From the Archive

The 1955 opening of Disneyland

This From the Archives post was a real labor of love. When Disneyland opened in 1955, I was one of those crazy Davey Crockett kids wearing the coonskin hat.

For the 59th anniversary - July 17th and 18th – I posted this large photo gallery: Disneyland's 1955 opening.

Several months ago I pulled out the pile of some 50 4 x 5 inch negatives in the Los Angeles Times Archives and started scanning. Biggest problem was the lack of caption information. But with a few attached caption sheets, ProQuest, a few prints in the library and heavy use of Google, I was able get a completed gallery.

Sunday, July 17, 1955, is considered the opening day for Disneyland. The park opened that day, but it was supposed to be an invitation only event. The event was crashed by thousand who had obtained counterfeit tickets.

On Monday, July 18, 1955, Disneyland opened to the public. Long lines formed by 10 a.m. that day. Los Angeles Times photographers documented the long lines both from the ground and from aircraft.

What I found interesting, was how over the years, many of the images taken on Monday, July 18, 1955, were published with captions saying they were taken on Sunday, July 17, 1955. I had these captions corrected in the Los Angeles Times digital photo archives.

Then there is the aerial with only a half full parking lot. It's been used several times saying it too had been taken on opening day. But when blown up, Disneyland is not full of crowds, but construction activity. Tomorrowland especially is full of trucks, cranes and other construction equipment. A couple of buildings are not finished. In the July 18, 1955 aerials, the buildings are finished.

I guess in the last 59 years, no one has bothered to look at the aerial up close. It was probably taken in late June, 1955.

And yes, I had to include this photo below of Fess Parker as Davey Crockett taken during the Sunday, July 17, 1955 press preview.



New Photo Gallery

A new photo gallery of archival and recent images has been set up at the Los Angeles Times. The gallery is located in former employee store at the Spring Street entrance. Many of the black and whites were used in my From the Archives blog.

This photo taken with iPhone camera panorama feature.

Stealing a soul

Photographers face many obstacles, but charges of "stealing one's soul" is currently not one.

May 9, 1973: Photographer Tim Dressler of North Hollywood pays the penalty for "stealing one's soul with a camera" during the Renaissance Pleasure Faire at Paramount Ranch in Agoura. Photo by Bill Varie/Los Angeles Times.

This photo is from my Los Angeles Times From the Archives photo gallery Renaissance Pleasure Faire.

Beatlemania comes to Los Angeles


Sunday is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. So of course, I had to put together a large photo gallery of images taken by Los Angeles Times photographers. The Beatles performed at the Hollywood Bowl in August 1964 and 1965. In August of 1966 they performed at Dodger Stadium.

By the looks of the images in this 25-photo gallery, Los Angeles barely survived. Luckly for LA, the Beatles quit touring and stuck to the recording studio after the 1966 tour.

Before the Aug. 23, 1964 performance at the Hollywood Bowl, Times staff photographer John Malmin took individual portraits of many of the young fans. He turned in a six-photo combo of single images. After I scanned the images, I put together my favorite four images, above.

Link to Beatlemania arrives in Los Angeles photo gallery.

JFK week

1958 portrait of Sen. John Kennedy by Los Angeles Times staff photographer William 'Bill' Murphy that was used by the US Postal Service for 1964 postage stamp. Image scanned from print signed by Murphy and postage stamp added to lower left.

With the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of Pres. John F. Kennedy, I posted JFK related items all week. In addition, one previous blog post was enlarged into a full story by Times writer Bob Pool.

On Friday, Pool's article JFK's visit to Santa Monica in 1958 yielded image seen by millions, was published.

While researching this story former Los Angeles Times staff photographer Bill Murphy became a co-worker, even though we never met. One injustice I found was that he never had his obituary published in the Los Angeles Times.

I did find this short one in the spring 1993 edition of the old Times-Mirror employee publication Among Ourselves:

Bill Murphy, who retired as a writer, photographer and book reviewer in 1988 after a 50-year career with The Times, died Jan. 15 (1993). He was 72.

