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ethereal_reality Nov 30, 2011 7:24 PM

A photo of Keystone Photograph Service in Los Angeles, circa 1948. Not too glamorous.
Ralph Morris

ethereal_reality Nov 30, 2011 10:02 PM


Originally Posted by GaylordWilshire (Post 5497402)

A number of Los Angeles city directories are available online at the LAPL--25 or so from 1909 to 1987--but, unfortunately, none have a reverse-lookup section for telephone numbers. In fact, the ones from 1909 to 1942 don't list phone numbers at all, only addresses. The first directory available online after 1942--the 1956 issue--is organized by address and has phone numbers, but still has no way to look up by phone number.

As for GLadstone, I think this might have been a Malibu exchange.

Thanks for your explanation as well Gaylord_Wilshire.

I'm curious, do you some information on the Malibu exchange? The only connection I could come up with was 'Gladstones 4 Fish'.

I was at a birthday party at Gladstones once. It was fine party except our honored guest didn't show up (turns out he hated birthdays).
The place (it was week night) was empty except for Burgess Meredith eating this enormous baked potato. So whenever I hear 'Gladstones'
I picture Burgess Meredith eating that damn potato. It's odd what our brains chose to remember.


below: This is an interesting brochure. Note the addresses and phone exchanges.

below: Telephone exchanges from 'This Gun for Hire', 1942.


GaylordWilshire Nov 30, 2011 11:35 PM

Years ago--maybe even 15-16, when I had my first computer, I found a site called the Telephone Exchange Name Project; I just went looking for it, and it still exists. But for some reason it seems alot less accessible in terms of searching than it did back when I was a computer novice. Anyway, it seems that the GLadstone-4 exchange was more or less specific to Pacific Palisades. Apparently Malibu had a GLobe exchange--seems it was typical for extensions of an existing exchange to use the same first two letters but a different name. Gladstone's--the seafood restaurant--is actually in Pacific Palisades, and its phone number was an early example of the common use now of marketing via the telephone dial. (The number is still GLadstone-4-3474.) I do know that telephoning in Los Angeles evolved from the early days of using colors:


to a single letter to exchange names, and from exchange-name-plus-4-numbers to exchange-plus-5-numbers, etc. Here's a fairly simple list of L.A. exchanges:

And here is an interesting set of pictures of all the various exchange buildings around L.A., including the GLadstone in PP. Unfortunately, the creators haven't included the specific addresses of the buildings:'s Antique Telephone Collection

ethereal_reality Dec 1, 2011 3:08 AM

:previous: Wow, thanks for researching the telephone exchanges and for including the various links Gaylord_Wilshire.

And speaking of 'Bell System'

This summer I was 'exploring' the streets of L.A. via Google street views when I came across this spanish mission style garage on 15th Street
just east of Ardmore.
google street view

below: I zeroed in on the elaborate/churriqueresque ornamentation and noticed, of all things, a bell.
google street view

below: A closer look revealed that it was in fact a bell with the writing 'Bell System'.
google street view

It wasn't until later that I found out the garage was listed as a 'historic-cultural monument'.
I have to admit it was fun 'discovering' it on my own. :)

below: Aerial view of the garage in situ.
google street view


ethereal_reality Dec 1, 2011 3:42 AM


Originally Posted by GaylordWilshire (Post 5497402)
The shop of the famous Travis Banton at 6530 Sunset:

below: Travis Banton with Carole Lombard.
The sequins on Miss Lombard's gown were made of mica.....unlike the plastic sequins that are used today.

ethereal_reality Dec 1, 2011 3:58 AM

Mr. Banton also designed gowns for numerous 'film noirs'.
This is Joan Bennett in 'Scarlet Street' directed by Fritz Lang, circa 1945.


Anna Mae Wong wearing a Travis Banton creation. Ms. Wong was discovered on the streets of old Chinatown.

