The Center for Sacramento History released a five-minute film titled Relighting the Past: Neon Signs Brighten the Golden 1 Center, which documents the process of preparing six historic neon signs for installation at the Golden 1 Center. The six signs, all from the Center for Sacramento History’s prized collection, turns history into art as the iconic landmarks brightly line the walkways on the new arena in a display that only adds to the exciting vibe already there.
A joint effort between the Center for Sacramento History, the Sacramento Kings and Pacific Neon Company, the collection of signs include Coronet Portraits, Franke’s Drugs, Newbert Hardware, Shakey’s Pizza, Sleeper Stamp and Stationery and, perhaps the most iconic of all, Tower Records.
The short film was developed by producer Chris Lango and takes viewers through the carefully curated steps of the signs’ rehabilitation process. From storage to installation, viewers get to meet the individuals responsible for bringing these iconic pieces back to their glory days in a behind-the-scenes exclusive.
“It’s been fascinating to document the process of bringing these incredible artifacts from the Center for Sacramento History back to life,” said Lango in a release. “This collaboration between the Center and the Kings is unique because they’ve created an eye-catching public display of local history unlike any other in the United States.”
With a variety of interviews from Kings President, Chris Granger, history curator Veronica Kandl and “one of the best neon benders Sacramento has ever seen,” in Steve Uroff, the film’s commentary is as collective as the installation itself. Each piece has a story of its own, with history coming together from the 1930s to the early 2000s.
In the end, the mission is to make sure Sacramento’s history is forever present in its future.
Lango, who narrates the film, has previously partnered with the Center on documentary projects including last springs’ Replacing the Past: Sacramento’s Redevelopment History, which aired on KVIE.
Visit the Golden 1 Center to check out the signs (and to see if the new arena itself if you’re not one of the 200,000 who already visited in the first 10 days of opening). And view the film online on the Center’s website at centerforsacramentohistory.org.
Photos by Steve Martarano