Memories of Westwood Village

WESTWOOD VILLAGE

Remember when Westwood Village was so crowded that on weekends they had to close off cars from entering to handle the overflow? It was a scene! 


I used to go to Westwood Village every weekend. The Patio was the hub to buy cool stuff from the street merchants: sunglasses, crystals, incense, I even got custom made sandals in the shop that was called Village Body Shop. It was the last vestige of hippie handcrafts in Los Angeles.  I remember a mood ring I wore forever until the stone fell out. 


 I would record songs in the recording place with my best friends. It was karaoke before karaoke. And you got to take home the cassette tape of you singing to the song of your choice. 

    
                                       Westwood art fair during the 1970s

During the heyday some of my favorite destinations in Westwood Village were Postermat, Westworld Arcade, Wherehouse Records, AAAH'S,  Insanity, Dillon’s, Alice’s Restaurant, Stratton's, Ship’s, Mario's, Garden's on Glendon, the Hungry Tiger,  Sizzler, Falafel King, Stan's Donuts & Tower Records. The street fair and patio alcove was a weekend ritual. They sold everything from crystals to incense. And can you believe we actually went to see MOVIES in Westwood? Lines around the block. And let’s not forget about Bullock’s Department Store for back to school clothes and all the Hare Krishna’s! 

A business card from POSTERMAT


WESTWORLD ARCADE


I spent more time there than school.
One of my favorite places as a kid. 
Tempest and Galaga took all my change. 



WHEREHOUSE RECORDS

Dillon's Nightclub


ALICE'S RESTAURANT


SHIPS COFFEE SHOP

I loved going to Mario’s Italian Restaurant before seeing a flick. 


TOWER RECORDS in Westwood was three stories 


Tower Records was captured on celluloid in
American Gigolo"



The Patio today

Below is a clip of Richard Gere walking past Hamburger Hamlet in
 "American Gigolo" released in 1980



Westwood in1987 showing the Fox and Bruin Theatres. Hamburger Hamlet is on the right next to the Bruin. Postermat would have been on the other side. 

Movie Theatres



Movie goes waiting to see a movie at the BRUIN THEATRE in 1969


Godfather II at the Bruin in 1974
Photo: Jim Berstein 


"Down and Out In Beverly Hills" at the Bruin

THE FOX THEATRE



"Easy Rider" at the FOX in 1969



World premiere of "A Star Is Born" at the FOX VILLAGE, 1978



My friend Delilah me (on the right) seeing A View To A Kill" at the Fox in 1985

Inside the historic Fox Village 


MANN NATIONAL



The Mann National opened on March 27, 1970



The Mann National opened on March 27, 1970. Its 1970s futuristic exterior and enormous lobby upstairs included space age chandeliers, orange carpeting, and an enormous orange-colored auditorium which boasted a massive screen.
The modernist theatre was designed and built by Architect, Harold Levitt who was also known for building Mid Century Homes in Los Angeles.
Some may remember when the “Exorcist” and “Phantom Of the Paradise” played here. The Mann National was also captured on celluloid in the 2007 movie, “Zodiac”. No set designer was needed because its original retro design was intact until the end. ll never understand how this one got away.
I had so many cinematic experiences at the Mann National: “Beverly Hills Cop”, “At Close Range”, “The Dead Zone”, “Brainstorm”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Top Gun”, and “The Twilight Zone”. It was my Friday night destination in the 1980s.

I was too young to see "The Exorcist" at the MANN NATIONAL, but I have heard the stories of movie goers passing out. 


Newsreel Footage of audience reactions after viewing the Exorcist at the Mann National in Westwood Village in 1973. 

 







"Phantom Of the Paradise” playing at the Mann National in Westwood Village in 1974. 



"Krush Grove" at the MANN NATIONAL in 1985


All lined up for "Indiana and the Last Crusade"


Lower lobby box office and elevators upstairs to theatre and concessions. I always dug that groovy 70s carpet. 




Interior staircase of the Mann National. The only motion picture theater where you had to go upstairs to the auditorium. It had a seating capacity for 12 hundred.  A bug mid century chandelier hung from the ceiling and a massive mirror was in front.


The MANN NATIONAL was demolished in 2007 for en empty lot. 
One of the saddest days in Westwood Village history.  
 

