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The Hollywood Photographs Blog

Vintage Hollywood Movie Studios-Part 1


One of the most active film industry pioneers was Harry Aitken.  He and his brother, Roy, started with a makeshift theater in their barn near Waukesha, Wisconsin.  Soon they left the farm and opened their first theater in Chicago.  The success from the first venture led them to a string of five theaters.

Visit to view a large collection of American Film Manufacturing Co. photos

Harry, however, was more interested in supplying other theaters with films.  He met with realtor John Freuler in Milwaukee and, in February 1908, started the . Western Film Exchange, with Aitken as President.  After more than a year of distributing other peoples’ movies,  they decided to to begin producing their own films.  The two met with H & H Film Service owners, Samuel S. Hutchinson and Charles...

Vintage Hollywood Movie Studios



Early Movie Studios

Contrary to popular belief, the motion picture industry did not have its roots in Hollywood or even Southern California.  This soon to be “magical” business had its origin in both Chicago and the environs of New York City.  Companies such as Edison, Selig Polyscope, Lubin, Thanhouser, Jesse Lasky Feature Play, Vitagraph, New York Motion Picture Company, Kalem, Essanay, and Biograph all had their headquarters and their first studios “back east.”  Even when these companies first sent production troupes to make movies on the west coast, the negatives were sent back east, by train, to their corporate offices for processing. has hundreds of vintage Hollywood Movie Studio photos.

Salem Photo...

Vintage Hollywood Boulevard Photos

Vintage Hollywood Boulevard Photos

Originally, Hollywood Boulevard was known as Prospect Ave. and was the main street in the Cahuenga Valley.  Before the turn of the twentieth century, the Cahuenga Valley was comprised of farms, small ranches and residences.  In 1903, the residents of the Cahuenga Valley went to the polls and voted to incorporate their community, which they called Hollywood.  The name was first used by Daeida Wilcox who named here small farm Hollywood.  In 1910, seven years after Hollywood was incorporated, the citizens voted to annex their community to the City of Los Angeles.  Ever since then, Hollywood has been a district within the city of Los Angeles. At the same time, Prospect Avenue was renamed Hollywood Boulevard.  Until the film industry settled in Hollywood, in 1910, Hollywood Boulevard was a residential street. Beginning in about 1915, the street began to be converted to a commercial avenue. Today, there are virtually no...

Vintage VJ Day Photos

VJ photo

Two ladies, hand & hand, stroll down Hollywood Blvd. in celebration of VJ Day (the end of WWII with Japan).

Photo of VJ Day

When the war with Japan, during WWII, was declared over, Hollywood went wild. Office workers came out of their offices to celebrate on Hollywood Blvd. Automobiles were stuck in traffic because so many people were on the street.

VJ Day photograph

Thousands of residents and workers streamed out onto Hollywood Boulevard to celebrate the end of the war with Japan, during WWII.

VJ Day photos...

The Players Club

The Players Club

When Preston Sturgis wasn't writing and directing some of the wittiest movies ever to emanate from Hollywood, he could usually be found inside the Players Club, both his personal playroom and his Achilles' heel for 13 years.

Sturgis, who like to work and eat late, wanted to go to a place that was open whenever he or his friends were hungry. In 1938, while under contract to Paramount, he bankrolled Snyders, a short-lived restaurant run by Ted Snyder, a music publisher who had taught Sturgis to write lyrics when he was just getting started in New York.

When Snyder’s failed to catch on, Sturgis closed it down and  tried to sell off the kitchen supplies and equipment he now owned. Unable to recoup his losses by more than a few cents on the dollar, he decided to open a restaurant himself.

Sturgis didn't think small. To house the players, name for the new York theatrical club, he found a two-story house on the Sunset strip....

