Here’s a very clean, clear look at Hollywood Blvd. circa 1952/53 (based on car models) driving languidly east from Crescent Heights all the way to Highland Avenue. The street signs are helpfully subtitled and a few interesting things happen during this long-ago cruise. For instance: at 43 seconds the driver of the camera car blithely blows through a light that is clearly red even though another car sits waiting dutifully for the light to change. This suggests to me that the camera car may have had a siren blaring which in turn suggests to me…nothing. At 53 seconds we find ourselves at Vista St. where, if we were to turn left and head up the hill, we’d arrive at Preston Sturges house on the corner of Franklin Ave. The great man himself might have been sitting at the typewriter in desperation (he’d been washed up for almost five years at this point) or he might have been in Europe. Or maybe he was in the bathroom. At 1:28 we get a cameo from a dandy platinum blonde who swanks across the street, no doubt on her way to the bus that will take her to the studio where there’s an extra’s casting call etc. etc. At 2:09 there’s a traffic signal AND a stop sign at the intersection and no indication that the stop sign is for the short right-side lane, probably for right turns only. But things get really edgy at 2:19 when LaBrea rears its ugly head and our driver needs to drift right to get into traffic which he doesn’t quite do…indeed, due to the streetcar lines that were still in existence and which had their own terrifying lanes, traffic law at this point seems more like rumor than fact. By 2:30 things get back on track though not before a car turning left into traffic is almost annihilated by a bus. At 3:07 we pass Grauman’s Chinese Theater where we desperately attempt to read the marquee to see what’s playing and thus nail down the year this was filmed but to no avail. Traffic begins to thicken as we approach Highland Avenue (with a glimpse of Hollywood High on the corner) but all is well once we turn left onto Highland and we see the old Church on the northwest corner of Franklin and above it a cluster of houses on the hill, one of which I lived in some thirty years ago and from which I was afforded a wonderful view of the L.A. riots of 1992.


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