Yesterday, I posted a photo of the corner of Wilshire and Western in 1939. This photo is from 12 years earlier when—at least not as far as I can see in this photo—that intersection didn’t even have traffic lights. Good luck to those drivers on Western trying to cross Wilshire. I also want to draw you attention to the window display near the center of the photo. It looks like an actual car (some sort of roadster?) on display in a picture box window. What I want to know is how they got it in there!
The large clock above the doorway of The Owl Drug Co tell us it’s 5 o’clock, and the sign at the Wiltern Theater says that “Return of the Cisco Kid” is playing. So, folks, what we’re seeing is what peak hour traffic looked like one of the busiest corners in Los Angeles—Wilshire Blvd and Western Ave—in 1939. Doesn’t look so busy to my 21st century eyes.
These days with its two theme parks, Downtown Disney, and multiple approaches, Disneyland is a whole world unto itself. It’s nice to be reminded that once upon a 1958 ago, it was a lot simpler than that. The Disneyland Hotel opened in October 1955, three months after the park did, and apparently they offered reduced winter rates, a package plan, and the promise that “informal dress” was okay in order to lure guests. I wonder whatever happened to that wonderful sign.
What a sight this place must have been come nightfall. This is Carpenter’s drive-in restaurant, Wilshire Blvd and Western Ave, Los Angeles, 1937. Carpenter’s had a number of locations around LA, but this one was opposite the Wiltern Theater. I would love nothing better than to have been able to go see a show at the Wiltern, then jump across the street for a late-night burger and chili fries, and wash it all down with a chocolate thick shake.
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?
This 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:
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.
Opening 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.
I 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!”
From 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.
See also: my Facebook album of photographs taken at the Bullocks Wilshire building in 2014: http://bit.ly/bwalbum