Los Angeles during the 1970s

When this photo of me standing in our driveway in BH was taken during the 1970s, we still 
had JJ Newberry, Food King and a local Home Silk Shop. Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly would say hello to you waiting in line at the post office. You'd pass by Edward G Robinson walking his dogs, and Doris Day riding her bike. Freight Trains were still plowing down Santa Monica Blvd with the smell of fresh Wonder Bread on board and Helms Bakery Trucks brought milk to our door steps. Robinson's, Bonwit Teller, The Broadway, Bullock's, and The May Co. were the high-end stores of the day, and Rodeo Drive was not yet a tourist trap. We instead had reasonably priced boutiques and 'mom and pop' shops where everyone knew your first name. 

I believe this 70s ensemble came from Toby's on Beverly Drive. (My mother recalls seeing Natalie Wood there). We had neighborhood joints and local restaurants like Tony Roma's, R.J's, Ah Fong's, Wil Wright's, La Scala Boutique, and Scandia, and bohemian lunch destinations such as Cafe Figaro, The Melting Pot, The Old World, Alfie's and The Source. Tiki-themed restaurants like the Luau and The Islander were the current craze, known for their flaming drinks and moats surrounding their properties. Orange Julius and Fotomats seemed to be on every corner. Banks didn't have underground parking, and you never had to get a ticket validated. There were no answering machines and no texting. We only had telephone booths and landlines. 

Westwood was still a destination, and you could only play video games in the arcades. We waited in long lines to see summer blockbusters at the ABC Entertainment Center and Mann National. The only place you could hear the most current songs was on the radio, and we could name every disc jockey who played them. American Graffiti, Dark Side Of the Moon and Kojak had just been released, Columbo and Jim Rockford were our favorite detectives and Johnny Carson ruled late night and the movie-of-the-week was a big family event. 

Tower Records was our second home and dozens of LPs, cassette tapes, and 8 tracks were pilled up in our bedroom. (The first 45 my mother ever bought for me was Sing by the Carpenters). Our Zenith TV's were controlled by ONE remote: the clicker - also known as the Space Command.  Our old library looked like a row of colorful books made of mid century mosaic glass, rather then Faux Tuscan stucco. Our parents bought our toys at Toy-Mart, our clothes at Pixie Town, our footwear at Standard Shoes (and played in a giant boot), while they organized our birthday parties at Farrell's and Genie Land. We took cotillion classes and the Daisy and tap dancing at Al Gilbert Studios. We rode amusement park rides and ponies where the Beverly Center is located today, ate hotdogs at a stand in the shape of a hot dog, and roller skated at Fiorucci, Pan Pacific Park and Flippers Roller Disco. 

Our moms lunched at Bullock's tea room, and they still called them beauty parlors - not salons. My dad wore a lot of suede and oversized glasses and mom shopped at Lanz for flower-power dresses. This was also a time when the Century City Mall had a Clifton's Cafeteria, and a Bob's Big Boy, as well as Heaven, Jospeh Magnin (near the jelly belly cart) and a singing flower man across from Judy's. Houses weren't torn down for McMansions, Kids still rode their big wheels and Trans Ams and Pontiacs were the coolest cars on the road. It was still a village, and it wasn't yet famous for its zip code. 

We would see Dean Martin at Hamburger Hamlet, Frank Sinatra at Matteo's, and Jimmy Stewart at Chasen's. Our home was filled with shag carpeting, fake ferns, flocked wallpaper, blue velvet couches, Spanish tables, swivel chairs, and avocado colored appliances. We went to Baskin-Robbins, ordered pizza from Jacopo's, ate cookies at Famous Amos, and hadn't yet abbreviated the House Of Pancakes to IHOP.  And to this day, I refuse to call Rite Aid, "Thrifty!" That's where I used to see Milton Berle in the aisles, and Jack Lemmon ordering double scoops of rocky road. Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Peter Falk, Rosemary Clooney, and Agnes Moorehead were still very much alive, and living a few blocks over on Roxbury Drive. Simpler times with WIDE open spaces. Big enough to park this monster car from Casa de Cadillac! 

These are just some of the reasons I created Vintage Los Angeles

Photos and clips of several places and people I mentioned:
 With my dad and mom in 1975 in our backyard. (Al and Judi Martino)

Beverly Hills Circa 1975. I grew up just around the corner of this intersection. The Beverly Hills Hotel can be seen across the street. That's about the only thing that remains the same of all the following photos

J.J.Newberry's on Beverly Drive in BH. Remember they sold parakeets and goldfish? And how about those soda counters? This is where my mom purchased my Halloween costumes. 

