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Vintage Hollywood Photographs and Images

This blog is about the vintage Hollywood photographs that appear on the Internet, particularly Google.

The largest collection of vintage Hollywood photos is on the website.  There are more than 9000 historical photos of Hollywood and there are more than 90 subject categories from which to view old Hollywood photographs.

duffBrown Derby Restaurant Photographs

One of Hollywood's most famous restaurants was the Brown Derby restaurant of which there were four locations. The first Brown Derby restaurant was opened in the mid-1920s, on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. It was founded by Herbert K. Somborn who built the restaurant to look like a large brown derby hat. Because the restaurant was so successful, Somborn decided to open a second restaurant. The Hollywood Brown Derby, was opened on Valentine's day, 1929, at 1628 North Vine St. in a building is specially erected by Cecil B DeMille. Somborn hired Robert H Cobb as combination steward, buyer, cashier and occasional cook. After Somborn's death in 1934, Cobb was made president and general manager. Shortly thereafter he became the owner. With the collection of caricatures of movie stars hanging on the walls, and excellent cuisine, the Brown Derby became immensely popular with both motion picture personalities and the general public. At lunchtime, stars in costumes and makeup would rush in from the sets to entertain friends or be interviewed by writers. Young movie hopefuls would eat frugally on money scrimped for the occasion, hoping to catch the eye of a studio executive looking for "just the type". The Brown Derby can take credit, or the brain, for the introduction of telephones at tables during meal times. A loudspeaker system for paging and phone lines to each table were installed so that busy executives would not have to interrupt a luncheon. The number of times an agent or add man was page came to indicate the degree of popularity, and from time to time, these calls had been tabulated and the results circulated as the "Derby Derby".

The website has scores of photos of many of the celebrities who frequented the famous Hollywood Brown Derby.  One of these photographs shows Clark Gable having lunch with his wife Carol Lombard. There's another photograph showing the entire interior of the restaurant, with George Burns and Gracie Allen sitting in one of the booths. Other photographs include those of Glenn Ford, Cesar Romero, and William Holden.

Aside from its luncheon and dining popularity, the Derby was a favorite "after hours spot" with Hollywood's social class. After an exciting evening of dining and dancing at the Cocaonut Grove, or attending the theater, the Hollywood's socialites would finish the evening's activity by stopping by the Brown Derby to have a cup of its famous onion soup.

The most popular dish that was created at the Brown Derby was the Cobb Salad. One evening, Robert Cobb went into the kitchen to prepare a salad – – and the result was the famous Cobb salad that has been placed on thousands of other restaurants’ menus.

Two other brown derby locations were established. One was in Beverly Hills and the other in the Los Feliz area.  Robert Cobb continued to own and operate the Brown Derby restaurants until his passing in 1970, at which time his wife Sally took over the operation. The world-famous Brown Derby, on Vine Street, remained under her control and ownership until she sold it in 1975. Unfortunately, in the early 1980s, the popularity of the Hollywood Brown Derby began to wane. It closed its doors in 1981 and was destroyed by a fire in 1984.


Capitol Record Photographs

Another group of great vintage Hollywood photographs is of the capital records building on N. Vine St. The history of capital records, which climbed into the major leagues shortly after its formation, is one of Hollywood's classic sagas of successful showmanship combined with business acumen. In 1941, songwriter Johnny Mercer felt that his tunes, along with those of other songwriters, we're not getting proper show casting on records. At the same time, Glenn Wallich's was thinking about expanding his music city store into something more substantial. 

From the start, Capitol records strayed from the typical recording company behavior by cooperating fully with disc jockeys, initiating a service that has since become the standard industry practice.

Capital records first operated out of the music city building at Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street. Shortly thereafter, they moved into their new building at 1400 North Vine St. Shortly thereafter they outgrew this building and needed to purchase and build a newer one. Property located at 1750 North Vine St. was purchased and groundbreaking ceremonies held in September 1954 for the world's first circular office building. 18 months later, in April 1956, Capitol records moved into its headquarters into its new 13 story capital records tower. Some of capital record’s singers included such notables as Margaret Whiting, Jo Stafford, Peggy Lee and the very famous Nat King Cole.

Some of the capital records photos on the website include those of the construction of the capital records tower, Nat King Cole, and some of the recording studios.


Hollywood Bowl Photographs

The Hollywood Bowl got its start in 1919 when the theater arts alliance purchased the land where the Hollywood Bowl is currently located. This purchase was facilitated by C.E. Toberman who secured a 90 day option to purchase property from Myra Hershey, for $20,000. A year later the theater arts alliance was dissolved in order to re-organize on a broader and more democratic basis. Thus, the community Park and Art Association was formed.

The first Easter sunrise service to be held at the Hollywood bowl was held in 1921. A crude stage or platform was set up on the ungraded floor of the canyon. The orchestra assembled in the darkness on March 27, 1921 and was directed by Mr. Rothwell. A few years later, the Hollywood bowl was reorganized into the Hollywood Bowl Association, of which C.E.Toberman was elected president.

The website has hundreds of photographs of the Hollywood Bowl, from 1921 to 1988.  They include photos of Easter sunrise services, the various shells that adorned the bowl, construction of the amphitheater, and many performances.

Other photographs on the website include those of Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood Legion Stadium, and the popular Hollywood sign. All photos are available for purchase.



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