Early Views of Hollywood (1920 +)

Historical Photos of Early Hollywood
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(1940s)* - Spotlights draw attention to a film premiere taking place at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, located at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard.  

 

 

 

 
(1940s)^^ - Looking east down Hollywood Boulevard towards Vine Street and the Broadway-Hollywood Building..  

 

 

Santa Claus Lane

 
(ca. 1940s)^^ - View showing Santa Claus Lane in Hollywood at night. The road is wet, and the images of surrounding buildings are reflected in the glossy surface. Shops can be seen lining both sides of the road, and Christmas tree-shaped decorations hang on light posts. A streetlight can be seen hanging over the street at center. Legible signs include, from left: "Tailors", "Platt Music Co.", and "Stoner's Shoes".  

 

Historical Notes

Beginning in 1928, Hollywood merchants transformed a one-mile stretch of Hollywood Boulevard into "Santa Claus Lane" to boost shopping. Part of the promotion was a daily parade featuring Santa Claus and a film star.  Originally called the Santa Claus Lane Parade, the inaugural event featured only Santa Claus and the actress Jeanette Loff.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1940s)* - View looking west on a holiday-infused Hollywood Boulevard from Argyle Ave. The Pantages Theatre is in the foreground on the right and the Taft Building in the distance on the left.  

 

Historical Notes

The Hollywood Christmas Parade continued to grow in scale with the help of local businesses and the community. In 1931 Santa Claus rode a truck-pulled float instead of the reindeer-pulled carriage of previous years. American Legion Post 43 marched with a color guard, drum line and bugle corps.*^

 

 

 

 
(1937)^** – Postcard view looking west on Hollywood Boulevard showing "Santa Claus Lane".  Crowds of people line the street as they await for the parade to begin. Electric Christmas tree and star decorations are seen along the boulevard. Also seen are the: Vogue Theatre, Egyptian Theatre, Hotel Christie, Roosevelt Hotel, and First National Bank Building (with illuminated tower) in the distance. An electric sign hanging over the boulevard reads "Navy Blue-Gold" and movie banners read "Eddie Cantor 'Ali Baba Goes to Town,' " and "Jungle Princess Dorothy Lamour and Ray Milland."  

 

 

 

 

 
(1945)* - A view looking down upon Hollywood Blvd. from the east on the eve of the annual Santa Claus Lane Parade (now called the Hollywood Christmas Parade). Christmas decorations can be seen on the festively lit boulevard.  

 

Historical Notes

The Parade was suspended from 1942 to 1944 due to World War II, but reopened in 1945 with record attendance.
In 1946 Gene Autry rode his horse in the parade and was inspired by the children yelling "Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus," to write the song "Here Comes Santa Claus" along with Oakley Haldeman.*^

 

 

 
(1945)* - Cars driving along the street in Hollywood called Santa Claus Lane at Christmas time.  

 

Historical Notes

The parade continued to grow throughout the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, adding floats, animals, bands and celebrities. By 1978, the parade had been renamed the Hollywood Christmas Parade in order to attract more celebrities, and was broadcast locally on KTLA-TV with the help of Johnny Grant. This change also coincided with the shift of the parade being held on Thanksgiving Eve to the Sunday after Thanksgiving.*^

 

 

 

 
(1946)^** - Postcard view looking east showing a well-lit Hollywood Boulevard during the Holiday Season.  Card reads “Santa Claus Lane”.  The Broadway Building and Kress building are in the distance, and Shaw's can be seen at right.   

 

 

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(ca. 1945)* - Looking east on Hollywood Blvd from Highland Ave during the holiday season. Christmas tree decorations can be seen on the light standards lining the sidewalks and bell and star decorations hang across the street at regular intervals on this portion of Hollywood Blvd, which is known as Santa Claus Lane. The Hollywood First National Bank, First Federal Savings of Hollywood, and J.C. Penney Co. are visible on the left. Pacific Electric streetcar tracks run in both directions down the center of the boulevard.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1945)^*## – View looking east on Hollywood Boulevard at Ivar Avenue.  The Broadway-Hollywood Building can be seen on the right on the southwest corner of Hollywood and Vine. The Guaranty Building stands at left on the northeast corner of Hollywood and Ivar, and the Equitable Building is in the distance on northeast corner of Hollywood and Vine. Also, the Admiral Theatre can be seen on the north side of Hollywood between Ivar and Vine.  

 

Historical Notes

The 12-story Guaranty Building is a Beaux Arts office building built in 1923 and designed by John C. Austin.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.  The building is currently owned by the Church of Scientology.*^

 

 

 

 
(1940s)^^^ – Postcard night view looking southeast from the Hollywood Hills showing the glittering lights of Hollywood, at the Hollywood and Vine District.  

 

 

Hollywood and Vine

 
(1945)* - Postcard view of a crowd looking at the electric billboard on the Taft Building. The view is from the north-west corner of Hollywood and Vine looking south-east. An early traffic sign is in the foreground and in the background the distinctive "hat" of the Brown Derby sign is visible.   

 

 

 

 

 
(1945)^##* – Crowds at Hollywood and Vine celebrating surrender of Japan, ending World War II -  VJ Day (Aug. 14, 1945).  

 

 

 

 

 
(1945)#**# - VJ Day marking the end of the war on the corner of Hollywood and Vine.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1948)^^^ - Postcard view of Vine Street looking south from the front of The Broadway-Hollywood on southwest corner of Hollywood and Vine. The Brown Derby Restaurant can be seen down the block on the east side of Vine.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1940s)^^ - View of the Taft Building at 1680 N. Vine Street, S/E corner of Hollywood and Vine. The Owl Drug Company occupies the street level corner space. An early model bus is pulling through the intersection as pedestrians are crossing the street.  

