New, searchable index of more than 5,000 vintage LA news photos

UCLA just launched a profoundly awesome historical archive of news photographs from the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Daily News.

Of the 5,124 images in this database, the oldest is from 1914. One fun way to search is typing in a year, say "1921" or "1928," and browse by date.

I spent about 4 hours straight on Friday poring through by keyword, related themes, and date, and found the two images you see in this post.

Photo above: the first generation of Trekkies, a bunch of Caltech students, protest the rumored cancellation of Star Trek at NBC's studios. I love how that one guy's sign says, "IT IS TOTALLY ILLOGICAL TO CANCEL STAR TREK."

These, dear BoingBoing reader, are our ancestors.

Photo at bottom: "Research assistant in automobile simulator during drug and alcohol experiment at Southern California Research Institute, 1977."

Try keyword-searching by "prohibition", or "zoot suit riot," for incredible images from specific political eras. For instance, "draft" will yield images related to Vietnam, but also protests from 1948.

Here's a list of more photos I found and was fascinated by, in no particular order:

  • 1965: A beatnik robot that "ferrets out the undesirables-including censors, book-burners."
  • 1959: Beatniks with tikis!
  • 1959: The "Miss Beatnik 1959" finalists!
  • 1966: Walt Disney with "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride heads.
  • 1973: Disney imagineers with Space Mountain model.
  • 1964:"Miss Formula", a computer created rendering of the "perfect female."
  • 1965: "Gyro jet hand gun," a rocket-propelled personal weapon "not regulated by existing laws."
  • 1949: A cross-dressing man in jail identified as "Sidney Cochin, The Nutty Housewife." (no more information available, what's this guy's story?)
  • 1941: A transgendered person and companion.
  • 1948: Hollywood hookers getting busted.
  • 1950: Hollywood actors simulating nuclear blast preparation.
  • 1969: Porn!
  • 1980s: Proto-punks! More punks!
  • 1971: Custom conversion vans!
  • 1980: Lesbian Navy Nurses!
  • 1965: Astronaut food!
  • 1950: Librarian robots!
  • 1964: Thalidomide baby.
  • 1947: Opium chocolates!
  • 1969: Indian re-possession of Alcatraz.
  • 1938: movie marquee says "closed tonight to protest Nazi horror." 1948: Nazi graffiti on Jewish community sign.
  • 1965: a bank computer.
  • 1930s: People dancing in a black nightclub. A black couple doing the jitterbug.
  • 1948: Chicks with guns.
  • 1964: "outer space influenced" furniture.
  • 1947: Chinese-American pyro-baby! See also this lovely 1939 shot of actors in a Chinatown theater.
  • 1970s: Muhammad Ali in Watts. Stormtroopers prepare to beat the shit out of people in Watts. Child next to funky soul art in Watts.
  • 1965: An early computer network for police.
  • 1961: an early voice recognition computer.
  • 1965, a man working at a computer with a circular display.
  • 1986: Quotron, the stock market computer.
  • 1965: Credit processing computer.

    (via and LA Observed, thanks also to BB reader Eric "Pocho!" Jasso.)

    Reader comment: Ole Squirrelly Eyes says,

    I found the gubner! Link to Arnold Schwarzenegger, in 1975.