In case you just tuned in, I’m doing a little fact-checking as I go through Scotty Bowers’ “Full Service.” This will be fairly tedious except to a research drudge.
In our last installment, I didn’t do all that well on a word association test naming Bowers’ “dear and wonderful friends,” who are Conveniently Dead People Who Can’t Sue. I still haven’t figured out George was.
Finally, I have gotten to Page 1 (I warned you this would be tedious) in which Bowers (with co-author Lionel Friedberg) describes arriving in Los Angeles.
Bowers, who says he was 23 in 1946, notes that cars hadn’t been made during the war and that production was increasing.
Gas stations were soon to become an iconic emblem on the landscape and were already springing up everywhere.
As we know from our research, the Richfield station at Hollywood Boulevard and Van Ness Avenue had been established for some time, presumably in the 1930s….
And right here was where I noticed that the shelves in one of the bookcases at the Daily Mirror HQ had pancaked on top of one another. Time for repairs.
Back to business.
Now this is kind of interesting – at least to me. Speaking of gas stations, Bowers says:
With their bustling latenight, brightly lit driveways and soda pop dispensing machines, they were ideal places for unemployed guys to hang around with their girlfriends, kill time, and meet up with friends.
This raises an interesting question, one that I hadn’t investigated very much, and that’s unemployment after World War II. As you may recall from a plot turn in “The Best Years of Our Lives,” employers were required rehire workers who had been in the military – with some exceptions. The LAPD, for example, had quite a few officers in the service and the blend of War Emergency officers and returning GIs (including future Chief William H. Parker) didn’t go smoothly.
Jan. 13, 1946: Unemployment in California rose 227% from August to December 1945. That is a staggering amount of people to put out of work.
Feb. 24, 1947: More grim news for veterans seeking jobs and housing.