From Hula Hoops to Hanoi: L.A. Concerns 1954-1965

The Security Pacific National Bank Historic Photograph Collection at the Los Angeles Public Library

This photographic exhibition shows the mid-Fifties to early Sixties as a time of transition. The Eisenhower years had economic stability, domestic pride and patriotism. Nearly everybody had a car and many preferred the new low-slung models in pastels with soaring tail fins and dazzling chrome.

California suburban life was setting a style repeated by television families and mimicked across the United States. Backyard barbecues, "do-it-yourself" weekends, and square dancing filled leisure hours for adults. Teenagers hung around drive-in restaurants in their customized cars or danced "at the hop" to the new sounds of rock and roll. Social, religious, and cultural clubs gave everyone an opportunity to belong.

These tranquil times were not without tensions and mounting fears. Southern Californians were concerned about the Cold War, bomb testing, communist infiltration and rising juvenile delinquency. Local boys were being sent to Vietnam as "advisers" and civil rights activists were demanding long overdue rights.

The photographers who captured these concerns on film worked for the Valley Times and the Hollywood Citizen News. These images and many more thousands comprise the Hollywood Citizen News picture morgue which is a part of the Security Pacific National Bank Photograph Collection at the Los Angeles Public Library.