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Watch Old-Timey Traffic in This 1946 Training Video For Los Angeles Traffic Cops

This training video for traffic officers in Los Angeles dates from 1946, just as the city was seeing the decline of trolleys and the beginning automobile dominance, and it shows an incredible amount of street chaos in Downtown LA. The video, from the LA City Clerk's office (via LA Observed), attempts to show the dos and don'ts of working as a traffic officer. (Example: DO use the proper hand signals and whistle trills. DON'T secretly smoke on the job or read the racing forms when you should be directing cars.) In the process, it offers up some fascinating views of 1940s Los Angeles and a general idea of the madness that ensued when pedestrians met cars in Downtown. Somebody get these walkers a scramble crosswalk!

The officer who's used as a negative example ("Note the effortless ease with which he works his corner. As a matter of fact, he just ignores it.") is posted up at Ninth Street and Hill, the Orpheum Theatre can be seen in the background of a couple shots, and the officer who's doing a good job and following all the rules (even doing the recommended leg-stretching exercises) is somewhere in the neighborhood, but unspecified by the voiceover. It seems as though, at one point, a corner of Pershing Square might be in frame, but we only see it briefly before being snapped back into the busy world of directing traffic.

· Your Traffic Officer 1946 [Youtube]
· Downtown LA in 1946 (video) [LAO]