins at their home field, Bovard Field, earned him the nickname the Houdini of Bovard; the last was won by Mike Gillespie.

* Track & field: The following Olympic Gold Medalists: 1920 100-meter sprinter Charlie Paddock, 1968 pole vaulter Bob Seagren, 1972 long jumper Randy Williams, 1992 400-meter runner Quincy Watts, and 2004 and 2012 hurdler Felix Sanchez.

Founded in 1880, USC is a large private university with 42,000 students, in contrast to crosstown rival UCLA, 11 miles to the northwest, a State school that is considerably easier to get into. As a result, the rivalry is nasty: UCLA fans call USC "elitist," which they are; while USC fans call UCLA "socialist," "hippie" (perhaps a holdover from the Bill Walton years, 1971-74), and "dumb" (the last of these is far from true).

The rivalry is so nasty (How nasty is it?), each team wraps its symbolic statue up to protect it from pranks or vandalism. USC usually wraps Tommy Trojan in duct tape, while UCLA puts a tarp on the Bruin Bear, and both put student guards on them. 
As the greatest of all college football announcers,
longtime ABC mikeman Keith Jackson, would say,
"These two teams just... don't... like each other!"

From 1923 to 1981, both teams played at the Coliseum, until UCLA moved to the Rose Bowl, rather than build its own stadium. It is one of the rare rivalries, where, due to the contrast, both teams wear their usual home uniforms: The USC Trojans in cardinal red, and the UCLA Bruins in what they call "true blue" (replacing their former powder blue), both with gold numbers.
The Victory Bell gets painted in the winning team's colors.

They play for a Victory Bell in football, and the Lexus Gauntlet, a brass mockup of the right glove from a suit of armor, for whoever wins the overall sports competition between them in a schoolyear. In football, first meeting in 1929, and meeting every season since 1936, USC leads the series 46-31-7. Since the Bell was first awarded in 1942 (which was also the 1st time UCLA beat USC), USC leads 40-31-4. This includes USC winning the last 2 seasons, but it does not count the 2004 and 2005 games that USC won, and then had to vacate as part of an NCAA punishment: Officially, neither side won.
The Lexus Gauntlet

USC and Notre Dame have the best-known intersectional rivalry in college football. They've been playing since 1926, and Notre Dame leads, 46-37-5. They play for a trophy called the Jeweled Shillelagh, which has shamrocks for Notre Dame and Trojan heads for USC on its shaft. It is usually not shown in public.
Take a wild guess as to why.

Due to the differences in weather between Northern Indiana and Southern California, they play each other in South Bend in odd-numbered years, including this one; and in L.A. in even-numbered years.

USC football announcer Pete Arbogast coined the phrase "A Perfect Day": It's when USC wins, and both UCLA and Notre Dame lose.

The Coliseum has a "Court of Honor" that serves as a hall of fame for the building, and also for the now-demolished Sports Arena. 
Stuff. There is no official USC team store at the Coliseum, only a few souvenir stands. You may have to go to the University Bookstore, at 840 Childs Way.

There are lots of books about USC football, if not quite as many as there are about the Dodgers and Lakers. Steve Delsohn's Cardinal and Gold: The Oral History of USC Trojans Football is the most recent comprehensive history of the team. Donald Lechman's Notre Dame vs. USC: The Rivalry and UCLA vs. USC: A Rivalry of Hate, by UCLA Football Historian Spencer Stueve and San Francisco 49ers legend Randy Cross, cover the 2 big USC rivalries. Be warned, however: Stueve and Cross are both UCLA men, so their view is going to skew blue rather than red.

Barry LeBrock of Fox Sports Network and Mike Garrett, the Heisman winner and now retired USC athletic director, collaborated on The Trojan Ten: The Ten Thrilling Victories That Changed the Course of USC Football History in 2006. Shortly before its publication, the DVD The History of USC Football was released.

During the Game. If you end up going to the USC-UCLA game, your safety might be at issue. If it's the USC-Notre Dame game, less so. Anybody else, don't worry. Even on the edge of the South Central ghetto, you're going to be safe. (To be on the safe side, don't bring up the subject of O.J. Simpson. Or the 2004 and '05 forfeitures.)

The school's marching band, The Spirit of Troy, will play the National Anthem, and the fight song, "Fight On," which is also the program's unofficial slogan. It was written in 1922, and also comes from Owen Bird's 1912 L.A. Times article, in which he said the athletes "fought on like Trojans." In Southern California, a "V for Victory" 2-fingered gesture, with the palm of the hand facing the viewer, is understood to mean "Fight On" and that the gesturer is a Trojan. (Not to be confused with the reverse, with the palm facing the gesturer, the profane "V-sign" familiar to British soccer fans.)