 

Historical Notes

A.Z. Taft, Jr. purchased the Hollywood Memorial Church on the southeast corner of Hollywood and Vine, tore it down, and built the 12-story Taft Building.  All the movie studios had offices in the building as well as actors Charlie Chaplin and Will Rogers. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also resided there. Even Clark Gable's dentist was located in the building.*^

In 1999, the Taft Building and Neon Sign were designated Historic-Cultural Monument No. 666 (Click HERE to see complete listing).

 

 

 

 
(2015)^^# - View looking up at the Taft Building after it was renovated. Photo by Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times  

 

Historical Notes

Opened in 1927, the building was designed in Neo-Renaissance style by prominent architects Percy A. Eisen and Albert R. Walker, who are also known for designing the Fine Arts Building and the James Oviatt Building in downtown Los Angeles and the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.

In 2014-15 the Taft Building got a $15-million makeover with a renovation that shored up its seismic strength and uncovered historic architectural details that were under wraps for decades.^^#

 

 

 

 
(1940s)*^* - Postcard view of the intersection of "World Famous" Owl Drug Store on the ground floor of the Taft Building, southeast corner of Hollywood and Vine.  

 

Historical Notes

The intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood  became famous in the 1920s for its concentration of radio and movie-related businesses.

An historical marker plaque placed at the site by The Broadway-Hollywood Department Store reads:

Hollywood was given name by pioneers Mr. and Mrs. Horace H. Wilcox. They subdivided their ranch in 1887 and called two dirt cross-roads Prospect Avenue and Weyse Avenue. Prospect Avenue, the main artery, was renamed Hollywood Boulevard and Weyse Avenue became Vine Street. This was the origin of "Hollywood and Vine."

The streets were renamed in 1910, when the town of Hollywood was annexed by the City of Los Angeles

 

 

 

 
(1940)^^ - Looking north from the Owl Drug Store at 6290 Hollywood Boulevard.  California Bank and the Equitable Building can be seen across the street.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1940s)^^^ - Postcard view looking east down Hollywood Boulevard at Vine Street. Visible from left to right are: The Equitable Building, Pantages Theatre, Taft Building, Owl Drug Store, and the Broadway-Hollywood.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1944)**** - The corner of Hollywood and Vine. This location is noted for being the "DISCOVERY OF MOVIE STARS" location. The Owl Drug Store can be seen in the background (S/E Corner).

 

 

 

 

 

Historical Notes

It's been touted as the world's most famous intersection. Radio station KFWB boasted that it broadcasted from the corner, and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper popularized it as a prime location for celebrity sightings.

 

 

 

(1944)*# – View showing a woman in a fashionable dress walking west on the south side of Hollywood Boulevard just west of Vine Street (same location as previous photo).

 

 

 

Historical Notes

Note the sign pointing south down Vine to the Hollywood Victory House. Like the Victory House in Pershing Square, a central place to buy and sell war bonds. It opened in the forecourt of Graumann’s Chinese in May 1942, then moved near Hollywood & Vine.*#

Also note the Pilgrimage Play sign.  Click HERE to see more of the Pilgrimage Play Theatre (later the John Ford Theatre) located across from the Hollywood Bowl.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1945)*- View looking west on Hollywood Boulevard at Vine Street showing a Pacific Electric Railway heading east.  The Broadway-Hollywood Building can be seen on the left (S/W corner).  

 

Historical Notes

Streetcars ran in both directions down Hollywood Boulevard until 1953. #*##

 

 

 

 
(1947)* - View from northwest corner of Hollywood and Vine looking south. The man with the hat in the lower right is standing on the northwest corner. An early traffic sign is in the foreground and in the background the distinctive "hat" of the Brown Derby sign is visible. The Broadway-Hollywood stands across the street on the southwest corner.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1940s)^*^# – View showing a well-dressed woman at the southwest corner of Hollywood and Vine looking at the Broadway-Hollywood window display of hats.  In the reflection can be seen two buildings across the street: Equitable Building (N/E corner) and Melody Lane Restaurant (N/W corner).  

 

 

Melody Lane Restaurant

 
(1940s)^##* - View looking down from the roof of the Broadway-Hollywood showing the intersection of Hollywood and Vine. The Taft Building is on the right (S/E corner) and the famous Melody Lane is seen at upper-left (N/W corner).  

 

Historical Notes

In 1940, restaurateur Sidney Hoedemaker of the Pig 'n' Whistle - Melody Lane chain, leased the northwest corner of Hollywood and Vine and transformed it into a Melody Lane restaurant. He hired coffee shop modern architect Wayne McAllister and S. Charles Lee to do the design. #^**

 

 

 
(1947)*# - View looking west on Hollywod Boulevard at the intersection with Vine Street. The Melody Lane Cafe is on the northwest corner.  

 

 

 

 
(1947)^#^^ - View toward the northwest corner of Hollywood and Vine, looking over an ornate two-lamp streetlight. The traffic signal at lower right shows "GO" even though the intersection is full of cross-traffic.  

 

Historical Notes

By 1955, Melody Lane Restaurant, N/W corner of Hollywood and Vine, would be converted into Hody's Coffee Shop. This would be followed by Howard Johnson's in 1971, and the Brown Derby in the 1980s. The site became a slew of struggling retail and nightclubs such as; Premiere, Jack's Sugar Shack, the Deep, and finally the Basque nightclub. In April 2008 the building went up in flames and the lot has been empty since. #^**

 

 

Click HERE to see more of the N/W Corner of Hollywood and Vine

 

 

 

 

 
(1947)^^^ – View looking northeast toward the Pantages Theatre from the southwest corner of Hollywood and Vine. Owl-Rexall Drug Store is on the southeast corner.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1946, United-Rexall Drug Inc. launched the Owl Superstores chain. In 1947, the company held a gala opening for their new headquarters and first store in Los Angeles, California. The new Hollywood Owl was reported in Life Magazine as 'the World's Biggest Drugstore'.

