Saturday, May 19, 2018

Ella Goes to Hollywood, Part 2

Today I am continuing our look at a series of photos following a nice lady named Ella as she toured Hollywood back in 1962. See part one HERE.

Since I have no definitive order for these photos, I'm winging it. So I'll begin with this photo; Ella has met up with some friends in an unknown location (it could be Hollywood Blvd near the corner of Van Ness...). We don't see any of these people in any of the other photos, for whatever reason. There are two men in uniform, and the lady on the left wears a USO arm band.

Now Ella is standing at the famous corner of Hollywood and Vine, near such landmarks of the time as NBC Studio, CBS Studio, and the Pantages Theater. To the right we can just see a bit of Hody's restaurant...

... here's a vintage postcard, probably from roughly the same time period. Sorry about the scary clown! Hody's had several eye-grabbing billboards on their roof over the years. A Howard Johnson's  restaurant replaced Hody's around 1970.

Ella is still on the corner of Hollywood and Vine, only now we're looking north along Vine, with the American Airlines building in the background.

Here's a vintage postcard... to the further up Vine is the famous Capitol Records building (which we will see soon!). Notice the Howard Johnson's to our left.

Nearby is the historic and beautiful Pantages Theater, just a block east of Vine Street. It was the marquee's movie listing that helped me to date these black and white photos to 1962! If you look carefully you can see the famous Frolic Room, a Hollywood dive that had been around since the 1930's. 

Here's a nice color photo (scrounged on the 'net) from about two years later...

"Judgment at Nuremberg" was a big hit, released in December of 1961. It had an impressive cast, including Judy Garland, Burt Lancaster, Spencer Tracy, Marlene Dietrich, "Best Actor" Oscar winner Maximilian Schell, and... William Shatner!

Down at one corner of the Pantages was this USO office. Is it just a coincidence that the woman in photo #1 was wearing a USO arm band? 

Just around the corner from the Pantages (that's it on the left), on Argyle Street, we get this view of the wonderful Capitol Records building. Completed in 1956, it is sometimes known as "The House That Nat Built", because Nat King Cole sold so many records for the company. 

And finally, no visit to Hollywood is complete without a visit to Grauman's Chinese! You know, where "Star Wars" would premiere 15 years after these photos were taken. The theater is "cooled by refrigeration", which is OK by me. "West Side Story" is playing... it won 10 Academy Awards.

Here's a vintage postcard, for those of you who can see in color!

Ella stands near a display of Academy Award winners throughout history, but she only has eyes for the famous footprints, handprints, and signatures of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

Like Red Skelton! Red was an incredibly popular comic actor in movies, and in 1962 "The Red Skelton Hour" was among the most-watched television programs.

So... are you up for yet a third post of Ella's adventures in Hollywood?


Nanook said...


Ella alone, would be enough to hold my attention [love that hat-!], but with Hollywood, ca. 1962 as a backdrop, the picture is complete. The thrill of seeing Hody's - not that I ever ate there, but still. Some car id's: In the USO shot - that's a 1957 Cadillac; and in front of the Capitol Records Tower is a 1958 Oldsmobile - either a Super 88 or 98.

West Side Story played at Grauman's from December 14, 1961 all the way through January 17, 1963 - for a total of 57 weeks-! Boy - those were the days-! The color postcard of Grauman's would be from between November 19, 1959 and December 16, 1959, as that's when The Best of Everything was playing there. (Gotta love those Jerry Wald films): An Affair to Remember; No Down Payment; Peyton Place; The Long Hot Summer; Let's Make Love, etc.

Looking forward to seeing more of Ella. Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

I've seen all the films featured on the movie theater marquees in these photos and postcards. I love these old B&W snapshots showing nice bits of early 60's Hollywood and Ella herself.

I'm up for 100 more posts of Ella's Adventures in Hollywood if you've got 'em. These are really great! Thanks, Major.

@Nanook, more Jerry Wald films I like are "Dark Passage" starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall and "Young Man with the Horn" starring Kirk Douglas and Doris Day. I really liked those. Also, since "The Best of Everything" was mentioned, the films he produced starring Joan Crawford; "Mildred Piece", "Humoresque" and "Flamingo Road" are pretty great too.

TokyoMagic! said...

In that color shot of the Pantages Theater, does the sign on the side of the building state that parking was only .30 for one hour? If so, that's amazing. And The Pawnbroker must have been a Disney film since there is a not-so-hidden Mickey on the poster for it.

I love Ella and I'm looking forward to seeing more of her adventures in L.A. I also like the mix of Ella's personal photos and the corresponding postcard shots. Thanks, Major!

Chuck said...

The uniformed fellow on the left in the first photo is a soldier, while the service member on the right is an airman. While the uniforms are similar, you can tell them apart by the little details. For example, the soldier is wearing a black web belt while the airman is wearing a blue one.

Yes, please - more Ella!

Patrick Devlin said...

Nice shots, and nice story telling too, all!

As an off-hand thing I'm reminded of the way the big movie houses would get specialized lettering for their marquees. These can just be seen at the margins of the two shots of the front of the Pantages. You can see a big, colorful"RY" at the lest for "west side stoRY and first and last letters of THe best of everytHING. Great memories, Major.

Irene said...

I recently drove the 101 on the way to Universal and it used to be that you could see the Capital Records building very clearly from the freeway. Not so much anymore! Several highrises have gone up between the freeway and the building and now you only get a brief glimpse of it! Sacrilege is what I call it! And then about a month ago I went with friends to see Aladdin at the Pantages for a Wednesday matinee. I walked about a block to Vine and looked up the street at Capitol Records and the same thing is happening on that side. Many high rises going up and the view being blocked! Sigh.

