Double-decker bus at Olive St & West 7th St, Los Angeles, 1937.

Double-decker bus at Olive St & West 7th St, Los Angeles, 1937.In this photo, we’re at the corner of Olive Street and West 7th Street, downtown Los Angeles in 1937. We often see those semaphore traffic lights in old movies, but I don’t recall seeing double-decker buses with the open-air top floor. Compared with their London equivalent, they seem quite dainty, don’t they?

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Pickfair dining room, circa early 1920s and after a 1925 remodel

Pickfair dining room, circa early 1920sThis is how the dining room at Pickfair looked in the early 1920s. Two things surprises me: all those floor-to-ceiling windows allowing in lots of California light—for some reason, I pictured it darker than that. Also, the dining table has places for only six people. I’d have thought Mary and Doug’s dining table would have been far larger than that, so I assume that this was just their casual one for more intimated dining.

Here’s how that room looked after a 1925 remodel:

Pickfair dining room remodeled in 1925

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May Company department store, Wilshire Blvd, circa late 1940s

May Company department store, Wilshire Blvd, circa late 1940s.The “$795 BOMB SHELTER” billboard in this photo of the May Company department store at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax caught my eye. I tend to think of bomb shelters as being a 1950s thing, but the 1948 Studebaker at the far indicates this is probably from the late ‘40s. At a not-cheap $795, I wonder how many of those bomb shelters they sold. We also get to see what stood at the opposite corner. It looks like a corner market was there before the Googie-style Johnie’s Coffee Shop was built in 1956. Back then, it was called Romeo’s Time Square.

Romeo's Time Square, Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, circa late 1950s

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Wallichs Music City on the northwest corner of Vine and Sunset, Hollywood, circa late 1940s

Wallichs Music City on the northwest corner of Vine and Sunset, Hollywood, circa late 1940sOpening in 1940 on the corner of Sunset and Vine, Wallichs Music City became THE place to buy all the latest records, and listen to them in the booths. You could also by sheet music, instruments and, later TV sets. From 1946 to 1956, Capitol Records occupied the second floor until they moved into the Capitol Records building. The light-colored sedan at the intersection is a 1947 Studebaker, so I assume this photo is circa late 1940s.

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“Overlooking Hollywood at Night, Hollywood, Calif” vintage postcard

“Overlooking Hollywood at Night, Hollywood, Calif" vintage postcardI don’t know when this postcard came out but I can imagine how romantic and glamorous Hollywood must have seemed to people receiving it back home in Des Moines or Pittsburgh. It’s no wonder that so many people saw pictures like this and thought “I’m moving THERE!”

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Parking cars at Bullocks Wilshire department store, Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, 1938

Parking cars at Bullocks Wilshire department store, Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, 1938From Life magazine, we have a glimpse into the good life in LA in 1938. The Bullocks Wilshire department store was the first to cater to the “carriage trade” (i.e. not walk-past-the-front-door shoppers) by building the main entrance at the rear. Shoppers left their car under the porte cochere where valets would park it for them. And as the customers bought various goodies, their purchases would be sent directly to the car so that the customers wouldn’t be lumbered with enormous packages. Could it be any more civilized? For the car buffs, in the above photo, we are looking at a 1938 Cadillac, 1937 Buick, 1938 Chevrolet in this picture.

Parking cars at Bullocks Wilshire department store, Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, 1938

See also: my Facebook album of photographs taken at the Bullocks Wilshire building in 2014: http://bit.ly/bwalbum

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Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, with the Town House Hotel and Bullocks Wilshire tower, 1955

Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, with the Town House Hotel and Bullocks Wilshire tower, 1954A little part of me claps like a kid at the circus when I find a vintage color photo of Los Angeles. This one shows us Wilshire Blvd looking east toward downtown LA. The two striking features are the Town House Hotel on the left, and the soaring, copper-topped tower of the Bullocks Wilshire department store on the right. But what really caught my eye was the woody station wagon turning onto Wilshire from Vermont Ave. (clap! clap!)

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Casino Card Room at Ocean Park Pier, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, 1937

Casino Card Room, Los Angeles, 1937This photo was taken at the Ocean Park Pier in Santa Monica in 1937. I keep expecting someone like Edward G. Robinson to emerge from the “Casino Card Room” after a rough round of Texas Hold ‘Em and bump into Joan Blondell coming out of the bowling alley with a girlfriend who she loses in short order to her ultimate regret. Doesn’t it reek with atmosphere???

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“Gone With The Wind”’s Tara mansion in ruins on the 40 Acres backlot, circa 1959.jpg

"Gone With The Wind"’s Tara mansion in ruins on the 40 Acres backlot, circa 1959This aerial view shows us the Tara mansion from “Gone With The Wind” sitting in ruins on the 40 Acres back lot, circa 1959. By this point, it was more than 20 years old, so I’m rather impressed it was still recognizable—considering it was built for one movie, and such things weren’t meant to last. And isn’t it interesting / odd / disconcerting to see Culver City in the background and not acres of cotton plantation?

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1936 premiere of “Lloyds of London” at the Carthay Circle Theater

Premiere of "Lloyds of London" at the Carthay Circle Theater, November 25, 1936Twentieth Century-Fox really turned on the works for the premiere of “Lloyds of London” by holding it at one of the most popular theaters in LA, the Carthay Circle, which was always able to endow the night with enormous glamour. It was also a big night for Tyrone Power—it was his big break, and the role of Jonathan Blake was the one that made him a star.

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