Rexall gained national exposure through its sponsorship of two famous classic American radio programs of the 1940s and 1950s: Amos and Andy and The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show. Both shows were often opened by an advertisement from an actor (Griff Barnett) portraying "your Rexall family druggist", and included the catch phrase "Good health to all from Rexall."

In 1958, the Rexall Drug Company was the largest U.S. drug store franchise, with 11,158 stores (for comparison, there are fewer than 12,000 McDonald's restaurants in the U.S. today).*^

 

 

 

 
(1947)* – View looking towards the Pantages Theatre from the southwest corner of Hollywood and Vine showing a very busy intersection.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1948)* - Looking northeast across the busy intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, towards the Equitable Building and the iconic Pantages Theatre. To the west of the theater are Louque's Gowns, the Frolic Room, Roger's Liquors, a Foster and Kleiser billboard with a clock promoting Chevrolet automobiles, Harry Skepner's pharmacy, and a California Bank branch; to the east of the theater (right of center) is the A.E. England Pontiac dealership.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1949)* - Postcard view of Hollywood and Vine looking north. The Hotel Knickerbocker can be seen in the upper left. Melody Lane Restaurant is on the northwest corner. Note the curved one-arm streetlght. Click HERE to see more in Early L.A. Streetlights.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1940s)*# – View showing a sailor standing by a man holding a newspaper next to a small newspaper stand on the southeast corner of Hollywood and Vine. The Melody Lane Restaurant and Hotel Knickerbocker are seen in the background. Note the traffic signal and stop sign.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1940s)^^- Hollywood night scene looking south on Vine Street past the Hollywood Plaza Hotel. Included are: Taft Building, Bowling, Equitable Building.  Photo by Dick Whittington  

 

 

 

 

 
(1940s)^** – Postcard night view looking south on Vine Street at Hollywood Boulevard the Taft Building and Owl Rexall Drugs (at left) and Broadway-Hollywood Building (at right), and the Brown Derby and Tom Breneman's Hollywood Restaurant in the distance.  

 

 

 

Sunset and Vine

 
(1940s)^^^ - Postcard view looking north on Vine Street from Sunset Boulevard. A multitude of signs and signboards can be seen throughout.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1940s)*# - View looking north on Vine Street at Sunset Boulevard. Building signage includes (r to l): NBC, KNBH Television, Taft Building, Broadway-Hollywood, Hollywood Plaza Hotel and Tom Breneman's Restaurant.  

 

Historical Notes

KNBH (standing for “NBC Hollywood”) signed on in January 1949. It was the last of NBC’s five original owned-and-operated stations to sign on. It marked the debut of NBC television programs from the West Coast. The station changed its call letters to KRCA (for NBC’s then-parent company, the Radio Corporation of America) in 1954. The call letters were changed again in 1962, when NBC moved the KNBC identity from its San Francisco radio station (which became KNBR) and applied it to channel 4 in Los Angeles.*#^#*

In the 1940s and 1950s when many broadcast studios were located on or near Vine Street the Hollywood Plaza Hotel became popular with radio people. George Burns even had offices at the top of the hotel. The popular radio DJ Johnny Grant did his show from the Hollywood Plaza Bar. Grant also did a radio show from midnight - 4:00 a.m. in the nearby Ham and Eggers Restaurant.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1939)^^ – View looking north on Vine Street showing two of the leading celebrity hangouts around the fabled corner of Vine Street and Hollywood Boulevard: Al Levy's Tavern (left) and, across the street, the Brown Derby, with the Plaza Hotel and Taft Building seen in the background.  

 

 

CBS Radio Playhouse and Al Levy's Tavern

 
(1941)^^^ - Postcard view showing the CBS Radio Playhouse at the Vine Street Theatre with Al Levy’s Tavern on the right. The Hollywood Plaza Hotel is out of view to the right.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940)* - A popular nightspot was Al Levy's Tavern at 1627 North Vine Street.  It was located on the west side of Vine Street opposite the Vine Street Brown Derby.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1894 the oyster cocktail was dreamed up by waiter Al Levy, who later became L.A.'s preeminent restaurateur.

In 1916 Levy built a luxury restaurant in what was then the tiny farm town of Watts, so motorists could stop off to dine in grand style on their way to Long Beach. It evidently flopped. When Prohibition arrived in 1919, the country's dining habits changed, dealing a blow to old-fashioned dining establishments such as Levy's with their elaborate multicourse meals.

In 1922 he started two restaurants side by side on Hollywood Boulevard, made a success of them and then sold them off in 1924. He took the money and immediately started a new downtown restaurant, Al Levy's Grill , on Spring Street in Downtown LA.

Five years later, with his downtown chophouse well established, he was back in Hollywood with Al Levy's Tavern (seen above), which a contemporary described as "a Hollywood version of an English inn." It also featured a separate kitchen for kosher food. It was one of the three leading celebrity hangouts around the fabled corner of Vine Street and Hollywood Boulevard, along with Sardi's and the Brown Derby. ^

 

CBS Radio Playhouse and Mike Lyman's Grill

 
(ca. 1941)* - Exterior view of CBS Radio Playhouse (aka Vine Street Theatre), 1615 Vine Street. Located in the same building, on the left is Miller's Hollywood, on the right is British Bootmakers. Next door on the right is Mike Lyman's Play Room (formerly Al Levy's Tavern).  

