Day of the Locust


Image: By Source, Fair use, .

“…West came to California late in the 1930s to write film scripts…[H]e was a connoisseur of disenchantment with American dreams, and what he found in Hollywood did not disappoint him. …The Day of the Locust (1939)…dealt with the hordes of people—especially those from the Midwest—who came to Southern California for breathy excitement but found that life was a numbing succession of perfect, empty, cloudless days.”

Excerpt from .


Fictional characters introduced in 1939

Some have endured such as Casper the Friendly Ghost, Philip Marlowe and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Click on the links below to learn more:

From .

Comeback at Santa Anita


Image: undated photo of Seabiscuit and Red Pollard. By Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

“Late in the fall of 1939, Seabiscuit’s handlers made an almost inconceivable announcement: Seabiscuit would run again in the Santa Anita Handicap scheduled for March 1940… This time the horse would be seven years old, ancient by racing standards. Pollard, whose injured leg was still fragile, would ride him.”

Excerpt from .

Seabiscuit won the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap race.



Image: one page of 1939 brochure from .

“Breene-Taylor Engineering, a Los Angeles-based manufacturer of airplane parts, announced the availability of the Whizzer Model “D” Bicycle Motor. This kit sold for $54.95 and included an air-cooled, four-cycle engine that was capable of producing 1.375 horsepower as well as a 2/3 gallon fuel tank. Approximately 1000 Model “D” motors were made and sold.”

At the beginning, the Whizzer was only a motor to be added to the customer’s bicycle.

Excerpt from .

Custom cars


“One of my personal all time favorite Custom Cars is this chopped ’36 Ford 5-window Coupe restyled in the late 1930’s. Not much is known about the car, most likely the owner was from Santa Monica, and some say the narrowed and reshaped ’36 Ford grille and custom side grilles might have been the work of George DuVall. Possibly the ribbed running board cover, the rock shield on the rear fenders and the single bar flipper hubcaps were all parts created by George DuVall and offered from the SoCal Plating Company.”  –Rik Hoving

“The Custom Car movement as we know it really started in the early 1930’s but at least a decade before that the movement was set in motion. In the late 1910’s the rich and famous demanded more elusive cars than the cars available from Detroit. They found their way to several of the Los Angles local Custom Coachwork companies. Who could create more streamlined and luxurious bodies that would set them apart from everything else on the roads. It would help give them even more status than they already had.

“The US was slowly recovering from the recession and people started to spend some more money on cars. Second had cars were relatively cheap and where perfect to be used in restyling. Hourly rates were still very low, making it possible for a car owner to have the local show spend a lot of hours on the cars. Where the first Custom Restyled cars were mostly based on convertibles and roadsters, which were much easier to chop, builder now started to experiment with chopping the top of coupes and even sedan’s. It resulted in a wide range of uniquely restyled cars, perhaps not always the most graceful, but incredibly inspiring and unique for sure. These early years of Custom Restyling are to me the most interesting years of the history of the Custom Cars. Especially because a lot of the cars were so fresh in incorporating the Custom Style.”

Image and excerpts from . Click on the link for a detailed article with many photos about the early years of automobile customizing, much of which took place in southern California.