Angelo Pipilo, a native of Italy and an extremely successful pharmacist in Los Angeles, was my Godfather. Although he died when I was seven, I was completely enamored with him. At least, that’s my take on the photos I have of him and me. Furthermore, he reportedly made it perfectly clear at my christening that my name, Nicola, would replace the name on my birth certificate (Joseph Louis Viani, Jr). While doing genealogical research, I learned that Nicola was Angelo’s father’s name.
A long time friend of the Viani family, he participated in many family functions (Angelo would dress up as Santa and arrive on a donkey) and from the negatives and footage I’ve digitized, he loved to make his friends laugh. This becomes apparent in the three clips I’ve embedded below. All have been digitized from the original 16mm Kodachrome movies taken by my parents, Joe and Natalie Viani. They used a wind-up Kodak 16mm movie camera with a fixed lens and thankfully shot a lot of film. If only someone had suggested they use a tripod.
Playing in the Snow at Big Pines County Park: c. 1943
This vintage movie clip is from a compilation film edited by Joe Viani and captures the Vianis and a group of friends partying at Big Pines (LA) County Park. The footage begins in Palmdale, California, with everyone chaining up for the snow country. There’s even a steam engine puffing along in the background. Those identified include Joe & Natalie Viani, Natalie’s sister, Olga Metrovitsch, Bob & Mary Alice Krock, and Angelo Pipilo accompanied by his teenaged daughter, Lorraine. After sharing these films with Lorraine during our visit following my 50th HS reunion in SoCal, I was able to date the film. Lorraine indicated that her mother had died (she was 16 when that happened) and since she was born in 1927, that would make the event about 1943-44 (Julie, still an infant, didn’t appear to be part of the group).
Easter in Palm Springs, c. 1946
Joe Viani managed the bowling alley in Palm Springs. In this short clip, “Nicky” is filmed with Angelo and Joe at their house. While the Vianis lived there for only one year, the proximity of Palm Springs to friends and family living in Los Angeles resulted in much partying. This clip was presumably filmed at the annual Easter celebration.
The Bocce Court at Angelo’s Home in La Cañada: c. 1951
This footage was taken at Angelo’s home on Journey’s End Drive in La Cañada. During the construction of the Viani house (also in La Cañada) in the early 50’s, our family lived with Angelo and his wife, Olga (the sister of my sweet mother, Natalie). The large back yard hosted many parties, and it appears that, again, Easter was a perfect time to gather around Angelo’s bocce court. (It must be the hat).