 

Historical Notes

Al Levy's Tavern was damaged by a 1941 fire and became a Mike Lyman's chain, which closed in 1959, according to an LA Times article from the same year.^#^#^

Mike Lyman was a former vaudeville entertainer from Chicago who opened his first Mike Lyman’s Grill in downtown LA in 1935. There he hired the chef from Maxim's in Paris hoping to ensure culinary success. Lyman opened a second Mike Lyman’s Grill in Hollywood and also created the Flight Deck, the first restaurant at what was then the Los Angeles Municipal Airport. Lyman’s restaurants were loyally populated by the A-Listers from the worlds of show biz and sports.^+^

Today, a multi-story parking garage is located where Al Levy's Tavern and Mike Lyman's Grill once stood, between the old Vine Street Theatre (Ricardo Montalbán Theater) and the Hollywood Plaza Hotel.

Click HERE for contemporary view.

 

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Capital Records and Coffee Dan's

 
(ca. 1948)^##* – View looking toward the west side of Vine Street north of Sunset Boulevard.  From left to right is Capitol Records, Coffee Dan’s (1511 N. Vine Street), Beni Gerson (tailor shop) and Alexander Stationers.  Out of view to the right is Tom Brenemen’s Restaurant. The car parked outside Alexander Stationers is a 1948 Chevrolet Fleetline Aerosedan.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1956, Capitol Records would move into its new 13-story Capitol Records Building located at 1750 N. Vine Street.

Alan Hess, the author of Googie: Fifties Coffeeshop Architecture, traces Googie Architecture back to three Coffee Dan's restaurants designed by John Lautner in the early forties.

"He selected the vaults and glass walls and trusses and angles of his buildings to fit the original, often unusual, concepts of space he favored," writes Hess.

 

Tom Breneman's Restaurant

 
(ca. 1947)^** - View of Tom Breneman's Own Restaurant, located on the west side of Vine Street, north of Sunset Boulevard. Beni Gerson Tailor Shop and Alexander Stationers can be seen on the left.  

 

Historical Notes

Tom Breneman was host of the show Breakfast in Hollywood which aired on the Blue Network, ABC, NBC and Mutual at various times from 1941 to 1948. His  program went through numerous title changes but was best known as Breakfast in Hollywood (1948-49). By the mid-1940s, Breneman had ten million listeners. The popularity of the radio program was such that he created his own magazine, and in 1945 he opened his own establishment that carried his name.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1947)*^ - Tom Breneman's Restaurant was located on Vine Street off Sunset. Breneman broadcast his Breakfast in Hollywood radio program from here in the late 1940s.  

 

Historical Notes

At the age of 46, Breneman died April 28, 1948, in Encino, California, and other hosts, including Garry Moore, stepped in as replacements, but without Breneman, the ratings dropped, and the program came to an end in January 1949.*^

Later in 1949, American Broadcasting Company moved into the building with its AM radio station (KECA).

 

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Warner Brothers Theatre

 
(1937)* - Cars line the street in this nighttime view of Wilcox from Selma looking north towards Hollywood Boulevard, which captures the Warner Brothers Hollywood Theatre in the distance.  

 

Historical Notes

Architect G. Albert Lansburgh designed the Renaissance Revival style Warner Brothers Hollywood Theatre, which opened in 1928. The office space on the upper floors of the building became KFWB radio studios, which used the two radio masts on top of the theater. The building has also been known as the Warner Cinerama Theatre and the Pacific Hollywood Theatre.*

 

 

 
(ca. 1938)* - Hollywood Blvd. looking east from Wilcox. On the north side of the boulevard are the Warner Bros. Theatre and the Security Trust and Savings Bank, which is located on the northeast corner of Cahuenga and Hollwyood..  

 

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Hollywood and Cahuenga

 
(ca. 1938)^^ - A high-angle view of Hollywood Boulevard looking east from the intersection of Cahuenga Boulevard.  The Owl Drug Company Buidling on the SE corner is seen at right.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1938)^^ – View looking east on Hollywood Boulevard at Cahuenga Boulevard.  At left, on the NE corner, stands the Security Trust and Savings Bank.  At right, on the SE corner, is the Art Deco-style Owl Drug Company Buidling with large sign reading: DR. GREEN (dentist).   A banner above Hollywood Boulevard hanging from a streetcar cable advertises The Adventures of Robin Hood movie.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940)^^ - View looking at the southeast corner of Cahuenga Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard.  Some of the legible signs include:  Owl Drug Store, Security Trust and Savings Bank, Dr. Green, Berger's Fashions for Men, The Broadway-Hollywood, Nancy's, and Lloyds.  

 

 

 

 
(1943)#**# – Close-up view showing the building on the  southeast corner of Cahuenga and Hollywood boulevards. Owl Drug Store is on the ground floor with Drs. Green and Chase (Dentists) on the second floor.  The building still exists today.  Click HERE for contemporary view.  

 

Historical Notes

The southeast corner of Hollywood and Cahuenga boulevards was where the original old Hollywood Civic Center was located.  The old city hall was known as Wilcox Hall.  In 1933, the site was redeveloped with the entire block demolished and replaced with a streamline modern-style structure named the Julian Medical Building (aka Owl Drug Company Buidling).  The Beveridge family (Daeida Wilcox Beveridge), who built Wilcox Hall, financed the development.^

 

 

 
(ca. 1943)^##* - Looking east on Hollywood Boulevard from Cahuenga Boulevard. U.S.O. Club banner extends out from the side of the Owl Drug Company Buidling   

 

 

 

 
(1949)* - View looking west on Hollywood Boulevard from just east of Cahuenga Boulevard. Seen are the Warner Bros. Theatre (later Hollywood Pacific Theatre), a Pacific Electric streetcar, various businesses, a Foster and Kleiser billboard for Pleasant Moments whisky, and the Hollywood branch of Security-First National Bank (the Security Trust and Savings Bank).  