Freight Trains plowing down Santa Monica Blvd during the 1970s. The smell of fresh Wonder-bread was one of the greatest things about living in Los Angeles during the 1970s and 80s

The Beverly Hill train tracks that carried Wonder Bread

  Wilshire and San Vicente in Beverly Hills, 1970s 

Robinson's Department Store demolished in 2014 (weep)

The Broadway Department Store in Century City. For some reason my father always called CC mall, the Broadway :)

Bullock's Westwood, shortly after opening in 1951. Stretching down Le Conte and Weyburn Ave, the Welton Becket building replaced a smaller Bullock's store on Weyburn which opened in 1931. Bullock's Westwood closed in 1998 and today the exterior looks much the same, but the interior became a multi-tenant space that includes a Ralphs, Target, and the UCLA Child Care Center.

May, 1970: Looking towards May Co. from a northbound car on Fairfax Ave. at Wilshire Blvd. On the right side is Ohrbachs dept. store, which opened in 1964 and closed in 1986

Tony Roma's in Beverly Hills. My parents used to go here with Morey Amsterdam, Jerry Vale and Tony Roma himself

 Ah Fong's in Beverly Hills. Dad used to tell me we were taking the stairs down to China. Of course I believed him. 

Wil Wright's on South Beverly Drive. Later Hagan Daaz would move in

La Scala Boutique on the corner of Little Santa Monica Blvd and Beverly Drive. A favorite of Natalie Wood and Suzanne Pleshette. 

Scandia at Sunset and Doheny. The structure was sadly demolished in 2015 to make way for a new Marriott Hotel. 

Chasen's on Beverly Blvd. Today this is a Bristol Farms market

Cafe Figaro on Melrose Ave

The Melting Pot at the corner of Melrose and La Cienega 

The Old World Restaurant at Holloway and Sunset Strip. Miraculously this structure still stands and is currently a bar / restaurant called THE STATE

Sunset Strip, 1979. Photo Robert Landau

Alfie's on the strip - later became Mirabelle...

The Source on Sunset Strip. Today its a restaurant Cabano Cantina. The Source has also been preserved on celluloid in "Annie Hall". There is also a fascinating documentary on Netflix about the Source called "Source Family".  The Source is where I first ever had avocado on a sandwich. 

My father's Sunset Strip billboard advertising his role as Johnny Fontane in The Godfather was directly next to the Source in 1972

The Luau on Rodeo Drive. Owned by Lana Turner husband, Steve Crane. They also had a gift shop and a bridge surrounded by a moat. It was tragically demolished for a complex called The Rodeo Collection in the early 80s that never took off. 

My very first birthday was at the Luau - snapshot taken by my mother Judi

The Islander on La Cienega. Today this once unique stretch of La Cienega has been replaced with sterile looking apartment buildings

Fotomat. The drive-through film-developing kiosks began in the 1960's in Point Loma, Ca. At its peak in 1980 there were 4,000+ Fotomats. Some of them stillstands today and have been repurposed into other businesses 

Westwood Village during the 1970s

Westworld Arcade in Westwood 
Captains Videos
Close-up of the entrance to the ABC Entertainment Center with a view of the Shubert Theatre (left), which was later demolished in 2002, in Century City. / photo by Michael Haering.

The Mann National Theatre in Westwood Village opened on March 27, 1970. Its 1970s futuristic exterior belied a large upstairs lobby with large space age chandeliers and an enormous orange-colored auditorium 

The Mann National closed on April 19, 2007 and was demolished in January 2008. The empty dirt lot is still vacant and extremely depressing to walk by

Architect: Harold Levitt 

Tower Records on Sunset Strip  - Photo by Robert Landau

  John Lennon commercial for Tower Records

                  Elton John shopping at Tower Records in the early 1970s

                                                         KHJ 1970s

                           Dark Side Of the Moon by Pink Floyd (full album)


                                        Movie of the week bumpers

James Garner as Jim Rockford The Rockford Files. My mother never missed an episode. 
"and another thing...." Peter Falk in Columbo. My dad never missed an episode. 
Johnny Carson on set in 1974
 The first single my mother ever purchased for me was SING by the Carpenters and I still have it. 

I also still have our family 'clicker' from our Zenith TV!

The Beverly Hills Library during the 1970s. It was supposed to look like a row of books. Exterior shots of this library was also used as Mike Brady's office in the Brady Bunch. 

Pixietown clothing store for kids

Standard Shoes on La Cienega 1970s

A rare photo of the giant boot us kids played inside of at Standard Shoes

Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor

My birthday party at Genie Land. A magical place that was used for children's birthday parties in the San Fernando Valley

My photo taken and old program from Al Gilbert Dance Studio on La Cienega

Fiorucci in Beverly Hills located in the former Beverly Theater

 Pan Pacific Auditorium. Also seen in the movie Xanadu. A popular skating destination. Sadly it burned to the ground in the late 1980s

    Flippers Roller Disco on La Cienega during the 1970s. (today CVS)

Me at Flippers on by 9th birthday. 

