Vintage Hollywood In 48 Photos

Published November 26, 2014
Updated November 8, 2023

These incredible photographs of vintage Hollywood present us a vision of life at the height of the American cultural empire.

Vintage Hollywood Sign

The quintessential Hollywood landmark, the Hollywood sign was originally an advertisement for a local real estate developer. Eventually, it fell into disrepair and was fixed by The Los Angeles Parks Department, but leaving off the “LAND” to reflect the district, not the housing development. In 1932, the sign was the site of Peg Entwistle’s suicide. She jumped from the H and died of multiple fractures of the pelvis.

From the late 1920s to the early 1960s, Hollywood radiated pure gold. Filmmaking was highly regimented and most movies stuck closely to a genre with all of the associated tropes, though it could be argued that they were also setting the tropes that would persist into the 21st century.

Many film studios glossed over the World Wars and ignored the Depression, instead providing viewers with idyllic fictions to occupy their free time. Off screen, stars had real lives that no one knew about. Politicians did their jobs and ladies were dames. Milk always arrived on time and marriage solved everything. Nowadays, we know better.

Nonetheless, there is something striking about the stars captured by Vaseline covered lenses, the movies where banter was more important than cleavage. Things seemed simpler and love could conquer all. Little did anyone realize that a presidential assassination, race riots and yet another war would soon rip through the United States and leave us trembling.

Yet, like so many stars in Hollywood whose own lives were filled with tragedy, we picked ourselves back up, admitted our failures and kept fighting for something better. So here’s to the melancholic beauty of a weird enclave called Hollywood, a city built upon pure fantasy, the embodiment of the American Dream:

Vintage Hollywood James Dean
Vintage Hollywood Marilyn Monroe Meets The Queen
Rock Hudson
Vintage Hollywood In 48 Photos
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Enjoyed these fantastic photographs of vintage Hollywood? Then check out our other galleries of New York City before the skyscrapers and San Francisco at the height of the hippies.

Leah Silverman
A former associate editor for All That's Interesting, Leah Silverman holds a Master's in Fine Arts from Columbia University's Creative Writing Program and her work has appeared in Catapult, Town & Country, Women's Health, and Publishers Weekly.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Silverman, Leah. "Vintage Hollywood In 48 Photos.", November 26, 2014, Accessed May 29, 2024.