Long Beach 1932


This type of photobooth vignette was more often reserved for big events such as the Chicago or New York World’s Fairs. Here we have a humble holiday snap turned into an epic day out, courtesy of this screen printed addition to the booth.

I love the sailor, bathing beauty, both in a very 1930s cartoon style, the yacht and beach umbrella, but is that a fuming, smelly oil rig at left? Not quite what I would hope to see at a summer holiday resort. Our sitter, who is identified as Alan, isn’t exactly dressed for a holiday souvenir pic, either.

Can you see the fingerprint on the bottom right of the photo? It excites me to think that after all this time, we may be able to find the full name and details of Alan’s life through this partial print. Except that that would make him a criminal, I guess. Or a spy? Yes, a gentleman spy, most definitely.

The picture is date August 11, 1932 and is of course from the great state of California, USA

  1. John said:

    Interesting man. His shirt and tie seem very much modern to me. The fingerprint is amazing, after so many years! And that sure does look like an oil rig bottom left. An oil rig near the public beach maybe, how yummy smelling aye? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. unbelievable that this is from 1932. The image (without frame) looks so modern. Would you have told me that it’s from nowadays, I would have believe it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. His face fits the surround perfectly – it could be a stamp. I am continually amazed by how and what you find – thanks for sharing.


  4. What a great find! I can’t make out if the frame was printed with the photo booth or is the photo inserted under it? What a great find! I can’t see the fingerprint but that’s probably because I’m seeing it on my phone. I love fingerprints! You can find them on tintypes too, usually the photographer pulling out the plate from the camera. A great signature on its own!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it is a great signature on its own! I have some old police mugshots with fingerprints on them. Of course they are deliberate prints but nonetheless fascinating. The framing is printed onto the photograph. There is a piece of glass inserted in the photobooth machine which is silkscreen printed. A photo of the glass is taken at the same time as the portrait.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s a neat souvenir, and a good addition to your collection, Kate. That is how people dressed then to go to baseball games and fairs… and the beach. Think of how people dress today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes everything was a lot more formal then. I remember when I was little when mum went into town to do some shopping, she would get dressed up in high heels,stockings, a dressy suit and even wear a hat and gloves! And that was 40 years after this photo was taken! Less formality is good in some ways, but there seems to be no occasion where you can rely on people turning up looking good these days.


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