FLASHBACK – The Wonder City of the West, 1935

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Between 1930 and 1954, James A. Fitzpatrick traveled the world creating cultural time capsules. For decades, his Traveltalks short documentaries were shown before feature films in theaters. This Los Angeles episode was the 14th in the series. I love the imagery in this video, but I’m left wondering… I often notice people in old movies and tv calling the city “Los Angle-less” and “Los Angle-leez.” I wonder when “Los Anjuliss” took over as the standard way to say it. Feels like I haven’t heard many people using other pronunciations much. Not in a long time. Have you?

A big thanks to Chris Nichols for turning me on to this! :)

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21 Responses to “FLASHBACK – The Wonder City of the West, 1935”

  1. Sandra says:

    Well, I would take his pronunciation of Los Angeles with a grain of salt – he also said Olver-O Street and Wil-sheer Blvd.

    Has the Graumann’s Chinese Theatre ever not looked run-down??

    Lastly, the Brown Derby is now resting in peace at the top of a strip mall in Koreatown!

    Thanks for the history lesson :)

  2. Culver says:

    Don’t forget “el lay.”

  3. Diana B says:

    Mayor Sam Yorty, who was still in office when I moved to L.A. in 1969, always pronounced it this way, but even then, it was rare. As you’ve noted, though, it was a pretty common pronunciation earlier in the 20th century. Of course, if we were to be completely correct about it, it should be pronounced Los An-hell-es… ;)

  4. Lori Reader says:

    My dad was born in Los Angeles in 1925. He always pronounced the city’s name Los Angle-leez.

  5. Carolyn Renz says:

    Very interesting…thanks for sharing it. I was born there in 1946 and lived in LA area until 2005. Very nostalgic. Yes, I do recall the other pronunciations….but haven’t heard them in a long time.

  6. James Horecka says:

    Further on pronunciation:

    Nearly everyone says LAS Angeles, not LOS Angeles. (feminine, not masculine). An error, of course. But that’s how it’s done! Go figure.

  7. Uncle Jamie Brown says:

    Dear Toby-
    Thanks for sharing this Walk down Memory Lane.
    Love,
    Uncle Jamie

  8. Diana says:

    It’s pronounced LOWS-AN-HELL-EH-S. As a Spanish speaker and direct decedent of the original families of El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula (The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of the river of Porziuncola), which is the actual name of LA. It’s actually in the Guinness Book of World Records as the city with the longest name.

    • lynnster says:

      You are 100% correct about how it’s supposed to be pronounced. My pronunciation kinda varies depending on the crowd I’m with. When I’m outside of LA I usually pronounce it Los Anjuliss, but I often pronounce it a bit more spanish when I’m here.

    • Adam Villani says:

      The long form is the original name, but it’s no longer the official name. Look in the city charter; it’s just the City of Los Angeles now.

  9. olivia says:

    Anyone know where the “old woman in the shoe” was located??

  10. Marty says:

    ‘Yea, even Bugs Bunny used to pronounce it as ‘Loz Angeeleez’. Bugs would stress the eeezz part, just like the announcer.

  11. Matt says:

    PROgress is funny as well.

  12. I’ve actually never heard it pronounced as anything other than “Los Anjuliss”… Maybe it’s my young tender age of 25? ;P

    Loved this content, btw.

  13. Adam Villani says:

    A little weird that he says Hollywood has become a city in its own right — Hollywood was only incorporated as a separate city between 1903 and 1910.

  14. mjs56 says:

    I think it’s really snobby to pronounce it LOWS-AN-HELL-EH-S unless you are actually conducting the conversation in Spanish, in which case more power to you. I mean, if you’re going to do THAT, then I expect you to learn to say Eee-da-how for Idaho (that’s the Shoshone pronunciation) and Wish-kon-sing for Wisconsin (that’s Ojibwe). It’s like passively correcting someone when they say “a bis-cah-di” by saying “oh yes I ordered a bis-cot-to there once; it was delicious!”

  15. My father, who is the voice you are hearing in the film and the man you see greeting Walt Disney, was quite particular about the pronunciation of names in his films, so I am sure that it was not without careful research that he choose his pronunciation.

    There is a bit of an error in the dates given for when James A FitzPatrick made films. He actually started at the age of 20 doing a ‘Young Rascals’ type film about kids in New York – and that would be 1924! I believe his first foreign film was made in Spain, probably in ´26 or ´27

  16. Nicolette Ducommun says:

    My father and his siblings always said Los Ang-less, with a soft ‘g’. He was born in Alhambra in 1931 and his brothers were born in the late teens. I think it was just the style then to Anglicize the name — there was a great deal more prejudice back then and maybe you said Los Ang-less so you did not sound like a Mexican. Just a theory.

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