Murphy joined The Times part time in 1938 as a clerk, then went full time in 1940 as a mail clerk. He learned photography in the Navy during World War II and joined the editorial photo department after serving in the Pacific for four years. During the Korean War, Murphy was called to active duty in the Marine Corps as a combat correspondent.

Murphy was the author of numerous books on California, the Southwest and Mexico.

A Murphy photo of President John F. Kennedy was selected from hundreds for use on a commemorative stamp issued in 1964. More than 500 million were printed…

One surprise was finding this photo JFK Interview, 1958, in the old Los Angeles Examiner Collection at USC. The photo was taken at the same informal press conference as Murphy's by my Cal Poly Pomona photography instructor Russ Lapp.

In addition to working on Pool's story, I posted these JFK related items on the From the Archive blog:

How the Los Angeles Times covered the Pres. Kennedy assassination

Los Angeles Times' images of President Kennedy [updated]

President Kennedy visits Burroughs High School prom

1943 wire dispatch on John Kennedy and PT 109

John F. Kennedy takes a swim

Chorus line on Fokker F-32

April 30, 1930: The Fanchon and Marco chorus girls dance atop a new Fokker F-32 aircraft during dedication ceremonies of Western Air Express's new terminal at Alhambra Field.

My From the Archive post for Wednesday, Nov. 6th was this iconic aviation photo. But my research, at first, hit a dead end. I thought the dancers were present to celebrate the delivery of the new giant aircraft to Western Air Express. This was only partly true. The new aircraft and dancers was actually part of the opening of Western Air Express's new terminal at Alhambra field.

My full Los Angeles Times From the Archive post: Dedication of Western Air Express terminal.


Hoover Dam lights up Los Angeles party

On Oct. 9, 1936, electricity from Hoover Dam began flowing to Los Angeles. Of course it was party time. One million people came to downtown for a "Light on Parade" proceeded down Broadway, nicknamed "the Canyon of Lights."
Today I posted a ten photo gallery on the parade and Hoover Dam. I love the photos of Broadway, one above, that really lit up the place.
Link to From the Archive gallery:
Hoover Dam lights up Los Angeles Party.

1932 gold prospecting

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Robison, recently of Oklahoma, look for gold in San Gabriel Canyon.
During the Great Depression, gold prospecting had a small revival in the San Gabriel Canyon. The Sep. 25, 1932 Los Angeles Times lead story reported on the 500 people living and looking for gold in the East Fork of the San Gabriel River.
The archivists at UCLA have scanned a dozen of the 4 by 5 inch negatives taken for this story. Today I posted them in the Los Angeles Times From the Archive blog.
Only one problem, I was not able to identify the photographer. There was no photo credit in the Los Angeles Times or with the one print found at the Times library. Hopefully, after posting the gallery, someone will remember.
Link to From the Archive blog post:
1932 gold prospecting in San Gabriel Canyon.

1956 photos of Sen. John Kennedy

It's hard to believe that once upon a time John Kennedy was not that famous. In 1956 the Massachusetts senator came to Los Angeles to campaign for the Democratic party. The Los Angeles Times devoted a one column mug on page nine of the Sep. 19, 1956 edition to JFK. The next day JFK got two columns on page four — the photo above.

Friday I posted eight photos from his 1956 interview and press conference on the From the Archive blog. He does look young.

For more check out my Los Angeles Times From the Archive blog post: 1956 photos of Sen. John F. Kennedy.

1944 Speeding Ticket


April 1, 1944: "I was only doing 25 or 30 at most," said Sanford White, 51, automotive dealer, as Officer H. L. Brown writes up speeding ticket. Brown had clocked White at 38 miles per hour.

Thursday's LA Times From the Archive post proved some things never changed. Go too fast in a 25-speed zone, and you get nabbed. At least the fines in 1944 were about ten dollars — not much until you remember that ten bucks was more than most working stiffs made in a day.

My 1944 Speeding Ticket From the Archive post.

Hotel Californian destroyed

Today is the anniversary of the June 29, 1925, Santa Barbara earthquake that left few buildings on downtown State Street intact. I posted this 23 photo gallery 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake on the Los Angeles Times From the Archive blog.

