Friday, July 10, 2009

Ed Wood's Town (L.A. in the Fifties - A Pictorial Tour)



Hollywood Boulevard, 1953. Do you know what's playing at the theatre?

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Groundbreaking for the Hollywood Knickerbocker Hotel, 1953. Along with some questionable construction workers are Jack Carson, Connie Towers and Byron Palmer.

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The famous Capitol Records building, 1959.

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To the left is Grauman's Chinese Theater, in 1954. Sadly, Ed never had a premiere here.

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Hollywood and Vine, complete with little girl staring at the camera, 1953.

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Hollywood Savings and Loan. Maybe Ed had a bank account here. Maybe not.

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Hollywood Boulevard gets a million dollar facelift in 1956. Attending the ribbon cutting ceremonies are Peggy Castle, Chill Wills, Lori Nelson and a couple of red-tapers on the city's dole.

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The West Hollywood Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. Maybe Ed did research here. Maybe not.

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Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetary, 1956, final resting place of the stars. And no, Bela isn't here, he's here. Criswell is here and Ed is nowhere. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea.

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Hollywood Freeway. Maybe Ed drove it to work. Maybe not.

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Finally, the photo I had to end with. It's an auto parade in 1958 and the lead car in this photo has been made to appear to be wearing, that's right, an Angora sweater. Now that's a car Ed would've loved.

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Please click on all the photos to enlarge.

*****

27 comments:

bill r. said...

We of The Alamo are praying harder than the real Texans prayed for their lives in the real Alamo for Chill Wills to win the Oscar. Cousin Chill's acting was great!

Greg said...

Poor Chill. Even Wayne had to apologize for him. But hey, he got to do ribbon cutting with pretty lasses, play poker and drink whiskey all day.

bill r. said...

All I know is, those real Texans must not have prayed very hard.

This must have been an amazing place and time in which to live. I sometimes think that existing on the fringe with people like Wood must have been a lot more fun and interesting than to be part of the studio machine. I'm probably just kidding myself, though.

Greg said...

I sometimes think that existing on the fringe with people like Wood must have been a lot more fun and interesting than to be part of the studio machine. I'm probably just kidding myself, though.

Maybe but that's how I feel too. I'd love to go back to L.A. in the fifties and just wander around for a few weeks, eating at diners, having coffee 24/7 and hanging out with people working their asses off to do something nobody at the studios will give them a dime for.

Of course, time machines cost a goddamn fortune at Amazon so basically there's nothing I can do.

bill r. said...

I once saw a used time machine on Amazon for $16.50, and I didn't buy it right away. When I went back for it, it had been sold, and the next cheapest one was $559,275,004. I'm so mad at myself.

But yes, going to diners. That's what I'd do, too. I think that would be absolutely fascinating.

Greg said...

Diners today are meant to look like diners once looked but they aren't really diners. Like Silver Dollar or Tastee Dinners. A real diner is a long building with a counter and a guy wearing a white paper hat flipping burgers and making eggs. That's a fucking diner. That's where I want to go.

bill r. said...

Me too. And even though I don't like coffee, everybody drinks coffee with whatever they're eating -- cereal, hamburger, eggs, tuna -- and everybody knows each other because that's their diner.

Ed Howard said...

I love the way these old photos give us a window into the past, into how much things have changed over the years. I mean, just look how much the costruction business has changed since the 50s -- you don't see workers like that anymore on a modern job.

Greg said...

everybody drinks coffee with whatever they're eating.

And black too. You never see them add cream and sugar. And they use cups - not mugs.

Greg said...

Ed, construction have changed a little but not too much. It's mainly the little things: Now they have to wear garters and corsets as safety measures. What I can't stand is getting leered and whistled at by those ladies every time I walk past. It's really demeaning.

Ed Howard said...

They can leer at me anytime they want.

bill r. said...

One time when I was single, I was walking by a construction site full of hot female construction workers. They started whistling at me and calling out all sorts of things they wanted to do to me. I put my head down and kept walking. I was so embarrassed. Later, I filed a complaint against the company and got a lot of them fired.

Greg said...

"Hey baby, I think my bra needs adjusting. Why don't you come up here and fix it?"

Those words are burned into my memory. It was the catcall of one of those construction workers, a dead ringer for the brunette you see in the front of the group in the photo. I was mortified. And I was with my wife, who just started laughing. "Oh come on honey," she said, "Girls will be girls." Then she told me I was pretty and bought me something nice. It was all better after that.

Classic Maiden said...

I second Ed Howard that these photos opens a window into the past.

I especially love the last one - wish I could have been there!

Greg said...

Classic Maiden, I completely agree. This is my favorite post of my own for the blogathon so far simply because I love old photos so much. I mean, I love joking around too but I was being serious about wanting to go back in time and have a cup of coffee at a diner and then just amble about the town.

Christopher said...

HORRYWOOD!..I wanna go back too..But I ain't driving!..I just know I'll get hit by one of those Street cars or Electric Buses I guess then..I still vaguely remember those things..I like to read the detail in those signs around town...I found Karls Shoes..but where to pick up a Don Loper dress for Lucy!?...hmmmm..Lowell Thomas?,Merian C Cooper?...Cinerama?..what could it all mean?

Greg said...

Christopher, Merian C. Cooper and Lowell Thomas were huge investors in Cinerama and so they used their talents (Cooper as producer extraordinaire and Thomas as a narrator) and put together the famous documentary This is Cinerama in 1953 to explain what Cinerama was.

Christopher said...

ok...I remember now..I was thinking Cinerama came later with stuff like The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm...How the West was Won..

Arbogast said...

Ed Wood's favorite liquor store, Pla-Boy Liquor, is still open, so you could go there and see if they have an old bottle of Imperial lying around. They've really cleaned up Yucca Street, where Wood used to live, but the stretch of Laurel Canyon Boulevard he died on is largely the same. Maybe I'll drive by it today and honk the horn.

Greg said...

I'd love to tour that area myself and buy some booze where Ed did. Remember to honk twice, once for you and once for me. And shout something out the window like, "Here's to you Ed you hardluck motherfucker! From the G-Man at Cinema Styles!!!" Then take a big swig off some rotgut you got stored under the seat. Then, if possible, pick up a hooker BUT DON'T KILL HER IN A DRUNKEN RAGE. Just take her to a motel room and sob uncontrollably in front of her for 45 minutes, pay up, go grab a bite to eat and head home.

For Ed.

Ed Howard said...

You know, if you hadn't explicitly warned Arbo not to kill the hooker, he definitely would have.

He might still, anyway.

Greg said...

Ed, we're a hell of a team, you and I.

Ed Howard said...

Anyone who subscribed to this thread's comments is gonna be SO confused right now.

Arbogast said...

I don't call them hookers, I call them stab pigs.

Christopher said...

stop off for a snort..a double..a triple..at the flying saucer bar from "Plan Nine"..or is that guy coming out of the Bar merely stock Lush footage?
In the 70s when I'd go out to Los Angeles to visit my cousin,we'd drive around looking for old Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang locations around Culver City and Santa Monica..alot of fine Ghosts in that town,passed over by people every day..

Greg said...

Stab pigs. That's what my mom used to call them too.

[sighs nostalgicaly]

Greg said...

Christopher, that's what I would have done too. I like finding the locations in Maryland, DC and Virginia that have been featured but are off the beaten path. It's nice to live in a place where you can do that (here, L.A., New York, Chicago, Boston, all the big places) but L.A. will always be the king without a doubt.