Monday, December 16, 2013

GlamAmor-ous Holidays--1930s Christmas in Hollywood

As I recently shared the origins of Santa Claus Lane in Hollywood in the 1920s, I wanted to continue this Christmas story into the 1930s.  Hollywood Boulevard took on even more transformation during this decade--moving past importing live trees that lined the lane to decorating with drawings of stars in the early 30s and then metallic trees lit on lamp posts in the late 1930s.  

At this time, the studio system was in full effect, and those in PR and marketing made sure to showcase the greatest stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood celebrating the holidays.  This often meant the studios showing some serious holiday style in the movies themselves.  As an example, Christmas was the backdrop of MGM's mystery The Thin Man (1934), which I just covered on GlamAmor.  Of course this stars William Powell and Myrna Loy, who toast with cocktail after cocktail and have the time of their lives.  Offscreen, you could see photos of stars such as Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, and Carole Lombard (all below) celebrating the spirit of the season.  I hope this helps set the mood to have some fun of your own.  Merry Christmas!

Starlets helping celebrate the holiday season in the early 1930s and
photo from the very first  Hollywood Christmas Parade in 1931 (below)

Photos of stars were added to lamp posts along Santa Claus Lane,
including Claudette Colbert who poses next to hers (below)

Studios loved to show stars celebrating the holidays in the 1930s,
which included MGM's Jean Harlow and Joan Crawford 

Paramount's Carole Lombard and 
RKO's Ginger Rogers (with Boris Karloff, below) having fun around the tree

Decorations along Santa Claus Lane changed in the late 1930s
to include big metal trees covered in lights

Merry Christmas!

Images courtesy of USC Libraries, KCET, and Nathan Masters


beachgal said...

Reason why the trees changed in the 30's was because the other ones were breaking off and up in storage - they went with more stream line ones that would make it through the yrs of storage and also the winds that fired up (Santa Ana's) in LA while they were up on the light folks, grands, uncles all worked in Holly land in the 30's - some worked in the 40's but my dad and grandpas went into WWII, putting their careers on hold. It was always a tradition for us to go to the Santa Claus Lane Parade when I was a kid - you could see stars like you have said and since I was a kid, I was real impressed with the Hollywood Cowboys that rode down the street like Duncan Renaldo & Leo Carillo (Cisco Kid/Pancho), Roy of course, and Gene Autrey. They always had trick riders, clowns - lots for a kid to get all wide eyed over. Funny it used to be cold then and we would bundle up to go. Love the photo of Caludette C by her wreath photo.

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thank you, Beach Gal! What great information--I really appreciate you sharing all the details and love that this is so close to you and your family. It all makes complete sense, too...funny that we're experiencing those Santa Anas now! It's beyond warm here lately with a little chill at night. Happy holidays!

Piaf vintage french said...

Love the glam vintage photos! Gets me in the mood for a glamorous holiday season. Thanks!

Silver Screenings said...

These photos are gorgeous! What a treat to see all those movie stars and those great floats.

The comments from beachgal were really interesting. How much fun would that be, to see trick riders in the parade!

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks Silver Screenings! I know--aren't the stories from Beach Gal terrific? She really brought the whole experience to life! I included Gene Autry's song "Here Comes Santa Claus" in my post on IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE since it came from Gene's time doing the 1946 parade. It was a lot of fun delving into Hollywood in the 1920s and 1930s this year on GlamAmor, and really getting into the origins of it all--I adore learning about where things began! And to see the level of glamour that existed even when Hollywood was still so young is just amazing. I'm always so proud to live here and celebrate its history.

Happy holidays! xo

VP81955 said...

Some wonderful images here, Kimberly. Have the merriest of Christmases...and I hope to be in Los Angeles sometime in 2014 (possibly to move and continue doing classic Hollywood research!).

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks and hope you have a happy new year! Be sure to look me up when you move to LA! xo

George Vreeland Hill said...

These photos and the stories behind them are amazing.
I love Hollywood history and the stars that go with it.
Thank you.

George Vreeland Hill

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