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The Big Goodbye: A Noir Photo Tour of Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles


In 1994In 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994In 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994In 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turneralong the corridor and down in the night elevator to the City Hall lobby. I went out the Spring Street side and down the long flight of empty steps and the wind blew cold. I lit a cigarette at the booth. My car was still out at the Jeeter place.” —“Trouble Is My Business” (1939); Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“Newton StreetIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerwas a block of cheap clothing storesIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerarcades of slot machinesIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerwithout moving their lips.” —“Spanish Blood” (1935); Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“It was an old hotel that had once been exclusive and was now steering a shaky course between a receivership and a bad name at Headquarters.” —“Nevada Gas” (1935); Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“In and around the old houses there are flyblown restaurants and Italian fruit stands and cheap apartment houses and little candy stores where you can buy even nastier things than their candy.” —The High Window (1942); Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“And there are ratty hotels where nobody except people named Smith and Jones sign the register and where the night clerk is half watchdog and half pander.” —The High Window (1942); Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“Out of the apartment houses come women who should be young but have faces like stale beer; men with pulled-down hats and quick eyes that look the street over behind the cupped hand that shields the match flame; worn intellectuals with cigarette coughs and no money in the bank; fly cops with granite faces and unwavering eyes; cokies and coke-peddlers; people who look like nothing in particular and know itIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“Out of the apartment houses come women who should be young but have faces like stale beer; men with pulled-down hats and quick eyes that look the street over behind the cupped hand that shields the match flame; worn intellectuals with cigarette coughs and no money in the bank; fly cops with granite faces and unwavering eyes; cokies and coke-peddlers; people who look like nothing in particular and know itIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner’ she said. ‘I’m all through being fond of people.’ She glanced briefly towards the high-backed chair. ‘I stopped being fond of him last night. He asked me about youIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerbuilt in 1896In 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerbuilt in 1896In 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerlong agoIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerlike the room clerk.” —The Little Sister (1949); Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“Room 332In 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“Room 332In 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“Room 332In 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerthe Bradbury BuildingIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerthe Bradbury BuildingIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerslack-jawed and watery-eyed on a piece of folded burlap on top of a wooden stool. He looked as if he had been sitting there since the Civil War and had come out of that badly.” —The High Window (1942); Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“I got in with him and said eightIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turneras if he was carrying the elevator on his back.” —The High Window (1942); Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“It had been a nice place onceIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerand from the days of its niceness there still remained that funny little funicular railwayIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerwhich crawled up and down a yellow clay bank from Hill Street.” —“The King in Yellow” (1938). The neighborhood of Bunker Hill was razed in the 1950s and 1960s to make way for downtown's corporate hub of enormous glass buildings. Angel's FlightIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerwas preserved as a reminder of that once-beautiful Victorian neighborhood.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerPay attentionIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerPay attentionIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerbut I didn’t move.” —The Big Sleep (1939); Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“The Treloar Building wasIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turneron Olive StreetIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turneron the west side. The sidewalk in front of it had been built of black and white rubber blocks. They were taking them up now to give to the government.” —The Lady in the Lake (1943). The Oviatt Building is the model for Chandler's Treloar Building.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerDowntown's beautiful art deco Oviatt Building; Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerThe Oviatt Building is the model for Chandler's Treloar Building.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“The Athletic Club was on a corner across the street and half a block down from the Treloar Building.” —The Lady in the Lake (1943). The prestigious Los Angeles Athletic Club is still in operationIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerwhen Raymond Chandler was an oil executive who took his lunches and meetings there.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“I went into the club library. It contained books behind glass doors and magazines on a long central table and a lighted portrait of the club’s founder. But its real business seems to be sleeping.” —The Lady in the Lake (1943); Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“Outward jutting bookcases cut the room into a number of small alcoves and in the alcoves were high-backed leather chairs of an incredible size and softness. In a number of chairs old boys were snoozing peacefullyIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerthin racking snores coming out of their pinched noses. I climbed over a few feet and stole around to the left.” —The Lady in the Lake (1943); Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“It was one of the mixed blocks over on Central AvenueIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turneralmost the end of MarchIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerMy Lovely (1940). In that novelIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerMy Lovely (1940). In that novelIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerFarewell" data-rightCaption="In 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner">and