Historical and vintage photographs of Los Angeles and Hollywood

I am a Los Angeles based novelist writing a series of historical novels set in and around the real-life Garden of Allah Hotel which stood on Sunset Blvd from 1927 to 1959. The photos I pin here serve as research, inspiration, and verisimilitude for the lives I write about in a very special place during a very special place. For more information about my work, see: www.MartinTurnbull.com
1.24k Pins247 Followers
The Brown Derby restaurant that we think of as the original—oriented to the northeast corner of Wilshire and Alexandria—was actually not the original location. It was first built facing due south at 3427 Wilshire between Mariposa and Alexandria. We can see from this colored slide that there was no coffee shop extension to the side—it was literally just a hat. Behind it we can see a billboard for Pilot-Ray, which were a brand of car headlights.

The Brown Derby restaurant that we think of as the original—oriented to the northeast corner of Wilshire and Alexandria—was actually not the original location. It was first built facing due south at 3427 Wilshire between Mariposa and Alexandria. We can see from this colored slide that there was no coffee shop extension to the side—it was literally just a hat. Behind it we can see a billboard for Pilot-Ray, which were a brand of car headlights.

pin 6
heart 2
Twentieth 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. (November 25, 1936)

Twentieth 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. (November 25, 1936)

pin 6
Oh, this snapshot. How I love thee. Let me count the ways: We can see the legendary Schwab’s Pharmacy and it’s kooky neighbor, Googies Coffee Shop. I love the blur of 1950s car zooming down Sunset Blvd, and the fact this whole scene is in color. And those two women in the foreground, decked out in their days suits and hat. I wonder where they were going. I’m guessing they’re off to a taping of “Queen for a Day” at the old the Earl Carroll Theatre farther down Sunset.

Oh, this snapshot. How I love thee. Let me count the ways: We can see the legendary Schwab’s Pharmacy and it’s kooky neighbor, Googies Coffee Shop. I love the blur of 1950s car zooming down Sunset Blvd, and the fact this whole scene is in color. And those two women in the foreground, decked out in their days suits and hat. I wonder where they were going. I’m guessing they’re off to a taping of “Queen for a Day” at the old the Earl Carroll Theatre farther down Sunset.

pin 5
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.

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.

pin 5
heart 1
This is how the dining room at Pickfair looked in the early 1920s. Two things surprises me: all those windows allowing in lots of California light—for some reason, I pictured it darker than that. Also, 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. On my website, I have a shot of how that room looked after a 1925 remodel: https://wp.me/p5XK3w-39D

This is how the dining room at Pickfair looked in the early 1920s. Two things surprises me: all those windows allowing in lots of California light—for some reason, I pictured it darker than that. Also, 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. On my website, I have a shot of how that room looked after a 1925 remodel: https://wp.me/p5XK3w-39D

pin 5
heart 2
In the early 1880s (this photo is circa 1882) the city of Los Angeles installed seven electric street lights. This one is at the corner of Main and Commercial Streets in downtown LA. For some reason, they were 150 feet tall. From that height, I can’t imagine they shed might light for sidewalk pedestrians, especially using 1880s technology, and it’s not like they served as beacon for aircraft or drones. Can anyone solve this mystery for us?

In the early 1880s (this photo is circa 1882) the city of Los Angeles installed seven electric street lights. This one is at the corner of Main and Commercial Streets in downtown LA. For some reason, they were 150 feet tall. From that height, I can’t imagine they shed might light for sidewalk pedestrians, especially using 1880s technology, and it’s not like they served as beacon for aircraft or drones. Can anyone solve this mystery for us?

pin 4
This circa 1892 photo shows us a residential stretch of Seventh Street at Lucas Avenue, not far from downtown Los Angeles. It's a block south of what was once called Orange Street before Henry Gaylord Wilshire started developing it into Wilshire Blvd in the late 1890s. In the background, we can also see one of those 150-foot electric light “Moon Towers” featured in yesterday’s photo.

This circa 1892 photo shows us a residential stretch of Seventh Street at Lucas Avenue, not far from downtown Los Angeles. It's a block south of what was once called Orange Street before Henry Gaylord Wilshire started developing it into Wilshire Blvd in the late 1890s. In the background, we can also see one of those 150-foot electric light “Moon Towers” featured in yesterday’s photo.

pin 4
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?

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?

pin 4
heart 2
This 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?

This 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?

pin 3
This 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???

This 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???

pin 3
Pinterest • The world’s catalog of ideas
Search