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Downtown LA rocking the silent movies era

Downtown LA has been the favourite spot for Hollywood industry's silent movies stars since the 1920s.

Hollywood has always been synonymous with moviemaking even if studios spread out across all the Los Ageles area. The neighborhood with the big sign on the hill continues to be synonymous with the U.S. entertainment industry, its celebrities and all its glitz and glamour. As long as the rest of the region enjoys the economic benefits, Los Angeles seems content to let Hollywood dominate the spotlight.

Hollywood movie industry developed between the 1910s and the 1920s and it is not surprising that it became established during this period. We know the 1920s as an era of outstanding economic and industrial development that brought great changes and benefits for humanity. Women were finally given the right to vote and this goal led them to have major roles in movies – like their male colleagues or even higher. Hollywoodland's silver screen reflected the spirit of enthusiasm and positivity typical of the Jazz Age.

The city epitomized the Roaring 1920s. People wanted to have good time and laugh with any excuse to go out and have fun, including cinemas.

During my stay in Los Angels – that happened more than one month ago now - I was delighted to find the book “Downtown LA 2018” in my hotel’s room, which was not just a Practical Guide of downtown Los Angeles as the name may suggest. It was an invitation to enjoy and explore Los Angeles business district hidden treasures, with an interesting photo reportage focusing on the contrast between first silent movies’ shooting places and their present-day settings.

Let’s have a look at where silent stars frolicked …

Broadway Theater District

Silent movie star Dorothy Devore in "Hold your breath" with a view looking north up Broadway from 11th Street, 1924

The view of Historic Broadway Theater District (dowtown LA) nowadays. Most of those buildings were built after the 1920s.

The Fashion District

Charlie Chaplin "The New Janitor" in a window-washing scene filmed at 112 W. 9th street in LA Fashion District, 1914

Today's view of Cahplin's movie spot. Some things have changed but the New Mart building of the window-washing scene is still the same.

Charlie Chaplin, "His musical career" looking east on W.9 th Street, toward where it intersects Main and Spring Street, 1914

Photograph of the junction at Main Street, Spring Street, and 9th Street, Los Angeles, ca.1917

Present-day Charlie Chaplin "His musical career" shooting location

Broadway Trade Center

Harold Lloyd "Safety Last" hanging from a clock specially built for the movie atop 808 S. Broadway, 1923. The Hamburger Building (today known as the Broadway Trade Center) built in 1908, is visible on the southwest corner of Broadway and 8th Street

Present-day picture of the spot where the movie was shot in 1923.

Pershing Square

Silent movie star Clara Bow with actor William Austin in "It" on Olive street across from the Los Angeles Baltimore Hotel, 1927

Same spot 91 years later ... The Baltimore Building

Historic Core district

Tully Marshall "The Devil's Needle", in fron of the entrance of Jewelry Trade Building at 220 W. 5th Street in the Historic Core District, 1916

The entrance of the Jewelry Trade Building today

Angels Flight

Angels Flight is a funicular railway in the Bunker Hill district of Downtown LA operating since 1901. The image on the right shows a scene captured from the movie "All Jazzed Up!" (1920) with actress Helen Darling trying to catch a train at the original Lower Station at Hill and 3rd Streets. On the left: the Angels Flight at Lower Street today.



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