Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Nov. 22, 1940: Holiday shoppers on Broadway at 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This photo was published in the Nov. 23, 1940, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Nov. 26, 1937: Holiday shoppers at 5th Street and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. This photo was published in the Nov. 27, 1937, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Dec. 2, 1939: Shoppers crowd the corner of 7th street and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles at the height of the Christmas shopping season. This photo was published in the Dec. 3, 1939, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Maurice Terrell / Los Angeles Times

Dec. 30, 1941: Looking south along a holiday-decorated Broadway at 5th Street. This photo was published in "Times Gone By," a postcard book produced in 1998 by The Times' Consumer Promotion and Marketing Department.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Dec. 30, 1941: Broadway in downtown Los Angeles during holidays following the Dec. 7 attack on Pearl Harbor.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times

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Broadway in L.A. during the holidays [updated]

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A story in the Nov. 22, 1941, Los Angeles Times reported:

Sardines in the confines of a can had more elbow room yesterday that the average shopper in downtown Los Angeles.

One of the biggest crowds in recent months–an estimated 750,000 persons–appeared in the shopping section.

Special police traffic details were placed on duty to handle the throngs and additional streetcars were pressed into service….

The above Broadway photo gallery consists of five photos from 1937 through 1941. The last two were taken on Dec. 30, 1941 – after Christmas and America’s entry into World War II. The decorations still stand, but the crowds are smaller.

If the Thanksgiving date of Nov. 20th, 1941 seems early there was a reason. In the years 1939-1941, in an effort to stimulate Holiday sales, President Franklin Roosevelt moved the date of Thanksgiving up a week. In late 1941 the date was fixed as the fourth Thursday in November.

[updated Nov. 22, 2014 with additional photo below.]

Dec. 23, 1957: Crowds and traffic during holiday shopping on Broadway looking south from 7th St. This photo was published in the Dec. 24, 1957 Los Angeles Times. Credit: Wayne Kelly/Los Angeles Times.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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