  My dad in clothing from Sy Devore clothing and over sized 70 shades. 

My mother decked out in a two piece Flower Power ensemble. circa 1971 purchased at Lanz 

Our living room on Rexford drive. Blue velvet couches, swivel chairs, shag carpeting, built in entertainment center and fake ferns! So 70s!

Imagine a gigantic ferris wheel in the heart of LA. Well here's proof of one that existed on La Cienega. Even though the place was really called "Beverly Park", we kids just called it "Kiddy Land". Sadly it shut down in 1974. The Beverly Center now sits on Beverly Park soil...

This was Beverly Park in 1970 taken from the Rexall Parking lot at La Cienega and Beverly Blvd - where the Beverly Center now stands. Smokey Joes Cafe on the bottom right had just suffered a fire in this photo and apparently Bobby Darin is getting ready to headline the Hilton in Vegas!

Ralph Story's THINGS THAT USED TO BE HERE. (Before the Beverly Center)

 Beverly Park on Beverly Blvd between La Cienega and San Vincente. Today this is the Beverly Center. Photo courtesy of Jay Jennings (check out his book: BEVERLY PARK: L.A.'s Kiddieland, 1943-74

Next door to Beverly Park was Ponyland 

Tail O' the Pup once located across from Beverly Park at La Cienega and Beverly Blvd. 
 Bullock's Wilshire Tea Room circa 1977

Me at Bullock's on my 6th birthday

Clifton's Cafeteria once located in Century City

Joe Richards "The Singing Flower Man" at Century City

The Jelly Bellies cart at Century City in 1973! It was directly across from the "singing flower man!"

Judy's located at Century City

Joseph Magnin, Century City, 1970s

Heaven business card from Century City

Dean Martin photo-bombed at the Hamburger Hamlet

Hamburger Hamlet on Sunset Strip. I took this photo on closing night in 2011

Matteo's in Westwood. Frank Sinatra's table was all the way back on the right
Jimmy Stewart and his wife Gloria, with Peter Bogdanovich and Cybill Shepherd at Chasen’s in 1972. (Now a Bristol Farms)

Another image from the wonderful world that existed before smart phones occupied the dinner table and when people actually looked directly at each other instead of looking down and texting. Men were also required to wear a jacket and
 tie at Chasen’s.

Jacopo's 1978....see the railroad track on the left? My dad almost purchased Jacobo's, but sadly a friend of his talked him out of it. I often think if it would still be in business if he had went through with it. 

Famous Amos Cookies on Sunset Blvd

International House of Pancakes located on Santa Monica Blvd. STILL THERE TODAY!

Thrifty in Beverly Hills

Our Beverly Hills Thrifty location even made an appearance the Albert Brooks movie, "Modern Romance"

Just last year I ran into Charo in the isles! You'll ALWAYS see a celebrity at the old 
Thrifty. Now Rite Aid. 

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


  1. Thanks for bring me back in time and sharing your pics and history.

  2. Wow...quite a trip down memory lane for me. Thanks!

  3. I grew up om the other side of the tracks in LA but seeing these pics brings back the same sweet times.

  4. Great photos... must've been a great time to live in LA.

  5. What a collection! And, so many memories...loved the John Lennon commercial for Tower Records! Sad that so many places have been torn down. I can see how the name of a business and the specific business in a building can change over time, but when buildings are torn down it is a pity and a loss of a city's historical richness.

  6. I was surprised at how many of those 93KHJ jingles I remembered.

  7. this is fantastic - brought up so many great memories of our hometown. We were lucky to grow up there/then, weren't we!

  8. Love the old photos. Moved to L.A. in 1982, and a lot of what's in your photos was still there then. Wish you'd break up the text into paragraphs, though - I really want to read it, but it's hard to read as a block.

  9. Great stuff, Alison!

    Columbo was LAPD, not a PI. ;-)

  10. Great collection of photos. Thanks for posting them.

  11. As a teenager I would go shopping in Beverly Hills with my aunt, then Hamburger Hamlet for French Onion Soup.

  12. I grew up in Mar Vista in the 70s...
    I do remember quite a bit if that.
    Thanks for the walk dow memory lane.
    Lovef it

  13. Thanks for sharing your youth. It was a magical time that will never be again. It wonderful you have it documented so well.

  14. My first job was at Beverly Park. The Haunted Castle was great!

  15. Thanks for the memories. Helms however delivered bread, jelly donuts, etc and milk came from Adohr Farms which had cows on LA Cienaga...now McDonald's and Ross

    1. Great to see these pictures. Always loved eating fantastic omlettes at the Melting Pot. The Hamlet on Sunset was a favorite also. Just wanted to say thank you for a great trip back to much more fun times !!

