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carole lombard 06

Pay a vintage visit

Posted by vp19 on 2011.05.07 at 08:19
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

A candid photo of Carole Lombard circa 1935, taken in the city she called home for more than four-fifths of her sadly brief life...Los Angeles. Until a time machine is invented, we can't go back and experienced that rapidly-growing city as it was, the new chief metropolis of the West.

But thankfully, we can do the next best thing. And credit goes to a lady named Alison Martino, who grew up in LA as daughter of the late singer Al Martino (of "I Love You Because" fame and the film "The Godfather"). Now a TV producer, she experienced much of what made LA special in her youth -- enough to comprehend what was lost when many of those venues fell victim to changing tastes and so-called "progress."

Consequently, she began collecting items pertaining to Los Angeles of the past, initially focusing on the town in the '50s through the '80s, but expanding it into a Facebook site called "Vintage Los Angeles" (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vintage-Los-Angeles/121097987946929), which at last count had close to 7,000 members. That in itself is impressive, but consider that it's barely more than a month old. Obviously, Alison has struck a chord with thousands who either experienced vintage LA firsthand or, like me, are fascinated with a place they never visited. (I'm in the latter camp, as my first trip to LA came in June 1989.)

At last check, there were more than 1,400 photos, many from the 1950s, '60s and '70s but some that go back to pre-World War II Los Angeles, the city as Lombard knew it. For example, while people who lived during the 1960s might recall KHJ as a legendary Top 40 radio station, its heritage dates back much further; Bing Crosby regularly sang at the station in the early 1930s. And here's the KHJ transmitting site in 1927:

Alison also has a blog dedicated to LA of the past, "Martino's 'Lost' Angeles Time Table" (http://www.martinostimemachine.blogspot.com/), which features images such as the Earl Carroll Theatre on Sunset Boulevard:

By the late 1960s, that site was the short-lived Aquarius theater, and dig it in groovy, mind-blowing color:

It used to be fairly common to scoff at the concept of LA having a history. Thankfully, people now know better, and sites such as Vintage Los Angeles are a reason why.

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