This is the Statt Mann, Baby. It’s time to Scatt a Little Bit…

Sporting events have always been used to sell things.  A hundred years ago baseball games were a rouse to get people out of town to sell them property for a country home.

Same idea with the Venice Grand Prix. It was held to sell Los Angeles residents seaside property in Venice. That was before the 405.

I learned this week that the race was run on a three mile track that included streets and houses that still exist. In fact, a group of people met this week in a speakeasy that existed on that St. Patrick’s Day in 1915. We lifted a couple to celebrate the race won by maybe the biggest sports celebrity of the day, Barney Oldfield, Master Driver of the World.

A friend Harold Osmer made the presentation. He’s created a cottage industry around where they raced in Southern California. It started with his Master’s Thesis and grew from there.

I used to wonder why they had a tiny street called Speedway in Venice. Turns out it was a paved path between two housing developments where automobilists – that’s what they called them then – could bring their newfangled horseless carriages out for a Sunday romp on Speed Way.

They had to listen to a pitch from a sales crew though. Some things haven’t changed in a hundred years. Maybe never will.