Drifting and striding, in Hollywood and elsewhere, with Geoff Nicholson - author of The Lost Art of Walking, and Walking in Ruins withcholson, author of Toff Nidrifting and stomping withcholson, author of The Lost Art of Walking, considers the narrower and wider shores of obsessive pedestrianism.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


And here’s a thing.  A friend just sent me this inscrutable image, found floating around in the eternal spotless void of the internet:

 It comes with the caption: “Happy Harry Herman, the 77 year old hermit of Hollywood, takes his daily morning walk in Los Angeles.  Throughout the year, he wears nothing else than his loincloth and sandals.  California USA.  Photograph November 4, 1933."

Can this really be a photograph from 1933?   I’d never have guessed so, though I’m prepared to believe that it is – the street looks suitably empty, but a little research, online and off, doesn’t produce any further information.  If you have any, do please share.  Perhaps you can even identify where he is, I can only guess.

And the fact is, this does look like an image created for outsiders.  Anybody who lives in LA knows that although this is a very warm and pleasant city most of the time, it really isn’t so warm that you could go around half naked every day of the year.  You’d freeze on certain days.  Maybe people were made of sterner stuff in 1933, especially the hermits.


  1. Hi Geoff,

    Have you ever encountered Vladimir? He's a modern day Harry Herman, and walks all around the city shirtless, every day as far as I know. He says he walks about 7 miles a day. We often see him going up or down Beachwood Drive, although he allegedly lives in Koreatown. He's from Russia, so I guess a 45-degree day feels warm to him. His catchphrase is "Enjoy your life, non-stop."

  2. Hi Neil - yes I think I must have seen Vladimir, certainly I've seen a shirtless older dude walking around the Beachwood/Franklin area - and as you say, not always on the warmest day. And of course I didn't know that was his name. "Enjoy life, non-stop" seems like a big demand, but no harm in aiming high, I suppose.