20 January 2007

Seeing Stars

D. W. Griffith

Griffith Jenkins Griffith

There are times when coincidences get almost too spooky for words. In California you can see stars thanks to two men named Griffith. One was a bit of a raffish con man and a master of promotion, D. W. Griffith, who arrived in Los Angeles in 1919 to make movies in the sunshine. The other was an immigrant pillar of the community, Griffith Jenkins Griffith, whose hard working life ended with a magnificent gift to the city that became Griffith Park and a bequest that put Griffith Observatory and the Greek Theater in that park. Courtesy of these two men, there are stars on view on the screen, on the stage, and in the skies.

Just to top off the coincidences, the two gifts came together in an iconic movie: Rebel Without A Cause whose climactic scene takes place at the observatory.

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