1946 Hollywood stock footage gives glimpse of highway travel in L.A.

(August 16, 2018) This nearly six-minute stock footage from Columbia's "Down to Earth" movie gives us a rare glimpse of driving life just after World War II in Southern California. It's a unique treat to take a steam train ride on tracks parallel to the North San Fernando Road in Los Angeles County that times for part of California Highway 99.

The Hollywood footage was shot from a train car pulled by a 2-8-0 steam locomotive, and lit by movie studio klieg lights positioned on a flatcar.

The trip begins in Burbank, and heads north on Highway 99. It is filled with fascinating sights, period vehicles, and ends in the Sun Valley located in the San Fernando Valley. The footage was shot on the evening of April 17, 1946, and used in the film "Down to Earth" (1947) starring Rita Hayworth and Larry Parks.

In the footage, you will see a 1940 Ford convertible, a Citroen Traction Avant, a General Motors sedan, a Model “A” Ford and other vehicles. Be sure to check out the many neon-lit roadside businesses including service stations, grocery stores, a lumber company and a hatchery. And you may see a sign advertising gas for 17 cents a gallon.

The video is courtesy of Wes Clark and has been published on The Old Motor.