Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ghost of the Pink Lady

Malibu canyon is haunted. In 1966 a woman was rubbed out at an early age. Her ghost is still there.
Here's what happened. Grafitii covered the rocks over a tunnel on Malibu Canyon Road. A local artist thought it was ugly. She cleaned it up and painted a 60 foot high woman. Local authorities weren't impressed (probably something to do with the subject being nude). Within days she was blotted out with brown paint. Local authorities are no fun.

Here's what she looked like in her glory days:
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She's considered long gone, but you can still see her "ghost" if you know where to look.
Perhaps it's traces of the original paint, but what kind of paint lasts 40 years? More likely, the paint they covered her with has protected that section of rock long enough for it to erode at a different pace.
Here is a contemporary photo, scaled in photoshop to line up with the cracks in the rocks.
She seems to be wearing the shrowd of paint they covered her with. Can you find her?
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How about now?
Here's the rock part of the original photo superimposed over the modern one.


karen lise klein said...

I know that this blog is going to be great. you off to a great start. very interesting. wooo hoo

Anonymous said...

awesome post.

Anonymous said...

Original painting was done with house paint which is why they had a problem removing it.

Namowal said...

You are correct, Anon.
They tried paint remover first, but she didn't budge. So they painted over her instead.
Thanks for visiting! :)

James McGowan said...

I drive Malibu Canyon Road frequently and always look up at that rock face, hoping to see the lady's outline. I wonder if someone more recently tried to duplicate or restore or parody her, because I can clearly see traces of pink paint above the tunnel, only more to the right and lower. I was only 8 years old when she "lived" but would love to have seen her in her glory!

In any event, this is great stuff. Thanks especially for the color photo!

Namowal said...

Thanks for swinging by, James.
Since the original was painted over, I'm always hoping it will return some day as a the way old painted adds on walls sometimes return as fresher paint is weathered away.
Interesting that you spotted some paint up there yourself. I too wonder if someone tried to paint a more recent one, or if it's residue from earlier attempts to wash her away with paint remover?
As you probably know, the paint remover didn't really work, so that's why they painted over her instead.

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing the original "Pink Lady" when I was 9 years-old. It must have been a little while after it was painted in October 1966. I don't remember seeing anyone stopped there as we entered the tunnel, but I do remember seeing the freshly, well painted and definitely "pink" naked lady just as the picture shows. My family and I were on are way to visit and stay with some friends of my parents. They owned a cool house with a private lake. I remember my parents friends, saying that they "loved" the Pink Lady and they thought it was beautiful, which it was. They were also a bit upset that it was to be removed as it was considered a traffic hazard. What a shame. It's removal seems so much sadder now than it did at the time. Thank you though for sharing a fond memory!

Namowal said...

Thanks for visiting the old post, Anon. You're lucky to have been able to see her. It's always surprised me that she's not more famous, considering she appeared so suddenly and caused such a flap.
I agree it was lame to cover her up with brown paint. I wonder how long she would have lasted had she been left alone?

Anonymous said...

After doing a bit more research, I realized how lucky we were to see the "Pink Lady" back when I was 9 years-old. It was reportedly painted over in "Brown paint" on November 4th, 1966, only 8 days after her appearance on that same year October 28th. Interestingly, that for me and my family to have made the coincidental trip from Laguna Beach to visit my parents friends in Malibu just at that time, having never been their before.

I have wonderful memories of that trip. I remember the song by "Hair", It was "Easy to Be Hard" and it was playing almost non-stop on the AM radio during those same days. The Pink Lady really fit the mood of the times and the atmosphere back in least for some. BTW, here are those those great lyric's from "Easy to Be Hard".

"How can people be so heartless
How can people be so cruel
Easy To Be Hard; Easy to be cold

Oh, how can people have no feelings
How can they ignore their friends
Easy to be proud; Easy to say no

And especially people who care about strangers
Who care about evil and social injustice
Do you only care about the bleeding crowd?
How about a needing friend?
I need a friend...

How can people be so heartless
You know I'm hung up on you
Easy to give in; Easy to help out

Oh, and especially people who care about strangers
Who care about evil and social injustice
Do you only care about the bleeding crowd?
How about a needing friend?
I need a friend...

How can people have no feelings
How can they ignore their friends
Easy to be hard; Easy to be cold
Easy to be proud;
Easy to say no."

mojavegardener said...

Yup, in 1966 I drove my mom's 1956 turquoise and white Bel Air station wagon through the Canyon every day I could from Woodland Hills to Malibu to go to the beach. I remember the Pink Lady well. We were all stoked to see her, and then a couple of days later she was sort of gone, but never forgotten. Hooray for the Sixties!!!

Namowal said...

Thanks for stopping by, mojavegardiner!
Sometimes I wonder if the resulting fuss and coverup made her more famous than it would have been otherwise.
The controversy made sure everyone knew where it was and what she looked like. Had the public officials ignored her, she might be faded and forgotten. Painting over her (especially in a way that left a suggestive shape for years) turned her into a lost icon.

Anonymous said...

Is there meant to be a third photo there, Namowal?

Namowal said...

Yes, Anon,
There should be a third photo.
Not sure why it's missing.
If it's not back in a few days I'll upload it again.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention.