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‘Son of Red Car’ makes long-awaited return to Valley

first_imgIf you enjoy sequels, check out the one that just opened Saturday in the San Fernando Valley. It’s called “Son of Red Car – the Orange Line.” Trust me. You’ll laugh till you cry. It’s a transportation docudrama about the future, which – get this – turns out to resemble the past. They just changed the colors. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week If you remember Ike, the Helms Man, and Webers bread bologna sandwiches for lunch five days a week, you’re probably shaking your head and laughing today. Stick around long enough, and everything old becomes new. And now a clone of the Pacific Electric Red Car trolleys that crisscrossed the Valley until the early 1950s has returned. They’re called Metroliners these days – bigger, faster and sleeker. They don’t have the overhead electric wiring and bell clanging, but they’re traveling down the streets in special lanes, just like the old days. Hey, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks likes a duck, it’s a duck. “It’s amazing – we’re recycling ourselves,” says Ralph Herman Sr. who used to ride the old Red Car with his dad from their home in Reseda to the store his pop ran at Hollywood and Vine. He’s right. It does feel like we’ve seen this movie before, doesn’t it? We did. We lived it. I caught the tail end of the Red Car era. In 1954, my cousin, Joe, and I used to walk up to Glenoaks Boulevard from his parents’ home on Rosedale Avenue on the Glendale/Burbank border to ride the trolley to school at St. Robert Bellermine’s. Joe was in sixth grade. I was failing fifth. I wound up passing with a D-minus special, which I believe is still the school record for the lowest passing grade any student has ever received. My teacher – Sister Mary Norbatina, a nun out of the old school – loved two things in life more than anything. God and red ant colonies. She could sit or kneel for hours mesmerized by both. I couldn’t help her out with God, but I could kiss up to her by finding red ant colonies in the dirt on the school grounds during lunchtime. So that’s what I did to pass. Scouted red ant colonies for a nun. Sister Mary thanked me with a D-minus special. Anyway, the Red Car worked like a charm in L.A. until the last line in Burbank and Glendale was shut down in 1955. It fell victim to changing times and low ridership. We all fell in love with our cars, and the auto manufacturers and tire companies were only too happy to help us put the last nail in the Red Car’s coffin. Now, more than 50 years later, we still love our cars. Trouble is we love them sitting in a parking lot called a freeway, blowing $3-a-gallon gas out the tailpipe. The people we pay to figure out our transportation needs and get us out of gridlock finally came up with a great idea. Light rail and subways were just too expensive and disruptive to build. So, hey, let’s bring back the old Red Cars we killed on our streets half a century ago, and call it the new Orange Line. Time marches on. I was going to take a ride on “Son of Red Car” Saturday to check it out, but I got to thinking what Patti Hudson said the other day. She’s the young woman I wrote about earlier in the week who barely survived the Metrolink derailment in Glendale in January when some wacko decided to park his SUV on the tracks to end it all. He chickened out, jumped to safety, and lived. But he did end it all for 11 other people on that train. Patti was almost fatality No. 12. She’s not riding Metrolink anymore, and I asked her if she was going to take the new Metroliner bus from her home in Northridge to her job in downtown L.A. now. Patti said she probably would, but not for at least a couple of weeks. She wants the people still in their cars to get used to seeing the Metroliners sharing the road with them in the Valley. She’s already had one idiot in an SUV almost take her life on the train. She doesn’t want to chance some other idiot zoning out on a cell phone and blowing past the big orange “M” warning signs posted at Metroliner intersections. I think Patti’s being too optimistic. I’d give it a month. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Dennis McCarthy, (818) 713-3749 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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