More about Los Angeles, 1945
CBS/KNX Columbia Square, as seen
diagonally opposite my newspaper stand
on the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Gower St.
Chet Huntley's office was on the top floor.
My best friend Carl had gotten me a job selling newspapers on the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Gower St. (a.k.a. Gower Gulch) and my life seemed to be more or less under control.
My mother had recently married again. This was her fourth husband—a professional waiter named Bob who worked at The Original Pantry in Downtown Los Angeles—and she seemed to be reasonably happy.
This was good for me, because when she was unhappy she tended to make my life pretty miserable.
In fact, since breaking up with her previous husband our relationship had been steadily deteriorating.
I won't go into details, but suffice it to say my mom was a hyper-emotional person, who was a charmer when she was happy, but a hellion when she wasn't. She'd been through a series of failed marriages (her marriage to Bob would last less than a year and a half) and she often seemed unhappy and disillusioned with life in general.
As a result she had become more and more emotionally dependent on me, as the only "stable" male figure in her life. This emotional dependence would take the form of suspicion, distrust, and eventual hatred of anyone whom she perceived to be "taking me away from her." She hated Carl.
But Bob the waiter seemed to have turned her life around—for the moment. She even accepted the fact that Carl
(who had gotten me my newspaper job) was my best buddy and that he and I would be working together daily after school.
She had mellowed considerably.
1945 Teenage Stuff
There was quite a bit of excitement to being a teenager in 1945. With the war winding down, we guys felt relieved in believing it would be over before we were old enough to be drafted (and possibly sent into combat). There was no way we could have guessed that the Korean War would take many of us five or six years later.
In the meantime, there were plenty of fun things to do in 1945 Hollywood. There was no Disneyland or other "theme park"—but there were two amusement piers—one each in Santa Monica and
Long Beach. Both had a rollercoaster and an assortment of other traditional fun rides (the Octopus, Tilt-A-Whirl, etc.).
Gypsy Rose Lee Peepshow
There were plenty of game booths and shooting galleries, along with penny-arcades, where for just a penny you could see hand-cranked "flip-the-cards" movies of Charlie Chaplin, The Keystone Cops, Buster Keaton, and many others.
You could also see Gypsy Rose Lee doing a strip tease—and you didn't even have to be 18. (Of course you really didn't get to see very much either).
And if you ran out of money at the pier, there was plenty of sand and surf to fill out the day.