 

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(ca. 1948)* - Looking east on Hollywood Blvd. at night during the holiday season. The Broadway-Hollywood is visible in the background on the right and the Warner Pacific Theatre is seen on the left. Pacific Electric streetcar tracks run in both directions down the center of the boulevard.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1948)^^^ – Postcard view looking north toward the intersection of Hollywood and Vine as seen from the front of the Broadway-Hollywood. The Taft Building can be seen across the street on the southeast corner and the Equitable Building stands tall on the northeast corner.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1949)##^* – Roofline view over the Brown Derby Restaurant looking north on Vine Street.  Traffic is backed up all the way from Hollywood Boulevard where you can see crowds of people gathering for some event, possibly a parade.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1949)^^^ - Postcard view looking north on Vine Street just south of Sunset Boulevard. NBC's Hollywood Radio City can be seen on the corner.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1949)* - Taken from across the street, this view captures the National Broadcasting Company Studios, located on the northeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1964 the West Coast Radio City building was demolished, as NBC moved more of their West Coast television operations to the Burbank facility. The site is now occupied by a bank.*^

 

Don Lee Mutual Broadcasting Studios

 
(ca. 1949)* - View showing the Mutual-Don Lee Broadcasting Studio located at 1313 North Vine Street.  

 

Historical Notes

The building opened on August 18, 1948, as the headquarters of the Mutual-Don Lee broadcast empire. Designed by Claud Beelman -- the architect behind such local landmarks as the Hollywood Post Office, Eastern Columbia Building and the Culver Hotel -- and his associate, Herman Spackler, it was larger than its compact, three-story profile suggested. Inside were 14 separate broadcast studios, including four large sound stages with auditorium seating for live audiences.^^^#

 

 

 
(ca. 1949)#**# – View looking north on Vine Street showing a woman walking toward a group of people in front of the Mutual-Don Lee Broadcasting Studio.  

 

Historical Notes

The Don Lee Mutual Building at 1313 Vine is an 118,000 square-foot building that was a state-of-the-art broadcast facility for radio and television. It was the culmination of a broadcasting dynasty begun by Don Lee, who held the franchises for California and Nevada Cadillac dealerships, fostered Los Angeles radio, and was a leading pioneer of television on the West Coast.+^^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1950)^^^ – Postcard view showing the Mutual Don Lee Broadcasting Studios, now the “New Hollywood Home of KHJ” among others. Note the window display of a "new" Cadillac in front of building.  

 

Historical Notes

Though the building was never used for selling Cadillacs, the windows provided direct advertising for the latest models of the owner’s other business.+^^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1964)^^^# - View showing the Don Lee Mutual Broadcasting Studios with a KCET Channel 28 sign on the front of the building.  

 

Historical Notes

KCET was the first Los Angeles station devoted exclusively to educational programming when it signed on the air on September 28, 1964.  It was also among the city's first UHF channels. Other stations had already claimed the available VHF channels -- 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13 -- and so KCET broadcasted at Channel 28 on a frequency not all television sets were then equipped to receive.

ABC acquired the facility in 1970 and produced such shows as "The Dating Game" and "The Newlywed Game" there. In the 1990s AIDS Project Los Angeles moved in, and since 2002 the historic Mutual-Don Lee Building has housed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science's Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study and the Academy Film Archive.^^^#

 

Tiny Naylor's Restaurant

 
(1949)* - View of several customers parked at Tiny Naylor's Restaurant and Drive-in, located on the northwest corner of Sunset and La Brea. This is the same corner where McDonnell's Drive-in once stood in the 1930s and early 1940s.  

 

Historical Notes

Tiny Naylors was one of California's original family-style restaurants founded by W.W. "Tiny" Naylor. Naylor got the nick name "Tiny" because he was 6'4" and weighted 320 lbs. #^**

 

 

 
(1952)*# – View showing a couple in an MG being served at Tiny Naylors.  Photo by Julius Shulman  

 

 

 

 

 
(1950s)^#^^ – Close-up view looking at the northwest corner of Sunset and La Brea showing Tiny Naylors and homes that still stood on the west side of La Brea.  The house in the background is now a strip mall.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1980)* - Night view of Tiny Naylor's restaurant, located at Sunset Boulevard (left) and La Brea Avenue (foreground). Photo by Roy Hankey  

 

Historical Notes

Designed by Douglas Honnold in 1949, this establishment remained open until 1984 when it was demolished to make room for a shopping center. Today an El Pollo Loco stands at the corner.*

Click HERE to see more Early Views of LA Drive-in Restaurants.

 

Carolina Pines Jr. Restaurant

 
(1950s)##^* – View looking toward the northeast corner of Sunset and La Brea showing a Standard Station and, further north, the Carolina Pines Jr. Restaurant.  

 

 

 

 
(1950s)*^#^* - Postcard view showing the Carolina Pines Jr. Restaurant located at 1518 N. La Brea, just north of Sunset Boulevard. Note the pine trees on the other side of the restaurant.  

