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David Cason's father Mac Alfred Cason was born in Georgia during World War I, one of the generation set up to die in World War I. This was thanks to the Treaty of Versailles that ended the first World War. At his creative apex he not only survived that conflagration but became the Chief Architect of LA County with a public works budget larger than 43 states. 

He earned a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Architecture in Georgia.  Then he moved on to Harvard and the Navy program in Massachusets. [MORE DETAILS}  At this point the second World War was raging.

He worked on ship as part of the massive infrastructure moving food and supplies to armies into Europe. [MORE DETAILS] This means he luckily did not see combat. He probably saw few burned up corpses in Europe.

mac casonIronically and unfortunately he saw large numbers of burned up corpses in America, namely at the Coconut Grove Fire .  On November 28, 1942, it was the scene of the deadliest nightclub fire in history, killing 492 people (which was 32 more than the building's authorized capacity) and injuring hundreds more. The scale of the tragedy shocked the nation and briefly replaced the events of World War II in newspaper headlines. It led to a reform of safety standards and codes across the US, and to major changes in the treatment and rehabilitation of burn victims internationally. 

Cason was passing by and ended up in middle of tragedy.  According to the local paper and a dispatch from Washington DC he initiated rescue efforts even before the fire department arrived. "He started to remove parked cars which would have impeded the fire apparatus. He called enlisted men from gathering crowds and led a party of them ... to remove the bodies which were literally piled inside the door.  Ensign Cason's rescue party also broken open the cloakroom door and brought out more victims. He personally removed 15 or 16 bodies and gave artificial respiration to two persons oversome by smoke."

Cason was later awarded a letter of commendation for "courage, leadership and resourcefulness" by the US Navy.

After years as LA County's architect he took a position with the University of California, San Diego and was instrumental in the expansion of the campus.


hollywood museum concept art willaim pereira
There is a Hollywood History Museum at the old Max Factor building in Hollywood. Wanna be an actor? See old Max Factor he'll make your kisser look good. The Oscars people, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, is also building a Hollywood History Museum as of 2019.  But there was an earlier attempt to make a museum happen in the 1960s (shown left w/Capitol Records bldg in bknd). A museum of phoniness is a tricky proposition because, while the movies may be glamorous and exciting to watch, the production of them is not. A plastic ray gun with glue seams all over it from a 1930s Flash Gordon B movie is not even as glamourous as the Flash Gorden serial itself, and they were very low budget. Does this belong in a museum?

It was decided that this museum was going to be about people, artists, creators first and the history of movie technology second. There would also be soundstages, research facilities, and even a primitive information center that presaged the modern Internet.  The design concept was by iconic architect William L. Pereira (LAX, Disneyland Hotel, Pepperdine Campus, Transamerica Building).   But struggles over money and land began almost immediately.

According to the Academy "In December 1960 the board of supervisors suggested that the film industry put up half the cost of the project. This caused the HMA concern and was an early warning sign of the troubles to come. Over the next few years the HMA raised nearly $500,000 and gifts continued to accumulate. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held at the proposed site on October 20, 1963. Debs and Lesser, along with Gene Autry, Walt Disney, Jack Warner, Mary Pickford, Gregory Peck, Gloria Swanson, and others, addressed an audience of several thousand people. "  One of those people was little David Cason who still remembers getting to meet Mary Pickford as a boy.

But problems then compounded each other. According to the Academy "A county-condemned building on the site necessitated the eviction of its occupant, who consequently held sheriff's deputies at bay with a shotgun for several weeks until his arrest in April 1964. The dramatic standoff received much attention from the media, and taxpayers began to question the expenditure of public funds. The attorney for the evicted man immediately sued the county to prevent the sale of bonds to finance construction. ... By late 1964, after having invested more than $1,000,000, the county froze funding. When Lytton saw the architect's plans in March 1965, he claimed the museum would cost $21 million to build. This estimated price tag far exceeded the original $6.5 million proposal and surpassed the amount of money raised thus far. Arguments ensued over how much the building would cost and where the money would come from. The HMA then suspended financial operations and stopped soliciting monetary donations. Two months later the county had completely withdrawn its support. The following month the proposed site was paved over to create a parking lot. "


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