Groove in the sun and smog: some views of Los Angeles in the 1970s. [video]

The above video (not by me) is an interesting look back in the past. The palm trees, sun-drenched pavements and ghostly hills in the backdrop identify it as Southern California, even before you see landmarks like Hollywood & Vine that place it in Los Angeles. All of this footage dates from the years between 1970 and 1978, and the groovy music on the soundtrack is perfect to put you 40 years in the past in what some people say was the heyday of L.A. culture.

This is similar to another video I posted earlier in the year, rare uncut and unaltered footage of a drive through the streets of Los Angeles in the 1940s. You can see from this video how much changed in 30 years.

One reason why I think the 1970s fascinate us so much–aside from the bizarre fashions, great music, and pop culture kitsch that’s fun to laugh at today–is because we see in the world of the 1970s glimpses of the beginnings of our world today. Witness for instance the huge traffic jams in this video, the sprawl, and the environmental consequences of unchecked urban growth. In our somewhat rosy-colored conception of what L.A. was like in the 1970s we tend to think of it as idyllic, but contrast it with, say, L.A. in the 1990s–which many people conceived of, both at the time and in retrospect, as something akin to one of the circles of Hell. What was different between L.A. in 1974 and in 1994? A lot, sure, but in a way also not so much.

Enjoy the video!

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