  16. I grew up in WLA...UniHi '69 grad...remember Century City being built...such great memories of all the scenes in this link...thank you for the memories of such happy simpler times...BTW I thought your Dad was a great artist and loved his voice.

  17. Wow! Just awesome! Even though I have never been to California, I have always had an affinity for it. Unfortunately, stuff getting torn down, our childhood memories, are happening everywhere. That's why it's important to document places, and a keep a good memory on details, so you can tell the story to everyone! You put alot of your heart and soul into this article.

  18. Thank you for all the memories. My father only shopped at Sy Devore...getting matching clothes, shoes there. Spent hours while he got fitted. So many places and sad so many are not here anymore.

  19. Does anyone remember the restaurant called "The Cock and Bull" in Beverly Hills? I had my Sweet Sixteen party there in 1975. I think it was on La Cienega but can't recall. It was a gorgeous place...

    1. The Cockpit and Bull was on Sunset, corner of Cory Dr. My favorite restaurant. ..I grew up on Doheny Drive. We'd walk down often. It's now a Jaguar dealership.

  20. this is fantastic and completely captures my childhood! I, too, grew up in LA off Sunset and Bellagio Rd. Born in '69, the '70's & early '80's were magical and Vintage LA was a great place to grow up. thank you for reminding me how awesome LA used to be and for a trip down memory lane...

  21. What great memories! The smell at night of Wonder Bread baking...spending hours at Tower Records...and hundreds of meals at Cafe Figaro's, so sad none of it is here anymore.

    1. Yeah, remember that really cheesy French onion soup they had at Figaro's? Our first experience of quasi-European food in a hippie ambience. Also there was the crepe place, the Magic Pan.

  22. Alison, this IS my childhood from when we moved to Beverly Hills in '69 to '82 when I moved away to college. From the singing Flower Man to the giant shoe to Fiorucci to you name it, I remember it all! I even had my own running-into-Charo experience at Smith's Food King when I was a kid. Agnes Moorhead once ran out in her full-length mink to sweetly apologize that she didn't have Halloween candy to give us. We used to go to Ah Fong's as a family where my parents would chat with Benson Fong in our subterranean naugahyde booth. Also once saw Cary Grant, the original silver fox, on Rodeo Drive, where we used to take after-dinner walks as a family. Thanks for the memories!!

  23. Allison, is your mother still alive?....I enjoyed seeing your pictures. :)

  24. Thank You, Allison <3 They were WONDERFUL TIMES <3

  25. I remember seeing Dean Martin at the Hamlet, and he looked about the same as in the pic you posted, probably i was there within a few mos of that being taken, great story and pics

  26. Jimmy Stewart used to sit next to my grandparents in church sans-serif toupee and with thick glasses, he was the nicest man to me. Boy, did you bring back memories to this kid born in Hollywood and raised in the Valley


  28. Wow, some of those photos and memories are so powerful. When I had a boutique in Beverly Hills '74 to '78 I lived on Oakhurst near the Wonder Bread factory. There was a little exercise/diet place nearby (Civic Center Drive and North Palm) that served food and had this wacky owner, Richard Simmons. My girlfriend worked at North Beach Leather on Sunset where all the rockers bought their clothes and had sex in the changing rooms. There was also this nice black guy, Amos, that used to bring us chocolate cookie samples to the store. Said he would be Famous one day. Spent many nights at Pips and some huge gay disco at Robertson and Melrose (name?). I remember wild parties at Jimmy Goldsmith's who had a bar under a transparent swimming pool. Finally married Eddie Fisher's Norwegian ex-girlfriend and hung out with friends who worked as pages on the Johnny Carson show (oh the stories!). We loved Cafe Figaro! Can still smell the place and feel those greasy paper menus. Remember meeting John Derek who had just married this beautiful young girl named Cathleen of whom he was taking photos and forcing her to not eat and do more exercise. She was renamed Bo later. Lots of qualudes, lots of poppers, lots of pot, lots of sex. History is a little hazy but your photos help bring it all back. Thanks!

  29. Thank you for these. Grew up in BH, worked at The Bijou in Century City in high school .. hung out in Westwood.. it's such a treat to see these! Especially now that so much of it all has transformed or is completely gone. I wish there were photos of Tot Toggery from CC that had the dressing room shaped like a tree. Or House of Pies from BH with its fab magenta, orange and pink interior.! Again, thanks of sharing... :)

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  31. Thank You Allison, I like Photos and Clip.
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  32. Great photos, I really miss the 70s, it was truly a fun time.


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