FredH Dec 1, 2011 4:09 AM

1941 Los Angeles Guide And Apartment Directory
James Lileks has posted some pages from a 1941 Los Angeles pamphlet. Here are some apartment addresses. (sorry, no Q to Z)

Here is a nice place:

And its still around!
Google Street View

ethereal_reality Dec 1, 2011 4:14 AM

:previous: Great stuff FredH! I love the before/after of the New Arlington Apts.

FredH Dec 1, 2011 4:43 AM

Pitfall (1948)
A film noir where Dick Powell plays a straight arrow insurance investigator who falls for femme fatale, Lizabeth Scott, and ends up killing her gangster boyfriend.

Here Dick Powell comes out of the Hall of Justice after confessing his sins:
Pitfall, Regal Films

In the Hall of Justice parking lot with City Hall and the Hall of Records behind him:
Pitfall, Regal Films

Current view:
Google Street View

Passing Eaton's:
Pitfall, Regal Films

Is it the one on Wilshire at Ardmore?

Dick Powell and his ridiculously forgiving wife, Jane Wyatt, ride
off into the sunset:
Pitfall, Regal Films

FredH Dec 1, 2011 5:31 AM

Roadblock (1951)
A film noir where Charles McGraw plays a straight arrow insurance investigator who falls for femme fatale, Joan Dixon, and ends up killing her gangster boyfriend.

Wait a minute! That plot sounds awful familiar. Lets just cut to the chase (and a great chase it is). McGraw and Dixon are on the lam to Mexico.

Down Riverside Drive:
Roadblock, RKO Radio Pictures

Through the Gas Works:
Roadblock, RKO Radio Pictures

Down Spring Street past the Taylor Yards (great shot from the pedestrian bridge)
Roadblock, RKO Radio Pictures

South on Mateo near 6th Street:
Roadblock, RKO Radio Pictures

Hey! Looks the same today.
Google Street View

But the cops are waiting at Imperial Street. Actually McGraw and Dixon are in big trouble, because the police have implemented
their Plan "A", where they block off EVERY escape route out of Los Angeles. (I'm not kidding)
Roadblock, RKO Radio Pictures

So, its down the secret route to the L.A. River:
Roadblock, RKO Radio Pictures

Does this really get you down to the river?
Google Street View

Heading north (to Mexico?) through the river:
Roadblock, RKO Radio Pictures

But, with Plan "A" in effect, they never had a chance. Charles McGraw is killed and Joan Dixon walks off to...who knows where?
Roadblock, RKO Radio Pictures

3940dxer Dec 1, 2011 7:21 AM

This thread continues to blow my mind, so many amazing photos, so much great information. It's been endlessly fascinating to hop on the Noir train to see these old images and learn the history behind places that I drive and walk past every day. I haven't recently, but only because I've been absorbed in reading the older pages (I'm on page 176 now!) and have been kind of waiting till I become "current", to avoid rehashing things that were already covered.

I have especially enjoyed the Ostrich Farm photos, the old Hollywood photos, all the great contributions about the Paris Inn, the restaurant images, match books, the gas stations, the gal photos, and the old maps. I've also liked the recent posts on Burbank, where I live! This is so great.

I've also been following the new pages, and loved the old Hollywood sign girls in the bucket photo. My wife and I do lots of hiking and exploring around L.A., and twice in the last 2 weeks, we've hiked from Burbank straight up the mountain (very steep!) to Cahuenga Peak and the Hollywood sign. The first time we hiked right down the other side and trespassed through the Hollywoodland Girl's Camp to Canyon Ave., a block east of Bronson. We were right near the spot where the girls sat in that bucket.

General question: can anyone tell me how, outside of the web, I might find old info, plans, building permits, business name records, and such? My brother suggested Building & Safety. Should I try the Central Library? Other resources? I would like to find more info on the 1518/1520 Cahuenga building, and some other Hollywood addresses.

I'm also curious about this place, the Mark Twain Hotel at 1622 Wilcox Ave. I'm sure it goes back to at least the 1930's. Haven't found much on web searches, USC, LAPL, etc. An interesting old building, now a transient hotel painted pink. The reviews are 1 star and review keywords seem to be scabies, crack heads, bedbugs, stains, heroin, crazy Indian owner, screaming, and spidery writing on walls. Maybe it was a nice place a few decades ago. I wonder if Mark Twain stayed there. Does anyone have an old photo of this place?

