Sunday, March 24, 2013

161 Quiz Answer

The answer to our quiz this week is the movie titled “Chinatown.”  This classic motion picture about the Los Angeles Water Wars marked the high point in the careers of both lead actor Jack Nicholson and director Roman Polanski.


(Also for Three-Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "K" is for "Kearney")

I was brought up in Los Angeles.  As a kid I got interested in a part of local history that wasn’t covered in school: the Los Angeles Water Wars.
Even when the town was just founded, in 1781, folks could see that this was a great spot for a community.  It was practically on the Pacific Ocean, they told themselves, and look – Hollywood was just next door.

The town had an impressive, awe-inspiring name (in Spanish): “The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels.”  After some time it became more terse, just Los Angeles, “The Angels.”  (“The Lakers” would have sounded a bit lame at that time.)



It was a quiet village.  The villagers didn’t have much energy; their idea of a big time was to have two enchiladas for lunch. But the place seemed to have potential, the possibility of a great future.

There was one problem.  Water.

There was, of course, plenty of water; they were practically sitting on the Pacific Ocean, after all.  But that was that salty stuff; who enjoys drinking that?  The fresh variety was in short supply.  (It still is.)

One day around 1900 a citizen of the town named Fred Kearney was vacationing two or three hundred miles from L A and he saw something astonishing.  In a place named Owens Valley he saw tons of fresh water – millions of gallons of the stuff – all just sort of lying there.  It was the runoff of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Kearney thought, the Romans did it, why can’t we?  In other words he and some other Angelenos planned to build an aqueduct that would have Owens Valley H2O cascading down to the queen of the angels. 



It would be gravity-fed; no pumps needed.  We conduit! he cried. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, what went wrong was that the Owens Valley area had quite a number of farmers.  (They were manufacturing a marvelous new invention, the orange.)

They weren't willing to cooperate.  To keep their water, they were ready to fight, and they did.  Thus did the L A Water Wars come into existence.  Perhaps the most famous of the wars you never heard of.

As you may have guessed, the acqueductors won.

Reason I tell you all this is that it has to do with the Berownial quiz of the week.  The above story, without the puns, should remind you of a famous motion picture.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is: name the movie.

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)

42 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

I think I know what the movie is - Chinatown - but I've never actually seen it!

kaykuala said...

My feel it is Chinatown, Berowne!

Hank

LOLfromPasa said...

I don't why but after reading the first sentence the film 'Chinatown'. I am a Pasadena gal and I completely enjoyed reading your article for today! Cheers from Coventry, England (covered in snow).

DCW said...

Blue Gold?

"We conduit"? Ouch!

Berowne said...

Three bloggers have started us off well with the correct answer: Roger Owen Green, kaykuala and LOLfromPasa. Thanx and congratulations!

rel said...

"Grapes of Wrath?"

gsb said...

Old "LA" Grizz would growl and say "Chinatown"...your short synopsis of the water wars between LA and Owens Valley was fun to read

Heidi said...

The Milagro Beanfield Wars?

Berowne said...

Very close, but not quite correct...

Berowne said...

gsb has just joined the proud group of those who know the right answer. Congrats, gsb.

signed...bkm said...

Water is gold in California. Still is I work part time for an irrigation district in Northern Cal. Rice Farmers rule here and they fight hard and pay big for water... The lesson in Owens Valley is to never live where there is no water...bkm

oldegg said...

This may be "Chinatown" with Jack Nicholson.

Ginny Brannan said...

Don't know the answer, but found your story quite intriguing!

L said...

Chinatown

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Plotwise, I'm thinking Chinatown? Great history, as always, Berowne! Amy

Berowne said...

Three winners! Sharp Little Pencil, L and oldegg all gave us the correct answer.

Kutamun said...

The Eagle Has Landed

jaerose said...

I don't know but i enjoyed learning about the oranges..

Sheilagh Lee said...

Waterworld

John said...

Now you do have me stumped.

Kathe W. said...

Chinatown.....excellent post Berowne! Cheers and have a lovely week!

Berowne said...

Thinking it over, I have to admit that "Waterworld" is a good guess, Sheilagh. Not quite correct, however.

Berowne said...

Add Kathe W to the list of those who know the right answer...

Lyn said...

The great Jack Nicholson in Polanski's great "Chinatown". Water? That's why they make movies and I write blogs...ha! Thanks so much for all the fun!

Berowne said...

If you've been wondering, where's Lyn in all this? She just checked in, with the correct answer of course. Thanks, Lyn.

Tumblewords: said...

Ah, yes. I remember parts of the history but didn't see a movie...It is quite the tale.

Altonian said...

My first comment obviously did not 'take' - so I'll try again:
I'm guessing = Chinatown. ???

Stafford Ray said...

No chance of guessing the answer to the quiz. However, the water wars story is interesting and of course repeated around the world.
Water rights and dams were also the subject of of a few shoot-em-up Westerns of my childhood!

keiths ramblings said...

One day I may just come up with an answer! Guess I need to watch more movies!

Berowne said...

Congratulations are again in order; Altonian has also coughed up the right answer.

Sue said...

Chinatown, right? And this quiz of yours was so well-written that I am still smiling.

=)

Karen S. said...

At first I thought I'd need to sharpen my pencil- but then Jack and Faye came bursting through dull pencil and all- Chinatown!

Berowne said...

Some more names to add to the winners' circle: Sue and Karen S have also given us the right answer.

Kate said...

Chinatown with Jack Nicholson, Kate, ABC Team

Leslie: said...

Chinatown!

Leslie
abcw team

Carver said...

I'm clueless but I enjoyed your post. Carver, ABC Wed. Team

Hildred said...

I'm really not up on movies, but oh, the puns! For shame Berowne.

Stacy Lynn said...

Well, I'm unsure as the title of the motion picture, but this was a lovely little history lesson, nonetheless. :)

Berowne said...

Leslie and Kate have also checked in with the correct answer. Who's next?

abstractorganizedchaos said...

I am not sure of the movie title but I did enjoy reading this. :) I lived in California (although San Diego area) and miss it. Thanks for the history lesson.

Laurie Kolp said...

I'm stumped, but I know what movie you're talking about, just can't remember the name.

Aprilific said...

I love the conduit pun

 
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