Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Boulevard Beauty Queens... Muller Bros. Oldsmoblie

There was a day when gas stations actually tried anything they could to get men drivers to make the turn in for a fill up or car wash. It was certainly a different time, before Gloria Steinem came on the scene, and women started objecting to being used as props to attract customers.

In 1951 the Muller Bros., an Oldsmobile-Firestone Tire-Car Wash-Cafe-Body Shop-Home Appliance-Auto Supply Dealer located at Sunset and Ivar in L.A., California named their complex "The Landing." With good reason, they had everything you could want on one lot. It was giant compared to most new and used car dealers of the time, even had a control tower. They came up with the idea to hold a beauty contest to celebrate the 3,000,000th car to be pulled through its car wash. Life Magazine was there to photo-document the PR event for the rest of us to look back on.  Obviously, all the girls, the winner of the beauty contest, and the car wash winning dude, look pretty happy. Hummm, which one would you vote for?

Muller Bros. Oldsmobile, image via Life archives.


Muller Bros. Oldsmobile, image via Life archives.

Muller Bros. Oldsmobile, image via Life archives.

Muller Bros. Oldsmobile, image via Life archives.

Muller Bros. Oldsmobile, image via Life archives.

Muller Bros. Oldsmobile, image via Life archives.

Muller Bros. Oldsmobile, image via Life archives.

Muller Bros. Oldsmobile, image via Life archives.

Muller Bros. Oldsmobile, image via Life archives.

Muller Bros. Oldsmobile, image via Life archives.

Muller Bros. Oldsmobile, image via Life archives.

Muller Bros. Oldsmobile, image via Life archives.

Muller Bros. Oldsmobile, image via Life archives.

Muller Bros. Oldsmobile, image via Life archives.

Muller Bros. Oldsmobile, image via Life archives.
Muller Bros. Oldsmobile, image via Life archives.

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15 comments:

  1. Great photos! What a step back. Who would I vote for? Miss Polish Job by name alone.

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  2. Definately "Ms Polish Job" ;)

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  3. hahahahahahaha ---I'm not so interested in the queens, as I am in that Infra-red paint job for 34.95.
    I would get the whole fleet of projects done over the course of next month, even if I had no intent on getting any of the yard art / museum pieces running !!!!

    Bring back the old days.....but in just certain things, as I kinda like the vicky's secret look a lot better than the pig's-in-a-blanket style

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    1. That $34.95 job sounds pretty good and Infa-red to boot!

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  4. Love the idea that place like this existed, John. Are any of the original buildings still intact? Great photos, loving Miss Control Tower! It is kinda odd though: the models are smiling... but in all but two pics, nobody else is. The groups posed with Miss New Car and Miss Auto Accesory look distinctly uncomfortable. Boss Man sure looks happy in the last photo, but the cuties are subdued. Must've been a long day.

    Anyway, Miss Polish Job and Miss Lube Rack (most smiles from the guys!) probably never heard the end of it.

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    1. Russ: gonna believe in that kinder , gentler time, it was not even thought of in that way then.....I wonder how many of these beauties are still alive today and could give us an update on what they remember of this contest and the dealership?
      They'd only be in their 80's......

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  5. EDIT: Did a little research and found this was located at Ivar and Sunset. All the cool buildings are gone.

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    1. Russ, thanks for the info. It's to bad the buildings didn't make it.

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  6. What a GREAT glimpse back into Los Angeles modern history! My dad actually worked at Muller Bros. in the mid 50's. He sold cars and has told me countless stories about the celebrities who purchased their cars there. From Pinky Lee to Tex Ritter (a very great guy, according to Dad.) as well as the fact that Muller Bros. provided most of the convertibles for all the famous Los Angeles parades. He drove in several-- obviously a highlight of his young life. Muller Bros. was a great place to work-- they treated their employees very well. Especially aspiring actors and actresses. The Mullers' strong ties to the entertainment industry compelled them to let an actor leave their job at a moments notice if their agent called to tell them about an audition. I can't wait to show my father your great article and pictures-- many thanks!
    Sean Bagley
    Litchfield County, Connecticut

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    1. Very cool story Sean. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Please pass it along to others you think would like to read the blog.

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    2. Hey John, while going through some Florida historical photos archives, this popped up. A full service, one-stop auto Nirvana in Coral Gables that predates the Muller Bros. operation... this place had everything! Just two pics... and sadly, the building is gone too.

      http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/135674

      Cheers,

      Russ

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    3. Russ, that's cool. I'll try to dig more info up on it.
      Thanks,
      John

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  7. I thought it funny that the other women in the photo's NEVER smiled. They looked pissed to have to stand with what they must have thought a "half dressed hussy"! The pointy boobs were hilarious. Women...why do we to let "fashion" experts get us to dress in what they deem to be lovely....high heels that kill our feet....pointy bras that pinch and bind.... body weights that are unhealthy by being so thin....It's funny....I'm 69 yrs old and this is the first time I really thought of what we have put ourselves through all these years to seem attractive to the opposite sex. Think I'll pull on a t-shirt...a pair of jeans and be comfy today....In honor of what we have put ourselves through to look "good" for some horny old coot. LOL

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