Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dia De Los Muertos 2010: The Militant Visits The Dead

Today, as you may or may not know, is Dia De Los Muertos. The Militant has written about people, places and events in Los Angeles, so the Militant figured he'd commemorate the day by visiting the dead.

The Militant was near the Westside on Monday, and happened upon a memorial park by the west end of the Baldwin Hills in Culver City. It was Holy Cross Cemetery, a 71-year old, 200-acre memorial park with sweeping vistas of the South Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

After some Militant research, he discovered that there are quite a few well known Angelenos who have made this their final resting place.

Upon entering the grounds and driving up the hill where a replica of Michelangelo's Pieta sculpture stands, and right under a tree to the right of it, the Militant spotted the headstone of a very beloved figure in Los Angeles sports and one of the greatest play-by-play announcers who have ever lived:
Yes, the great Chick Hearn lies here.

Up the road towards the north, not far from the front entrance of the cemetery's main chapel/mausoleum, lies another legendary Los Angeles sports figure, a man who helped expand professional sports to the West:
Former Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley, the man who brought a bunch of bums from Brooklyn and painted an entire city blue make his eternal home base here (The Militant won't say whether he heard the sound of somebody turning over underground in light of what has happened over the past year, or the horrific, unspeakable event that was to occur on Monday night). Being the great blue-bleeding Dodger fan that the Militant is, he can't thank Mr. O'Malley enough for his favorite team. But the Militant is also forever grateful for Mr. O'Malley's pioneering vision and initiative in making professional sports not only possible in this City, but in the entire western United States.

Another pioneer, this time in the world of motion pictures rests several yards to the east:
Though his epitaph reads, "Beloved King of Comedy," for the Militant, and this entire motion picture industry, he is known for so much more. Nearly a hundred years ago, he founded the Keystone Pictures Co. studios in Edendale (now part of Echo Park), which was the first motion picture sound stage in the world and the genesis of the film industry in Los Angeles.

Speaking of movies, Holy Cross is also the final resting place of countless legends of the silver screen. Located in the Grotto area (just a few yards south of Chick Hearn's grave, towards the entrance) are the gravesites of:
Actor and crooner Bing Crosby; and just a few yards north, on the right side of the Grotto near the curb:
Legendary actress Rita Hayworth.

More contemporary Hollywood figures spend their final repose here, including John Candy and Ricardo Montalban, though the Militant had a hard time trying to locate their gravesites.

Being this the time of the year that it is, there were many of the living making visits to their own stars in their lives here, leaving flowers, mementos or just spending a quiet moment with their loved ones.

One section of the cemetery was somewhat more decorated than the rest of the grounds, with many families standing over headstones, praying or paying respects. A look at the birth and death dates of the stones indicated that those buried in this section were mostly young children, who, for whatever reason, never had a chance to even enjoy a fraction of the lives that we have enjoyed. The Militant felt a little guilty being here, not knowing anyone buried here very closely (most of the Militant's own beloved who passed are buried in an unspecified land far, far away).

Whether or not you observe religious or cultural traditions, the Militant hopes that all of you living Angels in this City just take even a moment to remember your own beloved ones who are now no more in this life. However big or small, their legacy lives on as long as they are remembered.

1 comment:

cindylu said...

Did you try and resurrect O'Malley while you were there? I'm sure even coming back from the dead he could still do a better job than the Frank and Jamie. Ugh.