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Video: What It Was Like to Cruise the Sunset Strip in 1964
The cars, the signs, the smog. It's all there in this video of the Sunset Strip during a mostly-sunny day in 1964. The footage was uploaded by Vintage Los Angeles.
Set to a surf guitar soundtrack, the camera catches some familiar sights. It's interesting to see the mid-century signage for still-existing companies like Bank of America and Shell and to try to recognize how the city has changed block by block.
Chuck Landis was the owner of the Largo, which you can see in this video (and which has little to do with The Largo at the Coronet on La Cienega). He spoke to the Los Angeles Times in this re-printed article from the 1980s that sheds light on how Sunset Strip had changed since its post-war heyday by the time of this video:
"You roll with the punches," says Chuck Landis.
As the Strip changed over the years, Landis changed with it.
From 1943 to 1949, he was owner of the Trocadero.
In the '50s he was partners with Gene Norman in a jazz club called the Crescendo.
Then he turned Hazan's Food Market into a "high-class" strip joint called the Largo. In 1972, the Largo became the Roxy.
"I enjoyed it in the '40s and '50s," he says. "It was a coat-and-tie sort of thing, very formal."
"In the '60s, the hippies turned the Strip around," he adds. "It was almost impossible to travel from Crescent Heights to Doheny. Business dropped overnight."
It might have been the growth of Las Vegas that killed the Strip, however, Vegas paid more money to the top entertainment acts than the Strip nightclubs could afford.
"If you weren't on the Strip, you weren't in the business, in the old days," Landis says, "but not anymore."
Here it is:
What else has changed or stayed the same?