Monday, February 20, 2012

Something happened.

Something  happened prior to October of 1942 that sent Townsend and his work off (or up) to a whole different level.  Whatever it was, it meant sacrificing any dreams he ever had of being known for a successful and distinguished naval career. And it had been going so promisingly well, too.

Hand picked to run the Atlantic Fleet Radio School in the wake of Pearl Harbor, he wasted no time in seeing that the name  was changed to RADAR school.. ("Material" was appended a few months later.) Promoted to Lt. Commander in the Naval Reserve in September, he  soon handed in his resignation  and headed off to Vega aircraft.

He and Jo rented a home on Wonderland Ave,somewhere near this small and intimate cottage:

The listing realtor described the property thusly:

This legendary home in the Hollywood Hills was built in 1942.... During the Cold War between 1947-1969, the residence was Lookout Mountain Air Force Station, where the federal government operated a secret film studio producing classified films for the U.S. Department of Defense and the Atomic Energy Commission. The self-contained filmmaking compound employed 250 people, and covered 2.5 acres of studios, film vaults, production areas, and screening rooms. Since its deactivation, it has become a personal residence.

The "home" was first built to house the headquarters of the US Army's west coast radar defense operations. In 1942, "Radar Defense" would have been an extremely important on the West Coast, particularly after the colossal failures at Pearl and the unexplained events of the Battle of Los Angeles at the end of February, which must have caused a panic at all levels, civilian and military. 

Townsend's legend during this time was that he was working at Vega. Personally, It is inconceivable that the ore-iminent Naval authority on radar  walked away from a program that was so vitally important and so very secret. I think Doc Townsend arrived with "rights of passage" in and out of  this new "Army" radar command, located oh so close to him.  I wonder if he wasn't even more welcome for being a presumably disenchanted EX-naval officer?

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