 

Historical Notes

Carolina Pines Jr. was a “Googie” style modern diner located near the northeast corner of Sunset and La Brea from 1952 until the early 1960s. The restaurant was flooded with lights at night and was open 24 hours a day. What distinguished this coffee shop from the others was their menu was all "Southern Style" cooking and you could order your breakfast eggs with grits and biscuits. The restaurant was named after the pine trees just a few yards north of the restaurant, which remain there to this day. In the late 1960s, the restaurant was remodeled and was a "Copper Penny" coffee shop, a chain owned by IHOP. The building was finally torn down for the present day mall.*^

There was also a second location at 525 South Vermont Ave.

 

 

 
(ca. 1978)##^* – View looking northeast from the corner of Sunset Boulevard and La Brea Avenue showing Tiny Naylor’s Restaurant and the Copper Penny Coffee Shop (previously Carolina Pines Jr. Restaurant).  

 

Historical Notes

The menus at the Copper Penny Coffee Shop were printed on huge plastic copper pennies with a very good selection of breakfasts.

Click HERE to see contemporary view of Sunset and La Brea.

 

Biff's Coffee Shop

 
(ca. 1949)**## – View of Biff’s Coffee Shop on the corner of Cahuenga Blvd. and Yucca Street.  

 

Historical Notes

Although Tiny Naylor was best known for his Tiny Naylors restaurant chains, his first restaurant was Biff’s – named after his son, in 1948.  It was located on the corner of Cahuenga and Yucca in Hollywood.

Tiny Naylor died in 1959. The Naylor family purchased Du Par's in 2004, which it still owns and operates. Du-par's expanded in 2009 to include several locations from the bankrupt Bakers Square chain.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1956)*# – View of the intersection of Cahuenga Blvd. and Yucca St. The Halifax Hotel is seen on the northwest corner and the Capitol Records Building in the background.  Notice the Biff’s sign on the lower left.  

 

Historical Notes

The Halifax was known for it's gangster clientel in the 1930's and 1940's. Across the street, on the north side of Yucca (next to the Richfield station) was the apartment building where Ed Wood lived when he filmed most of his movies.

The cool little Googie restaurant on the north side of Yucca Street was across from the Green Apartments, where Carol Burnett lived with her grandmother while attending Hollywood High in the 1950's.*#

 

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(1948)* - Aerial view of the San Fernando Valley. View shows the "HOLLYWOODLAND" sign on the mountain. The letter "H" is missing. Within months of the time this photo was taken the sign would be shortened to read "HOLLYWOOD". Photo dated: December 13, 1948.  

 

Historical Notes

During the 1940s, Albert Kothe (the sign's official caretaker) caused an accident that destroyed the letter H.  Kothe, driving while inebriated, was nearing the top of Mount Lee when he lost control of his vehicle and drove off the cliff directly behind the H.  While Kothe was not injured, his 1928 Ford Model A was destroyed, as was the original 50 foot tall illuminated letter H.

The HOLLYWOODLAND sign was erected in 1923 to advertise a new housing development in the hills above the Hollywood district of Los Angeles. In 1949 the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce contracted to repair and rebuild the sign. The contract stipulated that “LAND” be removed to reflect the district, not the housing development.*^

 

 

 
(1940s)+^^ – View looking north toward the Hollywood Hills showing the Mountain States Building standing on the NW corner of Vine and Yucca streets (on the left).  The Capitol Records Building would be built at lower-left in the 1950s, near the SE corner of Vine and Yucca.  The Hollywood Freeway would also be built in the 1950s and would run across the top of the photo about one block north of Yucca Street.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1955)#*## – Aerial view looking northwest showing the Mountain States Building standing in the shadows of the newly completed Capitol Records Building across the street.  

 

 

Cahuenga Pass

 
(ca. 1930s)^^ - Panoramic aerial view of Hollywood showing the Chauenga Pass as it heads towards the San Fernando Valley.  The major street running from bottom left diagonally up toward the Cahuenga Pass is Highland.  The Security Pacific Bank building tower on Hollywood and Highland can be seen at left-center of photo.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1930s)^^^ – Postcard view showing Cahuenga Pass entering Hollywood with streetcar running in center median.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1939)* - View of Cahuenga Pass looking towards Hollywood showing the construction of the Mulholland Drive Bridge. Mulholland Drive (originally Mulholland Highway) can be seen winding its way up the hill at right.  

 

Historical Notes

When it officially opened on December 27, 1924, Mulholland Highway was 24 miles long, running from Cahuenga Pass to Calabasas. The name was changed to Mulholland Drive in 1939.

 

 

 

 
(1940)++^ – View showing the Cahuenga Pass Freeway looking southwest toward Hollywood with the Mulholland Drive overcrossing at center. The Pacific Electric Railway tracks are visible in the median.  

 

Historical Notes

The first segment of the Hollywood Freeway built was a one and a half mile stretch through the Cahuenga Pass. That segment opened on June 15, 1940. It was then known as the "Cahuenga Pass Freeway." Pacific Electric Railway trolleys ran down the center of this freeway until 1952.*^

 

 

 
(1943)^^ - View of Cahuenga Pass with light traffic on February 16, 1943. Note the Pacific Eletric tracks.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1947)*^#* – Postcard view showing the Cahuenga Pass Freeway (later Hollywood Freeway), the “Gateway to Hollywood", with Mulholland Drive winding up into the Hollywood Hills in the upper-right.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1947)##^* - View of Cahuenga Pass looking towards Hollywood at the Mulholland Bridge.  

 

 

 

 
(1948)^^ - View looking toward the San Fernando Valley showing a rare sight - freshly fallen snow in Cahuenga Pass.   