In 1947, Tommy Walker, both a placekicker on the team and a trumpeter in the band, wrote a fanfare that he said was a combination of cavalry charge calls and "The Call to the Post" at horse races. After playing it, "Da da da DAT da DAH!" he would yell, "Trojan warriors, charge!" Eventually, the "Trojan warriors" part was dropped, and it is now universally known as "Charge!" Walker later became the director of events at nearby Disneyland. He should not be confused with another famous Tommy Walker in music, the title character in The Who's rock opera Tommy.

A Yankee legend said that Yankee Stadium organist Eddie Layton invented it in 1967. He didn't, and never claimed he did. But, at that time, he did invent the rhythm that gets played there before "Charge!": "DUN dun dun dun DUN dun dun dun... " Sports Illustrated cleared the matter up in a 1990 article.

In the 1961 Rose Parade in Pasadena, a USC events director saw Richard Saukko riding his white horse, Traveler. Saukko was talked into riding his horse around the Coliseum track at USC football games.

Due to the school's Hollywood connections, they got the exact costume that Charlton Heston had recently worn in Ben-Hur, even though that film takes place at the beginning of the Christian era, and the Trojan War is generally considered to have taken place 1,200 years earlier. It proved too heavy, so Saukko made his own uniform, out of leather, and the same costume has been used ever since. He retired in 1988, but until 2002, his family continued to provide the horses used. All riders since him have been USC alumni.

The rider is often called Tommy Trojan, like the statue, but the character does not have an official name. The current horse is Traveler IX, and continues to be ridden around the field before every game, after every win, and following every touchdown, although the Coliseum's 1995 renovation has removed the track.

My grandmother, with no connection to the school, and hating Los Angeles as a city since it took her beloved Brooklyn Dodgers away, always loved to watch USC games on TV, because she loved that horse. (She also never missed the Kentucky Derby.)
In connection with the recent controversy over Confederate monuments, it was mentioned that General Robert E. Lee rode a white horse named Traveller. But the Saukko family cleared it up: Richard got the original, with the single L, from a movie studio in 1958, after it had proved too unreliable to use for filming.

Prior to the introduction of Traveler, in 1947, a mutt was found on campus, biting the tire of a school vehicle. Somebody in a group of students remarked that the dog looked like a guy the group knew, named George. He was named George Tirebiter, and he was paraded around the Coliseum track before a game. Just 8 days later, he was dognapped by UCLA students, had "UCLA" shaved into his fur, and was returned in this condition. (These 2 schools really don't like each other.)

George's penchant for chasing cars led to his death in 1950; he was believed to have been 9 years old. He now has a statue on campus. A similar-looking dog was found, named George Tirebiter II, and lasted until the adoption of Traveler as the mascot.
Statue of George Tirebiter I

After the Game. If you head north after walking out of the Coliseum, you should be fine. USC fans won't bother you, and USC students won't have any interest in you. With all that L.A. has put into getting the Rams back, you can, as they said in Beautiful Downtown Burbank in the late Sixties, bet your sweet bippy that the LAPD will protect the cars.

There are no classic "sports bars" around the Coliseum. But for a simple postgame meal, snack or drink: To the north of the stadium, there's a Starbucks at Figueroa Street and Exposition Blvd. To the east, n Figueroa, there's a Chick-fil-A, a Chipotle, a Subway, and Figueroa Philly Cheese Steak -- which might upset some people if I were doing this guide for Philadelphia Eagles fans. To the south, at Vermont Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, there's a Pizza Hut and a Yoshinoya. To the west, there's a McDonald's on MLK and a Little Caesar's on Vermont.

In and around Los Angeles proper, there's some places that may interest you. A recent Thrillist article called Big Wangs the best sports bar in the State of California. In this case, "Wangs" is a countrified version of "wings," as in chicken wings. (Although a male rooster is sometimes called a "cock.") 801 S. Grand Avenue, downtown, near the Staples Center.

West 4th & Jane is owned by a New Yorker and is an L.A.-area haven for Met fans. 1432 4th Street, Santa Monica. Bus R10. Rick's Tavern On Main is the home of the L.A. area's Yankees fan club. 2907 Main Street in Santa Monica, 2 blocks in from the beach. Bus 733 from downtown L.A. (While the 1970s sitcom Three's Company was set in Santa Monica, close to the beach, I cannot confirm that Rick's was the basis for the bar across from the apartment building, the Regal Beagle.)

O'Brien's Irish Pub at 2226 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica is the home of the local fan club of the New York Giants football team. Bus R10. (Although it's also in Santa Monica, it's 3 miles in from the beach and Rick's.) On The Thirty is the home of L.A. area Jets fans. 14622 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. Metro Red Line to Universal/Studio City, then transfer to Bus 150.

If your visit to Los Angeles is during the European soccer season (which we are now in), the best soccer bar in the L.A. area is The Fox & Hounds (that's plural), 11100 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. Metro Red Line to Universal/Studio City, then Bus 150 or 240 to Ventura & Arch.

