Here's a wonderful short film by Matthew Arnold-Ladensack entitled "LA 1:87" and featuring the fine HO scale modeling of iconic LA landmarks by 81-year-old Gerald W. Cox.
Here's a vintage promotional film by Ford Motor Company documenting Los Angeles in the 1920s. Lots of action and a great perspective into how wonderful Los Angeles was as a young city in the first part of last century.
Here's an amazing training video produced probably by the Los Angeles Police Department traffic division, from 1946, showing downtown Los Angeles in the immediate postwar period. LATL PCCs, Pacific Electric cars, and much more! WOW!
Here's a fascinating silent film rescued and preserved by Archive.org (a great site, go check it out!) showing Los Angeles in the late 1940s. We asked Ralph Cantos, LA traction expert, to give us his thoughts on it; here's what he wrote:
I would put the year of this film as late 1947 / early 1948. The film starts looking east above the 2nd Street tunnel . At time stamp 3:36, camera car turns onto 5th St. and heads west. Notice LA Motor Coach TD-4502 and abandoned LATL 3 line car tracks, 5th St now one way west bound. Camera passes Central Library with Trolley Coach overhead visible. At time stamp 4:33, PE buses can be seen on the right, could be the Olive St Bus Deck at the Subway Terminal. At time stamp 4:44, camera car turns on to 1st Street, Overhead wire protector can be seen spanning the street, and "track crack" visible.
From David Thompson comes this tip on LARy cars seen in a vintage movie on YouTube:
The 1932 Barbara Stanwyck movie "Shopworn" has a couple brief scenes of LA Railway cars. At about minute 9:00 & 11:00 a "V" line car can be seen outside the door of Fred's Campus Inn. Looks like Monroe Ave. At about minute 40:00, a "3" line sowbelly can be seen at Larchmont & Melrose (I think).
Thank you, David!
In part one, Charley Chase is seen catching Los Angeles Railway car no. 309 along 2nd Avenue in Los Angeles. Skip to 2:40 to view this segment.
In part two, skip ahead to 4:34 to view another sequence with LARy no. 309.
Los Angeles transit historian Ralph Cantos uncovered this forgotten "two-reeler" on YouTube, and had the following comments to add:
Fake "safety zones" in both part 1 and 2 along 2nd Ave. Interior shots are a combination of the real #309, and a studio mock up. Lastly, this is one of the last films Charlie made; he passed away in 1940.
Forgotten early talkies comedy star Charley Chase is at his best in this 1931 Hal Roach Studios release "Hasty Marriage." Scroll ahead to about 7:15 and you'll see that Charley gets a job at the Consolidated Street Railways (aka Los Angeles Railway).
From Ralph Cantos, who discovered the clip:
The HAL ROACH Studios did a fantastic job making up a "mock trolley car" using all real LARy streetcar parts from a STANDARD.. Everything is real except for the Eclipse Fenders. All the cars interior is made of real parts window shades, longitude seat, controller, air gauge and brake ,NEXT CAR PLEASE sign,, the little white buzzer buttons on the window posts, head light, trolley catcher , sliding partition doors, trolley base, trolley hook, and bell. It was filmed on 2nd Ave between 48th St and 54th Streets. 2nd Ave was non revenue track used for training and deadheading cars going to and from Div.5. Note that when Charlie and his friends are waiting to board the trolley, there is no safety zones on 2nd Ave.
Ralph Cantos uncovered this fantastic clip from Harold Lloyd's 1926 blockbuster, "For Heaven's Sake," prominently featuring a Los Angeles Railway doubledecker bus and various streetcars in amazing action sequences that must be seen to be believed.
Here's a Harold Lloyd clip showing a LARY double deck bus and lots of LARY streetcars along Broadway and several shots at Broadway PLACE. In one shot on Broadway, the bus passes between a P car and an L car...unbelievable! Other shots may be along West 48th Street (9 Line). Some of the shots of the bus on very narrow streets I believe were shot in Ocean Park.
Additional comments from Ralph:
The opening seen is on Larchmont Blvd...note the center poles in the back ground and the angle parking still in use to this day.. Also at 1:56 seconds into the clip, where the bus is on a very narrow street, I think that is PIER AVE in Ocean Park.. There was a bus turntable at the end of the street , for Santa Monica buses at the Ocean Front Walk, and also notice the big hanging zeppelin ride on the old Ocean Park Pier in the distance.,. That was the same ride that was used in the LAST TV episode of the "THE FUGITIVE" where Richard Kimbell and the one armed man have the big fist fight at the top of the ride.. lieutenant Gerarde shots the one armed man and he falls of the top of the ride . Other shots of the bus on the narrow streets are in the same area.
PE and LARy/LATL historian and friend of the Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society Ralph Cantos recently appeared on Fox 11 News in a retrospective on Los Angeles streetcar service. As reporter Tony Valdez notes, there is now discussion about bringing historical streetcar service to sections of Los Angeles, beginning with Broadway service.
Watch the climactic end sequence from "Hell Bound," a 1957 United Artists film noir starring John Russell and June Blair. The scene was shot at National Metal & Steel on Terminal Island, notorious for the huge scrap heap of Los Angeles Transit Lines (ex-Los Angeles Railway) streetcars after decommissioning.
From Jerry's Movie Blog:
Lurid B-thriller has John Russell planning to steal a drug shipment off a cargo ship. He needs several accomplices to pull it off, but has trouble finding trustworthy people. One is a drug addict he forces to help him through blackmail and another is a bimbo girlfriend of the man who is financing the job. It's no surprise that things don't go exactly as planned.