Vintage Los Angeles in the 1950s
And then there were the people lining up to see Richard Burton and Jean Simmons in “The Robe” (in Technicolor!); Safeway, Ralphs & Thrifty grocery stores; and 33 cents being hand-keyed into a cash register for a six-pack of Coca-Cola in glass bottles. What most surprises you?
The video: 1950s Los Angeles & Hollywood
Guide to 1950s Los Angeles & Southern California (1953)
Metropolitan Los Angeles in the ’50s: Around town, you’ll find much to interest you…
Olvera Street — and the Plaza where Los Angeles was born — are a step from Union Station.
Discover Old Mexico along this brick-paved street flanked with tiendas where native craftsmen weave huaraches, blow glass, mold candles. Here, in an open-air cafe, you can sample chile relenos, tacos.
Wilshire Boulevard is called “The Fabulous Boulevard.” Downtown, you’ll find towering palms rising from beds of giant ferns to peek into fifth-floor windows.
Along Wilshire’s 18-mile stretch to Santa Monica are smart shopping centers — with acres — big parking lots, tree-bordered and landscaped with bright flowers and cool green plants. Here are celebrated hotels, restaurants, theaters and historic sites — including Hancock Park, where tar of the La Brea Pits has yielded bones of mammoths 20,000 years old.
Hollywood (part of Los Angeles proper — just ten minutes from downtown) is the nation’s movie, radio, television and phonograph-recording capital. Its crossroads are Sunset and Vine.
Within three blocks are offices or studios of every radio and TV network. Cafes where showfolk gather before and after shows are all around; recording stars entertain in intimate niteries. (Tickets to radio and television shows are often available free at network offices or the All-Year Club Free Visitors’ Bureau.)
MORE: See what vintage Southern California & Los Angeles vacations were like in the ’60s
Two blocks north of Sunset is Hollywood Boulevard, where the two blocks east is “Gower Gulch” (Cowes Street) where cowboys in costume wait for calls to act.
Up Cahuenga Pass from Hollywood Boulevard is the Hollywood Bowl — world’s largest natural amphitheater. On summer evenings, the famous “Symphonies Under the Stars” are presented here.
Los Angeles in the ’50s: What it’s like in the summer
Summer in Southern California is clear and dry, with cool nights. In three summer months, you can expect just one day when there will be as much as a sprinkle of rain.
You can plan a week’s outing with no thought of a raincoat in the luggage. It’s comfortable sleeping under blankets all summer. And because of the dry climate, you’ll be mercifully free from mosquitoes.
These notes can’t begin to reveal the sights, fun, thrills awaiting on here. You can have a wonderful time even in two weeks — and using public transportation. But if you stay three months, there’ll never be a dull moment. So take this big vacation this summer for the big lift you need.
MORE: See what California rush hour traffic was like in the ’50s