Someone of today’s younger set asked me what Los Angeles was really like half a century ago. Well, from what I remember, the early 1960’s Los Angeles as a kid growing up were great actually. Now I realize that history counts on mainly the negatives of the past, but they were actually all outweighed by the more positives I lived and I’ll share some with you. My family was typical lower middle class back then and we resided in the Baldwin Hills area. Every morning, a milk truck would deliver fresh cold glass milk bottles to many apartment doors. Weekends were cool. I was lucky enough to have a father who took me to the NuPike almost every Saturday during the spring season and summer and fall. My favorite ride was the bumper cars called ‘Skooters.’ I got into so much trouble on those for riding against traffic, I got myself banned three weekends in a row until a new ride attendant came online.
Los Angeles had a big population of men wearing turbans and they were Hindu and from India. The city also had a very large British population too, especially towards the end of the 1960’s.
The beaches were clean and the life guards drove these Dodge A100 Pickup Trucks on them. Reminded me of a giant bug of sorts.
There were no earwigs in the sand and the bay was clean as well. There was the Santa Monica Pier which had only the Merry-Go-Round and went out further over the water. South was the long parking lot and Pacific Ocean Park, (the Disneyland by the Sea) a mystical fun place I got to visit three times only.
Cars of the early sixties were almost all built and rock solid. Mechanics ordered parts, tuned them and they all worked. Gasoline below a buck…WOW, hard to believe and no major gasoline taxes by the commies. The gas station had paid attendants that came out and serviced your car while you bought fuel. They kept your car road safe and running. Today, forget about it!
Remember One Adam 12 the TV series? The LAPD were fast, efficient, friendly and crime happened…but was nowhere as horrendous as today. Homes didn’t need a fence around most of the L.A. Basin because crime was that low and the police department responded in just a few minutes.
No fence needed. The city was for the most part pretty damned safe.
On the weekends we had all sorts of TV cartoons for kids like Bugs Bunny. The Road Runner would start around 1966/1967 seasons. For TV shows we had The Munsters, Gilligan’s Island, Mission Impossible, Bewitched, Father Knows Best and who could forget Mr. Ed and Wilbur 😉
Schools were great, they taught us stuff and school bullies were handled after class by real school administrators. Yes, kids had it sometimes rough but they weren’t facing guns and knives in classes. Instead coming out of school a communist brainwashed idiot, you came out of the public school system for most, knowing how to read and write. There was a pride and a serious value in those older diplomas. Kids that cheated got it big time from the teacher and kids that misbehaved in class got to be known as the class clown and a free visit to the vice principals office.
There were tons of jobs for adults. I mean, so many jobs that the companies and businesses fought over you to work for them and if you had any kind of college degree, you were solid gold. You had an in at any company big or small and you were offered just about anything. That was the old America at work, the one where you were highly valued.
And the city was a cool place too, especially in the L.A. area. There was life on the streets back then. Here is a small glimpse of what I remember Los Angeles to be like.
and how about here.
and lets not forget the beaches too.
Surfing was very big in the 1960’s and only grew from there. We had the Beach Boys!!!
and people at the beach loved it.
and then there was LAX, yes the airport. Today, getting there is tricky and you are treated to gestapo agents who give a flying pass to Arabs but pat down infants and granny, go figure huh. But in the 1960’s in Los Angeles things like this didn’t exist. You could drive and park at the terminal entrance, greet loved ones right in the main lobby as they were departing. Today, that is impossible. Back then airlines like the Boeing 707 were rock stable and a tremendously great experience. You felt special and safe on them, well treated by smiling and sweet airline hostesses.
When there was freedom for Americans at their airport, not a bunch of Nazi gestapo thugs!!!
and the jets were safe, new, well kept.
Hollywood, I always ended up at the Graumen Chinese Theater for some reason.
and for music on the brand new transistor radio I got in 1966 with the funny new square battery, listening was really all about The Real Don Steel and 93-KHJ. If you wanted to hear the newest greatest tunes, this was it. Here, before I get to the end, take a listen to The Real Don Steel on 93 KHJ.
Finally, there was something very special about Los Angeles as the day set to night. As with most kids, it would soon be time to get to sleep for a new day as each new day was fun, exciting and a new experience growing up with friends and family, cause there is nothing better than that!