Showing posts from May, 2017

The Hollywood Ranch Market

The intersection of Fountain Ave. and Vine Street in Hollywood once had a corner of madness. Its southeast quadrant was occupied by an institution called The Hollywood Ranch Market. A grimy sign atop the sprawling complex claimed: WE NEVER CLOSE.  The clock hands always ran backwards at high speed. For 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Ranch Market dispensed everything from rutabagas, roach powder, and bobby pins to booze,  hot dogs, tacos, and cassettes tapes. They even sold flocked Christmas trees and tender turkey legs for a buck.  Photo courtesy of Nick Faitos 
It wasn’t unusual to see personalities like Frank Sinatra, Ava Garnder, or Red Skelton at the Hollywood Ranch Market’s snack bar. Kim Novak could be seen shopping there twice a week when she lived at the Studio Club in 1955, and Orson Welles in his beat-up hoarder car was a regular.
It was a real eclectic mix of new and old Hollywood. One of the last photos of James Dean was taken across the street on that fateful afterno…

Flipper’s Roller Rink

It’s hard to believe but roller-skating was practically a national pastime once. It was so trendy during the ’70s, in fact, skating often figured into film and TV plots. Stars rode around on eight wheels in Xanadu, Roller Boogie, Skatetown USA,Charlie’s Angels, and CHiPs. 
I once skated my way through a whole afternoon of shopping, rolling from the local Thrifty (where I stopped for a 35 cent double scoop cone with mint chip ice cream) over to Fiorucci(where I purchased a new pair of shades) and then on to Camp Beverly Hills (to pick up red satin dolphin shorts to match my Day-Glo wheels). My skates endured a lot of wear and tear - especially at birthday parties. The Smell of Hot dogs ... and the rolling beats of youth ... I am going to click my skates 3 times and wish I were there right now.  I still have my exact same pair of roller skates...I'm READY! 

When we weren’t skating around Venice Beach or Pan Pacific Park, my friends and I spent our last weekends of the ’70s laced up…

Sy Devore: Hollywood’s Swankiest Tailor

In 1944, a tailor named Sy Devore moved to Los Angeles from New York to open a 900-square-foot shop at the glamorous intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street, in Hollywood. The shop, which sold handmade custom suits, was next to Wallichs Music City and down the street from the world-famous Brown Derby restaurant.

Just five years later, Devore was nearly as famous as the legends he dressed: John Wayne, Bing Crosby, Spencer Tracy, Jackie Gleason, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, Nat King Cole, President John F. Kennedy, and Sammy Davis Jr.—who once ordered 84 suits for $30,000.
Devore’s threads made those cats the epitome of 1960s cool. There were sharkskin suits lined in paisley silk, sports coats, pastel sweaters, skinny ties, dress shirts, and trousers with big belt loops, all finished with an impeccable fit.

According to Devore’s niece, Marti, jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald once purchased Devore’s private label V-neck sweaters in every color and gave them to the Count Basie Orchestra p…