Oldest film sighting of the 1st Street bridge?


Before the opening of Union Station in 1939, one of L.A.'s most important train stations was the Santa Fe Le Grande terminal at 2nd Street and Santa Fe Avenue. It shows up at the start of "Berth Marks," this Laurel and Hardy short, as does the bridge over the river carrying 1st Street between Downtown and Boyle Heights. Ed Fuentes, formerly of the Arts District, scans for historic value:

Now the site is the Metro rail yard, and the lost depot footprint will be part of the northern section of the Michael Maltzan designed One Sante Fe, the mixed-use development waiting to break ground in fall.

What is interesting about this Hal Roach produced short, director Lewis Foster angles the camera to show the First Street Bridge in the background (where you can see street cars passing by). Since the bridge is on the record as being completed in 1929, and "Berth Marks" was filmed in April of that same year, this may possibly be the screen debut of the iconic Los Angeles bridge, now seen in countless film, television productions, and videos. The other Arts District show business diva, the Fourth Street Bridge and Viaduct, would not be completed until 1931.


More by Kevin Roderick:
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Recent Downtown stories on LA Observed:
Riding the Expo Line to USC 'just magical'
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