"OSKO'S" 

The Holy Grail Of the Disco Clubs In Los Angeles.



Back in the day Osko's Nightclub is where it ALL went down. It’s also where they shot "Thank God It's Friday" with Donna Summer performing some of her most iconic songs. I just recently scored a matchbook promoting the movie. 




Donna Summer performing at Osko's in "Thank God It's Friday"



Terri Nunn made her film debut long before she become he the lead singer of Berlin

You can watch the entire movie here

This futuristic 1960s design was built by architect Lee Linton in 1961 was located at 161 N. La Cienega. The structure was very reminiscent of the LAX Theme building or the ticket office at Pacific Ocean Park. It appeared as though a space ship had landed at the Intersection of La Cienega and San Vicente

Kodachrome slide courtesy of Carol Watson

The space-age structure was once located next door to the "Captain's Table and across the way from the "Fish Shanty", near restaurant row.

      
                Kodachrome slide courtesy of Carol Watson


The Captain's Table 

A quick drive by Osko's & the Captain's Table


Later, in the 1970s, it wasn't too far from "Fatburger" - which was very convenient after a long night of partying. 

 Fatburger. You can see Osko's peeking through on the left


 Other incarnations were “the Gaslight”, & “1520 AD” which had a Henry the 8th, medieval  renaissance theme. 


It first opened as the Millionaire's Club - a private drinking club. Drapes were added to the claw and an enormous chandelier that was visible from the street. Then it became "1520 AD" which had a medieval, renaissance theme.


1500 AD


Postcard for 1500 AD

Back in 1969, it was a psychedelic treasure called “Climax II”. It became a trippy night spot painted by the imaginative Los Angeles Fine Arts Squad. It featured a psychedelic interpretation of Siddhartha's journey toward his great Awakening. It took almost two years to complete and 12,000 gallons of sign-painters enamel and 12,000 to produce. Even before it was finished the Climax Club mural they drew praise from the local art world





There was a movie room with bean bag chairs, a disco downstairs with stalactites on the ceiling and a giant head of the devil in the corner that winked one eye. Just outside the ballroom which is where bands would play,  was a dining area where roast beef was served until 11pm. Cheech and Chong played there too. 





The group never finished this self initiated project because a club owner named Michael Hewitt lured them away with a paid commission to paint  the exterior of his club in Hollywood. The narrative followed the spiritual journey of a young man moving to Los Angeles, a city of natural beauty, artistic opportunity, and vice. Unfortunately, once the Climax Club changed hands, in 1971, the new owner had a different plan for the wild structure, and the painting was white washed out.

 Screen grab from "Clay Pigeons" released in 1969

 Less than two years later after the murals were painted, it was back to its original generic white. The process that took almost 8months! That's a lot of white paint! 



Osko's was featured for the front and back cover R&B group CQ's  "Disco Nights" released in 1979


Osko’s was the last incarnation during the height of Disco


Incredible footage of the Cave Club inside Osko's



In 1976, it was the short lived KROQ Cabaret: a crazy, decadent rock & roll club. I don't think it lasted six months, but young new bands like Van Halen, Quiet Riot, the Motels, and so many more, were regulars, just getting their start. It was also the short lived club, "UP", that was known for funky Reggae parties. If you're lucky you can catch shots of the club in TV shows such as "Hart To Hart" and "Starsky and Hutch".

 David Price ran the under crowd at Osko's from 1979 - 1981


David Price and Michael Del Rey talking about Osko's on Merv Griffin


Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten

I remember dancing here (underage ;) during it's final days in late 80s when it had names like the Zombie Zoo, The Cathouse and White Trash A Go Go. 




An Osko's napkin - ebay score!

Sadly, this UFO like structure similar to the LAX Theme Building was demolished in early 90s. It was replaced with Loehmann’s discount department store. Today the property is owned by Rick Caruso and will eventually become a new development. Bring back the claw! 

Wouldn't be great if it ended up looking like this?


Osko's built in 3D!



What the original location currently looks like. 

Alison Martino is a writer, television producer and personality, and L.A. pop culture historian. She founded the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles in 2010. In addition to  VLA, Martino muses on L.A’s. past and present on Twitter and Instagram and on her website, http://alisonmartino.com

Comments

Popular Posts