THE AVCO THEATRE  -  Even though it was south of the Village, it was still part of the Village experience 

 


"Star Wars" at the Avco on Wilshire Blvd



People reading "Fun in Space" article about "Star Wars" movie posted at Avco Center Cinema in Westwood, Calif., 1977
Photo: Los Angeles Times


"Ghostbusters" had its premiere at the Avco Cinema


"Flashdance" at the Village Theatre on Broxton Ave.
I believe "Purple Rain" also played at the Village Theatre

"Nightmare On Elm Street 3" at the MANN REGENT

Ticket stub for Dirty Dancing at the MANN NATIONAL
Photo: Carey McCormick


The MANN PLAZA 
Photo Bill Koegler


Bullock's Department Store



Today the old BULLOCK'S building is a RALPHS & BEST BUY

Stores, Boutiques & Eateries 

"A Change Of Hobbit"
"The Wine Cellar West" 1970's
Photo: Bobby Cole


"Macho's" Mexican Restaurant
Photo: Bobby Cole


"Alice's Restaurant"
Photo: Bobby Cole

"Mario's" Italian Restaurant


Stratton's Grill on Broxton


Jeff Bridges and friends at Stratton’s in Westwood Village in 1988. Stratton’s later became Madison’s, and has been Barney’s Beanery for about 12 years now. But this was my Friday night destination in 1988. They totally believed our fake ID's! Stratton’s was legendary that way. 


Ship's Coffee Shop on Wilshire Blvd


Ship's was open 24 hours and never closed until one day it did. The beloved space age boomerang structure is dearly missed. 

"Fosters"

DiStefano's 

Millers Outpost across the way


Alandale's on Westwood Blvd - 1972

Affordable Portables

Inside Old World Restaurant Westwood Village - 1984 

Stan's Donuts 


Westwood Comedy Store 
(between Massachusetts and Ohio)

"Rhino Records" wasn't in the village, but south of Wilshire Blvd not far from the "All American Burger" 



"McDonald's" was a busy as the movie theatres. 

Photo: Jim Berstein 1973

Laurie Kaye shares: My best friend and I worked at McDonald’s in the Village - lasted for a few months at $1.65 an hour...the best part was cool customers like Barbara Bain and Martin Landau...the worst part was when a manager had a mental breakdown and started unwrapping burgers and throwing them at the wall! Quit shortly after...


Columbo episode inside Hunter's Books 


And then there was Monty’s Steak House at the top of this office building. They had great house bands and late night jam sessions.  One of the owners recorded “Shaddapa You Face” using the pseudonym of Joe Dolce. 

I also remember this building was full of therapists!


The Woodland Hills Monty's was used as a location in Divorce American Style in 1967


Monty's Westwood. (after redesign)


The building address is 1100 Glendon, now Westwood Center. Another well known restaurant was across the street called “Hamlet Gardens”, owned. by Harry and Marilyn Lewis  - the same couple who began “Hamburger Hamlet”.


The Hungry Tiger was like my home away from home because I used to use their payphone all the time! 




The Flax building in Westwood Village during the early 1980s. It was created by artist Franco Assetto. It was one of the largest sculptures in LA at the time.



In the 1980s, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys had an office in Westwood. Back when the entire city was area code 213


What are your memories of Westwood Village?


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







Comments

  1. what ever happened to the postermat in westwood??? i use to buy personality posters there.

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  2. What about Video 2001 on gayley?

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  3. My teenage memories of Westwood include hanging out at Headquarters, Tomnoddy Faire, Campbell’s books and Wil Wrights ice cream parlor at the lovely outdoor patio. There was a place on Westwood Blvd. who’s name I don’t remember, where you could watch them make caramel apples through the front window, then when you bought one the caramel was still warm. We would sell the Free Press on the streets to earn a few cents commission. I bought my first Beatles album at the Tower Records.

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    1. Tomnoddy Faire, what a wonderful hippie/flower child, niche-y store. I am over the moon that I'm not the only person who remembers it. Just made my day!

      I worked at Bullocks Westwood during my late hs/early college years from 1973-75.

      Anyone remember the Free Press store?

      Or Woody's?

      How about the short lived attempt to have a French farmer's market on Westwood Blvd. It was inside a building. I am thinking sometime between 1967-68 & 1971. I've yet to find anyone who remembers this place. Put on your thinking caps.

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  4. Sepi's subs. Yesterdays. Half dozen other theaters. Santa Monica Bus stops. UCLA itself connected for those not enrolled. Saturday Nights.

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  5. Pinochios, the Chart House, Diddy Reese. All mid 80’s while I was at UCLA. Movie premieres all the time. Shopped at Bullocks. There was El Toritos or some other Mexican food and a Japanese restaurant where we had sake. Monday nights was the night we all went in to Westwood, after Greek chapter meetings. ❤️

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    1. Love Boat Sushi??!! Is that what you’re thinking??!!

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    2. Acapulcos! Late night happy hour!

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  6. When I worked for The Wall Street Journal ( Pacific Coast Edition) took clients to lunch all the time at Monty's.

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  7. AVCO cinemas were north of the village on Wilshire, not south. Carry on. Great pics!

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  8. Sorry! AVCO was east of the village on Wilshire. So many years ago.

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  9. Mi & Mi Falafel was the best - I never see it mentioned.
    Shout out to Rhino Records.
    Does anyone remember the name of a small boutique/shop in Westwood in the late 70s, probably on Gayley or Weyburn, that sold decorative items, cute pillows, maybe candles and jewelry and other stuff teenage girls loved? It was a small shop packed with cute and cool items.

