Tuesday, October 22, 2019

A Vintage Glimpse at the Ville de Paris

Once upon a time in Forgotten French Los Angeles, the best department store was the Ville de Paris/City of Paris.

Founded and owned by a succession of Jewish-French entrepreneurs (all cousins), the City of Paris most famously occupied the Homer Laughlin Building until 1917, when it became Grand Central Market.

Surviving pictures of the store, especially the interior, have proven maddeningly elusive. I have had to content myself with trying to spot what little remains of the store's original 'bones' whenever I'm waiting in line at Ramen Hood or Golden Road.

Major beret-tip to Retroformat Films for sharing the fact that the next film they're screening was partially filmed inside the Ville de Paris! I've seen my share of silent films and I never knew that. (The film is from 1923, after the Ville de Paris moved out of the Homer Laughlin Building. Still, it's a surviving look into a store that has very few surviving pictures of any of its locations.)

Safety Last!, starring Harold Lloyd and his creative partner/real-life wife Mildred Harris, is screening this Saturday night at the Woman's Club of Hollywood, with live musical accompaniment. Tickets available here.

Can't make it? Safety Last! is also available on YouTube.

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