Saturday, March 22, 2014

Vintage Los Angeles

It's time for some vintage Los Angels photos!

Here's a beautiful 1950's shot of Bullock's in Westwood (on Weyburn Avenue). Bullock's department stores were among the nicest in L.A. back in those days (especially the famous Bullock's Wilshire location). Bullock's had a store in Westwood going back to 1931, but in 1951, Welton Beckett (designer of the Capitol Records building, the Cinerama Dome, the Pan Pacific Auditorium, and many other Los Angeles landmarks - as well as the famous A-frame Contemporary Resort Hotel at Walt Disney World) designed this new building.


After changing to a Macy's, the store closed in 1998, and is now a multi-use store, including a Target, a Best Buy, and a Ralph's grocery store.

Over at 8532 Sunset Boulevard, we see Dino's Lodge (circa 1961), a nightclub that was once owned by none other than Dean Martin. Dino's was made famous when it appeared on the TV show "77 Sunset Strip"… Ed "Kookie" Byrnes' character worked as a valet there. The lodge opened in 1958 and was very popular, but by 1962 Dean Martin had severed all ties with the restaurant, which continued to operate for many years, gradually fading into obscurity. By 1985 the building was razed, with no hint of what used to be there.

For a wonderful, complete history of Dino's Lodge, please read Kliph Nesteroff's article on WFMU's "Beware of the Blog".

Here's an August 1969 photo of North Orange Avenue in Hollywood. Not exactly a major street, but there at the top of the hill is the historic Yamashiro restaurant, built in 1914 as a replica of a 17th century palace. Right at the end of the street you can see the world-famous "Magic Castle" (which opened in 1963), a private club and restaurant featuring magicians, ranging from closeup sleight of hand to larger, more elaborate magic shows. 

It's kind of surprising how much this Google Maps screen capture still resembles the view from 45 years ago.

I hope you have enjoyed these vintage L.A. pix!


Nanook said...


These shots bring back swell memories of places I've been - including Dino's and the Magic Castle. (I'm guessing I was probably around 10 years old when my folks and I dined there - and 77 Sunset Strip was still on the air).

I shopped many years at Bullock's Westwood and the area of N. Orange Ave. has many wonderful things nearby: Grauman's Chinese Theatre to the right and C.C. Brown's toward the left. Yummy.

Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

It's so cool that nobody's tried to alter the solid midcentury charm of the Bullock's building exterior, and that it completely works in its modern surroundings. It's a testament to the quality of the original design and construction.

Of ALL the places on GDB my Grandma has show up, I'm more than a little surprised this cool, sun-bathed picture of Dino's isn't one of them. Oh, how Grandma loved Dean Martin. "He can put his shoes under my bed anytime," she used to say, and how grown-up did I feel when I finally figured out what she'd meant by that all those years? (She couldn't stand Sinatra, though; she thought he was a bad influence on her beloved Dino.)

All these pictures really capture the feeling I had the first time I hit the West Coast from the East - the sun seems like it's couple thousand miles closer, with fewer layers of atmosphere in between. It's like it's RIGHT THERE instead of behind seven veils like Salome.

K. Martinez said...

Love vintage Los Angeles. I lived on N. Orange Drive, just across from Hollywood High School back in the summer of 1987. Lots of stuff to do in that area. Nice memories. Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, you are lucky that you got to see those places in their heyday… I never saw Dino's, haven't been to the Magic Castle (you need to know somebody)… but I have been in the former Bullock's Westwood. The part I went in is a Target, so… not an amazing experience!

Melissa, I am glad that the building survives, it is still pretty striking. Who knew that Dean Martin inspired such lust! On the best days, L.A., really can be pretty nice.

K. Martinez, I should have mentioned the fact that North Orange crosses Hollywood Blvd near the Chinese Theater. Doh.

Nancy said...

That department store is gorgeous! It is so nice to see that they re-purposed it rather than tearing it down. Too much of that goes on as it is.

25 cents for parking, huh? ....those were the days! I love how that palm tree has managed to survive all these years. Very cool pictures. Love the olden days!

Connie Moreno said...

Wonderful look back and really enjoy everyone's comments.