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  10. I was an usher at the Avco during the Ghostbusters premiere! I remember the manager was running around asking the staff, "Bill Murray has a headache does anyone have an aspirin?"
    I was also a seasonal worker at At Ease, the clothing store that would have a huge yearly sale with lines around the block.

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  11. Flax ~ used to get all my drawing supplies there ~ lived in Westwood ~ Shopped at Westward Ho Market ~ Very ocassionally went to Stan's for a shared pastry ~ In College Best friend worked at Wine Cellar ~ had to wear tiny mini dress ~ Had a boyfriend whom used to meet for a french pastry £~ He was a Czech{oslovakian} kinda refugee & professeur at UCLA ~ kinda separated at the time ~ wild 80's ~ Also The Melting Pot ~ went with my bff's every weekend ~ miss those days ~ just work & fun ~

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  12. There was a restaurant that turned into a jazz club after dark. The walls would slide open and the lounge and restaurant became one large room. It was on Wilshire, north of Gayley. Anyone remember?

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  13. Does anyone remember a minimalist restaurant from the 1980s on Le Conte called like Bernie's or Ernie's? It was upstairs and very dark, and kind of California nouvelle.

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  14. Thanks Allison. Great blog. I remember traveling in from Claremont to go to Postermat and then see a movie in Westwood. A big deal for real.

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    1. I lived in Westwood since 1956 and there have been tons of changes. I spent many hours in the Village just hanging out at The Dog House on Broxton. I worked every parking lot including the one behind the Bruin Theater & Desmonds Mens Clothing, The lot next to what used to be a Security Pacific Bank and turned into Bel Air Camera. When I was in Emerson Jr. High School, during a X-mas break, I volunteered at a Unicef Store that was just set up for the holidays that eventually turned into the Bratskellar Restaurant. My oldest memory was bowling my first game at the Bowling Alley on the 2nd floor of a building Just down the street from Stans Donuts which was an Orange Julius before it was a donut shop. too many memories for a simple comment. Thank you, Marc

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    2. my house, insanity, postermat, dinos, leatherbound, the magic dragon, the patio, the good earth, movies, shanes, 40 carrots, ahs oh the good tomes

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  15. Does anyone remember what The O Space was on Broxton Ave.?

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  16. Thanks for this lovely walk down Memory Lane. My parents grew up in LA, went to UCLA, and then moved to the Valley in the 1950's to raise a family. Every Christmas Mom would take me to Campbell's Bookstore to buy a book. My grandma had a love for Foster's and I spent many hours looking at fine china & crystal with her there. I live on the East Coast now, and even if I will probably never live in LA again, I love the city dearly!

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  17. Does anyone remember the name of the French restaurant on Lindbrook just west of Flax Art Materials and east of the gas station?(east of Tiverton) The chef wore a tall chefs hat and it was a smorgasbord of sorts. They served french green beans and prime rib amongst other delights!

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    1. The French restaurant next to Flax was Foyer de France. It was run by French Christian Scientists. The man with the toque told each customer what each was and showed it. I remember crepes a la reine, but mainly his oven-broiled New York steak, which looked like a long roast. He sliced off generous pieces, which were delicious. They also sold pastries.

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  18. Tulgey Wood...a tiny little shop in the early seventies with jasmine and patchouli oils, incense, copper bracelets for the POW's. Hellbent for Leather. I used to buy fabric at Bullocks. Saw Summer of '42 at the Bruin. The Bratskeller, the iconic rounded building which became a fast food joint.

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    1. I also still have my leather belt from the 70's from Hellbent for Leather..........Oh what a wonderful place we had then..........

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  19. I have a hand painted porcelain(?) oval with violets, on a black carved wood surround, pin - that I wear as a choker on a wonderful black braid - bought early 70's from A la Mode....... have so many comments on it - it's a treasure..... I LOVED the old Westwood

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  20. Oh yeah. Bullock's. I bumped into 16-year old Sally Field in front of Bullock's (figuratively, not literally). She was so cute and I was shy (and 14 years old). We never hooked up. Bet she doesn't remember me.

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  21. Does anybody remember the little restaurant on Broxton that served savory crepes?

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  22. Ell’s Burgers, El Toril Mexican Restaurant, Desmond’s, Campbell’s Books, Free Press Bookstore, Vogue Records, Bullock’s, Bratskeller, Woody’s Smorgasburger, Shane’s Jewelry, Texaco Gas, Wurst Haus, Sepi’s Italian Restaurant, Di Stefano’s, Jurgensen’s Market, Lamonica“s Pizza, Mario’s Italian Restaurant

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  23. In the late 80s there was also Santopietros (Gayley & Weyburn), PlumWest on bottom level of Monty’s building - would sell huge fishbowl drinks, and Olive Garden for breadsticks.
    There was also Baxters- it was downstairs/underground that sold long islands and had a dance floor. (I think it’s where WholeFoods is today)

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  24. Does anyone remember the name of that huge vitamin store just around the corner from Ahhhs? (1982)

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