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Sept. 10, 1938: Dollar Day sales in a Los Angeles department store.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Sept. 11, 1937: Dollar Day crowds on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jack Herod / Los Angeles Times

Sept. 9, 1939: Shoppers during Dollar Day sale in downtown Los Angeles department store.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Marshall Benedict / Los Angeles Times

Feb. 17, 1941: Dollar Day crowds on Broadway looking north from 7th Street.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Sep. 5, 1952: Crowds in a Los Angeles department store during Downtown Dollar Days.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Jack Carrick / Los Angeles Times

Sept. 11, 1953: Midday crowds at 7th Street and Broadway during special Downtown Dollar Days offerings.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Art Rogers / Los Angeles Times

Feb. 6, 1953: Shoppers view Dollar Day specials in downtown store windows.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times

Sept. 7, 1956: Crowd of shoppers attracted by downtown Los Angeles stores' Double Dollar Days scrambles at 7th Street and Broadway.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: John Malmin / Los Angeles Times

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Before Black Friday, there were Dollar Day sales

Shopping on the day after Thanksgiving – Black Friday – was not the biggest shopping day of the year until about 15 years ago. Other shopping days often surpassed the day after Thanksgiving.

In downtown Los Angeles, Dollar Day sales drew big crowds in the 1930s through the 1950s.

A story in the Sept. 6, 1952, Los Angeles Times reports:

Old records toppled and new records were hung up when the first of the two big Downtown Dollar Days was held in the West’s biggest shopping center yesterday.

With values for men and women, school and home available in every store in every department, the sponsoring Downtown Business Men’s Association assured the public that there’s plenty of merchandise for those planning to take in the outstanding event today.

Everything possible to assure shopping efficiency and ease had been done. There were additional traffic police to speed up the movement of people and vehicles, additional personnel in stores and restaurants and added transit facilities.

Many of those driving to the area found the time spent in transit greatly reduced, in some instances as much as halved, by the opening of new freeways and they pronounced the newly opened Pershing Square garage a boon, providing, as it does, some 4000 to 5000 additional parking spaces downtown.

Shoppers also found they were able to combine profitable purchasing with civic privileges. Thousands availed themselves of the opportunity of registering for national elections, with registers available in downtown stores.

Of course, many Dollar Day ads appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Dollar Days ad from the Sep. 5, 1952 Los Angeles Times.

Dollar Days ad from the Sept. 5, 1952, Los Angeles Times. Credit: ProQuest.

1 Comment

  1. November 23, 2016, 10:49 am

    You can multiply those prices by 9 to get pretty close to what they’d cost today.

    By: jamesp

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