A Trip to MoNA
On October 16th, we met up with Paul and Christine Byers with Culver City at the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale to discuss the restoration process and neon in general.
Paul works closely with the MoNA so we had a great insiders look at the history of neon. Paul’s wife is also heavily involved with the history/restoration of neon and is on the MoNA board of trustees.
The museum has been around since the 80s, however it recently moved to a new location in Glendale. It saves and houses historic signs from around LA, with the help of restoration experts like Paul and his wife.
Famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre Neon Dragon was saved from extinction by none other than Paul, who oversaw the restoration.
Paul and Christine discuss the animation of the Grauman’s Neon, as well as how the glass is fixed to the sign with copper bits of copper wiring.
This sign shows the ripple tin used in really old signs dating back to the teens and 1920s. The Culver sign has a blend of stainless steel inner and ripple tin outer, which is unique for a sign built in 1947.
Paul shows the different colors created from a combo of gases like neon, argon, (and sometimes helium, krypton and xenon), and clear or painted glass tubing..
The museum also has a workshop dedicated to classes and restoration projects.
Another sign in process of being restored at MoNA.
After the tour, Paul and Christina discuss next steps involved with the Culver Sign.
The Culver Theatre opened on August 13, 1946, with a seating capacity of around 1,100, showing the film “Red Stallion”
Albert R. Walker was the architect of record and Carl G. Moeller was the design consultant. The design style was “Streamline Moderne” or “Art Moderne;” a later version of art deco architecture which was less ornamental and more ‘aerodynamic’ in look.
The interior of the Culver was a “Skouras Style” confection. At a time when much design was getting the modern look, the head of Fox West Coast Theatres, Charles Skouras, had his architectural team in the late 40s and early 50s take a different tack towards a lush neobaroque feel.” Source