Sidelights. The Los Angeles metropolitan area, in spite of not having Major League Baseball until 1958, has a very rich sports history. And while L.A. is still a car-first city, it does have a bus system and even has a subway now, so you can get around. You'll need it if you visit L.A. during the 2028 Olympics, which it has been awarded, and which will include some of these locations.

* Galen Center. In 2006, USC basketball finally had a home it owned, and at which it had first choice of scheduling -- ironic, considering their having first choice at the Coliseum infuriated the Rosenblooms of the Rams, the Hiltons of the Chargers, and Al Davis of the Raiders, and made the Spanoses of the Chargers decide not to use it until the Inglewood stadium opens.
Seating 10,258, it is named for Louis and Helen Galen, bankers and longtime USC fans who donated $50 million, which turned out to be 1/3rd of the building's cost. The Jim Sterkel Court is named for a USC basketball player who died of cancer. 3400 S. Figueroa Street, 5 blocks north of the Coliseum, and to the east of USC's main campus. 
* Site of Wrigley Field. Yes, you read that right: The Pacific Coast League's Los Angeles Angels played at a stadium named Wrigley Field from 1925 to 1957, and the AL's version played their first season here, 1961.

The PCL Angels were a farm team of the Chicago Cubs, and when chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. bought them both, he built the Angels' park to look like what was then known as Cubs Park, and then named this one, and then the Chicago one, Wrigley Field. So this ballpark was Wrigley Field first.

The Angels won 12 PCL Pennants, the last 5 at Wrigley: 1903, 1905, 1907, 1908, 1916, 1918, 1921, 1926, 1933, 1934, 1947 and 1956. Their rivals, the Hollywood Stars, shared it from 1926 to 1935. It hosted a U.S. soccer loss to England in 1959 and a draw vs. Mexico the next year.

Its capacity of 22,000 was too small for the Dodgers, and the AL Angels moved out after 1 season. Torn down in 1966, it lives on in ESPN Classic rebroadcasts of Home Run Derby, filmed there (because it was close to Hollywood) prior to the 1960 season. Mickey Mantle was a fixture, but the only other guy thought of as a Yankee to participate was Bob Cerv (then with the Kansas City A’s). Yogi Berra wasn’t invited, nor was Moose Skowron, nor Roger Maris (who had just been acquired by the Yankees and whose 61 in '61 season had yet to happen). And while Willie Mays, Duke Snider and Gil Hodges were on it, and all did briefly play for the Mets, the Mets hadn't gotten started yet, so no one on the show wore a Met uniform.

42nd Place, Avalon Blvd., 41st & San Pedro Streets. Metro Red Line to 7th Street/Metro Center station, transfer to Number 70 bus. Be careful: This is South Central, so if you're overly nervous, you may want to skip this one.

* Gilmore Field. Home to the Hollywood Stars, this 13,000-seat park didn’t last long, from 1939 to 1957. A football field, Gilmore Stadium, was adjacent. The Stars won 5 Pennants, the last 3 at Gilmore: 1929, 1930, 1949, 1952 and 1953. CBS Television City was built on the site. 7700 Beverly Blvd. at The Grove Drive. Metro Red Line to Vermont/Beverly station, then either the 14 or 37 bus.

* Rose Bowl. Actually older than the Coliseum by a few months, it opened in 1922 and, except for 1942 (moved to Durham, North Carolina for fear of Japanese attacks on the Pacific Coast right after Pearl Harbor), it has hosted the Rose Bowl game every New Year’s Day (or thereabouts) since 1923. As such, it has often felt like a home away from home for USC, Michigan and Ohio State. UCLA has used it as its home field since the 1982 season.

It hosted 5 Super Bowls, including the first ones won by the Raiders (XI) and Giants (XXI), plus the all-time biggest attendance for an NFL postseason game, 103,985, for Super Bowl XIV (Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Rams 19, the "home" field advantage not helping the Hornheads). And it hosted the 1983 Army-Navy Game, with Hollywood legend Vincent Price serving as the referee. The transportation of the entire Corps of Cadets, and the entire Brigade of Midshipmen, was said to be the largest U.S. military airlift since World War II.

It's hosted 18 games of the U.S. soccer team, most recently a loss to Mexico last October 10; and several games of the 1994 World Cup, including a Semifinal and the Final, in which Brazil beat Italy on penalty kicks. It also hosted several games of the 1999 Women's World Cup, including the Final, a.k.a. the Brandi Chastain Game. It was home to the Los Angeles Galaxy from their 1996 inception to 2002, including the 2000 CONCACAF Champions League and 2002 MLS Cup wins.

In NASL play, it hosted the Los Angeles Wolves in 1968, and the Los Angeles Aztecs in 1978 and 1979. They played at Weingart Stadium at East Los Angeles College in 1974, their 1st season, when they won the NASL title; and Murdock Stadium, at El Camino Junior College, in 1975 and '76. Yes, the defending champions of America's top soccer league played at a junior college. This was what American soccer was like in the Seventies.

Rose Bowl Drive & Rosemont Avenue. Number 485 bus from Union Station to Pasadena, switch to Number 268 bus.

Dodger Stadium. Now the 3rd-oldest stadium in the major leagues behind Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, the Dodgers have played here since 1962, winning the Pennant in 1963, 1965, 1966, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981 and 1988, and the World Series in 1963, 1965, 1981 and 1988.

Because of its proximity to Hollywood, Dodger Stadium can be seen in lots of movies, including Superman Returns, where the Big Red S safely deposits a distressed airliner on the field. (A skyline for Metropolis was CGI'ed in behind the bleachers, where one would normally see the San Gabriels.) A space shuttle wasn't so lucky in The Core, crashing into the stadium.

But while it filled in for Anaheim Stadium in The Naked Gun (Reggie... must kill... the Queen), Rookie of the Year had a scene set at Dodger Stadium, but because they were filming all in Chicago, they used the White Sox' U.S. Cellular Field as a stand-in for Dodger Stadium.

It hosted an NHL Stadium Series game on January 25, 2014, a local rivalry game, with the Anaheim Ducks beating the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. In 2013, it hosted games of the International Champions Cup soccer tournament, featuring hometown team Los Angeles Galaxy and renowned European soccer teams Real Madrid (of Spain), Everton (Liverpool, England) and Juventus (Turin, Italy). London's Arsenal hasn't played there, but in the film Rock of Ages, set in L.A. in 1987, Tom Cruise played the lead singer of a band named Arsenal, who played the stadium in the film's closing scene.

The Beatles played their next-to-last concert at Dodger Stadium on August 28, 1966, before concluding their last tour up the coast at Candlestick Park the next night. It didn't host another concert until 1975, when Elton John sold it out on back-to-back nights (wearing a sequined Dodger jersey designed by Bob Mackie), and then not again until the Jacksons' 1984 Victory Tour. Pope John Paul II delivered a Mass there in 1987, and the Three Tenors held a concert there, telecast worldwide. During a 2008 concert, Madonna brought on Britney Spears (they didn't kiss this time) and Justin Timberlake as guests.

The address used to be 1000 Elysian Park Avenue. In honor of the legendary broadcaster, who just retired after 67 seasons with the franchise, an all-time major league record, it has been officially changed to 1000 Vin Scully Avenue. It's about 2 miles north of downtown, in the Elysian Park neighborhood. Public transportation in L.A. is a lot better than it used to be, with the addition of the Metro -- and now, the Dodger Stadium Express bus. It will pick up fans at the Patsaouras Bus Plaza adjacent to the east portal of Union Station and continue to Dodger Stadium via Sunset Blvd. and Cesar Chavez Avenue.

* Edwin W. Pauley Pavilion. Following their 1964 National Championship (they would win it again in 1965), UCLA coach John Wooden wanted a suitable arena for his ever-growing program. He got it in time for the 1965-66 season, and it has hosted 9 more National Championships, making for 11 banners (10 coached by Wooden).

The building was named for an oil magnate who was also a Regent of the University of California system, whose donation to its building went a long way toward making it possible. Edwin Pauley was a friend of, and appointee to several offices by, Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, but the student protests of the 1960s led him to switch parties and support Ronald Reagan for Governor.

Speaking of politics, Pauley Pavilion was the site of the 2nd debate of the 1988 Presidential campaign, where CNN anchor Bernard Shaw asked the question that shattered the campaign of Governor Michael Dukakis – not that the Duke helped himself with his answer. Oddly, Dukakis chose to hold held his Election Eve rally there, despite being a Bostonian. (In contrast, Boston’s JFK held his Convention in the Coliseum complex but his Election Eve rally at the Boston Garden.)


Metro Purple Line to Wilshire/Normandie station, switch to the 720 bus, then walk up Westwood Plaza to Strathmore Place. "Westwood" is the name of the neighborhood that UCLA is in, and Coach Wooden was known as "the Wizard of Westwood."


A few steps away is Drake Stadium, the track & field facility that was home to 1960 Olympic Decathlon champion Rafer Johnson and another UCLA track star you might've heard of, named Jackie Robinson. And also his brother Mack Robinson, 1936 Olympic Silver Medalist.

On the way up Westwood Plaza, you'll pass UCLA Medical Center, now named for someone who died there, Ronald Reagan. Wooden, John Wayne and Michael Jackson also died there. The UCLA campus also has a Dykstra Hall, but it wasn't named after Lenny Dykstra.

