Inventing L.A.

The Chandlers and Their Times
Inventing L.A.: The Chandlers and Their Times. color & b/w. 117 min. Peter Jones Prods., dist. by PBS Home Video, 2009. DVD ISBN 9781608831043. $24.99. Closed-captioned. HIST
Beginning in 1884, with Harrison Gray Otis, four generations of Chandlers did not so much shape Los Angeles as "invent" it. Their newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, was at the center of L.A.'s economic, industrial, transportation, political, social, and cultural development. Commentary by historians, cultural critics, and a host of others, including Chandler family members, reveal how the L.A. Times evolved from journalistic jingoism, anti-unionism, business boosterism, and staunch conservatism to a profitable, politically left-of-center, Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper under the tutelage of Harrison's great-grandson Otis Chandler (1927–2006). During the nearly century-long dominance of the male Chandlers, Otis's mother, Dorothy (1901–97), emerged as a cultural arbiter, saving the Hollywood Bowl and establishing the Music Center. A long-simmering family feud eventually brought down the Times Mirror Company; in 2002, the L.A. Times was bought by the Chicago-based Tribune Company, which filed for bankruptcy in 2008. This Emmy Award-winning documentary weaves expert commentary, still photos, and film footage into a fascinating narrative of the rise and fall of a publishing dynasty and with it the emergence of a great American city. General audiences will enjoy it alone, or in conjunction with the companion print volume by Bill Boyarsky (Angel City Pr., 2009).—Susan E. Annett, Santa Monica P.L., CA
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing