Entry fee $100. 99% Off with Cash, reads the sign on the door. Good thing I had cash on me! Next to that sign read another one that said "Knock First." Brad and I followed the directions, and a man greeted us at the door. Welcoming us in, he exclaimed that since we knocked, we got half off our entry price. We happily paid the dollar admission and were instantly transported into an inventor's wonderland.
If the interior of jAdis on Santa Monica's Main Street seems familiar, you've likely seen its props in many movies (eg. Superman, Wonder Woman, Wild West, The Prestige, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus). From the genuine Tesla generator sitting near the entryway to the large model rocket ship with a man moving inside, everything in jAdis brought out the wide eyed kid in me. If you're so inclined, you can even buy some of the items to take home.
jAdis is hard to define. It's part prop rental business, part museum, part curiosity shop. The owner of jAdis, Parke Meek, passed away in January 2010. His life story is one of the most unique and inspirational I have heard. Parke Meek left school with a 6th grade education, but his vision was way beyond anything that school could teach. He was always curious about how things worked, and by observing the world, he made mental connections that most people are blind to. Even at a young age, he was already thinking like an inventor. Meek wasn't afraid to speak his mind, yet he never made an enemy in his life. He became great friends with Charles and Ray Eames and worked at their firm for 25 years. He also befriended Frank Lloyd Wright, Howard Hughes, and other prominent figures of the time.
To learn more about Parke Meek and see his collection for yourself, be sure to drop by jAdis on Friday-Sunday from noon to 5 pm. Bring a dollar, and don't forget to knock ;)