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Wallich's Music City at Sunset and Vine

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Remembering L.A.'s First Great Record Store, "Wallich's Music City". Bing Crosby shopped the aisles, Frank Zappa worked the floor. 

Before there was a Tower Records, before the Capitol Records building was the Capitol Records building, L.A.’s coolest music-industry hub was Wallichs Music City.

Glenn Wallichs opened the record store with his brother, Clyde, at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street in 1940. Until Tower Records set up on the Sunset Strip 30 years later, Wallich's Music City was the place to go for concert tickets, sheet music, LPs, 45s, tapes, 8-tracks, cassettes, and musical instruments. It’s where a friend of mine purchased a double neck guitar right off the wall, and where my mother picked up an alto recorder for my second grade music class. Maybe you remember its radio and TV jingle: “It’s Music City, Sunset &Vine!”


When Glenn Wallichs co-founded Capitol Records in 1942 with singer-songwriter Johnny Mercer and songwriter Buddy DeSylva,…

Ship's Coffee Shop

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Remembering Ships, L.A.’s Out-of-This-World Coffee Shops

Ok, Angelenos, I know you remember "Ship's Coffee Shop" and those Toasters on the tables! Here's an article I wrote for Los Angeles Magazine featuring all three 'space age' locations. Which one did you frequent? Westwood, Culver City or the one at La Cienega and Olympic? The boomerang shaped roof and atomic neon sign made the structures look like flying saucers straight out of a Sci Fi Flick!



Photo by George Mann 1965

With their boomerang-shaped roofs and futuristic neon signs, Ships Coffee Shops were impossible to miss. Inside, the small chain dished out American favorites, but the diners’ exteriors were otherworldly; they looked like UFOs!


Emmett Shipman opened the first Ships Coffee Shop in Culver City in 1956. Architect Martin Stern, Jr. designed that building and the second Ships, which was in Westwood, too. The Googie kings at the architecture firm Armet Davis designed the chain’s third and most popul…

The Tropicana Motel

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The Tropicana Motel’s Totally Rocking Heyday Joan Jett and the Ramones checked in and out of the West Hollywood hangout. Tom Waits called it home. 

The Tropicana Motel in West Hollywood had a brush with celebrity even before it became a hangout for rock stars in the late ’60s and ’70s. Baseball Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax bought the inn—which was built in the 1940s and located at 8585 Santa Monica Boulevard in 1962. He was the motel’s fourth owner.

A postcard of Sandy Koufax dated 1962 PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY VINTAGE LOS ANGELES

The Dodger’s investment no doubt drew clientele to the Tropicana, but the hotel became even more popular after Jerry Heiner and his partners purchased it from Koufax in the late 1960s. The joint was just a hop, skip, and blurry-eyed stumble from the Troubadour and Barney’s Beanery, and as the rock music scene grew up around those venues, the Tropicana became its unofficial HQ. Janis Joplin, Bob Marley, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, and members of the Runaways, the Ramones, B…

P.J.'s Night Club: L.A.'s First Discotheque

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In the early 1960s, one of the first discotheques opened up across the street from the original Fred Segal in the heart of West Hollywood. It was called, P.J.'s. It paved the way for new dance clubs such as Gazzarri's and the Whisky A Go Gwhich opened up on the infamous Sunset Strip. Fred Segal frequented this popular dance club. Employees of P.J,'s would send club goers over to Fred Segalfor the latest fashions during the swinging 60's.  Here's a look back on the club's history during that groovy time in Los Angeles. 
P.J.'s located at: 8151 Santa Monica Blvd.8151 Santa Monica Bl. By the late 1950s, Hollywood’s original Golden Age had almost run its course. A new, young Hollywood crowd had emerged on the scene, both on movie sets and after hours. Glamorous nightclubs and supper clubs like Ciro’s, the Mocambo, and the Trocodero on Sunset Strip had become old-fashioned, and many of the bigger and better acts featured at those clubs had fled to Vegas. Discoth…

Nancy Sintra interview with Alison Martino

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Nancy Sinatra Talks About “These Boots Are Made for Walkin"on it's 50th anniversary. 

The hit song that inspired a generation of women to “start walkin’” 
turns 50 Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots are Made For Walkin’” was a ’60s sensation. (If by some inexplicable misfortune you’ve never seen the video, stop everything and check out this amazing artifact of era-capturing grooviness right now.) The song was destined for glory: Everything about it was hip, fromWrecking Crewmember Chuck Berghofer’s opening bass line, to Sinatra’s tough, eat-my-dust delivery, to the iconic cover featuring the singer in red leather boots and a fetching miniskirt. If you didn’t own a pair of go-go boots before the song was released, you rushed out to buy a pair soon after. Sinatra showed the world that a woman could have serious swagger, and the Technicolor beauties dancing the Frug in the background were all too ready to follow in her footsteps—as was a whole generation of independent women. The song s…