* The Forum. Home of the Lakers and the Kings from 1967 to 1999, built by their then-owner, Jack Kent Cooke, who went on to sell them and buy the NFL's Washington Redskins. From 1988 to 2003, it was named the Great Western Forum, after a bank. The Lakers appeared in 14 NBA Finals here, winning 6, with the Knicks clinching their last title over the Lakers here in 1973. The Kings appeared in just 1 Stanley Cup Finals here, in 1993, losing it to the Montreal Canadiens.

Now owned by the Madison Square Garden Corporation, thus run by James Dolan, which means it's going to be mismanaged. Elvis Presley sang here on November 14, 1970 and May 11, 1974. The Forum is not currently being used by any professional team, but was recently the stand-in for the Sunshine Center, the arena in the ABC sitcom Mr. Sunshine. 3900 W. Manchester Blvd. 


* City of Champions Stadium. This is the current name (which will almost certainly be tossed aside for a corporate one) for the project to build a new stadium for the Rams in Inglewood, on the site of the Hollywood Park horse racing track.

Set to seat 70,000, it will have a retractable roof, and be expandable to 100,000 for Super Bowls and NCAA Final Fours. It is scheduled to open for the Rams in time for the 2020 NFL season, and, by then, may host another NFL team as well. It has been awarded Super Bowl LVI, to be played on February 6, 2022. If the U.S. ever gets to host another World Cup (the next available one is 2026), it would likely be a site, possibly even for the Final (as the Rose Bowl was in 1994).

Prairie Avenue and Arbor Vitae Street, across Pincay Drive from the Forum. For both facilities, use Metro Silver Line to Harbor Transitway station, switch to Number 115 bus. (Be careful, this transfer is in South Central.)


Before the Rams, the Los Angeles Buccaneers were admitted to the NFL in 1926, but were a "traveling team," and never played a game in Los Angeles. They were made up of players from California colleges, but were based in Chicago. The Los Angeles Wildcats of the 1st American Football League were the same deal, a traveling team made up of West Coast athletes, naming them for George "Wildcat" Wilson of the University of Washington. Both teams folded the next year.

That same year, Abe Saperstein would found a basketball team in Chicago, but, like the Bucs and the Cats, make them a traveling team, and name them for a place that wasn't their real home: Since they were all-black, he named them the Harlem Globetrotters.

* Staples Center. This new downtown arena has been home to the Lakers, Clippers and Kings since 1999. The Lakers have won 5 Championships here, to go with the 6 they won at the Forum, and the 5 they won in Minneapolis. The Clippers, as yet, have won 2 Division Championships, but have never reached a Finals in any city since their founding in 1970 (as the Buffalo Braves, San Diego or L.A.). The Kings finally won a Stanley Cup in 2012, although, as a Devils fan, I'm trying to put that fixed Finals out of my mind. They've now won another, although, if you're a Ranger fan, you may want to do the same.

According to a recent New York Times article, there is not one place where the Clippers are more popular than the Lakers. Not in the City of Los Angeles, not in the County of Los Angeles, not in Orange County, not even in the Clippers' former home of San Diego (City or County). In fact, there are places in Southern California where the Chicago Bulls, as a holdover from the 1990s, have almost as many fans as the Clippers -- but not, despite all that LeBron James achieved, the Miami Heat or the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Staples Center holds the Grammy Awards every other year (alternating with New York), and hosted the 2000 Democratic Convention, which nominated Al Gore. 1111 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles. The nearest Metro stop is Westlake/MacArthur Park, 8 blocks away.

(Yes, that MacArthur Park, the one where songwriter Jimmy Webb used to take the girlfriend who ended up leaving him and inspiring the song of the same title recorded by Richard Harris and later Donna Summer. Their relationship also inspired Webb to write "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Where's the Playground Susie" by Glen Campbell, and "The Worst That Could Happen" by Johnny Maestro's later group, the Brooklyn Bridge. The worst that could happen there now, you don't want to know: Since the 1980s the park has been a magnet for gang violence, although this was significantly reduced in the 2000s.)

* Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Home of the Angels since 1966, and of the Rams from 1980 until 1994, it was designed to look like a modernized version of the old Yankee Stadium, before that stadium's 1973-76 renovation. The football bleachers, erected in 1979, were demolished in 1997 and replaced with a SoCal-esque scene that gives the place some character. Unfortunately, the old "Big A" scoreboard that stood in left field from 1966 to 1979 was moved out to the parking lot, and now stands as a message board.

It was known as Anaheim Stadium from 1966 to 1997, and Edison International Field of Anaheim from 1998 to 2003. 2000 E. Gene Autry Way at State College Boulevard. Metrolink's Orange County Line and Amtrak share a train station just to the north of the stadium.

* Honda Center. Previously known as the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, it is across the railroad, the Orange Freeway and Katella Avenue from Angel Stadium. It has been home from the beginning of the franchise in 1993 to the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks – formerly the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and I still tend to call them the Mighty Dorks and the Mighty Schmucks.

