Showing posts from 2011

Beverly Hills Library - demolished

This article was published for Los Angeles Magazine on April 20, 2015 - by Alison Martino

Remembering Beverly Hills’ MCM's Public Library The midcentury oasis for reading was replaced more than 25 years ago

Did you know that the old Beverly Hills Library built in 1965 was designed to appear as a row of colorful books on a shelf?

If I could go back in time and return a single L.A. building to its former state, I would pick the old Beverly Hills Public Library. I sat happily with other children on the floor of its screening room, listening to the impeccably tailored Suzanne Pleshette read Hansel and Gretel in the late 1970s. A unique light reflected off the library’s colorful glass fa├žade and through its windows, bathing the interior in a magical radiance. My love of reading still reminds me of that glow. The Beverly Hills Public Library opened on October 10, 1963. It’s designer, Martin Stern, was making his mark as a major Las Vegas architect at the time and working with developer Del…


Located at the messy intersection of La Cienega Boulevard, San Vicente Boulevard and Burton Way, the Fish Shanty was known to Los Angeles residents as "that place where you walk in through the whale's mouth." If you did, you got pretty good seafood served to you by friendly waitresses who seemed to have been there forever. We miss the cuisine and we miss entering via the whale's jaws and feeling, just for the moment, like Pinocchio.

A screen grab from the 1966 film "The Loved One"

Today this new apartment building has taken its place built by Rick Caruso

Too bad they didn't at least rebuilt the whale's mouth as the entrance to the Trader Joes that is located as the main entrance  - not seen in this rendering...

SUNSET STRIP VIDEOS taken in the 1960s.

Guarenteed to blow your mind. Take a ride down Sunset Strip in 1964. Do you recognize anything? Do the Largo club and Villa Nova look familiar? I bet they do because today they are better known as The Roxy and the Rainbow. But they still looked incredble and colorful in 1964. Now headed the opposite direction in the evening.

That was just the tip of the ice berg. Below are incredible gems I discovered years back on a project I was producing. Sunset Blvd in 1967! I believe this footage was shot for the MOD SQAUD. Gorgeous colorful day time shots of Dino's Lodge, The Plush Pup, The Sea Witch, Belinda Boutique, The Jay Ward Shop, the Fifth Estate coffee shop, Lyn Savings, and Padora's box to just name a few in this mind bending footage. I discovered this footage from a footage house called, PRODUCERS LIBRARY many years ago. I highly recommend checking them out for any projects that relate to this time.
Sunset driving east from Holloway to Crecsent Heights

The Bistro in Beverly Hills

The Bistro catered for decades to high-powered crowd thick with denizens of the film industry and high society. The Bistro was a favorite of Billy Wilder and Elizabeth Taylor and was remembered for having a lot of CLASS. It closed it's doors when Woflgang Puck bought the property for Spago's new location on Canon in Beverly Hills.

This is my stylish grandmother in her GO GO boots and mod dress and my gorgeous mother on the right at my baby shower in December of 1970. So in many ways, I was there too!

Karen Kramer on the left, wife of Stanley Kramer who directed, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is the wonderful lady who threw my mother’ shower. We still all stay in contact and she is as beautiful as ever. On the right is my parent’s family friend and interior decorator, Janet Anderson. 

Owner Kurt Niklas, owner and maitre d’ Jimmy Murphy of the Bistro restaurant in Beverly Hills, Calif., 1972

The Bistro also makes an appearance in the 1975 film, “Shampoo” in the final climax of t…

Scandia Restaurant on Sunset Strip

"There's Ma Maison, La Scala and Scandia. And of the newer ones, I hear that Le Dome is quite nice.” – Dialogue from American Gigolo, 1980. 

                                    Scandia. 9040 Sunset. 1946-1989.
Some of my earliest memories are at Scandia. It was one of my parents favorite destinations.  (I was lucky they never left me with baby sitters). We settled into regal red leather chairs in the nearby bright, glass-walled dining room that seemed to float over lit-up Los Angeles. We drove into Scandia’s huge driveway where you knew Warren Beatty or Natalie Wood would soon emerge from a sleek black car and into this mid century modern building. Near the entrance was a moody, rat pack wooden bar. The Scandia chefs served perfect Swedish meatballs in silver platters and beer mugs with names of notable Scandia ‘Club of the Vikings’ guests such as Errol Flynn were displayed.

Scandia was very elegant with paneled woods, copper and brass fixtures,  royal blue and white china …