About the Editor

Harbinger: An uber-kitschy giant showgirl twirling atop a Las Vegas casino’s billboard installed next to the Chateau Marmont in the late fifties was a sign that the end of the Sunset Strip’s glory days was at hand

Jon Ponder is a writer who has been researching the history of Sunset Strip since 2007. He is a creator of the audio series “Hollywood & Crime,” for Wondery, and was a writer, producer and director for the series first season, “The Black Dahlia Serial Killers.”

Ponder was editor and producer of Gore Vidal’s official website until the author’s death in 2012. In the early nineties, he spent a year working at the Playboy Mansion as a research assistant on the autobiography of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. He has worked as a advertising copywriter, including a five year stint at the New York publishing house John Wiley & Sons, and has written magazine articles and book reviews and edited newsletters.

In the 1990s, he was a partner in Big Film Shorts, a Burbank-based pioneering worldwide distributor of award-winning short films that represented films like “Gowanus, Brooklyn,” starring then-unknown Ryan Gosling, that was expanded into the feature “Half Nelson,” and Sundance Film Festival winners, such as “Nonnie and Alex” and “Harvie Krumpet.” Under the company’s Nano TV brand, he produced packages shorts for Time-Warner On-Demand. Earlier, he served as a development rep in New York and in Los Angeles for a North Carolina-based film production company. Very early in his career, he was a coordinator for movie-star press junkets in the Carolinas for Columbia Pictures, United Artists, Disney and other studios.

An experienced website producer, Ponder served as VP Creative for Hollywood-based Shoom Inc. Since 2008, he has worked as an independent web producer for Miami-based NewmanPR.

In 2013, he co-founded the Alla Nazimova Society. He is also a member of the board of directors of the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance.




  1. Liane Schirmer

    June 16, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    Dear Mr. Ponder,

    I was wondering whether you have ever done any research on Paul Hesse, the famous celebrity photographer, who had a studio on Sunset Strip. He was a very good friend of my mother’s and a wonderful and talented man.

    I’d also love to ask you what prompted you to do such a lovely retrospective on the theaters of West Hollywood? How many have you done? Have you only done this for West Hollywood? Was it difficult to research?
    I would love to explore that topic with you more as I am an actress and very interested in these historic theaters.
    Thank you!
    Liane Schirmer

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