The Clippers, with their typical luck, had to move one of their few home Playoff games there in 1992 during the South Central riot. The NCAA held its hockey Final Four, the Frozen Four, there in 1999. 2695 E. Katella Avenue. Anaheim Metrolink stop.

* Titan Stadium. On the campus of California State University, Fullerton, this 10,000-seat facility is better known for soccer, having been used for NCAA Tournament games, U.S. Open Cup matches by the Los Angeles Galaxy, and 8 games by the U.S. national team -- which is undefeated there, winning 4 and drawing 4. 800 N. State College Blvd. Metrolink Blue Line from L.A. to Buena Park, then Number 24 bus. Or Number 57 bus from Angel Stadium.


* StubHub Center. Formerly the Home Depot Center, this 30,500-seat stadium has been home to MLS' Los Angeles Galaxy since it opened in 2003, and Chivas USA from its formation in 2004 until it went out of business in 2014. Now, for the 2017 and '18 seasons, it will be the home field of the Los Angeles Chargers, until the City of Champions Stadium opens.

Aside from the regular-season title of the Western Conference in 2007, Chivas USA, a subsidiary of the legendary Guadalajara, Mexico-based Chivas, won nothing. But the Gals -- yes, they get that feminized nickname -- have won more MLS Cups than any other team, 5: 2002, 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2014, all but the 1st while playing here. They also won the CONCACAF Champions League, in 2000, and the U.S. Open Cup in 2001 and 2005.

It's hosted the MLS Cup Final in 2003, 2004, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014. It's hosted 12 games by the national team, most recently a win over Canada on February 5, 2016, winning 8, losing 2 and drawing 2. It hosted 6 games of the 2003 Women's World Cup, including the Final, in which Germany beat Sweden.

18400 Avalon Blvd. in Carson, adjacent to Cal State-Dominguez Hills. Public transport is difficult. You'd have to take 2 buses: First, the 910 or 950 Silver Line from downtown to the Harbor Gateway Transit Center, then the 246 San Pedro-Point Fermin line. That will get you to the corner of Avalon Blvd. and Victoria Street, the northwestern corner of the stadium's property.


* Veterans Memorial Stadium. This 11,600-seat stadium, opening in 1948, was the home field for the football program at California State University at Long Beach, a.k.a. Cal State-Long Beach, CSU-Long Beach or Long Beach State, from 1955 until the program was folded in 1991.

On April 28, 1957, it was the site of the 1st game for the U.S. soccer team against Mexico on home soil. Of the 10 previous meetings, starting at the 1934 World Cup, 1 (the 1st ) was in Italy, 1 was in a tournament in Cuba, and the rest were in Mexico City. It was a qualifier for the 1958 World Cup, and it didn’t go so well: About 12,500 fans attended, most of them Mexicans coming over the border or Mexican-Americans choosing heritage over homeland, and Mexico won 7-2. Aside from that 1st match in 1934, the U.S. would not beat Mexico until 1980.

Like the old Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, it is locally known as simply "The Vet." 5000 E. Lew Davis Street, about 19 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. Not easy to get to by public transportation: Bus 910 or 950 to Harbor/Century Transitway Station, then Metro Green Line to Lakewood Blvd., then Bus 266 to Lakewood & Michelson, then Bus 112 to Clark & Lew Davis.

* Hollywood Bowl. This 17,376-seat outdoor amphitheater in the Hollywood Hills, with the HOLLYWOOD sign in the background, is one of the best-known concert venues in the world. Opening in 1922, it should be familiar to anyone who’s seen the original 1937 version of A Star Is BornDouble Indemnity, Xanadu, and Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl.

The Beatles played here on August 23, 1964, and again on August 29 & 30, 1965. 2301 N. Highland Avenue. Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Highland Station, then walk almost a mile up Highland.

* Academy Award ceremony sites. The Oscars have been held at:

** 1929, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Blvd. (Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Highland).

** 1930-43, alternated between the Ambassador Hotel, 3400 Wilshire Blvd.; and the Biltmore Hotel, 506 S. Grand Avenue, downtown.

** 1944-46, Grauman's Chinese Theater (more about that in a moment).

** 1949-60, Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd. (Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Highland).

** 1961-68, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (which also hosted The T.A.M.I. Show in 1964), 1855 Main Street, Santa Monica (Number 10 bus from Union Station).

** 1969-87, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Avenue, downtown.

** 1988-2001, Shrine Auditorium, 665. W. Jefferson Blvd. (Metro Silver Line to Figueroa/Washington, transfer to Number 81 bus.) USC played its basketball games here from 1926 to 1949. Elvis sang here on June 8, 1956.

** 2002-present, Kodak Theater (which also hosted American Idol), 6801 Hollywood Blvd. (Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Highland).

