Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

Union Station at 75: Still in the Hearts of L.A. & the Movies

LAUS

New York City’s Penn Station may be larger, certainly busier, and Chicago’s version the midway hub for rail traffic spreading out to all parts of the U.S., but our beloved Union Station remains the pride and joy of the bustling sprawling city Angelenos call home. As do I. While the youngest of the big city train stations, it retains a distinct and venerable charm for wayfarers and admirers of fine architecture. As Skift.com put it,

Opened in May 1939, Los Angeles Union Station is marked by colorful tiles, shady arcades, fountains and towering palms—the epitome of Southern California glamour.”

Union-Station-LA-Waiting-Ro

Indeed. One of the great train stations of the country turns 75 today — wish I’d look this good if/when I reach that age. The Los Angeles Union Station, first built on the 3rd of May 1939, attained that capstone by its unique building design and key central location. Historic Olvera Street, the oldest part of Downtown Los Angeles, a stone’s throw nearby.

In a metropolis filled with new and fashionable edifices crowding out those of its bygone era, this rail destination remains one of the most beautiful structures around. A marriage of Spanish Colonial and Streamline Moderne styles that just never gets old. Check out this splendid slideshow for more looks at what makes that so:

No doubt, it’s the prime reason the grand station has been the shooting location site for so many television programs/movies and feature films through the years. Too many to mention, but those listed below would be some my favorites. Heck, even Fiona Apple filmed a music video in its Fred Harvey room.

For a venue I never tire of, Happy Birthday, Union Station.

arch Union Station Los Angeles 1939

LAUS waiting hall

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1950

union station

will at union

Of course we’d have to begin with William Holden at you-know-where.


1954

them!

them-at-laus

The classic Them! monster flick filmed this scene at Union Station’s rail yard.


1972

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hickey-boggs

The underrated Robert Culp/Walter Hill neo-noir began its tale at Union Station.


1973

way we were

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Arguing a marriage away at LAUS


1976

silver streak

silver-streak

Stormy skies over Union Station should have been a warning to Gene Wilder


1978

the driver

the-driver2

Walter Hill brings The Driver to Union Station.


1981

true confessions

true confession union station

Looking from Olvera Street to Union Station


1982

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Rigby Reardon (Steve Martin) is followed onto the train by Cary Grant (spliced with a clip from Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion)

Rigby Reardon (Steve Martin) is followed onto a train at Union Station by Cary Grant (spliced with a clip from Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion)


blade runner

Union Station standing in as 2019 police station

Union Station standing in as 2019 police station


1985

to live and die

UnionStation2

Nabbing a suspect (he never should have) in the train station


1991

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Bugsy

Welcome to L.A. (Union Station)


2006

catch me

Bank branch in the Steven Spielberg movie "Catch Me If You Can"

L.A. Union Station interior standing in for the ‘Miami Mutual Bank’.


2009

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TrainStation1

Going to Hell in style

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15 Responses to “Union Station at 75: Still in the Hearts of L.A. & the Movies”

  1. 70srichard

    It looks great just walking through on the way to the metro or subway. The lighting is amazing at any time of day.

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    Reply
    • le0pard13

      Oh, yes. Makes me want to take the Expo line and head there for the fun of arriving at LAUS. Thanks, Richard :-)

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      Reply
  2. Paul S

    I wasn’t even aware of the existence of Union Station until I happened across your post but it looks like a striking and timeless location.
    I’d imagine walking into the building feels like stepping into a scene from a film noir from the golden age of Hollywood.

    Like

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      Welcome, Paul :-). Yeah, it’s a special place, all right.

      “I’d imagine walking into the building feels like stepping into a scene from a film noir from the golden age of Hollywood.”

      Wonderfully put! Many thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Much appreciated.

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      Reply
  3. ruth

    I LOVE this, what a beautiful tribute to an iconic location. I was gonna submit it to reddit but turns out you already did so I upvoted it :D I remembered it in Blade Runner from the ones I’ve seen but I’m sure I’ve seen it in others, I just didn’t know it was the Union Station.

    Like

    Reply
    • le0pard13

      Thank you very kindly, Ruth. For the read and comment, as well as the up vote :-) As always, you are most generous. Next time you’re in town, we must go there!

      Like

      Reply
  4. Rachel

    Great post! I adore Union Station and make a point of going whenever I am in L.A. Which, sadly, is not overly often but I still do not miss a chance to visit whenever I am there.

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