 

Historical Notes

Snow is a rare occurrence in the Los Angeles Basin. While it's common in the region's mountains, the moderating effect of the Pacific means that at lower elevations temperatures rarely fall below the point necessary to create snow. Since records were first kept in 1921, snow has fallen on downtown Los Angeles only ten times—and not once since 1962.

 

 

 
(1948)* - View of Cahuenga Pass showing one road of cars end to end heading into the City from the San Fernando Valley during rush hour traffic. Note the Pacific Red Car tracks at left.  

 

 

 

 
(1948)#**# - View looking southeast showing Pacific Red Car, tracks, and station at center of Cahuenga Pass.  

 

Historical Notes

The view above is from the top of Barham Bridge which at the time had a stairway running down to the tracks.

 

 

 

 

 

(ca. 1948)++^ - View looking northwest showing a Pacific Red Car stopped at the Barham Station with the Barham Bridge in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then and Now

 
 
(1948)#**# - (2015)*### - View looking southeast from the top of Barham Bridge in Caheunga Pass.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1949)* - Early morning view of Cahenga Pass as cars head into Hollywood and metropolitan Los Angeles from the San Fernando Valley.  

 

 

 

 
(1949)* - View of the roads, rail lines, and cars traveling through the Cahuenga Pass, the most important section of the Hollywood Freeway, which is the "gateway" that opens fast traffic from the San Fernando Valley into Hollywood and the heart of metropolitan Los Angeles. The short city-built Cahuenga Pass Freeway was opened on June 15, 1940.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1950)^#^^ - A Pacific Red Car returning from the San Fernando Valley travels along the Cahuenga Pass toward Hollywood.  

 

 

 

 
(1952)^^ -  View of Cahuenga Pass during rush hour traffic on a rainy morning.  

 

 

 

 
(1952)##^* – View of the Lankershim Boulevard underpass at the Hollywood Freeway, showing two Pacific Electric Red Cars passing each other above.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1952)*^# - A Pacific Electric Red Car headed south in the median of the Hollywood Freeway near Barham.  

 

Historical Notes

1952 was the last year Pacific Electric Railway trolleys ran down the center of the "Cahuenga Pass Freeway", (Hollywood Freeway).*^

 

 

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Cahuenga Pass

 

 

 

 

 
(1952)* - This scene is just two blocks north of the famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine, the "Heart of Hollywood." Steel reinforced columns jutting from the hillside will soon support new, wide ribbons of concrete approaching Cahuenga Boulevard. Freeway will be a boon to Valley motorists who use Cahuenga Pass. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of the San Fernando Valley.  

 

 

 

 
(1952)*# - Looking southeast towards a new bridge over Cahuenga Boulevard during the construction of the Hollywood Freeway with the Hollywood Tower in the background.  

 

 

 

 
(1953)^*^# – View showing the construction of the 101 Freeway through Hollywood at Argyle Avenue. The intersection of Yucca Street and Argyle Avenue is at lower-left. You can see the Castle Argyle and the Hollywood Tower at right. Source: Life Magazine  

 

 

 

 
(1953)*# – Aerial view looking west showing the construction of the Hollywood Freeway through Hollywood.  The intersection of Argyle and Yucca is at the center of the photo and the Hollywood Tower is in the foreground on the right. Source: Life Magazine. Click HERE to see GOOGLE EARTH contemporary view.  

 

 

 

 
(1952)* - Eastbound streetcar and motor traffic uses the new Hollywood Boulevard bridge spanning the yet to be completed Hollywood Freeway near Bronson Avenue.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1953)* - View, looking north, showing the construction progress of the Hollywood Freeway through Cahuenga Pass.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1953)* - View of Cahuenga Pass. All Highland Avenue detour traffic now pours into Cahuenga Boulevard while work continues on the northerly links of the Hollywood Freeway. The new link, of course, also discharges its travelers onto Cahuenga.  

 

Historical Notes

The second section of the Hollywood Freeway that stretched from the San Fernando Valley to Downtown Los Angeles opened on April 16, 1954 at a cost of $55 million.*^

 

 

 
(1954)* - The 101 appears to be open, but the bridge over Highland Avenue is still under construction in January 1954.  

 

 

 

 
(1954)* - View looking north at Cahuenga Boulevarfd in front of the Hollywood Bowl, shortly before the second segment of the Hollywood Freeway was completed. Automobiles are backed, bumper to bumper for miles, as the final stages of construction wrap up.  

 

 

 

 
(1940)* - Night view of the statue and sign at the Hollywood Bowl entrance on July 10, 1940.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of the Hollywood Bowl

 

 

 

 

 
(1945)*# - "Los Angeles Life Fun Map" distributed by Santa Fe Bus Lines and the Glass House Restaurant. Map highlights all the must see places in Los Angeles during the 1940s (i.e. Hollywood Bowl at very top of photo and also the Pantages Theatre at top right-center).  

 

 

 

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References and Credits

* LA Public Library Image Archive

^^ USC Digital Library

^*California Historic Landmark Listing (Los Angeles)

^ California Historical Society Digital Archive

** Retronaut - Hollywoodland Sign

#* Pinterest - California and DailyBreeze.com; Mid Century Hollywood; Been There: Hollywod Sign

*^#LosAngelesPast.com: Cahuenga Pass

^^#LA Times: 'Swing in, pig out, drive off'; Hollywood Bond Cavalcade; Sunset Vine Tower; Taft Building; Pickwick Bookshop