Oh: I've learned from this thread about the old double lamp posts, and see a similar one in the hotel photo? Has the city been bringing these back in some areas?

Another question: Does any have info or an old photo of 524 S. Main St? It's now a fun little place called Nickel Diner, but was also a diner in the old days, maybe a Woolworths cafeteria or coffee shop? I have been unable to find old any photos of it.

Before signing off, I must add that all the great Paris Inn posts reminded me of Robaire's (348 S. La Brea), another "visit the continent without leaving L.A." exotic locale type restaurant. I used to go there for Hollywood Sapphire Group Meetings and it was always fun. I think the space is now a restaurant called Ca'Brea, in a new building.

Thanks again, more later!

GaylordWilshire Dec 1, 2011 1:55 PM

First of all--3940 & FredH: GREAT finds...

Back to Joan Bennett for a minute.... can't help but want to revisit her famous real-life noir moment:

Noir on screen--from Fritz (not Jennings) Lang's Scarlet Street:

Joan and cars:
1936: With a Cadillac at the studio

With her own station wagon, labeled in the grand manner with the name of a country house: BENMELDI. That's for her two daughters, Melinda (by Gene Markey), right, and Diana (by her first husband, a man named Fox, later adopted by Markey, and, apparently, then by Wanger, to whom she was married at the time of this picture). Perhaps the extensive Life spread was in part to paint the picture of domestic tranquility amid the divorces.... She'd married Wanger earlier in the year. Then came the Lang incident 11 years later. (Wanger hung around for another 14 years after that.)

Engineeral Dec 1, 2011 5:03 PM


Originally Posted by GaylordWilshire (Post 5497402)

A number of Los Angeles city directories are available online at the LAPL--25 or so from 1909 to 1987--but, unfortunately, none have a reverse-lookup section for telephone numbers. In fact, the ones from 1909 to 1942 don't list phone numbers at all, only addresses. The first directory available online after 1942--the 1956 issue--is organized by address and has phone numbers, but still has no way to look up by phone number.

As for GLadstone, I think this might have been a Malibu exchange.


Too bad the older city directories didn't have phone numbers. I looked up the city directories - wow, what a detailed resource they are! They have lists of streets showing intersecting streets with municipal numbers (addresses) so if you are looking for what block a particular address was you can figure it out there. And they are searchable with any 3-or-more character search field.

The 1952 directory is not what I call a city directory - I think it is a sort of phone book white pages but listed by street name and municipal number instead of by name then number like we are used to today. Maybe the typical white pages was given to every subscriber and businesses had to rent this sorted-by-address version. The lease notice is on on page 000a.
(Source LAPL - Los Angeles Street Address Directory, 1956, May

What library would cover the Malibu exchange - maybe they have old phone books or city directories?

GaylordWilshire Dec 1, 2011 7:08 PM Electric Railway Historical Society

GaylordWilshire Dec 1, 2011 7:44 PM

"Publisht Weekly"

Perhaps a precursor to Mad?

The Tajo Building, home of The Weakly Freak--hard by the home of that other great periodical, the Times.

so-cal-bear Dec 1, 2011 8:23 PM


FredH Dec 1, 2011 11:39 PM

Stratford Apartments Fire
This was another bad one:
Los Angeles Times

The story and additional pictures here:

ethereal_reality Dec 1, 2011 11:54 PM

Wow! the recent posts have been great of course our beloved Gaylord_Wilshire.

below: A snapshot recently found on ebay.

below: Detail of the United Airlines sign

below: Detail showing Western Air Lines ticket office.

I'm curious, did these air line/transportation venues downtown have shuttle buses to the airports? Is the bus in the photo a city bus or a western air lines shuttle bus?

GaylordWilshire Dec 2, 2011 12:06 AM
1915 Street View

ethereal_reality Dec 2, 2011 12:12 AM

:previous: Now THAT is a great building! A beautiful example of Chicago Style windows.*

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