Hollywood History and time line

My Hollywood years were actually broken up into four time periods. I lived in Hollywood from 1946 to 1947, then I went to Struthers from 1947 to 1948. In 1948 I went back to Hollywood, stayed 3 months, and then went back to Struthers. During the latter part of 1948, I went to work in the steel mills for a while and then joined the Navy in 1950.  In 1952, I returned to Califronia to get married to Helen. I was on leave at the time and the both of us went back to Youngstown in September of 1952. We returned to California in 1954.

Now for how it all began. My Mother had gone to California in 1944 to recuperate from a hysterectomy operation and she liked it so well that she made up her mind that the family was going to move out there. Terrible fights ensued between her and my father over this as he was close to retirement from the Sheet and Tube Steel Mill and did not want to give up the pension that he would get in a few years.

As for me, I was not happy going out there either as it meant leaving all my friends and having to enter another high school.  My brother George had just been discharged from the Army Air Force in 1945 after the War and he was suffering from Shell Shock as they called it then and he hardly spoke to anyone, let alone worry about the fights that were going on between my Mom and my Dad.

In any event, my Mother won out and in 1946, we packed up all of our belongings and headed for the west coast.



Summer of 46

The above picture was taken at 239 Poland Ave, Struthers, Ohio.  It was the day we left for California.  From left to right, me, Fred Pusser, Bill O'Hara, Wimpy, Jack O'Hara, Glen Leavitt, Billy Ahrens, George Pusser, My Dad, My Brother George, and Jimmy Ahrens. A motley crew to say the least.

The truck my Dad drove with all of our belongings is directly behind me. It was a 1938 Open Top Moving Van so it had a canvas tarp over the top of all our stuff. My Mother, my two sisters and I all went in a 1936 Plymouth and my brother drove along with my Dad.  He had never driven a truck in his life, especially not one of this size and weight but he quickly adapted and was a seasoned truck driver by the time he reached California


My Cousin George Munton Jr.

 My Cousin Georgie had filled my mother's head with all sorts of stories about being able to buy a house for practically nothing as they were being moved to make way for freeways but that all turned out to be just that, a story. My Dad was furious over the way things were turning out and he and my brother headed north to Vancouver, BC to see if they could find something up there where he had lived prior to moving to Ohio.

George Munton

My Mother and George Munton Sr.

In the meantime, my Uncle George's house was where we all packed in to live, me, my two sisters and my mother. Uncle George knew that this was an unsatisfactory situation and went to work to find my Mom and Dad a place to live.  My Brother and Dad were back in two weeks and found nothing in Vancouver but by that time, Uncle George had found a place for us to live. It was a Tri-Plex and my parents agreed to manage and maintain the place in exchange for free rental of one unit.

The first month of the following summer (1947) I went to work for my Uncle George.  He owned a Termite Company and had plenty of work for me. By the end of the month I had earned enough money to make my trip back to Ohio

termite truck

My Uncle George was very proud of this old truck

I had never made a trip this far on my own before but by the middle of July, I set off by Greyhound Bus for Struthers, Ohio. The trip took 4 days, stopping twice a day for rest stops plus an hour each for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Five of my friends met me at the Greyhound depot in Youngstown and we walked down to the square and caught the bus to Struthers.

I stayed with the Pusser's spending most of my time with Georgeina as we had become very much attracted to one another,  A month's time had gone by very quickly and it was soon time to be thinking about heading back to Hollywood. Georgeina's brother George told me I should stay with them and graduate from Sturthers High School so we approached Mrs. Pusser about it and she said it would be ok with her if my Mother approved.

My Mother was none too happy about the idea but I think she could see that it had been a bad idea pulling me out of high school and moving me to California so she agreed to let me stay.

struthers high

Struthers High School

As summer moved into fall, I enrolled in Struthers High. I went to work down at the Schwartz Market on Poland Avenue, all day Saturday and each week day night till 6PM. It was during the fall of 1947 that I met Patty Erwin. She was a very pretty blonde and we hit it off right away.

patty erwin

Patty Erwin behind the High School in Struthers

After graduating from high school, a friend of mine named Jim Spano wanted to go along with me on a trip to California to visit my parents.  He had never been out of the Youngstown area before so we packed up all of our stuff into my 31 Chevy and headed west.


The rear main bearing was worn badly in the chevy causing it to knock fairly loud and also caused the rear seal to leak oil. Today, I would not drive this car to the grocery store let alone almost 3 thousand miles to California.

Many things happened on this trip. We were somewhere in the middle of Indiana when we stopped to get a soda. When we got ready to get on our way again, the car would not move just as though the brakes were on. We rocked it back and forth and the wheels seemed to be free, then there was a sudden snap and everything seemed ok again. We got all the way to Azusa, California before we found out the snap was caused by a broken transmission tooth that had fallen between the transmission case and the gear and  subsequently broke the transmission case. This caused a loss of gear oil and ruined the transmission. We were able to limp home to Holly Drive using 2nd gear most of the way. We also used 40 gallons of engine oil making the trip to California, all of it being lost through that bad rear seal.

