Memories of the old Century City Mall
"Honey, Century City's got everything covered."
That's what Tom Petty sang, and I thought so too.
The old Century City mall entrance from Santa Monica Blvd
I practically lived at the Century City mall growing up and spent countless weekends and weeknights wandering the mall. While my mom shopped for hip fashions at "Joseph Magnin" and "Field's," I was trying on back-to-school clothes at "Judy's" and "Contempo Casuals". The hours I must have spent in those dressing rooms!
And before "Bloomingdale's" and "Macy's" department stores, we had "The Broadway"& "Bullock’s". I got my ears pierced at the Broadway and my first credit card was from Bullock's. My dad thought the Century City Mall was actually called "The Broadway" because you could see it’s huge signage from Santa Monica Blvd.
All of these stores, boutiques, and department stores had individuality, contemporary space age design, and unique merchandise and I knew every crack in the pavement and every inch of the mall.
And not too many know there was actually a "Clifton’s Cafeteria" and a "Bob's Big Boy" in the mall too.
I used to roller skate down the ramp from the second floor that led to "Gelson's" market which originally opened up as a "Mayfair" market.
The market was extremely space-age back in the day. I can't tell you how many times I got lost in this market scaring the heck out of my mom.
And don’t even get me started on the ABC ENTERTAINMENT CENTER around the corner that was also senselessly demolished. The new CAA building replaced the ABC Entertainment Center which had contained the Playboy Club, the Schubert Theatre, The Plitt cinema, and the sites of various surrounding restaurants including Harry's Bar, The Plaza Four, The Century Club, Hamburger Hamlet, Yamato, and Senor Pico.
Shubert Theatre and Plitt box office on the left
The Playboy Club below the Plitt Theatre
It closed on July 27, 2003 and was demolished the following year to build the new CAA offices. I've never gotten over it.
The Playboy Club below the Plitt Theatre
Architect: Minoru Yamasaki
Parking lot across the street from the Century Plaza in 1968. This lot eventually became the ABC Entertainment Center. (Now demolished)
Tom Snyder hosting a 1970 KNBC Sunday afternoon special
Gary Owens onstage with contestants for the ‘Most Beautiful Ape’ contest during promotion for “Conquest for the Planet of the Apes” in June 14, 1972
Joe Richards, also known as “The Singing Flower Man”. UCLA Archives
I could have sworn this was my own grandmother at Century City in 1970. "Fields" is in the distance
"Judy's' employees wearing "Judy's" clothing in front of the store.
The outdoor Gelson's parking lot. The Century Towers seems so tall back then. I remember the Venturi effect between those buildings sped any breeze up to speeds that could turn your jacket into a sail.
Also the offices in Remington Steele.
A rare postcard featuring "Heaven"
Sharon Tate, who was in Valley Of The Dolls, and is married to Polish director, Roman Polanski, wears a chiffon blouse and a petal tiered skirt designed for the Garment Works by Barbra Dulian. ($70 Dollars)
Sheltered by a steel sculpture in the Century City Mall exhibit, Peggy Lipton who will play a cop next fall on a new TV show called, “The Mod Squad” wears a dress of Indian cotton trimmed with mirror embroidery from “Chequer West , $35 dollars
Gayle Hunnicutt who modeled before she began acting, shows off a hand painted batik dress as decorative as the mosaic wall behind her. It was designed for the Rose Revived by Laura Labby ($459). Gayle in front of the mosaic ties at Joseph Magnin
($85 dollars) from “The Candy Happening”.
Goldie Hawn, the giggly girl of Laugh-In, wears a backs jump suit of Jersey (35) from “Skitzo - My Generation” as she leans on a sign identifying one of the major thoroughfares of Century City”.
Sitting by the fountains on Ave Of The Stars, tall (six feet) Dhonyale Luna wears an exotic pants suit ($35) gtom Bootstrings by L’Tonya. A hit in Paris last year, she has just made her first American movie for Otto Preminger.
You can see footage of the old mall in a few TV shows and films mentioned below
This is from "The Bank Raising" episode of "The Beverly Hillbillies,"
"Caprice" staring Doris Day released in 1967 filmed at Century City
"Conquest For the Planet Of The Apes" filmed at Century City. Most likely because of it's futuristic brutalist design.
The Welton Becket Association discusses plans for building Century City on the former Fox Studios back lot in 1960.
Welton Becket put together this early $35,000 model of his Century City, "producing a mix of office towers, hotel rooms, skyscrapers, apartments and elevated public plazas". Highlights included an Arabian Nights-themed hotel with gondolas and a wide street called Avenue of the Stars "studded with statues of such indigenous Fox lot mainstays as Will Rogers and Shirley Temple." It's interesting that he stayed with the 'stars' theme developing Century City, although it wasn't based on Hollywood. The refocused theme was focused on outers space with names like Constellation Blvd, Galaxy Way, and of course Ave of the Stars.
former headquarters building of architect Welton Becket and Associates located at 10000 Santa Monica Boulevard in Century City. Designed by Welton Beckett and completed in 1960, the four-story building featured a rooftop pavilion, a reflecting pool with fountains, and an incredible 734 foot mosaic band course by artist John Smith that wrapped around all four sides of the building
"Dive" restaurant, was owned by Steven Spielberg, and was in the shape of a yellow submarine. It was located by the AMC theaters and old food court. In 1999, "Dive" closed abruptly.
Tragically, it looked as though the real planet of the apes really did conquer Century City. Most if the Century City mall was leveled to build a new one in 2015. New additions and renovations can erode the character of any place, but tearing it down to the ground is like taking away a piece of our childhood.
The western Gateway office building that was torn down to make way for Eataly/Macy's, 1801 Ave of the Stars, was the place where Groucho Marx had his last office.