Posts Tagged ‘1920s’

IMAGERY – Passover Seder, March 1928

Photo of a Seder service at the Hebrew Sheltering
Home for the Aged
in Los Angeles, ca.1928

“Jewry to celebrate festival! — A typical Seder service at the Hebrew Sheltering Home for the Aged in this city. This Jewish festival will be held at the home next Thursday night, with many prominent Hebrew residents of the city in attendance. This symbolic dinner is one of the features of the Passover holiday” — Examiner clipping attached to verso, dated, “Mar 31, 1928” Image ©USC Digital Archive

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW ©USC Digital Archive
According to an April 2003 LA Times article:

“Today, as Jews prepare to observe Passover… Southern California has the nation’s second-largest Jewish population (currently over 650,000). By contrast, the overwhelmingly Catholic pueblo of Los Angeles of 1854 had fewer than 200 Jewish residents and no kosher bakery or butcher shop. A lay rabbi slaughtered animals, carefully observing rabbinic laws, so that Jews might have kosher meat. The aroma of matzo — unleavened bread — wafted from a bakery owned and run by a Catholic. In the hinterlands — the Gold Country of Northern California or the outlying reaches of Southern California — men were often the ones who prepared the Passover seder because there were no women around.

“Despite such accommodations to necessity, historians say a common thread of faith and tradition is woven through the fabric of Jewish history in the West.”


IMAGERY – Ye Olde Beverly Hills Hotel

Click on images for larger views.

As it’s a gorgeous day outside, my friend Geraldine and I will be observing interesting people and sights during a lazy Sunday wander through the indisputably historic Beverly Hills Hotel. Hell, we’ll probably even enjoy a cocktail/nosh at the Polo Lounge and hang out until we just can’t take the color combinations of pink and green any longer. Because that’s how we roll. We’re rogues.

Anyhoooo, the image below is what Hotel California looked like in 1920. If you look, you’ll see that this view is from Will Rogers’ Park (land which singer George Michaels is now banned from stepping foot on) overlooking Sunset Boulevard.

After the jump is another little treat… something we probably won’t ever see in front of the Beverly Hills Hotel ever again. Take a look at where the streetcar is located on the left side of the landscape photo below… that’s the exact location where the next image was captured some years later.©USC Digital Archive

Photograph of an exterior view of the Beverly Hills Hotel, 1920. A lavish courtyard is pictured in the foreground, with steps leading up to its paved walkway, which is lined to either side by palm trees. Several auxiliary walkways that branch from it demarcate circular areas of grass, beyond which a streetcar is visible parked in the driveway that stands in front of the large, three-story, L-shaped hotel. Three spires extend from the roof at the crook of the “L” from which flags wave. A second, equally large building can be seen in the far distance to the right, along with mountains.

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PART 2 – The Ambassador Hotel All-Stars

SERIES: Visions of the Ambassador

[youtube width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIPrZzStLxg[/youtube]
click for larger viewDuring the roaring 20s and 30s, the Ambassador Hotel’s nightclub “house bands” quickly became the most popular orchestras in the world. An issue of (the then-popular and catchy-named) Talking Machine World magazine identified Abe Lyman’s California Ambassador Orchestra (see video clip above) as “Los Angeles’ most famous popular musical organization” in 1923.

Abe Lyman (August 4, 1897 – October 23, 1957) was a popular bandleader from the 1920s to the 1940s. He made recordings, appeared in films and provided the music for numerous radio shows, including Your Hit Parade… For an engagement at the Cocoanut Grove in The Ambassador Hotel on April 1, 1922, Abe added a violinist and saxophonist. Opening night drew a large crowd of 1500 guests in the Cocoanut Grove, plus another 500 more outside.”

For a five year run in the 30s, a dapper group of musicians known as Gus Arnheim’s Orchestra (see video below) was then stationed at the Cocoanut Grove and widely considered to be the most popular band on the West coast. In 1930, the band began to feature male singing trio The Rhythm Boys, featuring a young singer named Bing Crosby. Arnheim Orchestra alumni also included Stan Kenton, Russ Columbo (seen playing violin and singing in the middle of the trio in the clip below), Charlie Spivak, Woody Herman, and actor Fred McMurray (on saxophone).
[dailymotion width=”590″ height=”420″]http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1u2m8_gus-arnheim-and-his-ambassadors1929_music[/dailymotion]


IMAGERY – LA’s Whistling Birds of the 1920s

Prior to television, people found such fascinating ways to entertain themselves. I have never even *heard* of a Bird Whistling Chorus before, but I imagine it probably sounded something like like this. I so wish I could’ve watched these women perform… although probably not for more than ten minutes or so. (More photos after the jump. Click for larger views.)

bird whistling 1923Apparently someone didn’t get the telegram about wearing all white…

1923 – Photographic group portrait of America’s Bird Whistling Chorus in Los Angeles. Four rows of women in light-colored dresses sit facing the camera, with one woman in a dark-colored dress to the right of center. A woman in the front row holds a conductor’s baton. The group is posed in front of an indistinguishable background, possibly a stage. (more…)


MATINEE – Felix the Cat Goes to Hollywood (1923)

[googlevideo width=”590″ height=”470″]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7806044997030001102[/googlevideo]

Felix the Cat Goes to Hollywood (9 minutes, Original release date July 15, 1923) “Felix’s owner decides to make his way to Hollywood, but has no money. Another man who owns a failing shoe store promises Felix $500 if he can help bring in new business, which Felix ingeniously manages to do. Felix’s owner (jerk!) stiffs him out of the money, but Felix finds a way to get to Hollywood anyway, and while there meets up with the famous stars of the day, like Charlie Chaplin and Ben Turpin.” Go Felix.

Added bonus: Felix the Cat theme song singalong after the jump. (more…)