Hollywood Movie Studio Photos

Many of the first film companies, who settled in Hollywood, congregated near the intersection of Sunset Blvd. and Gower St. They were small film making companies, which made one and two reel films, many being westerns. For a number of reasons, including the lack of film distribution, many of these film makers went out of business shortly after arriving in Hollywood. Here is the California Studio on Sunset Blvd. in 1921. From the

Vintage Hollywood Walk of Fame Photos

One of Hollywood's most popular tourist attractions is the Walk of Fame. This is Hollywood's tribute to the thousands of celebrities that have made Hollywood famous. In Sept. 1958, the first eight celebrities to have their names immortalized in the terrazzo sidewalk included Preston Foster, Olive Borden, Louise Fazenda, Edward Sedgwick, Ronald Coleman, Burt Lancaster, Joanne Woodward and my grandfather, Ernest Torrence. Here is Tom Cruse's dedication ceremony in 1979. Today, there are more than 2,600 stars in the Walk of fame. From the website.

Tom Cruise Photo


More vintage Hollywood Sign photos


Historic Hollywood Sign Photos

The Hollywood Sign orginally read Hollywoodland and was erected in 1923 as an advertising sign for a real estate development  of the same name. In 1949, the sign was damaged by a severe wine storm which knocked the letter "H" down. The last four letters were removed and the sign restored. Since then the sign has read HOLLYWOOD. By 1978, the sign was in disrepair, which caused the Chamber of Commerce to undertake a fundraising campaign to replace the old sign with a new one. The old sign was demolished and a new sign built in 1978. From the website.


Vintage Brown Derby Restaurant photos

Vintage Brown Derby Restaurant Photographs & History

The website is the largest collection of Brown Derby restaurant photos. With photos of all four restaurants, all photos are available for purchase.

The First Brown Derby Restaurant

Angelenos have always had a fondness for whimsical architecture, including fast food stands shaped like hot dogs and drive through the doughnut snack shops. The original Brown Derby, a restaurant shaped like a hat, was the most famous and popular of them all. It was certainly the most eye-catching place to emerge on Wilshire Boulevard in the 20s. Located across the street from the ambassador for hotel, the Derby Leeward diners with a sign purchased on top of the crown urging them to “Eat in the Hat.”

Many versions of just how and why a derby was chosen have been...

Don The Beachcombers Restaurant Photos

Don The Beachcomber Restaurant Photos

Photos of Don The Beachcomber Restaraunt ar very rare. Some of the best vintage photos are on the website. All photos are vailable for purchase.

Don the Beachcomber photo

The story of Don the beachcomber began shortly after prohibition. A small-town Minnesota school teacher with a big imagination named Cora Irene Sund saved enough money so that she could move to Los Angeles and secure a job as a waitress at  the tick-tock restaurant ., Cahuenga Avenue. Cora Sue met and inventive bartender, Ernest Gantt, who served exotic rum drinks at his tacky tropical bar located in a Hollywood Hotel. His moniker was Don the beachcomber. When the schoolteacher...

Tick Tock restaurant Photos

The Tick Tock Restaurant in Hollywood

Although it didn't sparkle with the glow of bugle beaded gowns shimmering in candlelight were witness a parade of chauffeured Rolls-Royces at its welcome mat, the tick-tock restaurant earned a special standing in Hollywood's history.

Tick Tock PhotoEven without glitter, the tick-tock, located at 1716 North Cahuenga Ave., in the heart of downtown Hollywood, was a well-liked restaurant known for serving keeping portions of comfort food to Hollywood's residents, actors, and studio craftspeople who couldn't afford to dine in the cities more popular restaurants. While only Francis X bushman would admit to frequenting the humble tick-tock, everyone did. 

New Tick Tock Restaurant

In the 30s and 40s, the restaurant was popular for its three-course dinners; in those days the...

The Cocoanut Grove Photos & History

The Cocoanut Grove Photos and History

The largest collection of Cocoanut Grove photos is on the website. All the photos are available for purchase. 

Cocoanut Grove Photo

Famous Cocoanut Grove 

The Cocoanut Grove epitomize the symbolic relationship restaurants enjoyed with the picture colony, each enhanced the others reputation and Basked in the others glow.

The fancy dress Coconut Grove emerged on Wilshire Boulevard at an auspicious time. In the 20s, Hollywood stars were beginning to define glamour for the world, and press agents were eager to help out. The coconut Grove, which looked...

Country Church Of Hollywood Photos

Country Church of Hollywood Photos

One of Hollywood's most unique churches, the Country Church of Hollywood, and is beginning shortly after Dr. William Hogan, and his wife Virginia, and their five children arrived in Los Angeles in 1932. The website has the largest collection of the Counrty Church of Hollywood.