My favorite images are of the damaged Hotel Californian – above. The June 30, 1925, Los Angeles Times reported that the hotel was one of the newest in Santa Barbara. Times staff photographer George Watson reported that guests made ropes out of sheets to escape from upper floors.

For me — the images have left that Eagles song is stuck in my head.

Oscar Bayer photos

Friday's From the Archive post started over two years ago. While researching Oscars – some kind of award show — online at the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA up popped these three photos of a long forgotten Los Angeles Police Department Officer named Oscar Bayer.

Turns out, he was a classic 1920s action hero right out of the movies — except he's a real person.

A group shot of Bayer and other officers quickly led to stories about the 1925 shootout. But the two other photos of Bayer posing with guns next to 1920s car, did not have any date. They were labeled 'circa 1925.'

Time for some detective work. First trail was interesting. The LAPD, so impressed by the Buick touring car used by the 1925 bank robbers, turned around and purchased ten of them from Howard Automobile Company – the same company the robbers stole their Buick get-a-way car from.

But the car in the two 'circa 1925' photos was not a Buick. Earl Robenstein, curator at the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo, identified the vehicle as a 1926 Studebaker. Also a closeup look of the image reveals 1927 California license plates.

So the trail went cold.

Exhaustive searches of 1925-1929 Los Angeles Times determined that yes indeed, these two photos had NOT been published. So based on the car model year, the license plate and Bayer's promotion to Detective Lieutenant, I went with a 'circa 1927' on the two images.

For more check out the From the Archive post: Oscar Bayer – 1925 shootout hero.

Also during all my research, no other photos of Oscar Bayer were located in the Los Angeles Times archive. The other Los Angeles newspapers of the 1920s published stories and photos of Bayer's exploits. A couple other portraits of Bayer are online, one is at this Los Angeles Police Museum story by Glynn Martin: Honoring a Century of Sacrifice Oscar Bayer, a Fightin' Hero.

Herald Examiner Photograph Collection

Today's Los Angeles Times From the Archive blog post is a look back at the photo staff of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. After the Hearst newspaper closed in 1989, the newspaper's archive was donated to the Los Angeles Public Library.

This From the Archive gallery includes about 30 images from the online LAPL Herald Examiner Photograph Collection and several more images from a March, 2013 reunion of Herald Examiner photographers – many who I have worked with over the years in the Press Photographers Association of Greater Los Angeles.

The image above is a scan of the final edition of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner.


From the Archive post: Los Angeles Herald Examiner Photograph Collection.

Related story published today by Larry Harnisch: Herald Examiner photographers reflect on the good ol' days.

Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection Overview webpage.


View From the Top


Yesterday I went into work early and spent an hour poking around the observation deck of Los Angeles City Hall. Above is one of the images of the Los Angeles Times Building and Bunker Hill taken with iPhone Camera+ with OlloClip fisheye lens.

I am in the process of updated this 2009 Then and Now feature for the Los Angeles Times. The page still gets good traffic, so I am planning to replace the 2009 photos with 2013 ones. On the From the Archive blog, I also posted these 1943 View From the Top photos.

Wrigley Field


Today's From the Archive post looks back at the 22,000 seat Wrigley Field - home of the Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels. Built in 1925, Wrigley Field was the center of Los Angeles baseball before the 1958 arrival of the Dodgers.


Ten photo gallery: Wrigley Field

Celebrating Easter


For this special holiday, I posted an 18 photo gallery Celebrating Easter on the Los Angeles Times From the Archive blog. The images are from 1920s through 1991. This time-span makes for interesting look at photographer's styles as they changed over the years.

Happy Easter



St. Francis Dam collapse

It's almost 1:00 a.m. on March 13, 2013. At this hour - 85 years ago - Los Angeles Times staff photographer George Watson arrived at the scene of the St. Francis Dam collapse. It was too dark to take photos, but he later reported he could hear the water still rushing out and the screams of victims. Over 600 died that evening in the second greatest disaster in California history — only the San Francisco Earthquake and fire of 1906 was worse.

