Vintage Inspired California

Sweet life. A never ending stretch of palm fringed coastline. Rolling waves. Salty fresh air and long sunny days. Bougainvillea wrapped terraces. Glorious Pacific Ocean sunsets, from Aliso Viejo to Zuma. A gold-lit horizon. Cocktails served against infinite water views. This is Southern California.

Stretches of grassy spaces. Laguna’s steep cliff faces. Mountains overlooking a beautiful Malibu beach. Santa Monica and its famous Pier. The twinkling lights of a widespread LA. Winding hikes through Runyon Canyon. Ah, those uphill climbs! Don’t despair – they’re worth the million dollar views, once you get to the top.

From Hollywood Hills to Beverly Hills. Immaculate gardens and imaginative homes. Clean architectural lines and ranch designs. All things retro-inspired. Traditional colonial Spanish styles: elegant archways and terracotta tiles. Deck chairs, cabanas; lunch served poolside. A climate that inspires outdoor living. Such a sweet life.

The eternal glitter of The Golden Age. Silver screen and Technicolour. Hollywood stars – always remembered, never forgotten. The glamour and the rock’n’roll.  The music; the movies; and, the awards. A place of Oscars-worthy moments. The buzz of the paparazzi. The bustle of the press – the who’s who, and the best dressed. The show goes on.

Inspired, this is Southern California in monochrome style, with a splash of colour. Enjoy!

Keith Richards and Ron Wood, Los Angeles, CA, 1979 ~ Copyright Henry Diltz

Capitol Records in LA, 1959 ~ Unknown

Night: New Host International restaurant at Los Angeles airport, 1962 ~ Photograph by Ralph Crane

Los Angeles Development Boom, 1953 ~ Photograph by J.R. Eyerman

Actress Martha Hyer talking on the phone in the living room of her luxurious home, Beverly Hills, 1959 ~ Photograph Leonard Mccombe

The two photographs below show a “A landmark image in the history of modern architecture: Julius Shulman’s nighttime shot of Ann Lightbody and Cynthia Murfee in Case Study House No. 22, the Stahl residence in the Hollywood Hills, overlooking Sunset Boulevard. Architect: Pierre Koenig. The photo, taken with a Swiss-made Sinar 4×5 view camera, is a double exposure: Seven minutes for the background, then a flash shot for the interior, the house lights having been replaced with flashbulbs.”

Julius Shulman photographing the Stahl residence

Night time shot of the house, 1960 ~ Photograph by Julius Shulman

Rosen House In Los Angeles ~ Photograph Michael Rougier

Segel House on Carbon Beach, Malibu ~ Photograph by Julius Shulman

Marilyn in Malibu, 1962 ~ Photograph by George Barris

Malibu, 1938 ~ Photograph by Alfred Eisestaedt

Malibu, 1961 ~ Photograph Allan Grant

Seaside Home, CA, 1945 ~ Photograph Nina Leen

President Richard M. Nixon's Residence In San Clemente ~Photograph Arthur Schatz

Actress Singer Doris Day driving Universal Production Dept. golf cart as she waves at a saluting security guard at Universal's movie lot , 1963 ~ Photograph John Dominis

Street set used in production of movie westerns on Paramount Studios ranch, Hollywood, 1937 ~ Photograph Margaret Bourke-White

Gregory Peck at Universal City construction site, 1963 ~ LIFE magazine

Actors (L-R) Gregory Peck, Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, Sophia Loren, Doris Day (back to camera), Cary Grant, Ronald Reagan and Dorothy Malone listening to director Parker during rehearsals for 30th annual Academy Awards

Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Bob Hope, David Niven during a break from rehearsals for 30th annual Academy Awards show at the RKO Pantages theater, 1958 ~ Photograph Leonard Mccombe

Natalie Wood & Warren Beatty at Academy Awards, LA, 1963 ~ Photograph by Allan Grant

Audrey Hepburn wins Oscar for Best Actress in Roman Holiday, 1953 ~ Unknown

Photographers with Grace Kelly and Marlon Brando, Oscars winners for Best Actress & Actor at the 27th annual Academy Awards ceremony, RKO Pantages theater, 1955 ~ Photograph by George Silk

The 1958 Governors Ball; Elizabeth Taylor with her first Academy Award for Butterfield 8 in 1961 ~ LIFE magazine

Actor Paul Newman as a guest on Hollywood Diary Program, 1958 ~ Photograph Leonard Mccombe

Alfred Hitchcock with the MGM lion, 1958

Looking east towards Hollywood and Vine, LA, 1945

Hollywood Blvd, 1953

I love Los Angeles. It reinvents itself every two days. ~ Billy Connolly

New Host International restaurant at Los Angeles airport, 1962 ~ Photograph by Ralph Crane

'Beatles' arrive at airport on 2nd US tour, LA, 1964 ~ Photograph by Bill Ray

John Lautner’s Chemosphere house, 1961 © Julius Shulman J. Paul Getty Trust

Interior of Segel House (shown previously) ~ Photograph by Julius Shulman

Actress Bette Davis skimming through the morning papers, Beverly Hills, 1939 ~ Photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Hollywood Guides, 1938 ~ Photograph Alfred Eisenstaedt

