1. The Moderncraft Laundry’s very name, as well as each L.A. location’s fierce, imposing Art Moderne facade, should have tipped off customers that this was no run-of-the-mill laundry service. But Angelenos who could afford the ritzy prices learned soon enough— usually after an evening dress came back with 18 additional pleats, or a jacket had been re-sewn and pressed into a ziggurat. Of course, Hollywood celebs were the most active in loving/hating Moderncraft; witness Clark Gable’s scrambling around for a new Oscar-evening tuxedo after his own white-tie duds were transformed into a replica of the Chrysler building. Being in love with the very concept of Los Angeles, however, the Surrealists immediately latched onto the Moderncraft aesthetic. Man Ray shot footage of the interiors (in total darkness), while Salvador Dali made every effort to open his own franchises in Madrid, London, and Cairo. No one really knows why that deal fell through; something about dry-cleaning fluid being rationed for the war effort.

     
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