The dam collapsed just before midnight, and Watson was quickly dispatched by an alert Times operator. I posted 24 images in this Los Angeles Times From the Archive blog post on the 1928 collapse of the St. Francis Dam.


Three Days of Snow

Jan. 9-12, 1949 was marked by cold and three days of snow in Los Angeles and all over Southern California. On today's From the Archive blog, I posted ten photos from that winter storm. My favorite was the line of cars on Sepulveda waiting to go south from the San Fernando Valley to West Los Angeles. Chains were required!

Photo above is of snow covered car near the Rose Bowl.

Link to the Los Angeles Times From the Archive post: In 1949, the snowman socked Los Angeles

Mickey Cohen wounded

A 17 photo gallery on 1949 shooting of Mickey Cohen posted today over at the Los Angeles Times From the Archive blog.

When Cohen was wounded in early morning ambush, the Times went all out in it's coverage. The next day several pages - including two photo pages – reported on the shooting where Cohen and three others were wounded. One of Cohen's henchmen died a week later from his wounds.

The photo above of Cohen, on right, and bodyguard was taken about an hour before the ambush and published on page one of the Los Angeles Times.

Check out the From the Archive post: Mickey Cohen wounded.

The flight of the Spruce Goose

This From the Archive post went up last friday on the 65th anniversary of the one and only flight of Howard Hughes's Spruce Goose. This 18-photo gallery includes several images never published before. This From the Archive post has been getting a lot of attention, so good idea to do a post here – after not posting for couple weeks.

On Nov. 2, 1947, Los Angeles Times photographers covered the taxi-test runs of the Spruce Goose. Howard Hughes was at the controls. After two runs, many of the media left — thinking Hughes was done for the day. Of course Hughes did a third run, including lifting off the water for about a mile. Many photographers missed the shot. The Los Angeles Times has two images of the Spruce Goose in flight. One was published eight columns wide on page three of the Nov. 3, 1947 LA Times.

All the Times negatives are 4 x 5 inches. In the 1930s and 40s news photographers often resorted to major crops — enlargements — to get their images. Good long telephoto lenses were few and far between. Check out the last two images in the gallery. The first is nearly full frame with a small flying Spruce Goose. The second image is cropped closely to the printed version.

Mom kisses Yankee player

Yankees' Robert Luxton gets kiss from mom. This 1957 Little League photo by Mirror-News photographer Loren Patty is one of my favorites. It's today's LA Times From the Archive post.
Since Mirror-News not indexed in ProQuest, did a quick search of first two weeks of May - traditional start of Little League - in the Mirror News micro-film and found the image. Remember searching microfilm? Now seems very ancient technology, but much of our history stuck on it and may never be moved to internet.

1960 Democratic National Convention

Today on the LA Times From the Archive blog is a 30 photo gallery of the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. I got a good laugh from the photo of Sen. John Kennedy. He is asking the Los Angeles Times photographer Joe Kennedy (no relation) to not take a photo. Joe Kennedy took the photo anyway. Way to go Joe!

When America changed the flag salute

For today's Los Angeles Times From the Archive post I went back to school — history class — on why we have today's flag salute.

The hand-over-heart pledge to the flag started in 1942-43. Americans used to use an outstretched arm flag salute, but it was too similar to our World War II enemies. In looking through old photos, I kept finding Americans doing this outstretched arm salute, but it just didn't look right. I'm glad we changed.

March 29, 1943:  Vierling Kersey, superintendent of schools, left, and Roy J. Becker, Board of Education president, demonstrate old and new methods of saluting Old Glory. The new hand-over-heart method goes in effect in schools on Army Day.

Today's LA Times From the Archive explains more.


Last month I visited the Manzanar National Historic Site. I arrived late in the afternoon with a storm closing in. The weather reminded me of all the iconic Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams images from Manzanar taken during World War II. So I took my time and made a series of 55 black and whites trying for a dark and contrasty mood.

Photo above is of the famous monument at the Manzanar cemetery.

