From 1975 to 1990 I lived in and around the South Bay neighborhoods of Los Angeles (Manhattan Beach, Torrance, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes & Hermosa Beach). One of my friends then was an older gentleman who hung out at the beach bars I frequented. Charles was a storyteller, he was also a kind and gentle alcoholic. Nearly all of the beach bar denizens knew him as a regular but most thought his stories came out of the bottle. I learned that Charles had a really tough time in his golden years but I also discovered that he had a Ph.D. in literature that he got after first earning two engineering degrees. I liked to listen to him and didn't much care about the "truth" of his stories.

One day I took Charles down to Long Beach to visit his daughter. On the drive down he said: 

"You know during the war if you took this street south you could drive right under the camouflage netting the defense department put up to hide the airplane plant from Japanese bombers."

"That must have been a lot of netting," I said.

"Oh yeah it went on for several miles," he replied.

This must have been 1982 or thereabouts when I heard this tale, no internet to go look up the veracity of the many tales he told. Besides I wasn't at all interested in proving him right or wrong. So imagine my surprise when I got these photos from a friend a few days ago, showing the vast camouflage netting the military put up in Long Beach to cover the Boeing plant. The shot above is the before photo, this next one is the after.

Here are a few more shots.

Underneath the netting

Treetop level

Hangar below

In one of the articles I read I found this line: "you could head south down Carson St. and drive right under the huge canopy." It was that same Carson St. forty years later that Charles and I were driving on the day when he told me the camouflage story.

Addendum: I am told that there was a similar camouflage set-up in Pasadena at the Lockheed plant and that some of these pictures might be from there. But who cares about a little mix-up in a good Charles story.