Saturday, September 12, 2020

Old Los Angeles

It seems like it's been a while since I have shared any scans of slides featuring vintage Los Angeles, a subject near and dear to my heart. So let's look at a couple of images today!

I'm starting with this shot looking east on Hollywood Boulevard, the photographer was standing right about where Grauman's Chinese Theater is. Across the Street is the Hollywood Paramount Theater, which started life as the "El Capitan" in 1926, showing silent films. Notice that it is showing "The Eyes of Laura Mars", starring Faye Dunaway.

Of course it is now called "El Capitan" again, and the Walt Disney Company has been the lessee for over 30 years. The only movie I've ever seen there is "The Nightmare Before Christmas" during its initial run.

Here's a Google "street view" from what I believe is 2011. The Kodak Theater is to our right (now the Dolby Theater), while the building across the street (with the red banners) is the Hollywood Masonic Temple, where "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" is taped. The tower in the distance was originally the First National Bank, and later Security Pacific Bank (that's how I always think of it).  Not sure who lives there now.

Here's an even more recent view, courtesy of Google Maps. 

Next is a view from 1957, taken from the roof of some unknown building looking toward downtown Los Angeles. My friend Rich W. is a lot more knowledgeable about L.A. history, and he said it was taken somewhere in the Chinatown area looking towards L.A.'s Civic Center. It shows some streetcars on a couple of different lines and the construction of the Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial and waterfall. (Fort Moore was one of just two historic military forts in L.A. from the time of the Mexican-American war).

Rich continues... The best thing was the view of the north end portals of the duo Hill St. tunnels that ran from 1st to Temple St. The hill they ran under was soon completely leveled to construct the courts and Hall of Administration building. I believe that some of the old-looking buildings to our left are part of Olvera Street. 

I hope you have enjoyed today's view of Vintage L.A.!


TokyoMagic! said...

I love "The Eyes of Laura Mars," for all of it's 1970's goodness!

I saw "Throw Mama From the Train" at the Paramount Theater, in 1987. That was shortly before the theater closed for it's restoration back to the El Capitan Theater.

I also saw "The Nightmare Before Christmas" at the El Capitan, as well as many other Disney movies throughout the nineties. Now, I haven't been to the theater in about 20 years. I remember in 1995, when "Toy Story" was released, they used the Masonic Temple space next door for the "Toy Story Funhouse," which was accessible to moviegoers, after seeing the film. The Toy Story Funhouse was then sent to Disneyland and shoehorned into the former Space Place Restaurant in Tomorrowland.

The Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial wall and waterfall was just recently restored and the waterfall turned back on after being dry for decades.

On the far left of that last photo, and to the right of the bunch of trees, we can see the historic Pico House, built in 1869:

Andrew said...

Thanks for the pictures and interesting info! I like the mid-century streetlights along Hollywood Boulevard.

Nanook said...

The construction fence we can see in the first image is most-likely for the addition to Grauman’s, when the original ‘twin screens’ were added - often referred to as the Siamese Twins. Although far from being poor places to see a film, they weren’t exactly where you wanted to end up if a film was playing at the ‘Chinese’.

Thanks, Major.

JG said...

Photo 2 makes the Dragnet Theme play in my head. I walked that strip of Hollywood Blvd a couple of years ago while visiting one of my projects nearby.

The Esotouric blog has a post about a vintage photo collection recently released by the Getty. GDB’ers May enjoy.

I love Lost Los Angeles, thanks Major.


Irene said...

That last photo is the downtown Los Angeles of my childhood. While I was growing up we lived south of here down around 89th and Western. On a clear day (and there weren't too many of them back then) I could go across the street to my friends house and we could see City Hall from her front porch. It was the tallest building in Los Angeles.

Major - have you been to the Natural History Museum at Exposition Park and seen the relief map they did of Los Angeles in the 50's? I love that thing and just study it when I go there.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I’ve never seen “The Eyes of Laura Mars”, though I think I’ve heard that it’s pretty good. Directed by Irvin Kershner, whose claim to fame is “The Empire Strikes Back”. Did you manage to go into the room where they had all the sets and props from “Nightmare Before Christmas”? My friend and I waited in line for a long time - it barely moved - and we finally gave up. And I really wanted to see them, too! I remember the “Toy Story Funhouse”, though of course I never saw it. I’m glad to hear that the Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial’s waterfalls were restored! Thanks for the link to the Pico House article!

Andrew, glad you enjoyed these! I know they might be of limited interest to those not familiar with L.A.

Nanook, thanks, that sounds like a good theory. I’m sad to admit that I’ve never seen a movie at Grauman’s. I did see a movie at the old Egyptian, up the street, though!

JG, good old Jack Webb; he had some sort of appeal, though it is mysterious. Now people love to watch his hard-boiled speeches for laughs. My niece and nephew used to come down from San Luis Obispo for spring break, and my niece really wanted to see Hollywood. I thought, “Really?”, but we made a day of it. I think they had fun, though it must have been an eye-opener to see such a crazy part of the city. Thanks for the link to the Esotouric Blog photos!

