Thursday, February 27, 2020
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Thursday, February 20, 2020
Go to California, get a car. This is from back in the day when car owners got a new, dated plate every year. In this case 1936. When I scanned this row of photos it was large enough to see Los Angeles on the license plate frame, California and the year on the plate. More confirmation that I was right when I assumed the photos on this album page were from Los Angeles. Unfortunately, I couldn't get it big enough to make out the manufacturer's badge on the car's radiator frame. I can't find any record of a Stack car company, so I'm guessing that has some personal meaning. Perhaps Stack is the last name of the owner.
Click on LA Hurricane in labels to see more.
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Yes, Los Angeles does have a river, it flows year round and local leaders are trying to restore it, or at least make it less like it is now, which is paved in concrete and pretty lifeless in areas. In the neighborhood where I live, the L.A. river has bike paths, trees, a natural bottom with islands. It also has a lot of homeless encampments that forces cyclists to slow down to avoid hitting the campers, their shelters and their possessions.
On the back, "IRA SWETT---Standard Collection" I found a bit about Swett. He was born in L.A. in 1913 and died, also in Los Angeles, in 1975. I couldn't find any evidence that he ever worked for a railroad or interurban company, but I did find plenty of proof of his love of light rail. He was the author of a number of booklets and news letters about L.A. area traction companies, and a few things about transit in Seattle. He was stationed there during World War 2. Basically, he was born at the height of interurban transportation in Los Angeles and lived to see it die. Since Swett's death L.A. county has added a number of new light rail lines and a subway, with a number of extensions are being built.
Also stamped on the back, "J737" A best guess, either June or July 7, 1937. The Los Angeles River was paved in 1938. I don't know exactly where this picture was taken, but the large building in the background is a hospital that's still there.
Monday, February 17, 2020
There's a lot on the back of this print, so let's get started with the photo credit stamp. "KINDLY CREDIT M-G-M, Photo By CLARENCE S. BULL" I don't often find photos by famous photographers. Clarence Sinclair Bull was an American portrait photographer. He was born in 1896 and in 1924 was hired by Samuel Goldwyn as the head photographer for the MGM Studios publicity department. He worked for MGM for forty years, getting his first real recognition for a series of photographs he did of Greta Garbo. He was know for having a sure hand with lighting and printing his own photos. At least the first photo, which gave the printing staff at MGM guidance for how he wanted his photos to look. I don't know the answer to this question, but over time the photography studio at MGM had other photographers on staff. Did Bull take every picture credited to him? Bull died in 1979.
And the caption, "GLITTER FOR DIM OUT DINNERS. Donna Reed favors the popular short dinner dress for cafe dinning and dancing. Here she is seen wearing a gown of black crepe with sequins sprinkled over the softly flared skirt and peplum. Fushia velvet belt. Miss Reed's halo hat is black felt highlighted with a sequined ornament. The Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer actress will be seen next with Mickey Rooney in "The Human Comedy."
We can date this photo. The Human Comedy was released in 1943. Rooney plays a young man who stays home and takes care of his invalid mother while his older brother is in Europe fighting the Nazis. I suppose, in this day and age, Donna Reed is best known for It's A Wonderful Life, released in 1946, though my favorite Reed Movie is John Ford's war movie, They Were Expendable. In 1953, she won a best supporting actress Oscar for playing a prostitute in From Here To Eternity directed by Fred Zinnemann with, in addition to Reed, Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Montgomery Clift, Ernest Borgnine, and Frank Sinatra. She spent most of the 1950's on The Donna Reed Show, playing a suburban housewife. Despite the wholesome image, in real life Donna Reed was quite political. She was an anti nuclear weapons activist and an early opponent of the Vietnam war.
Donna Reed was born in 1921 as Donnabelle Mullenger and died of pancreatic cancer in 1986.