Saturday, June 30, 2018

Ella Goes To Hollywood, 1962 - Part 3

By popular demand, I proudly present part three of "Ella Goes to Hollywood". Maybe you read about this series in LIFE magazine?

I'll bet that a lot of folks from out of town asked to see the Brown Derby restaurant - for a time it was where movie stars gathered for Cobb salad and chiffon pie. There were three "Derby" eateries, but this is the one near Hollywood and Vine. Notice that Ella is standing on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Some of the folks who have stars at that location (1628 Vine Street) are Charlton Heston, William Powell, Donna Reed, and Frank Sinatra.

Here's a vintage color photo, scrounged from the interwebs.

Next we see Ella at the old NBC studio ("Radio City West"), located at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street. This streamlined art deco studio opened in 1938, and was used for both radio and television production. 

Here's a beautiful vintage postcard image, looking north on Vine Street with NBC to our right. Wallich's Music City (to the left) was another landmark. My mom can still remember their commercial jingle all these years later! Notice that ABC Studio was just up Vine. CBS Studio (not in the photo) was a few blocks east on Sunset.

Another photo from NBC...

And another beautiful color photo (again, scrounged from the 'web)! 

By 1955, NBC had opened "Color City", their new television studio in Burbank. Just two years after these photos were taken, Radio City West was demolished; a bank now stands on that spot.

My goodness, there appears to be a giant man in the distance!

Whew! I was afraid it was the Amazing Colossal Man, but instead it's just a billboard advertising Lawrence Welk, performing at the historic Palladium theater. Wunnerful! 

Here's a nice color image from a vintage postcard. Judging from the motion blur, it looks like Mr. Welk's baton hand was motorized so that it moved back and forth. If I designed this billboard, I would have had bubbles coming out of Larry's ears, too.

We'll end today's visit at CBS Television City, located at the corner of Beverly and Fairfax. It opened in 1952, and has been the home of scores of television shows - including plenty of talk shows ("Dinah", "The Merv Griffin Show", "The Mike Douglas Show", and more), game shows ("Match Game", "The Price is Right", "Hollywood Squares", etc.), and some legendary programs such as "All in the Family", "The Carol Burnett Show", "Playhouse 90", "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour", and many more... it's a real piece of history.

Here's an old postcard view...

...and here's a fairly contemporary photo. Sadly, in 2017 CBS was in talks to sell Television City for development. The City of Los Angeles is trying to have the site declared a historic landmark, but... L.A. loves to tear stuff down.

Part four (the final installment) of Ella's adventure's in Hollywood will be coming up!


Nanook said...


I gotta get me one of those hats-! Love the shots of NBC - both that cool, curvy staircase and that long partially-covered walkway. Very swell. Go, Ella-!

Thanks, Major.

Scott Lane said...

My god, that hat! Looks like a giant seagull flew over and dropped a "bomb" on her.

K. Martinez said...

Wallich's Music City stories participated in promotional tie-ins with Disneyland back in the day selling advance sale tickets to "Dixieland at Disneyland" for admission and unlimited use of attractions. I heard it on an old Disneyland radio ad.

I think the NBC building is an architectural beauty, but most of my memories are of CBS Television City as I used to walk by it quite a bit. Always loved the iconic CBS Eye. Sad to hear CBS is selling it for development. Thanks, Major.

Scott Lane, Ha, ha! I had to take a second look at that hat. You're right.

K. Martinez said...

Oops! I mean "stores" not "stories".

zach said...

2 Studebakers! You don't see that every day. Fun photos today. Now, I need to go look at that hat.


JC Shannon said...

Ella has been on a mission to see Hollywood and by golly she has done it. Hooray! So many beautiful buildings and so little time. Hollywood in it's Silver Age. Most of the big stars are still around, and TV is emerging as the new power in Tinsletown. I will be checkin' these pics out for hours. By the way I becha' Ella was a BIG Lawrence Welk fan as was my Gram. Hollywood today is in it's Lead Era, there's alota mass there but it aint worth much. Thanks to Major for the Ella series, I love it!

Patrick Devlin said...

Was the "Derby" entrance to the restaurant on the other side of the block? That's what I remember from my Dennis the Menace goes to Hollywood comic copy. Cool shots.They can't tear down the CB building: that's how I get oriented when I'm in that part of town.

Patrick Devlin said...

As have popped up repeatedly in different shots around twon why did the transportation companies (Santa Fe, Union Pacific, American Airlines etc.) have offices around town? Weren't ticket counters at the airport and train station good enough? Maybe these were just office buildings...

Nanook said...

@ JC Shannon-
I prefer to think of Hollywood today as its 'pot metal' age.

@ Patrick-
Vine Street was the official entrance to the Brown Derby - although there may have been another one in the back.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I know that time marches on, but it’s too bad that the old NBC building couldn’t be saved.

Scott Lane, to me it looks like the seagull built a nest on her head!

K. Martinez, yes, I have a number of fliers from Disneyland that mention Music City for tickets to special events such as New Year’s Eve parties. Apparently Television City has been declared a Historical Landmark (as of last week?), but that does not guarantee that it won’t be torn down.

David Zacher, unfortunately the beautiful Studebaker photo isn’t one of mine…

Jonathan, I once had friends visiting from Europe, and they wanted me to show them around Hollywood. I tried to convince them that it wasn’t what they thought it would be, but…. they insisted. We had fun, but I was kind of embarrassed when driving around downtown Hollywood (this was years ago, when it was even more nasty than it is now, arguably).

