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Old Posted Oct 4, 2014, 4:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Those Who Squirm View Post

The Pickwick Night Coach illustrated in the same book is definitely a curiosity. I'm sure I've seen one in an old Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland film, which showed Judy's character settling into her "stateroom" on a bus trip. Obviously there was the bed, but there was also even a little nightstand on which she sets up her alarm clock and a framed photograph (if memory serves). To the best of my memory there was no in-film publicity or advertising regarding the bus, it's just there. And everyone in that part of the film treats it accordingly.

On seeing the movie I couldn't imagine intercity bus service ever having been so luxurious. If this was ever offered to the public, it must have been a flash in the pan that didn't last long.
The Pickwick Nite Coach (sometimes written NiteCoach) certainly was an amazing vehicle. Its origins seem to be in the 1927 Pickwick Observation-Dining Coach, which featured a strange elevated driving position. Los Angeles is among the destinations listed to the left of "PICKWICK STAGES".


The high driving position was continued in the Nite Coaches. The first one was exhibited at the Pacific Southwest Exposition at Long Beach in 1928. The car was christened by Clara Bow, watched by around 20,000 people. A huge amount of information on the Nite Coaches can be found at, with additional information at Myn Transport Blog. Incidentally, the portholes were used for ventilation.

The Coachbuilt article includes this 1932 advert for Nite Coach trips to Los Angeles.

Another unusual bus I came across while doing a picture search for the Nite Coach is this articulated design made by Kaiser. An article titled Kaiser’s articulated bus on the Hemmings blog suggests that only one of these buses was ever built, but it entered regular service between Los Angeles and San Francisco from 1946 to 1951.

Hemmings Daily

After reading about the two-decked Pickwick Nite Coaches and the articulated Kaiser, I was reminded of the Cyclops from the 1976 movie 'The Big Bus'. I saw the movie again a couple of months ago (probably for the first time since the '80s), and spotted a couple of Los Angeles locations. The early scenes take place in the Port of Los Angeles, but it's the downtown scene that interested me.

The bus station which appeared in the movie was the bus station on Main between 6th and 7th. Larger versions of the images below, along with a load of extra "now and then" pictures, can be found on

The Cyclops at the bus station.

Looking back towards Main. The Pacific Electric Building (now the PE Lofts) is across the Street.

Looking south on Main. Dearden's, including its sign, is still there.

The bus leaves northbound on Main. The Central Building on the left has gone, as have several of the buildings on both sides of Main on the far side of 6th Street.

Here's the bus station in 1941. The caption says "Main Street between 6th & 7th showing undesirable stores & vacant lots". The "undesirable stores" on the left had already gone when the movie was filmed in the mid-70s. The tracks on the right disappear into the Pacific Electric Building.

USC Digital Library

At the base of the Central Building is the Glass House Reastaurant. A menu and map from the restaurant was posted by e_r back in post #17660.

Detail of picture above.
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