Charles Kratka's Mosaic tiles at LAX airport.
LAX had a presence in the 1940's and 1950's, but the 1960's was the golden age of flying - also known as the "Jet-age" and when the Los Angeles International Airport established its identity. Designer Charles Kratka had a lot to do with that. It was truly the airport of the future.
But this is the story of the tiled murals that traverse the long, long, long, corridors of Terminals 3, 4, at LAX
At the Delta Terminal in 2019. Below in my story on the tiles for Los Angeles Magazine in 2013
The Designer and graphic artist, who died in 2007, was hired in the late 1950s to help upgrade LAX to the atomic age in 1961, which included the creation of this geomantic eye candy. Kratka was the head of interior design when the airport was being modernized. Kratka also oversaw the design of the original interiors for the Los Angeles Museum Of Art when it opened in 1965, but the mosaics were actually designed by artist, Janet Bennett, who installed thousands of small glass tiles into five corridors and the two satellite buildings.
If you haven't seen the tiles in person, perhaps you've seen them captured on celluloid. Movies such as, "POINT BLANK", "THE GRADUATE", "HIGH ANXIETY, "MIDNIGHT MADNESS", "AIRPLANE!", "JACKIE BROWN", "INTO THE NIGHT", and "ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD were just some of the movies and TV shows shot in this mid century modern space age tunnel...
"SOMG" released in 1962
Screen grab from SUNDAY IN New York, 1963 staring Cliff Robertson
Screen grab from "THE LOVED ONE", 1965
"POINT BLANK", 1967. I love the sound of Lee Marvin's shoes waking down that corridor. "Clack, clack, clack, clack..."
Quentin Tarantino's epic opening staring Pam Grier in "JACKIE BROWN was filmed in terminal 4 in 1997.
John Hamm as Don Draper on "MAD MEN" filmed on the rolling sidewalk. During the space-age era the moving sidewalk was referred to as “The Astro Walk".
Learn more about the artist, Charles D. Kratka Here
Footage of the airport with special attention to the mosaic tile walkways designed by Charles Kratka
Lucille Ball at the ceremony of Tunnel 4 in 1963!
This is from original press release for the general Jet Age Airport.
Danny Hutton, June Fairchild, David Anderle, his wife Sheryl, Mark Volman, Chrissie Jolly, Jules Seigel, Michael Vosse, Dean Torrance (hidden), Diane Rovell, Marilyn Wilson, Brian, Annie Hinsche, Brian Wilson and Barbara Rovell-Gaddy, and Van Dyke Parks.
Dean and Dick Martin
"MAD MEN" publicity shoot - 2014/ Click here to see Don Draper pass by the tiles.
"ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD" released in 2019 and takes place in 1969
An owner of a house in Downey, California says these tiles were left over from the LAX installations
The tiles even inspired these socks by the Stephen J. Cox sock company
Alison Martino is a writer, television producer, an on-air personality, and L.A. pop culture historian. She founded the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles in 2010. In addition, Martino muses on L.A’s. past and present Instagram and Twitter
Alison is also currently a columnist for Los Angeles Magazine and an On Air Contributor on Spectrum News 1 in Southern California reporting about the history of her hometown.