Link to my flickr set:

Last week I posted the Los Angeles Times From the Archive images on Manzanar:

Just this week From the Archive

1959 Chavez Ravine evictions photo gallery.

Tonight I posted my 430th From the Archive blog post for the Los Angeles Times. Two years ago the planning and research started for From the Archive, with the blog going live in early August 2010. I started with about 75 posts ready to go. Today, its day to day with about 25 future posts in various stages of research to finished Draft mode.

Just for the fun of it, tonight, when I looked back at just the last week of posts and made frame grabs and links.



1952 Cross for Easter services

1965 Bunker Hill fashion shoot

1941 New black leopard at Griffith Park Zoo

Boris Yaro reflect on the 1968 R.F.K. assassination

Flying Wing

While digging through box of old photos in the Times Library I came across three Paul Calvert images of the famous Northrop YB-49 Flying Wing. The post went live Wednesday and got a lot of attention.

In 1947, the flying wing aircraft design was ahead of the engineering possible for the post World War 2 era. The Air Force went with the conventional prop powered B-36 to replace the B-29 as America's long range bomber. Of course, aviation advances brought the design back in the current B-2 flying wing.

From the Archive Northrop YB-49 Flying Wing unveiled post.

Its a Tall World

Wednesday I was in Hollywood getting photos of new Walk of Fame stars for the Los Angeles Times Hollywood Star Walk database. While walking by the Hollywood Guinness Museum, I was stopped by a very familiar face — it was a life size statue of Robert Wadlow - all 8 feet 11 inches of him!

On Tuesday, I had just finished a From the Archive post on Wadlow - Tall Photographer.

So I snapped this photo, and walked off singing "it's a Tall world after all" to the tune of It's a small world.

Crosby golf lesson

Wednesday's From the Archive post was a gem. Last month I was going through the Bob Hope photo files to build this Bob Hope entertains the troops photo gallery and came across this Hope Crosby golf photo. Of course I was doubled over laughing. My way to play golf.

The image became today's post: Bing Crosby golf lesson.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Last week I put together this 40 photo gallery on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Today's From the Archive are images from Dec. 7 and Dec 8 from crowds gathered at Pershing Square - with U.S. Army anti-aircraft equipment.

Tomorrow's LA Times From the Archive posted early. Can you guess where a Pearl Harbor Japanese Midget submarine showed up in 1942?

LA Times 130th

Sunday, Dec. 4, was the 130th anniversary of the Los Angeles Times. A 130 photo gallery went live and today, Tuesday, Dec. 6, a 32 page tabloid section was published. Since I have been doing the From the Archive blog for 18 months now, I became very involved with this 130th project.

Check out the 130th photo gallery - Capturing History as it was Made. and if you live in Southern California, check out the 32 page special section.



My Turn

My Los Angeles Times From the Archive post today didn't need any research — since it's my photo. After 18 months of posting everyone else's images, it's my turn. This image was taken on Nov. 29, 1996 while on a family weekend in Big Bear. Its snow from snow-making machines driven by winds at Bear Mountain near Big Bear Lake.

Check out my full From the Archive post.

1929 Auto Show Fire

With the opening of the Los Angeles Auto Show this weekend I recently went through old LA Times Auto Show files. Up popped the 1929 show that burned to the ground. Opps.

This made an interesting From the Archive post. No one was killed, but several people, including firemen received burns.

The 1929 show was in four large tents. On a windy day, one caught fire, and the whole complex burned to the ground.

The lead photo was a panorama made from two different photos, as shown in the frame-grab above.

Link to
From the Archive Fire destroys 1929 auto show.


Locomotive on the edge


This 1948 train engine image has been one of the most popular Los Angeles Times From the Archive posts. So hey, it needs an additional shout out.

I knew about this image for a couple months, but there was no print available. Recently I found the original 4 by 5 negative at the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA. After obtaining a scan from UCLA, I immediately posted.



Los Angeles Aqueduct gallery


Just posted this 22 image From the Archive gallery
"Building the Los Angeles Aqueduct." The aqueduct allowed Los Angeles to grow from a small city to mega-thing of today.