Now Jim did not know how to drive and we were out in the Nevada desert. I was totally worn out from driving so I told Jim I would get the car going in high gear and all he had to do was slide over the top of me into the drivers seat and press the gas and steer so that's what we did.  I fell asleep in the front seat in a matter of minutes. Jim was also very near blind and had to wear heavy thick glasses. Anyway, during the time I was asleep, we came off the desert floor and started up a mountain and Jim woke me up saying that he could not see. When I looked out the window, we were in the worst fog I had ever been in.  I told him to stop the car but of course he didn't know how so I turned the key off and told  him to hit the brakes. We came to a screeching halt and I took over long enough to get us off the highway. Many hours later, the fog lifted and we got on our way again and less than a mile in front of us was a 10 car pile up with police and ambulances so all I can say about this event as I look back is that we had an angel in the car with us telling us to stop.

Jim Spano went to work for my Dad long enough to earn the money he needed to get back to Struthers. I saw him off at the Greyhound Bus Depot in Hollywood and that was the last I ever saw or heard of him again.

As for the car, I went to the junk yard and got a transmission for it and put in a new rear seal and sold it for $100. I took the money and bought a 1936 Plymouth sedan.  It was a nice running car but it didn't have a starter so I had to always park it facing downhill. I was anxiious to get back to Struthers and I was talking to my sister Babs on the phone one day. She said "Peggy" was there at the Casa and was going back and that I should talk to her about the two of us going together.

As it worked out, Peggy and I were headed East in about a week. Now if you don't know who Peggy is, I suggest you read MacGregor's War, Chapter 10 and substitute the 36 Plymouth for the 37 Ford.

When I got back to Ohio, I went to live with my Aunt Lil in Youngstown. She lived on Bernard St. which was just off Glenwood Ave. above the Isaly Ice Cream Factory store at Glenwood and Mahoning Ave. They were known for their "mile high cones". They were made with a scooper that looked somewhat like a garden trowel and it made a cone that was very long and pointed on top......also very good ice cream.




Isaly's is gone and now it's a U-haul storage and tool rental

I got a job at the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Campbell Works in the Seamless Plant. I was a tally clerk and it was my job to total up all the lengths of pipe that went into the railroad cars to be shipped out.

Just around the corner from Bernard St. on Glenwood Ave was Richards Store.  It was a Mom and Pop place and every day on my way down Glenwood to catch the bus to work, I would stop in and buy cigarettes. This was mainly an excuse on my part to go in and talk to Gail Osborne.  She was my age and worked in the store. I was quite attracted to her and we had a few dates. Two of these dates stick in my memory and probably will forever. On our first date, we went to the drive in movies and when it was over, we went to a restaurant to eat. When we came out, it was raining very hard and we rushed to the car. You remember the car?  The one with no starter ! Well I thought when I pulled in that I was on a slight backwards grade but when I released the emergency brake, the car did not move.

Gail had never driven a car before but I explained to her that I needed to push it backwards to get it started and once it started she was to push the clutch in. So there I was, out in the rain pushing my car and I gave her the signal to let the clutch out.  It all went well and the car started right up. I opened the drivers door to get in and I told Gail to slide over. As she did so, she took her foot off the clutch and it was still in gear.  It gave a sudden jerk and killed the engine. End of Story One...... except that I got rid of the Plymouth and bought a 37 Ford from Morris at the Schwartz Market in Struthers

The other date with Gail that I remember so well is the night we were riding around and decided to park in front of my Aunt Lil's place. We started necking and it was only a few minutes before Gail laid the definition of necking on me. She said, "keep your hands above my belt line and below my knees and we will get along just fine". Well, at least I knew the rules :-)


It was a Friday night in September and I was heading to the football game in Struthers. I stopped in Richards to say Hi to Gail and while we were talking, two girls were heading from the back of the store. One was Gail's sister Joan and the other was Helen Ruble.  I knew the minute I saw Helen that I wanted to know who she was. It was only a matter of days before Gail, Joan, Helen and myself went roller skating. We were soon dating on a regular basis. It was a bad period for Helen as her parents divorced and her younger brother Jimmy went up to Erie, Pennsylvania to live with his Dad and step Mom. It was not long after that Helen moved in with her best girlfriend Janie Paul. The Paul's lived just a short ways up Glenwood Ave from where I was on Bernard St.


Helen, Johnny, and Janie at their house on Glenwood

Janie's brother Johnny was home on leave from the Army when this picture was taken. Mrs. Paul is in the background looking on. As I look at some of these old pictures, you can see that most of the houses were in bad need to paint.









