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A Wiltern Theatre and Wilshire Boulevard Street Scene

Automobiles from the classic era are in abundance in this circa mid-thirties street scene at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue in Los Angeles, California. The newest car in the image appears to be a 1934 LaSalle that can be seen on the far right showing its distinctive styling and biplane wing-like bumpers used that year which originated from Harley Earles Art and Colour Section of General Motors.

The large building in the background is the combined Pellissier Building and the Wiltern Theatre, a monumental Art Deco building that is located at 3790 Wilshire Boulevard. The twelve-story main structure that has survived was built in 1931 and is considered to be one of the finest of its type in the country.

An interesting assortment of vehicles of all types, some of which date back to the mid-twenties can be seen in the photo. Near the center of the image is a Wilshire Boulevard double-decker bus. Take a moment to view the enlargeable photos below and do tell us of anything you notice that is of interest. Over eighty more vintage street scenes can be seen here on The Old Motor. The photo is courtesy of the USC Libraries. 



11 responses to “A Wiltern Theatre and Wilshire Boulevard Street Scene

  1. What catches my attention is the lack of any traffic signals, lane designations, etc. , with everyone seeming to intrinsically understand that one is to stay right and stay in lane. What a concept! With the institution of cell phones, Garmins, go-pro’s and other such distractions, Americans seem to have lost the sense that driving is essentially a cooperative effort, requiring an awareness of others, courtesy, concentration on where one is going and a relatively clear sense of purpose of why one is on the road. But the don’t get me started on the quality (meaning lack thereof) of adequate driver instruction sand licensing procedures. Why did I chose Massachusetts, I wonder???

  2. It appears that only three corners that have traffic signals and one is set well back from the corner. The missing (?) one could be also set back too far to be in the photo.

  3. According to, Marie Dressler’s “Emma” was first released in the U.S. Jan. 2, 1932, and she died in 1934. One wonders if the marquee playbill was a tribute to her in 1934 as a re-release….

  4. Light-colored car directly under FEATURES looks like a 1934 Ford. Car behind is similar in many respects but wheelbase is longer, all 1934 Fords had 112″ WB.

    • I think both cars are ’33-34 Fords. My screen resolution isn’t good enough to tell which; they’re very similar. The front car (under FEATURES) is a 4-passenger victoria coupe, while the rear car (with whitewalls) is a “Fordor,” Ford’s name for a 4-door sedan. I marked the wheelbases of both cars on the edge of a piece of paper, and they’re essentially identical, allowing for a little perspective shortening.

      The approaching sedan to the left (viewer’s right) of the bus is a Buick. I’m not sure in what year(s) Buick used the triple-bar bumper as shown, but will hazard a guess of circa 1926-28.

      There are very few big expensive-looking cars in the scene; I hope someone can identify the light-colored coupe with trunk at lower right.

  5. The car alongside the Buick sedan (see above) but headed in the opposite direction looks like a 1934 Chevrolet Master 4-door sedan. There’s a pedestrian in sunglasses standing in the street next to the light-colored coupe at lower right; maybe a paper boy?

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