HAROLD CLIFTON FITHIAN, 1905 - 1972
As a gopher on the back lot of Universal Studios in Studio City in the 1920's, filming a war movie. While there, he studied with Edna Ames in the drama department, with whom he faithfully kept in touch through the decades afterwards, driving up to Santa Barbara to visit her in her later years.
In front of the shrubs at his home in Sunland, California, 1950s. The house, which was rented, was eventually destroyed to make room for the current 210 Freeway.
Harold with friends Will Geer, Woodie Guthrie, Herta Ware and Gordon Orme organizing farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley during the forties.
Harold and his convertible in the 1950s, in which he took me on trips through Yosemite, Mammoth Lakes, Donner Pass, and many other stops on a circuit that started in Sun Valley, included a long stopover in San Francisco and Sausalito, then wound its way through the wine country on its way home to Sunland again. He loved driving with the top down, especially in the rural areas.
Training a jewelry apprentice: he was an equal opportunity employer long before the concept was codified into law . He was by this time working out of his home on Glenoaks Boulevard in Sun Valley near the Bradley Dump. Later he moved out of the house and transformed in its entirity into his growing jewelry manufacturing plant.
Standing at a waterfall in the Angeles Crest National Forest of Los Angeles (Mt. Wilson Observatory).
Operating the punch press, which would have stamped out simple round and elliptical disks out of sterling silver sheet. The forms would then be hammered, textured with a grinder, then silver-soldered to a "finding" - a mechanical sterling (and sometimes stainless steel) attachment, and otherwise transformed by hand craftsmanship variously into silver men's cuff links, key chains, tie tacks, and appliques for tie bars.
At washing tank in his home jewelry shop, cleaning the jewelry after the hand-crafting operations.
Seated at his jeweler's work bench. There would have been there a hand-grinder, a jeweler's saw (similar to a coping saw), a wooden support block on which to rest objects being crafted, an oxygen-and-natural-gas torch, and many small tools.
Outside his aunt's house in Stockton, California in late 1950s. By now he was wearing the hearing aid with which he was ever afterward associated. He loved music, especially classical, theater and jazz, and so he fought hearing loss in all his mature years, with varying degrees of success.
1923, fresh out of Hollywood High School.
Ready to cook a meal, with ebony and silver salad set he designed and hand-crafted. He and I both enjoyed the recording, lower left: the opera Antigonae by Carl Orff.
The young actor during a production of the Planquette operetta, The Chimes of Normandy in the 1920s. This was a Hollywood High School production, with Edna Ames (see top) as director.
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