‘Chinatown’ writer inspired by memories of L.A.

A couple of powerful flashbacks to the Los Angeles of his childhood persuaded Robert Towne to write "Chinatown."

One flashback came during a walk along the ocean in the early 1970s, when the quality of the light, the sea air and the smell of eucalyptus sent him into a reverie. "I remember thinking, 'I'm 11 years old again,' " Towne says, on the phone from his Los Angeles home to talk about the 35th anniversary of "Chinatown."

The other transporting moment was prompted by a newspaper article that focused on the 1930s and '40s Los Angeles of crime novelist Raymond Chandler and included photos of a period convertible at historic buildings.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/09/24/MVCU19RDM6.DTL#ixzz0SS6T3DSE

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