This is a link to all the pictures












Hollywood, California 1946 to 1948 and 1954 to 1955

In the fall of 1946, I enrolled in Hollywood High School.  It was a very big change for me.  I used to walk with friends to and from school in Struthers but in Hollywood, there were no friends and I had to walk up to Santa Monica Blvd. and catch a street car to and from school. Hollywood High School was more like a college campus with multiple buildings and no two classes were in the same building.

hollywood high

Hollywood High School

It was quite a transition from the small town of Struthers to Hollywood and the Los Angeles area. There were no freeways back then and to go down to Los Angeles proper, you had to take Sunset Blvd. My brother George got a job at Lockheed in Burbank so I did not see much of him anymore. He shared a bed with me down at the apartment on Melrose but I think he was also sharing a bed with a woman on the other side of the hill from Hollywood.

It was not too long before my cousin Georgie found a house for us.  It was more expensive  by 4 times than what he had told my Mother originally but she went up to Hollywood and looked at it and it was decided that we would buy it. The bid went back and forth a couple of times and we ended up paying $8900 for it.  It was on Holly Drive which was about 8 blocks north of Hollywood and Vine.  It was very close to the Dam for the Hollywood Reservoir.

holly drive house

This is the Holly Drive House After My Dad and I Put the Add-On Out Front

my dad

A picture of my Dad reading

It was just one large room with a very small kitchen off to one corner and a bathroom.The whole house was done in Knotty Pine. It had a small hallway in the rear and my brother ended up putting a fold up bed in there. My Mother and Dad strung up a clothes line in the big room and divided it giving me a place to call my own. One good feature for me was that I was once again able to walk to school. It was about 10 blocks but most of it along Hollywood Blvd going west,  I soon found a news stand at the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Las Palmas that carried news papers from all over the country and they had the Youngstown Vindicator so I was quick to buy a copy and read what was going on back home.

I began to make a few friends but Holly Drive was not like Creed Street in Struthers. I never found anyone along Holly Drive walking to school. All in all, I was pretty homesick and began to make plans to go back to Ohio by bus when school let out the following summer.

I browsed around on Google Maps and came up with a couple of nice views of the Holly Drive house as it looks today. I see that the current value is now $635,500.  Quite a change from the $8900 we paid for it in the 1940's

Holly Drive today

This is the Holly Drive house as it looks today

It still has the same two bedrooms and single bath but a very nice deck was added to the house and from what I can see, a very costly garage was added just above the lower wall. My Mother would cringe if she saw the barren curved pods that were built into the bottom wall void of any flowers and plants street side.

holly drive garage

A garage was added just behind the front wall along Holly Drive.


This is the exact same view of the curved driveway that you see above. It was taken on the day my Dad left on a trip to Hawick, Scotland

There was a cross way up on the hill behind us and I would often go up there to get a veiw of  Hollywood and the surrounding area.  It was just to the east of Caheunga Blvd and you could see the Hollywood Bowl and all of Hollywood from up there.


The Cross up on the hill in Hollywood in relation to Holly Drive


The cross as seen from downtown Hollywood


Downtown Hollywood as seen from the cross


Another place I used to walk up to is the Hollywood Reservoir Dam. There were no restrictions back then and you could walk right out on the dam and take pictures. I happened to snap one of the Hollywood Sign but it was a little different back then as it read .....OLLYWOODLAND.........  There was a bad storm that knocked down the H.  It stayed that way for a long while and then more bad weather knocked down part of the word LAND. When it was finally restored, they removed the word LAND from the sign.


hollywood lake

The Hollywood sign as it appeared in 1946 taken from the top of the Hollywood Reservoir Dam

hollywood sign

The Original Hollywood Sign as it looked in 1923

hollywood sign

The Hollywood sign as it appears today

The Hollywood Sign stands four stories high, each letter running 30 feet at its base along the rugged terrain of the Hollywood Hills. This picture was taken up in the hills above Holly Drive. I was running all around google maps of Hollywood to see if I could dig up some old memories and I came up with my Uncle George Munton Sr's house on the corner of Wilcox Place and Lexington in Hollywood. This is the house our whole family lived in until Uncle Geroge could find a place for us. I was surprised to see that it was still there because it is only about 7 or 8 blocks south of Hollywood and Vine Street.

wilcox place

My Uncle George's House in Hollywood

An interesting thing happened to my Mother while we were staying with Uncle George. She was outside hanging out clothes to dry and a radio station crew came by from the Art Linkletter show and asked her if she wanted to be on the show. She said yes and they took her up to the studio where the show was in progress. She ended up winning a new refrigerator, some very nice silverware, and quite a few other smaller gifts.

While I was gone back East, my Mother got a job cleaning apartments, actually it was only 3 apartments, one of which belonged to actor George Tobias. He later moved to a brand new apartment complex closer to Studio City where he worked. He was instrumental in getting my mother and dad a job as managers of this place.


George Tobias, Charactor Actor

It was on Laurelwood Drive directly across Ventura Blvd from Studio City. The place looks much the same to me now as it did when I first saw it.


Street View of Laurelwood Apartments


Satellite View of Laurelwood Apartments