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September 2015

Episode 2: In Their Room

On a warm May day in 2005 a crowd gathered near a freeway embankment in Hawthorne, CA and turned its gaze to a house that wasn’t there. Nobody knows where inspiration comes from — but was the little house that once stood at 3701 West 119th St. the one place above all others that made The Beach Boys sound like they did? The story of the Beach Boys Historic Landmark is a story of exaltation and something darker, of light and shadow, and of hard lessons learned.



Thanks to Harry Jarnagan and Peter Ames Carlin.

Episode 1: The House On The Hill

Herman Stein contributed music to more than 200 films, including some of the 1950s’ best-known monster movies: Creature From The Black Lagoon, This Island Earth, It Came From Outer Space, The Mole People, Tarantula and The Incredible Shrinking Man. He also composed for television, most memorably the Family Theme for “Lost In Space.” He was a prodigy who took up piano at 3, first performed in public at 6, arranged for Count Basie at 16, was a colleague of Henry Mancini on the music staff at Universal-International Pictures at 35, was forgotten at 60. And then, according to his friend and musical executor David Schecter, he simply withdrew from the world. He cared for his wife, fretted over his legacy. And waited.

Here’s a story of the Golden Age of Hollywood, and after; of a minor player who should have been major; and of a house that became a home, and then just a house, and then, again, a home.

All music by Herman Stein. For more information: Monstrous Movie Music

Herman and Anita Stein, 1996. Photo by Kathleen Mayne

  • “Stranger,” from The Intruder: Published by Gilead Music Co. (ASCAP). Copyright 1961 Monstrous Movie Music
  • Creature From The Black Lagoon (Main Title): Published by Gilead Music Co. (ASCAP). Copyright 1954 Monstrous Movie Music
  • This Island Earth (Main Title): Published by Gilead Music Co. (ASCAP). Copyright 1955 Monstrous Movie Music
  • Tarantula (Introduction): Published by Gilead Music Co. (ASCAP). Copyright 1955 Monstrous Movie Music
  • “Conversion Tube,” from This Island Earth: Published by Gilead Music Co. (ASCAP). Copyright 1955 Monstrous Movie Music
  • “The Family Theme,” from Lost In Space
  • “Hospital,” from The Intruder: Published by Gilead Music Co. (ASCAP). Copyright 1961 Monstrous Movie Music
  • “Untitled,” from Career For Two: Published by Gilead Music Co. (ASCAP). Copyright 1951 Monstrous Movie Music


Photos: The Stein house from the Flynn house, 2015
Herman Stein (late 1940s): Photo courtesy of David Schecter
Herman and Anita Stein, 1996: Photo by Kathleen Mayne

Thanks to David Schecter, Suzanne Flynn, Mark Knowles and Mark Perry.

Episode 0: Introduction

A story about home, and place, and donuts.

Music by:

What do we mean when we talk about home?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. It’s a deceptively complicated question.

Try this: Imagine stopping 10 people on the street and asking them to tell you the first thing they think of when they hear the word “home.” In all likelihood you’d get a range of responses. For some people it’s a place — maybe a specific one like a house, maybe a bigger one like a city or a region. Some subset of these will tell you it’s a place they’re running toward, while others will tell you they’ve spent their lives trying to escape its pull. Some will talk about it terms of people — a partner, a parent, a child. For others it’s an emotion. For still others it’s even less concrete — an aspiration. Or a memory. Or a dream.

All of which is to say that “home” is a malleable concept, and it has special meaning — or, more accurately, “meanings” — everywhere. But for Americans, a people who spent their national adolescence either looking or moving west, the West Coast represents something unique. It’s the place where Manifest Destiny ran up against the implacable limits of nature. Hi. How are you. Look, we know you were promised limitless horizons and an endless frontier and all, but… Yeah. Sorry about that. Welcome, by the way.

So what does it mean to be at home here, where the road ends?

That’s the question behind HOME: Stories From L.A. I’m Bill Barol, and every two weeks I’ll be bringing you audio stories about home, in all its shapes and sizes, from the place where the land ran out. I hope you’ll listen.

And here’s the part where I ask you to subscribe, rate and review us, download new episodes to your favorite podcatcher (here are three of mine), get in touch, and tell your friends. Share us on Facebook. Tweet us out. Follow us on Instagram. In fact, “tell your friends” probably should have been first. Or at least second, after “subscribe” and “rate and review.” That’s really the big one right there. So do those things, okay? And thanks in advance.

HOME: Stories From L.A.