All of these still stand, except the Ambassador, demolished in 2005. The site of a legendary nightclub, the Cocoanut Grove, and filming site of a lot of movies, the last movie filmed there was Bobby, in honor of the building's real-life most tragic event, the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy on June 5, 1968. (Directed by Emilio Estevez, one of its stars was his father Martin Sheen, who may be the only actor ever to play both Jack and Bobby Kennedy, although he didn't play either in this film.)

In addition to the above, Elvis sang at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium on June 7, 1956; November 14 and 15, 1972; and April 25, 1976 (300 E. Ocean Blvd.); the Pan-Pacific Auditorium on October 28 & 29, 1957 (7600 Beverly Blvd near CBS and the Gilmore stadiums, 1935-89); the Anaheim Convention Center on April 23, & 24, 1973 and November 30, 1976 (800 W. Katella Avenue, not reachable by public transit); and the Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino on November 12 & 13, 1972, and May 10 & 13, 1974 (1949-81, demolished, 689 S. E Street, 58 miles east of downtown L.A.). USC played basketball at the Pan-Pacific Auditorium from 1949 to 1959.

Oh yeah: He also sang at NBC's Burbank Studios, a complex which also includes, among other things, the studio where Johnny Carson from 1972 to 1992, and Jay Leno from then until 2014, hosted The Tonight Show. Elvis taped his "Comeback Special" there on June 24 and 25, 1968. 3000 W. Alameda Avenue. Metro Red Line to North Hollywood, then Bus 501 to Alameda & Olive.

The Los Angeles area is home to a few interesting museums, in addition to those I mentioned at the end of "Going In" as being at the Exposition Park complex. The Getty Center is an art museum at 1200 Getty Center Drive, off I-405. The Autry National Center, 4700 Western Heritage Way, was founded by the Singing Cowboy and Angels founder-owner to celebrate and study the Western U.S. and Native Americans. (Metro Red Line, Hollywood/Western.) Also at Griffith Park, the Griffith Observatory, at 2800 E. Observatory Avenue, should be familiar from lots of movies (including Rebel Without a Cause) and TV shows.

The Hollywood section of town (not a separate city) has a few interesting sites, and the studio tours may be worth it, but do yourself a favor and skip the tours of stars' homes. You’re probably not going to see any of the celebrities. You've got a better chance of seeing one back home on the streets of New York.

And you don't need to see the HOLLYWOOD sign. You might remember the shot of it in the ESPN film The Bronx Is Burning, when the Yankees went out to L.A. to play the Dodgers in the 1977 World Series. Their shot of the sign was accurate: In 1977, it was falling apart, a genuine ruin. A year later, it was restored, but it’s still no big deal up close. It was meant to be seen from afar.

Grauman's Chinese Theater, with its cemented signatures and footprints of stars, is the centerpiece of the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the legendary intersection of Hollywood Blvd. & Vine Street (6931 Hollywood Blvd., also at the Hollywood/Highland Metro stop).

Jackie Robinson grew up in Pasadena, at 121 Pepper Street. In a bit of foreshadowing, Pepper Street and Claremont Street are connected by an alley named Progress Lane. Pepper Street extends from Sunset Avenue, and at its foot is Brown Memorial AME Church, which the Robinsons attended. Gold Line from Union Station to Del Mar, then Bus 260 to Fair Oaks & Claremont. Be advised that this is still a private residence, not a museum dedicated to Jackie, and the people living there now will not want to be bothered.

Casey Stengel, the 1st manager of the Mets and the greatest manager of the Yankees, retired to Glendale, in Los Angeles County, and after his death on September 29, 1975, he was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery. So was Don Drysdale, and early 1950s Brooklyn manager Chuck Dressen.

Also laid to rest there are Lou Gehrig's successor Babe Dahlgren, football star turned actor Johnny Mack Brown, 1930s boxing champion Jimmy McLarnin, Chicago Cubs owners William Wrigley Jr. and Philip K. Wrigley, Laverne and Maxene Andrews of the Andrews Sisters, James Arness, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Clara Bow, Lon Chaney Sr., Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole, Sam Cooke, Sammy Davis Sr. and Jr. and Sammy's widow Altovise, Walt Disney and other members of his family (he was not cryogenically frozen), W.C. Fields, Larry Fine (the other members of the Three Stooges are buried elsewhere in Los Angeles County), Errol Flynn, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Jean Harlow, Rex Harrison, Phil Hartman, Michael Jackson, Ted Knight, Harold Lloyd, Chico and Gummo Marx (but not Groucho or Harpo), Aimee Semple McPherson, Tom Mix, Lone Ranger star Clayton Moore, Mary Pickford, Will Rogers, David O. Selznick, Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg, Red Skelton, Jimmy Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy. 1712 S. Glendale Avenue. Bus 90, 91, 92 or 94 from downtown.