Joan Crawford at home in LA, 1949 ~ Unknown

Palms, 1932 ~ Photograph Alfred Eisenstaedt

Humphrey Bogart in his Hollywood Home ~ Architectural Digest

Hollywood Hills, 1938 ~ Photograph Alfred Eisenstaedt

Hollywood -Night Beverly Hills, 1938 ~ Photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Schwabs on Sunset Blvd, 1960

Drive-In Movie, LA, 1949 ~ Photograph J.R. Eyerman

Silvertop Hollywood Dawn, 1972 ~ Available at Michel H.Lord Gallery


55 thoughts on “Vintage Inspired California

  1. Hey AquaGirl…
    Why does every era, EVERY ONE OF THEM, seem so more glam than your own?
    Another great post but yet again you make me feel slightly dissapointed….Why aren’t I rubbing shoulders with Greg Peck, mixing martinis for Marilyn or telling filthy stories to Bette?
    AND WHO was Jane Wooster? She’s right up my street!

    • Oh Stuart, our era is a different kind of glam. Wait until they’re talking about it in 2040! Channel the energies of this post and dream. That’s what black and white is all about 🙂 Thanks – I am glad you enjoyed!

  2. Oh Wow, and wow again, these are sensational Marina, brilliant. It’s memory lane, big style, in fact, gigantic style. I’m going to have a second look now.
    Thanks Marina, you done good today.

    • I had to go big in this post – how could I not? SO amazing – those images make me wish I lived through such a time. That’s the beauty of the black and white, though I did throw some colour in! Enjoy Val – I loved curating this series. Thanks!

  3. Wow Marina, vintage awesomeness! Naturally I’m in love with the architecture, the rolling waves and the long sunny warm days. Oh to feel the heat of the sun on my body and taste the salt air on my tongue. Elegant and inspired, when do we leave?!

  4. Lovely Marina! Can you be nostalgic for a time you never knew? I find old photographs fascinating, I could look at them for hours. Not so much the movie stars but the ordinary street scenes. With so few cars on the road, there’s no sense of the mad headlong blinkered dash to who knows where that seems to dominate our lives today. I really enjoyed this series. Thank you.

    • Adrian, that’s a fair question and I guess you can be nostalgic through dreams? Whatever the feeling I get from these photos is, is pure awe. I also find old photos fascinating – they never tire. (maybe we’ll be saying that about our photos in 30 yrs). And yes, the traffic was considerably less in previous times 😉 Thanks!

  5. L.A. is such an interesting place…I can’t think of any other place like it, for the good and the bad. From the excitement of rubbing elbows with the rich and famous – to the paranoia of being in the wrong place at the wrong time in the evenings (of course, that’s true of a lot of places I suppose). You’ve depicted the side that we all love…during an era to be envious of. The black and white does add to the classy, vintage-ness of a time we don’t necessarily remember, but all seem to recognize. LOVED it!!! Thanks!

    • Neither can I – LA is its own. Just like NY I suppose. I definitely agree -the people and landscapes in those images are so recognisable – such an iconic time! So glad you loved it 🙂 Thanks!

  6. Ahhh the glamour of LA! That is one vintage post!! I travelled back in time.. all these stars, like you say ‘never forgotten’, who can forget them! They were such beautiful and successful people! 🙂 The Golden Age was a good one, the fashion, the glitter, the architecture, the music! 🙂

    • I agree Kristina! We have some wonderful movie stars these days too – many who will be represented at the Oscars in a few days time – though the Golden Age will always be such a monumental time. Glad to share the glam! Thanks 🙂

  7. Ah, these are so cool Marina. And there’s quite a few of the celebrity one’s I actually haven’t seen before, like the montage one of Gable, Grant etc. But my favourite one of the whole collection is the first one, pure rock & roll! Great post, Marina. And btw, just where did you find all these marvellous shots? Do tell!

    • Hi Jenny – The architecture of that time seems to even be ‘ahead of its time’. I do love it too, especially those Julius Shulman photos. I’m glad to share these with you! Now, to the Oscars!

  8. Great post Marina! These were the types of images that made me, as a New Jersey boy, always want to visit California. I got my first chance to visit from my job with the US Navy and then started moving west – ending up in beautiful San Diego. Your post is also a great intro to the Oscars – let the pagentry begin.

    • Scott! Thanks so much for your comment. I love California too – probably from all the black and white movies mum made me watch with her every Saturday night as a kid 🙂 Did you ever visit San Clemente? I lived there for about 2 years. I think I may do a part 2 to this post, an Oscars tribute 😉

      • I’ve been to San Clemente for brief visits – more in passing than anything. I’ve also been out to San Clemente Island for a Navy test program. I look forward to your part 2 – obtw – went to see Iron Lady today – another unbelievable acting job by Meryl Streep!

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