Patrick Devlin, having never been to the Brown Derby, I couldn’t tell you. It sure looks like Ella is standing by an entrance, but perhaps there was another entrance on the other side.

Patrick Devlin, I honestly don’t know why there were offices for those companies in Hollywood. Regional “home offices”? I suppose a big company like Santa Fe would have a lot of Vice Presidents and Managers just like any other… they have to have offices somewhere!

Nanook, not silicone?

Patrick Devlin said...

There was a big brown derby at the site of the restaurant Like 60 feet or so, may be there were two locations for the restaurant?

MonkeyMensch said...

From wiki: it was a chain of restaurants:

" It is often incorrectly thought that the Brown Derby was a single restaurant, and the Wilshire Boulevard and Hollywood branches are frequently confused.

Nanook said...

There were four Brown Derby locations: The original [1926] at 3427 Wilshire Boulevard (moved in 1937 to 3377 Wilshire); Hollywood [1929] at 1628 N. Vine Street; Beverly Hills [1931] at 9537 Wilshire Bl.; and Los Feliz [1940] at 4500 Los Feliz Bl.

I think I'm ready for that Derby Salad.

JC Shannon said...

I remember my Mom pointing The Brown Derby out to me, I think it was the one on Wilshire. I heard they leveled it and put up guessed it, parking lot.

Nanook said...

@ Patrick-
How about all the local 'sales offices' for hotels - especially for Las Vegas properties, back in the 1960's, that populated the LA/Beverly Hills area-?

TokyoMagic! said...

If Ella ate at the Brown Derby, I certainly hope she got to see Eve Arden!

Patrick, the Brown Derby on Wilshire (not the Beverly Hills location) was torn down, but a pink two-story mini mall (it was the eighties) was built on that location and the "hat" part of the building was saved and placed on the second level of the shopping center. It looks like crap, in my opinion! Maybe they should have just demolished the whole thing. I remember an article in the Los Angeles Times about a group of people wanting to save the restaurant from demolition. There was a photo of a mime that had climbed up on top of the hat and was doing a "sit-in" up there. I'm not sure how long he stayed up there. I think he was also performing for the crowd while he was up there.

CBS Television City should be preserved, just for the fact that The Cher Show and Match Game were both filmed there. I went there in the eighties to see the Price is Right with Bob Barker, but unfortunately, Johnny Olson did not invite me to "Come On Down!" I also went to see an episode of Three's Company filmed there. I'm not sure why an ABC show was filming at CBS, but it was. So much TV history there and it's an iconic mid-century modern building. I hope it gets saved. I realize the value of that property must be through the roof these days, but does CBS really need the money that much that they need to sell it off?

Melissa said...

I always mean to go to the Brown Derby at Disney's Hollywood Studios, but they're one of the most expensive table-service restaurants and don't have many good vegetarian options. But you can sometimes find their signature grapefruit cake at nearby coffee shoos, and it's really good.

JC Shannon said...

Mellissa, you could always go for the William Holden Chiffon Pie in the Face. I don't know if it's veggie but it sure sounds yummy!

Sue said...

Does Ella go to Disneyland?

Major Pepperidge said...

Patrtick Devlin, I see that MonkeyMensch has already answered your question - the large derby was only at one location.

MonkeyMensch, thanks!

Nanook, wow, well that’s what I get for doing absolutely no research. All this time I thought there were three.

Jonathan, I think there might be a strip mall now, and I also believe that the derby was placed on top of the building - you can see photos of it online.

Nanook, I am not surprised to learn about those sales offices, but don’t really know much about them.

TokyoMagic!, ah, I see that you have gone into much more detail about the strip mall where the Brown Derby used to be. Don’t all mini-malls look like crap?? Very cool that you saw “The Price is Right” and “Three’s Company” being filmed. I always imagine that there was a lot of sitting and waiting for audiences, but then again, didn’t they film three episodes of The Price is Right in one day? My pal Mr. X says that CBS is doing very poorly financially - much to my surprise, he doesn’t seem very concerned about the potential demise of Television City, even though I have gone to eat at the nearby Grove with him many times.

Melissa, how long have you been a vegetarian??

JC Shannon, oy vey, I can’t escape Lucy no matter how I try.

Sue, sadly, Ella did not go to Disneyland - or if she did, I have no photos of such a trip.

Dean Finder said...

I never realized the TV studio in the Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck cartoon "People are Bunny" (with Daws Butler as a parody of Art Linkletter) was the CBS Television City studios.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I'm not sure how The Price Is Right filmed, but they probably did do multiple shows in one day. As an audience member, we only saw one show taped. I've read that Match Game used to tape one week's worth of shows all in one day. They did three shows, then went to lunch and had multiple cocktails with their meals. Then they returned to the studio and did two more shows. If you were paying close attention, the celebrities were supposedly much "looser" for the last two shows (Thurs & Fri) than the previous three (Mon, Tues & Wed).

I guess I shouldn't be surprised about CBS potentially being torn down. Hardly anything gets saved in Southern California. And after all, they tore down a chunk of the Farmer's Market next door to CBS to build The Grove and prior to that, they tore down what was remaining of the Pan Pacific Auditorium, which was also next door to CBS. Let's just level the entire block and be done with it.

It was difficult for me, but I refrained from the William Holden/Brown Derby/Pie reference, but I thought someone else might "throw" it out there, and someone (J.C. Shannon) did! Still, I had to stick a more obscure Eve Arden reference in there. I love Eve Arden.....almost as much as I love Sandy Duncan and Lesley Ann Warren.