los angeles

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Remember the specifics of the controversy a few years ago surrounding the city of LA’s deal with large, politically-connected outdoor advertising firms over the installation of bright digital billboards, many of which had been originally placed illegally? I don’t either. Controversy is fleeting, but those billboards are here to stay.

This is an interesting survey of billboards in the 1940’s that’s part of a presentation on why outdoor advertising is important for YOUR business. (They’re all so low to the ground!)

See if you can spot the Brown Derby cameo. Let’s have a cocktail and dinner and watch, shall we?

(Via Vintage Los Angeles)

For those who can’t get enough of Bunker Hill the way it used to be,  Bunker Hill 1956 has just been posted to vimeo.

The 17-minute film was a project by students at USC Film School, directed by Kent MacKenzie, who went on to direct The Exiles, a feature about Native Americans living on Bunker Hill.  As with the series of stunning color photographs mentioned here before, those documenting the neighborhood for this film knew that its days were numbered.  In this case, the focus is on the pensioners living there and what was to become of them.  As one longtime resident says of the Community Redevelopment Agency’s plan:

Their method of going about it is to not only clear the slums but clear all the people out of the area, and rebeautify the whole thing, rebuild and  put an opera house up here.  Make a picture area out of it, without keeping the inhabitants in mind at all.

The film vividly captures the fabric of the area, the rich textures of a drug store, a shoemaker’s shop, meager apartments, and everyday street scenes.  And there are great shots of Angels’ Flight (in its original form) and the Grand Central Market.

(via LA Observed)

On Bunker Hill has unearthed a trove of newly found photos of the once opulent, formerly run down, then gone area of downtown.  In addition to being so detailed and vivid so as to look like they were taken only 10 years ago instead of 50, the snapshots have the distinction of having been taken by a former vaudeville star and originally in 3D.

On Bunker Hill writes of the area:

Bunker Hill is a ghost, and though you may today walk streets named Grand and Hope and imagine that you stand where once were grand Victorian homes turned flophouses, you are in fact one hundred feet beneath the old roads, which the city shaved away to make a wider footprint for the high rise tenants that replaced them.

Look up, ten stories up, and if you’re a dreamer you can almost see the big houses bobbing there between the towers, old men and women toddling out onto the porches and down the avenues, exchanging gossip, feeding the cats, collapsing under some junkie’s fists, boarding Sinai or Olivet for the ride down to Grand Central Market, pruning the roses. . .

See the rest of them here.