^#^UCLA Digital Archives

***The Story of Hollywood by Gregory Paul Williams

**^Table Magazine: LA Observatory

**+Hollywood Renegades Archive: "The Lot"

++^US101 - Socalregion.com

**#Beguiling Hollywood: The Hollywood Hotel

^**Huntington Digital Library Archive

*^*MTA Transportation and Research Library Archives

*.* Greater Streets: Exploring the Walk of Fame — Heart of Hollywood

^^*Cinema Treasures:Ricardo Montabaln Theater

^^^California State Library Image Archive

^*^LA Street Names - LA Times

^+^Cool Culinaria: Restaurateur Mike Lyman

+^*Jewish Museum of the American West: Restaurateur Al Levy

+^^Don Lee Mutual Broadcasting Building

++#Facebook.com: Photos of Los Angeles

****Wehadfacesthen.tumblr.com

**^^Radio City Hollywood

*^^*Photos of Vintage Los Angeles: Facebook.com; Palladium; Capitol Records; Cruising Hollywood Blvd; Masonic Temple; Hody's Coffee Shop

*^#*Calisphere: University of California Image Archive

*^*#Pinterest.com: Favorite Places and Spaces

**^*LA Daily News: Hollywood Sign Celebrates its 90th Birthday

***#Art Deco Architecture: LA Radio City

**##MartinTurnbull: Cross Roads of the World; Biff's Coffee Shop

^^##Alison Martino's Vintage Los Angeles: Wallichs Music City

++##Grauman's Chinese.org: Academy Awards

*#^^Flickr.com - Daniel Pouliot

*##*Squidoo.com: Lawrence Welk

*##^The Daily Meal: Formosa Cafe

^##*Flickr.com: Michael Ryerson; Baytram366; Melody Lane

^###Uncanny.net: Hollywood Pacific Electric Line

^#*#Bellaonline.com: Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland

^#^*Flickr.com: Los Angeles - Back in the Day

^#^^Facebook.com - Vintage LA: Hollywood Palladium; Hollywood and Gower; Hollywood and Vine; Sunset & Vine; Capitol Records Building; United Methodist Church; Hollywood Ranch Market; Wallich's Music City; Tiny Naylors

^^#^History of the Samuel Goldwyn Studio

^^^#KCET's First Hollywood Home: The Historic Mutual-Don Lee Studios

#^**The Go Go's: Local Coffee Shops and Diners

^*#*Pinterest - Memories in the SFV 50's, 60's, & 70's

^**#Hollywood Bowl Philpedia

^*##Vintage Inspired California - marinachetner.com

^*^^Pomona Public Library Poscard Collection

^*^#Facebook.com - Bizarre Los Angeles

#**^Starlinetours.com: TLC Chinese Theatre

#**#Facebook.com: Garden of Allah Novels, Martin Turnbull

#*^#Historic Hollywood Theatres: Warner Bros. Hollywood Theatre

#^*#TheHollywoodMuseum.com: Max Factor Building

#^**The Go Go's: N/W Corner of Hollywood and Vine

#^^^Once Upon a Screen: Hollywood Canteen

#^#^Groceteria.com: A&P History

##**The Story of the Hollywood Sign: allanellenberger.com

##*^The Hollywood Sign: hollywoodsign.org

##*#Flickr.com: Paul Bajerczak

#*##Electric Railway Historic Association: Hollywood PE Line

+###Dear Old Hollywood Blogspot

##^*Facebook.com: Classic Hollywood-Los Angeles-SFV

##^^halfcoastal.com: The Hollywood Sign

***^Pinterest: Travel The World: 'HOLLYWEED'; Los Angeles and Hollywood

*^^ Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles:  Vogue Theater; Hollywood Blvd Night 1930s; Hollywood and Vine ca.56

*^*^#Facebook.com: West San Fernando Valley Then And Now

^^***Pinterest: Diners

^^*^*Los Angeles Magazine: Capitol Records Building Christmas

^^*^^sittininthehills64.blogspot.com: Hollywood Views

*^^**Blogspot.com: Hollywood HoJo

*^#^*Vintage Everyday

*#^#*Broadcast Archive: KNBH

^#^#^LA Curbed: Al Levy's Tavern

^###^Flickr.com: timetravelnow

*# Skyscraperage.com. - Griffith Observatory; CBS West Coast Headquarters; LA Fun Map; NBC Hollywood Radio City; Cross Roads of the World; Hollywood and Vine; Orchid Ave and Hollywood Blvd; Max Factor Building; Cahuenga and Yucca St.; Vine and Sunset; Tiny Naylors; Hollywood Frwy Construction at Argyle

*^ Wikipedia: Hollywood; Hollywood Athletic Club; Hollywood Bowl; Grauman's Chinese Theatre; Grauman's Egyptian Theatre; Pantages Theatre (Hollywood); John Hanson Ford Theatre; 20th Century Fox; Samuel Goldwyn.Studio; Barnsdall Art Park; Greek Theatre; Griffith Observatory; Cinerama Dome; Ralphs; Hollywood Palladium; Hollywood and Vine; Hollywood Masonic Temple; Hollywood Pacific Theatre; Max Factor; West Hollywood; Brown Derby; Hollywood Christmas Parade; Tom Breneman; Schwab's Pharmacy; Capitol Records Building; CBS Columbia Square; West Coast Radio City - Los Angeles; Crossroads of the World; Hollywood Sign; Lawrence Welk; Du-Par's Restaurant; Formosa Cafe; Hollywood Walk of Fame; Marilyn Monroe; John C. Austin; KFWB; The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl; 2005 Hollywood Sign; Rexall - Owl Drug Store; Hollywood Canteen; KABC; Wallichs Music City; Thrifty Drug Stores; Lasky-DeMille Barn; Mt. Lee; The Wizard of Oz ; Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; Eddie Cochran; Guarantee Building; Hollywood United Methodist Church; Carolina Pines, Jr.; Vista Theatre

 

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