Showing posts from February, 2011

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 …

The Villa Nova, 9015 Sunset Strip

This restaurant was originally called the Mermaid Cafe built in the late 1920's. In 1933 it premiered as The Villa Nova and taken over by film director Vincente Minnelli and silent film actor-director Allen Dale. Dale had a strict rule: No press allowed!". 

 Marilyn Monroe went on her first (blind) date with Joe DiMaggio in 1953, and director Minnelli chose it as the spot to propose to Judy Garland. The Villa Nova was sold in early 1972 to Elmer Valentine, Lou Adler, and Mario Maglieri. The named it The Rainbow as a tribute to Judy Garland. Originally they wanted to name it Over The Rainbow, but could not get clearance. On April 16, 1972, the Rainbow had a huge opening starting with a kick off party for Elton John. It quickly became known as a hangout for celebrities of all types. John Belushi ate his last meal here (lentil soup) at table #16. The owner is still Mario Maglieri.


Now Let me introduce you to 90 year Charlotte Dale. Her husband, actor Allen Dale ( born Alfr…

Largo on Sunset Strip

Club LARGO opened on Sunset Strip by Chuck Landis. A burlesque club that featured comedians and the most exotic girls in filmland. Before it was Largo it had been the Westside Market and Hazen's market. Today it is better known as THE ROXY. Next door to Largo was the Villa Nova which became the Rainbow Bar and Grill. The structure is still the same. See my entry for the Villa Nova for more info.

Table / Postcard Pop Up Flyer for Largo

Back in the day this building was called the Westside Market. Today it's the world famous
Roxy. As you can see the building is very much the same.

LARGO was filmed for the movie, "Marlowe". Here is the clip...

Alison Martino is a writer, television producer and personality, and L.A. pop culture historian. She founded the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles in 2010. In addition to CityThink and VLA, Martino muses on L.A’s. past and present on Twitter and Instagram and on her website,

Alison is also currently a columnist for…