George Mann (1905-1977) might be the most fascinating Angeleno you’ve never heard of. Born in Santa Monica and raised on healthy food and sunshine, he shot up to 6’5” at Venice High School. His gangly limbs, dancing prowess and penchant for ridiculous costumes made him a natural for comic vaudeville, and with partner Dewey Barto (4’ 11” in his dancing shoes), they blazed a headlining path across the theater circuit.
With hours to kill in a new town every day before Barto & Mann’s set, George took up photography, and captured extraordinary candid backstage scenes of his talented friends, and the theaters where his name was on the marquee. Later, he added a film camera to his tool kit, which is why we can see his pals The Three Stooges clowning around on Atlantic City’s Steel Pier with George’s bride Barbara Bradford.
As vaudeville faded, George reinvented himself back in Los Angeles, developing a custom 3-D photo viewer that he leased to local restaurants and offices to entertain customers waiting for service. Designed with the help of his friend Bill Lear of Lear Jet fame, George’s photo viewers gave him the opportunity to travel across the Southland, capturing vibrant new scenes to keep repeat customers interested. Made for a small audience and never published, the images remained unseen for decades.
Join Esotouric, L.A.'s most eclectic sightseeing tour company, for a virtual celebration of George Mann’s creative and colorful life, his remarkable photographs, and the 3-D photography, performing and engineering communities with which he was associated.
Your hosts Kim Cooper and Richard Schave first encountered George’s work in 2010, when George’s daughter-in-law and archivist, the photographer Dianne Woods reached out with the generous offer to share some of his 3-D color photos with readers of the On Bunker Hill blog. The early 1950s views of Bunker Hill prior to redevelopment were a revelation, as were his photos of vintage restaurant signs, and a crowded and lively Pershing Square.
Joining us to tell George’s story are his son Brad Smith and daughter-in-law and archivist Dianne Woods and Chris Casady, a 3-D photographer, longtime member of the LA 3-D Club, animator and proud owner of one of George’s original commercial 3-D viewing devices.
Tune in to get to know a fascinating Los Angeles character and see rare mid-century views that will transform your understanding of Southern California landmarks famous and forgotten—including some never before seen. (Please note that although many of the featured
images were originally shot and displayed in 3-D, the webinar is a two-dimensional presentation.)
This webinar is an illustrated lecture packed with rare photos that will bring George Mann's Los Angeles to life. And you'll find the look of an Esotouric webinar is a little different than your standard dry Zoom session, with lively interactive graphics courtesy of the mmhmm app.
After the presentation, Kim, Richard, Brad, Dianne and Chris will answer your questions about George Mann and 3-D photography, so get ready to be a part of the show.