The photos, all about 100 years old, were a challenge to scan and do the background research. The short story is, the good Times Library archiving did not start until around 1930.

Check out this post for a good history lesson on Los Angeles.


Buster the skating rooster

Yesterday on the LA Times From the Archive blog I posted the story of Buster the skating rooster. I first heard the Buster story during a 1983 UCLA Extension photography class taught by Leigh Wiener.

Wiener's approach to photography was keep the technology simple, concentrate on knowing a lot about your subject. During the first class session, he covered all the tech stuff–film speeds, depth of field , etc. The rest of the course was stories on how he approached different types of assignments and subjects.

One of the stories was on Buster the skating rooster. Fortunately for me, Wiener wrote down many of his stories in his 1982 book, "How Do You Photograph People."

Funny, the book title was also the name of the UCLA.

The photo below is of Leigh Wiener during that 1983 UCLA class. I must have been going through one of those hands-of-god burn down the edges phases when I made this black and white print.


The Santa Season

Screen shot 2010-11-30 at 6.31.20 AM
Just wanted to share a fun photo gallery I posted Friday on the Los Angeles Times From the Archive - Santa Claus..

This is called a blatant plug. Happy Holidays.

Pictured: 1979 photo by R.L.Oliver/Los Angeles Times of Santas in training class learning electronic game.

Veterans Day From the Archive

For Veterans Day I posted two different images involving Vets and family on the Los Angeles Times From the Archive blog. Left is Rita Duarte at funeral for her son killed in Korea War. She also lost a son in World War ll. Right is Vietnam POW Maj. Jay C. Hess welcomed home by his daughter Heidi Hess.

Check out the From the Archive blog. A new image is posted every weekday.

Photo on left by Delmar Watson/The Mirror/Watson Family Photographic Archive

Photo on right by Ben Olender/Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive/UCLA


Ronald Reagan 1984

Today's Los Angeles Times From the Archive blog post is a 1984 photo by staff photographer Bernie Boston taken during Ronald Reagan's campaign stop at Pierce College in Woodland Hills. The crowd estimates ranged from 20,000 to 25,000.

Since I was there, my estimate is 20,000 Reagan supporters and 5,000 photographers. Or I could say 4, 999 photographers and me from the Thousand Oaks News Chronicle.

Recently I uploaded ten images from the 1984 event to my flickr account.


LA Times From the Archive Reagan post

my Flickr 1984 Reagan pics

My other LA Times From the Archive posts

From the Archives launch

Frame grab of today's From the Archives post . Jan. 1, 1966: UCLA coach Tommy Prothro is hoisted up after the fifth-ranked Bruins beat the Michigan State Spartans, the No. 1 football team in the nation, to take home their first Rose Bowl win. Photo by Joe Kennedy/Los Angeles Times

Today I am very excited to announce the launch of From the Archives, part of the new Los Angeles Times photography blog,

From the Archives is just that, images from the archives of the Los Angeles Times. Every weekday, a new photo will be posted with a short backstory on the image.

Here is an official announcement from the Los Angeles Times:

"Framework, the photography and video blog of the Los Angeles Times, celebrates the power and explores the craft of visual storytelling. The blog highlights the work of Times photojournalists who, frame by frame, document the drama, the emotion and sometimes the humor of life.

Framework also aims to serve as a resource hub for photography, multimedia and video enthusiasts who share our passion. The blog features our current work in visual journalism, must-see photos, videos and multimedia, technical tips a calendar of events, other sites we like and also a chance to go deep into The Times archives of historic and ephemeral images.   

We hope it will be a gathering place for people who are just as passionate about visual storytelling as we are.

You can also find us at: Facebook:
Twitter: @LATimesPhotos "

For several months I have been building up a backlog of posts for From the Archives. The images will be posted five days a week. Currently there are 16 photos posted including, a big eyed Don Knotts, Robert Mitchum in jail, Richard Ramirez flashing a pentagram, and the 1955 Pulitzer winning image by Jack Gaunt.

Future posts will include images going as far back as 1910. Enjoy them - I sure am.

From the Archives