the afternoon breeze made the unpruned shoots of last year’s poinsettias tap-tap against the cracked stucco wall. A line of stiff yellowish half-washed clothes jittered on a rusty wire in the side yard." —FarewellIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerand the afternoon breeze made the unpruned shoots of last year’s poinsettias tap-tap against the cracked stucco wall. A line of stiff yellowish half-washed clothes jittered on a rusty wire in the side yard." —FarewellIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turneron the east fringe of San Angelo. Narrow but expensively paved streets wind around in the hillsIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerRaymond Chandler lived on Redesdale Avenue in Silver LakeIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerRaymond Chandler lived on Redesdale Avenue in Silver LakeIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerthen the road droppedIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerwent between banks high enough to put the whole street in shadow. Then a gun roared around a bend ahead of us.” —“Finger Man” (1934). This is the bigger Silver Lake apartment that Chandler and his wife moved into when he began making money as a writer.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“He drove down to Wilshire and we turned east again. Twenty-five minutes brought us to the Bryson TowerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerup marble stepsIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerand over a lobby that was too big and a carpet that was too blue.” —The Lady in the Lake (1943). The Bryson TowerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerstill retains features of its past grandeur.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerThe lobby of the Bryson Tower; Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“The corridor on the sixth floor was narrow and doors had frosted glass panels. It was older and much dirtier than my own building. It was loaded with doctorsIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo TurnerChristian Science practitioners not doing too goodIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerthe kind of doctors and dentists who just scrape along.” —The Long Goodbye (1953); Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“The motor of the gray Plymouth throbbed under her voice and the rain pounded above it. The violet light at the top of Bullock’s green-tinged tower was far above usIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnercrippling city.” —The Big Sleep (1939); Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“The rushing sound of the traffic had died a little and the air from the open windowIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerhad that tired end-of-the-day smell of dustIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnersunlight rising from hot walls and sidewalksIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerdrifting down from the residential hills above Hollywood — if you had a nose like a hunting dog — a touch of that peculiar tomcat smell that eucalyptus trees give off in warm weather.” —The High Window (1942); Credit: Gustavo TurnerIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner“Wonderful what Hollywood will do to a nobodyIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnera he-man hero with shining eyes and brilliant smile reeking of sexual charm out of some overgrown kid who was meant to go to work with a lunchbox. Out of a Texas car hop with the literacy of a character in a comic strip it will make an international courtesanIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnera he-man hero with shining eyes and brilliant smile reeking of sexual charm out of some overgrown kid who was meant to go to work with a lunchbox. Out of a Texas car hop with the literacy of a character in a comic strip it will make an international courtesanIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnera he-man hero with shining eyes and brilliant smile reeking of sexual charm out of some overgrown kid who was meant to go to work with a lunchbox. Out of a Texas car hop with the literacy of a character in a comic strip it will make an international courtesanIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnera he-man hero with shining eyes and brilliant smile reeking of sexual charm out of some overgrown kid who was meant to go to work with a lunchbox. Out of a Texas car hop with the literacy of a character in a comic strip it will make an international courtesanIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnera he-man hero with shining eyes and brilliant smile reeking of sexual charm out of some overgrown kid who was meant to go to work with a lunchbox. Out of a Texas car hop with the literacy of a character in a comic strip it will make an international courtesanIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnera he-man hero with shining eyes and brilliant smile reeking of sexual charm out of some overgrown kid who was meant to go to work with a lunchbox. Out of a Texas car hop with the literacy of a character in a comic strip it will make an international courtesanIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnera he-man hero with shining eyes and brilliant smile reeking of sexual charm out of some overgrown kid who was meant to go to work with a lunchbox. Out of a Texas car hop with the literacy of a character in a comic strip it will make an international courtesanIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerthe three green filing casesIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerthe customers’ chair across from meIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turnerthe customers’ chair across from meIn 1994, Los Angeles named the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga (near one of Philip Marlowe's fictional private investigator offices) Raymond Chandler Square.; Credit: Gustavo Turner

Raymond Chandler's novels and stories defined a kind of literary noir that made everyone see Los Angeles in a different light. After reading Chandler's masterpieces, such as The Big Sleep or The Long Goodbye (or his underrated, brilliant novel about Hollywood corruption, The Little Sister), it seems an air of mystique and menace envelops the very architecture of the city. If we look closely, as this photo essay shows, we can still glimpse Chandler's noir Los Angeles in details and moods. But for how long? Gentrification (in the form of “Business Improvement Districts”) is proceeding at a steady pace in downtown and Hollywood, and many of the classic buildings are being completely renovated (or torn down). Experience this fascinating facet of our city before it's too late. (We recommend the book Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles, by Elizabeth Ward and Alain Silver, the wonderful Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles by Kim Cooper, Paul Rogers and Herb Lester Associates, and the peerless Esotouric bus tour of Chandler-related sites.) All photos by Gustavo Turner (Instagram: @gustavoturner)