Row 1
CU John Block
John Block 1941
CU Alice Gowland
Alice Adams 1941
CU Peter Gowland
Peter as Rudolph 1941
Alice was courted by two fellows in 1941. Which one would she marry? The one who asked her.

Two lovers eloping at Hitching PostIn 1941 Peter lived alone in a $25 per month house in Hollywood. The living room became his studio and the second bedroom became a darkroom where a wooden sink watered geraniums through a hose to the garden. His main job averaged $35 a week working as a screen extra, stand-in, double and uncoordinated dancer.

Other days and nights were spent photographing actors for their portfolios and for Peter to submit to New York magazines. From editors he learned that to sell pictures he needed words to go with them, contrary to the saying that one picture is worth a thousand words. But Peter was no writer.

His first date with Alice Adams was December 7th, 1941, according to FDR, "A day which will live in infamy." True for Peter, since Alice would not go to bed with him. Two weeks later, on their second date, she did, when he married her! He did not know then that she lived in a world of words and had a talent for writing. He only knew she was cute.

classic story
classic signature inside the front cover
Row 2
unpainted house
Who in their right mind would spend time painting a rented house? Peter received a $15 per month reduction in rent to $25 per month. In same-design house next-door, lived Clark Gable's Parents.
paint 1
Gowland's daughter just paid $20,100 painting the exterior of her San Francisco house. Times have changed.
Row 2b
interior design in progress interior design in progress
Before their marriage in December, 1941, Peter decided to "remodel" his $40/month, 2 bedroom house. The left picture shows the hollow dark beams on floor which came from the ceiling. These became darkroom sink, couch, and end tables covered with burlap. Desktop was fashioned from former floor linoleum.
Row 3
striped sofas economy bedroom
Peter covered the windows with venetian blinds and bought the two fold-back couches from Sears for $25 each. He pushed a double and a single bed together to make a super king size with a large cover over both. Perhaps Alice was intimidated by the size. She is shown here after marriage using the bed to read. A sun lamp is hidden in the wall by the picture over the bed.
Row 4
interior darkroom interior design in progress
Row 5
Here Peter is opening a negative drawer in the work table built from the beam ceiling wood painted gray. Red linoleum covers both tables. A 5x7 diffusion enlarger ($25 new) is on the base which contains ten cheese cloth racks for drying prints. A six foot wood sink (tar lined) is lower right. Picture right shows Alice posing for a portrait at the far end of the living room. Peter uses the same portrait lighting technique today which he learned from Hollywood studio photographers, although they use more power. Peter shows here a 500watt key, 150watt "dinki-inky" fill next to the $25   4x5 view camera. Hair light and background lights are about 100watts. He used a 10" Rapid Symmetrical with an air hose and bulb for exposure time (1/5th second.) He bought this lens for $25. After he had painted the whole exterior and remodeled the rented house, he asked the landlord for a reduction of $15 to get his rent down to $25 per month. The landlord accepted.

How about all those 25's. There are more! All the above happened when I was 25. Five years later, Alice and I bought a 25 foot business lot, to get a G.I. Loan. We hoped to buy half of the $5,000 lot for 25 hundred, The property is in the 25 hundred block on Overland Ave, that connects 20th Century Fox to M.G.M. (A perfect spot for a studio-home)

Row 5b
¾ key-light on Lee Evans, known as Rembrandt lighting, with no hair light
Also taken in my living-room-studio, 66 years ago, was a "funny-friend" Stan Dunn. who had that "natural-look" with casual clothing, Same key light to the side, background light, but this time a hair-light, to give Stan a little "glamour."
Bonnie Jean Tait before a Venetian blind background (shown two rows up) same key-light. hair-light and light on back ground.
Row 6A
studio 2
gentleman of Virginia
Peter in Forever Amber
20th Century Fox 1947
gentleman from Colorado
Peter as dude rancher
Sir Peter before Big Ben
Peter photographs daughter
Ann in London 1959
dinner jacket and bow tie
Peter as "dress extra"
In l946, after 3 years as engineering photographer At North American Aviation and 13 months in the Army Air Corps, Peter had to return to "acting," in order to pay their expensive $78 a month G.I. loan. The Gowlands, were again, starting from scratch. The 1959 picture in London, was taken when they had built studio 3.
shoebox model of home construction of playhouse
Row 11-A
Peter hired a fellow movie extra to draw plans for their “SHOE BOX” studio home. Then Peter made a scale model from plywood. The large room, upper right, is the studio with entrance to Overland Ave. Below is darkroom and dressing room on left with Ann’s bedroom at right. Bathroom is at mid right. Bottom left is living room with fireplace. Alice and Peter slept there. Kitchen with water heater is on alley with patio between house and garage. Next to garage, Peter designed and built a plywood playhouse. A short time later this space was used to build Ann a bedroom with bath because their second daughter needed the first bedroom. Then she was moved to a small room behind the fireplace so Alice could have an office. Alice was irritated by a car crashing into Ann’s bedroom. Ann slept clear through the crash, but Alice wanted to move anyway.
urban back yard
The patio on Gowland's 25 ft lot started with a lawn but soon Peter laid brick between house and garage. He did not like looking at the 3 ft door on the garage so he built the lattus. He also built the barbeque. At right, designer Robert Weaver Stevens decorated the colors and the lamps which Peter built. The bases were cement poured around two angel food pans.
cozy interior
Row 12-A
oil can spotlight
Peter made a 500 watt key-spot light from a motor oil can using a magnifying condenser for studio one.
rotating exterior studio
On the roof of studio two, an 8x8' masonite revolving platform can be turned to suit the sun. 8x8' background folds down to cover the floor when not in use. Canvas covers both to protect the stage from weather.
Row 13-A
Some of these pictures will appear in Peter's biography
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composed by B.A.S Last updated 9 Sep 2005. All contents copyright ©2005-2010 Peter Gowland.