Roy Campanella is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills. So is another Hall-of-Famer associated with the Dodgers, Leo Durocher. So is John Roseboro, who succeeded Campy as Dodger catcher. So are John Wooden, Gene Autry, longtime Lakers owner Jerry Buss, Steve Allen, Lucille Ball, David Carradine, Bette Davis, Annette Funicello, Marvin Gaye, Andy Gibb, Batman creator Bob Kane, Buster Keaton, Jack LaLanne, Dorothy Lamour, Charles Laughton, Stan Laurel (but not Oliver Hardy), Liberace, Ed McMahon, Ozzie Nelson, Harriet Nelson, Ricky Nelson, Freddie Prinze, John Ritter, Telly Savalas, Lee Van Cleef, Dick Van Patten, Paul Walker and Jack Webb.

Despite his connections to L.A., Jackie Robinson is buried in Brooklyn, at Cypress Hills Cemetery, which is bisected by the Interborough Parkway, now named the Jackie Robinson Parkway. Gil Hodges is also buried in Brooklyn, at Holy Cross Cemetery. Pee Wee Reese is buried in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Duke Snider lived in Fallbrook, California during his retirement, and is buried there, about 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

Among the sports-themed movies set and/or filmed in or around Los Angeles is the 1976 kids' baseball film The Bad News Bears, whose home field was Mason Park, 10500 Mason Avenue in Chatsworth, 29 miles northwest of downtown (Bus 92 to 1st & Olive, then Bus 164 to Victory & Woodman, then Bus 158 to Mason & Devonshire); and the basketball hustlers' film White Men Can't Jump, filmed at the courts at the Boardwalk in Venice Beach (Bus 733). 

The most famous sports-based TV show has been The White Shadow, with the exterior and gym of La Cañada High School standing in for those of L.A.'s inner-city George Washington Carver High School. 4463 Oak Grove Drive, in Flintridge, about 12 miles northeast of downtown L.A., and about 2 1/2 miles north of the Rose Bowl. Metro Gold Line to Walnut & Raymond in Pasadena, then Bus 268. It will take an hour and a half, so unless you want to spring for a taxi, or you're a WS fan who has to see it, you might want to bag it.

If you're interested in American history, especially recent history, Southern California is home to 2 Presidential Libraries. Richard Nixon's is not far from Anaheim, built adjacent to the house where he was born in 1913 at 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd. in Yorba Linda, Orange County. Metrolink Orange County Line from Union Station to Fullerton, then Number 26 bus to Yorba Linda.

Nixon's "Western White House" at San Clemente can be reached by I-5 or by Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner to San Juan Capistrano (the former Spanish mission where, as the song goes, the swallows return on the first day of spring), and then transferring to the Number 191 bus. However, the house, which Nixon called La Casa Pacifica, is privately owned (no longer by the Nixon family), and is not open to the public. So unless you're a major Tricky Dick fan, I'd suggest skipping it, as you'd only be able to stand outside it.

Ronald Reagan's Presidential Library is at 40 Presidential Drive in Simi Valley in Ventura County. (Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois, about 130 miles west of Chicago.) Unfortunately, the Reagan Library is next to impossible to reach without a car.

Reagan's Western White House, Rancho del Cielo outside Santa Barbara, is owned by a private foundation that can be contacted for tours. The Reagans lived together at 668 St. Cloud Road, in the Bel Air section of L.A., until Ron's death in 2004. Nancy continued to live there until her death last year. Metro Red Line to Vermont & Sunset, then Bus 2 to Sunset & Bel Air, and then nearly a half-hour walk. It's been remarked that the ranch was his home, whereas anyplace they lived in "Hollywood" was her home.

The tallest building on the West Coast, for now, is the newly-opened Wilshire Grand Center, at 1,100 feet, at 900 Wilshere Blvd. at Figueroa. However, the 2 most famous tall buildings in Los Angeles are 444 S. Flower Street, at 5th Street, famous as the location for the law firm on L.A. Law; and City Hall, recognizable from LAPD badges, and thus from the early police series Dragnet, and as the stand-in for the Daily Planet building on the George Reeves Adventures of Superman series in the 1950s. 200 S. Spring Street at Main Street.

Did I forget anything important? Oh yeah, Southern California's original tourist destination, outside of the Hollywood studios. Most people I've talked to who have been to both Disneyland in Anaheim and Walt Disney World outside Orlando, Florida have said that the Florida one is a LOT better. Anyway, the address is 1313 S. Harbor Blvd. in Anaheim, and if you're staying in Los Angeles, just drive down I-5. Public transportation is possible, but it's a mile and a half from the closest bus stop to Disneyland's gates.

*

USC football -- not the Dodgers, not the Lakers, not the Rams, certainly not the Clippers, or the Kings, or any team that's ever called Anaheim or San Diego home, and (as USC fans will tell you) not UCLA, even UCLA basketball -- is the most successful sports team in Southern California. However, if you're a fan of the visiting team, it is worth it not only to see a USC game at the L.A. Coliseum, but to take USC's own advice, and use it against them: Fight on!

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