Irene, I used to do illustrations for the Los Angeles Times, and that meant driving downtown to deliver actual paintings. I got pretty familiar with that area, and kind of enjoyed walking around those streets. I remember a temporary building that had models and sketches of Disney Hall before that was built. And I recall the media circus that was always present during the O.J. trial! I must have seen the relief map that you mentioned, but I don’t remember it. Which is weird, it sounds right up my alley! Time to Google it.

Nanook said...

You never saw any films at Grauman's-??!! For shame. It's certainly not too late, I suppose.

But in it's post-1957 era (beginning with their [now gone] iconic neon signs), followed in 1958 to accommodate Cinemiracle (a brief competitor to Cinerama) - with the installation of a huge projection screen placed in the center of the stagehouse, necessitating partial removal of the original stage, trap rooms and dressing rooms, and the re-location of the projection booth to the back of the main floor - that can be argued were the glory years for that auditorium. It would remain in this configuration until November, 2001, when the snack bar enlargement forced the projection booth back up to its original location, and returned the forecourt to its "original" facade... And now, in its current iteration of an IMAX theatre, since September 13, 2013, I suppose you could experience, more or less, those 'thrilling days of yesteryear...' I haven't been there since 2000, so haven't any idea if I would give it a thumbs-up, or not - but it has every reason to be an overall great venue for film presentations.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, we always lived just far enough away that Hollywood seemed out of reach, until I was able to drive myself, and by then Hollywood was not much of a place to visit. I didn’t even know that Grauman’s had an IMAX theater! As you probably know, seeing a movie in that general area involves finding parking, which can be pricey; I went to see a taping of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” with a friend (she wanted to see the musical act, Gavin Degraw or however you spell it) and it was a hassle to park! As usual, I wish I could have seen Grauman’s in its glory days.

"Lou and Sue" said...

TM! and JG: Thanks for including those links!

Major, some (all?) of The Nightmare Before Christmas sets and props were on display at Disney MGM Studios, in a building where the Studio Backlot Tour exited, around the time the movie came out. The sets were interesting to look at and, although they reminded me of large train layouts, they were smaller than what I had imagined the sets would be. I remember seeing dozens of little Jack Skellington faces, all lined up, with different expressions. I do think you would've love seeing those sets!

Thanks, Major!


TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I did go downstairs to see the special "Nightmare Before Christmas" displays. I took pics of the three miniature sets from the movie, which were on display. They also had some painted plywood "flats" for photo ops, and I took pics of those as well. I have wanted to post them for a while now, but it just hasn't happened. I do have an "El Capitan Theater" post in the works, so maybe I should just add them to that future post.

P.I. said...

Love these photos. During the past few years, I've been flooded with memories of SoCal.

I think there was an international newsstand close to the Chinese theater. Anybody remember the place? It was located on the opposite side of the street - you had to walk around a corner. It was on a narrow street, and against a wall.

Anybody remember Hobo Kelly on channel 13? If I remember correctly, it was an actress that played a male hobo - ahead of her time in many ways.

My favorite was Sinister Seymour. He was on channel 9, then channel 5. I think he went back to channel 9 - but I'm not certain. I remember failing to convince my parents to take me to Knott's Berry Farm - he was going to be there for some special halloween event.

I liked watching Don Steele on his dance show ( on channel 9 ).

I used to listen to KMET, primarily for the Dr. Demento show. But, I loved KROQ, because I was heavily into punk / new wave.

Do any of you remember Pic 'N' Save stores? They were phased out and converted into other stores - such as Big Lots.

I get hungry just thinking about all the fast food places, like Der Wienerschnitzel, H Salt Fish & Chips, Shakey's Pizza Parlor, Straw Hat Pizza, Pioneer Chicken, and my favorite, A&W Drive-in restaurants - I can still smell the fries, and dream about the cute carhops... ha-ha-ha.

Anonymous said...

It is surprising to see the difference between today's skies and those of yesteryear. I remember being required to run a lap each smoggy afternoon (7th grade)in Sherman Oaks back in '63. I weazed my way home walking some 1-2 miles after that with a friend. That's just the way it was back then. KS

Nanook said...

@ P.I.-
Sure, Hobo Kelly was 'played' by Sally Baker, a former TV weathercaster. Later, she created another children's live action show The Froozies.

The newsstand I'm thinking of was located on Cahuenga: World Book & News, which is several blocks east of Highland. However, a couple of blocks east was Universal News Agency, on Las Palmas - literally across the street from Miceli's, and around the corner from the Egyptian Theatre. Both, just south of Hollywood Blvd. I'm betting that's what you're remembering.

P.I. said...

Thanks Nanook,

I did not know she was a weathercaster. A person of many talents, that's for certain.

I'm sure you are correct about the newsstand - my memory has gotten a bit foggy... ha-ha.

I really miss picking up european car mags from newsstands.

I also miss attending the Los Angeles Auto Show ( in Jan ), and the Los Angeles Auto Expo ( in May ). If I remember correctly, Auto Expo disappeared after 1986.