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20 Amazing True Facts
about Los Angeles


by Alan Benson

On average, Los Angeles receives 6.43" of precipitation each year — 5.07" of rain and 1.36" of snow.

A full 8 percent of the population speaks fluent Dutch.

The inspiration for Tom (of "Tom and Jerry" fame) was a cat named Whiskers, who greeted commuters at Union Station for 19 years.

Olympic Boulevard, one of the city's main north-south thoroughfares, appears to run east-west because of an optical illusion caused by the nearby San Gabriel Mountains.

Almost 50 percent of the city's water comes from the Tennessee River.

The ghost of Three Stooges member Larry Fine haunts Gauntlet, a bondage store on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Under an obscure and unenforced city ordinance, Armenians are barred from owning puppets (though it is legal for them to own marionettes and ventriloquist dummies.)

The word "bubble" was coined by screenwriters at Universal Films.

During a brief period in the late 1970s, every member of the city council could trace his or her family lineage back to Ambrose Bierce.

In order to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrities must pay $10,000, collect 900 signatures, and vow never to use a telephone again.

According to leading Biblical scholars, the lands of Gog and Magog that are mentioned in Revelations are, respectively, East Los Angeles and the Westside Pavilion mall.

For three years, Luciano Pavarotti ran a t-shirt shop on the Venice Beach boardwalk.

Earthquakes centered in Los Angeles are always followed by a low whistling noise that lasts from one to four days.

Los Angeles' population topped one million for the first time in 1985.

The first inhabitants of the greater Los Angeles area were a group of Phoenician sailors whose galley was blown off course and foundered on a shallow sandbar. The sailors founded a small village, but were either rescued or died out shortly thereafter. The only evidence of the village's existence are some arrowheads, shards of pottery, and several hundred 80-foot-tall stone statues scattered throughout Long Beach.

Frank Sinatra's will stipulated that, upon his death, the ninth floor of the Capitol Records building would be vacated and all doors sealed with cement. His wish became a reality on Dec. 9, 1999.

Several large veins of iron ore run just below the surface of West Los Angeles. As a result, magnetic compasses do not work inside a five-mile radius of Century City.

In 1979, scientists working in a lab underneath Gardner Middle School successfully cloned a living rabbit.

Because of a 30-year jurisdictional fight between the L.A. sheriff's office and the city coroner's department, Fred Allen's body was never buried. It remains in a cold-storage unit at the UCLA Medical Center.

Bialys were invented in 1934 by a Works Progress Administration crew working in and around the Los Angeles area.

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