Monday, May 28, 2012

Clifford Clinton Biography Is Coming Soon

A 77-year-old neon tube and other artifacts being uncovered during the renovation of Clifton's Brookdale shed a new light on the restaurant's heyday in the 1930s. The discovery gives a glimpse into the origins of Clifford Clinton's cafeteria of the Golden Rule.

The Los Angeles Times published a story about the neon tube and other artifacts from the cafeteria's early days found by Andrew Meieran earlier this month. The filmmaker and nightclub developer told Blog Downtown he'll display the artifacts for future patrons of the restaurant when its first phase reopens in about six months.

A biography of my grandfather will tell much more of the story. When I worked in the cafeteria in the early 1960s as a busboy, I carried many trays up stairs to the second-floor dining room that was surrounded by floor-to-ceiling "transparency" images of forests, mountains, and lakes. The neon tubes were mounted behind the walls to illuminate the scenes.

As Clifford's grandson, I've taken on the duty of telling the story of Clifford's extraordinary life and desire to give diners a peaceful respite along with their meal. Clifford believed the images helped achieve that.

Angels City Press has agreed to publish Clifford's biography later is year. The publication of the book may coincide with the first phase of the renovation.

The book reveals many new details about the development and history of Clifton's culled from Clifford's personal memoirs, which have been unavailable for public consumption. The book also reflects the first-hand experiences of the people who lived the story.


Clifton's Brookdale Reborn

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Founding of CIVIC

Clifford Clinton placed his hand on a Bible on Feb. 16, 1937, to swear an oath to root out public corruption as a member of the Los Angeles County grand jury.

Attorney A. Brigham Rose (left), Clifford, and Harry Ferguson
Photo: USC Special Collections
"It was a serious and rather awesome occasion and left me deeply impressed," he would later write in his memoirs. "When the citizens were represented by such a powerful body, serving each and every year, solely charged with protecting them from corruption and malfeasance in public office, why did so much exist?"

Gambling, payoffs on pinball and marble games, "one armed bandits," bookmaking, and prostitution may have been illegal, but these criminal activities went on unchecked in 1930s Los Angeles. Once seated on the 19-member grand jury, Clifford found three other members with a similar dedication to uncovering this illegal activity. This Minority Group included John Bogue, a Baptist minister; Harry L. Ferguson, a retired architect; and E.H. Kelly, a retired businessman.