Dr. Hoag had been a Methodist Church circuit preacher in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee prior to World War I and later became a well-known evangelists in the  south.

Shortly after arriving in Los Angeles he approached radio station KFAC with the idea of broadcasting a 30 minute program each day, which, first for the first 10 minutes, he portray a country preacher visiting rural families in fictitious “goose Creek”. the first broadcast of the country Church of Hollywood took place on Monday January 2, 1933. Rather than use his name in the...

More Early Hollywood Photos

Sturtevant's Photo

One of  Hollywood's first residents ws Edmund Sturtevant, who devoted his land to the cultivation of tropical water lilies. In his Cahuenga Valley Gardens were rare species from South America, Japan and Egypt. The Lotus was his favorite, and it flourished in all sizes and tints. Most impressive to the tourists was his Victoria regina, whose pads were so large that they were able to support a child, and were so displayed for visitors. Photo from the website.

Hollywood Blvd. photo

1901 Hollywood Boulevard was originally called Prospect Ave. and Hollywood was known as the Cahuenga Valley. In 1903, the residents of the Cahuenga Valley voted to...

Hollywood Airfield Photographs

The largest collection of Hollywood Airfields is on the website. All the photos are availble for purchase.

Hollywood Airfield photo

1919 The Chaplin Airdrome was located on the south side of Wilshire Blvd, and west of Crescent Blvd. Across the street was the DeMille Field #2. 

DeMille Field #2 Photo1Mercury Aviation at the DeMille Field#2 at Wilshire Blvd. & Crescent Ave. 1919

B.H. DeLay Photo

Famous pilot, B.H. DeLay posing in front of a bi-plane at the Chaplin Airdrome in 1920

Jack Dempsey Photo...

Hollywood Canteen History and Photos

Hollywood Canteen History & Rare Photos

The most complete and accurate history of the Hollywood Canteen is in the book titled, “THE HOLLYWOOD CANTEEN”, by authors Lisa Mitchell and Bruce Torrrence. The book tells the real story about the most popular place for servicemen to go when in Hollywood. The book has over 150 rare and historic photographs of the Hollywood Canteen.

Hollywood Canteen photo

Paulette Goddard at the hollywood Canteen website

The largest collection of Hollywood Canteen photos is on the website....

Laurel Canyon Photos & History

Laurel Canyon Photos and History

Laurel Canyon is a secluded valley that supplied water to farms at the base of the canyon and some hillside grazing to sheep ranchers. One of the earliest farming estates was owned by Charles F. Harper, near the entrance to Laurel Canyon. Harper was a Civil War veteran who immigrated to California and made his fortune in the hardware business. He retired in 1895 and moved to Hollywood, where he "enjoyed the evening of his days" on his 480-acre estate in Laurel Canyon. Photos of Charles Harper and his home are on the website.

Laurel Canyon photo...

Hollywood Aerial Photographs

Hollywood Aerial Photographs

The largest collection of aerial photos of Hollywood is on the website.  The collection has more than 1000 rare and vintage aerial images.

The pioneer aerial photographer, Robert Spence, took thousands of photos from his bi-plane.  Many of his photos were taken using a large format camera, which used 8X10 inch and 4X5 inch glass negatives.

Hollywood Airfield photo

Hollywood Airfield Aerial Photos

Some of best aerial photos in the collection are of some of Hollywood’s airfields.  Cecil B. DeMille founded an airfield near Fairfax Ave. & Melrose Ave.  Later, he established another...

Vintage Garden of Allah Hotel Photo

Garden of Allah Hotel photo

The Garden of Allah Hotel was locaated on Sunset Boulevard at the intersection of Crescent Heights Blvd. Silent screen actress, Alla Nazimova, paid $50,000 for a ninty-nine year lease for a spanish style home at 8150 Sunset Blvd., with three and one half acres of tropical plants, ferns and fruit trees. after months of construction to build thwenty-five villas or bungalows around the pool, Ms. Nazimova's Garden of Allah Hotel opened its doors on January 9, 1927. An eighteen hour party took place to celebrate the new hotel's opening. The great depression and wall street's crash took Alla Nazimova's hotel and fortune. In her last years she was ill and stopped...