Irene said...

Also, based on what Ella is wearing I would say these photos were taken on different days.

TokyoMagic! said...

Taking a second look at these this morning, I just noticed in that American Airlines building shot, that it looks like a couple men are repairing or replacing a square in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Or maybe they are adding another "star" to it?

And even though the billboard for Hody's Restaurant reads, "Special Menu For Children," I wonder how many kids took one look at that scary clown and said, "I DON'T WANT TO EAT THERE, PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME!!!"

TokyoMagic! said...

And one more observation. In that same American Airlines building pic, I see there was a Schwabs Pharmacy across the street. I knew of the "famous" Schwabs Drugstore that was located on Sunset Blvd., but I didn't realize they had more than one location.

Nanook said...

@ TM-

There were a number of Schwab’s Pharmacy locations over time. As you observed, the one at 6255 Hollywood Bl., a couple in Beverly Hills, and for a short time, a location on the SW corner of San Vicente & 26th St. at the Los Angeles/Santa Monica boundaries - among a couple of other locations, which I can’t verify.

Melissa said...

Wasn't The Pawnbroker a sequel to The Happiest Millionaire?

Pickin' up soldiers on Hollywood Boulevard? Go Ella!

Melissa said...

Meant to add - any old blog might put up the pictures, but all the research and background info is The GDB Difference (TM).

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, now I'm wondering which Schwab's was the one where Lana Turner was supposedly discovered while sitting on a stool at the counter? Even though I think that was just a legend created by the studios.

Melissa, too funny! I can see that as an unsuccessful sequel to an unsuccessful movie. The Biddle Family goes broke and has to hock all of their belongings. At the same time, their pet alligators are all turned loose onto the streets of Philadelphia!

JC Shannon said...

Wow, you gotta love Ella in comfortable shoes, walking around Hollywood rocking that feathered hat! This is a woman that knows what she wants and is determined to get it. I love the pic of the Pantages, I saw 2001 a Space Odessey there and can still remember the gorgeous and grandiose lobby. I also saw M*A*S*H there. Hody's was an L.A. institution and my Grandmother loved to eat there. Nine years later I joined the Air Force and I have fond memories of Grauman's Chinese Theater as I was rear ended by a black Mustang right in front of the theater in 1970. Ouch. Please Major, more Ella!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Great photo's of L.A. before the overcrowding and taxes drove some us to other states (confusion, bewilderment, disgust, etc).

For me the part of Judgement at Nurenberg that stands out is when Max Schell questions a mentally impaired Montgomery Cliff. "Please form a sentence using the following words, Hare, Hunter, Field". Oscar caliber performances throughout that movie!

Thanks for posting.

Melissa said...

Yes, that's the first thing I think of whenever that movie's mentioned. Gut-wrenching.

Nanook said...

@ TM!-

The Schwab's location where Lana Turner was "supposedly" discovered is the original location at Sunset & Crescent Heights. However, as you rightly noted, the story is merely apocryphal. She was discovered at the Top Hat Soda Fountain, located across the street from Hollywood High School, on Sunset Blvd.

From an article written by Billy Wilkerson, whose dad owned the Hollywood Reporter, which, in part reads...
Seated in my father's office, Judy exuded the same natural beauty and charm he had noticed in the soda fountain. There was also an innocence and, not the least, a burgeoning sensuality that, he knew, lights and camera would eagerly enhance. Judy was magic, he would say in later years. "There was something about her that was special. She had a quality all her own that was unforgettable."

My father penned a note to agent Zeppo Marx. Marx signed Judy Turner to his agency and the rest is, as they say, history.

My father's hunch was confirmed by the rest of Hollywood. Judy Turner, renamed Lana, was a born star.

On that January day, a Hollywood myth sprang to life. In one brief, glittering moment, a schoolgirl was plucked from a soda fountain counter and catapulted into the eternal firmament of stardom.

But, curiously, while Hollywood's history is littered with dozens of noteworthy discovery stories, this one stuck. Lana's much quoted "discovery" became one of the town's most enduring legends. It became famous as "the Hollywood Cinderella Story" because it combined a young girl, Cinderella; a powerful publisher, the handsome prince; and a letter to agent Zeppo Marx, the glass slipper that transformed her life.

The Top Hat's owner placed a metal plaque on the seat Lana had occupied on the magical morning of her discovery. Soon, his soda fountain was swarming with girls eager to meet the mysterious man who had discovered Lana Turner. My father had to stop visiting the Top Hat.
His good fortune had not gone unnoticed by Leon Schwab, who owned Schwab's Pharmacy, two miles west of Hollywood High. No matter that Lana would had to have been a track star to sprint to Schwab's, inhale a Coke and make it back for her next class. Leon sold sodas and Schwab's was, like the Top Hat, on Sunset Boulevard. He started claiming that Lana had been sitting at his counter when she was discovered, not by Wilkerson, but by her first director, Mervyn LeRoy. Since the Top Hat no longer existed, few bothered to dispute Leon's claim.

The myth that Lana was discovered at Schwab's was augmented by Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky. As Lana writes, Skolsky was having lunch at the counter when "a busty blond came up and asked which stool was Lana Turner's. Skolsky simply picked one and pointed it out."

The blond sat down and Schwab's became a Hollywood landmark, mecca to thousands of tourists and would-be stars.

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, thanks for that info! The myth was further perpetuated by Bobby the bellboy, when he tells Lucy Ricardo that "Schwab's" is the drugstore where Lana Turner was discovered sitting at the counter.

Patrick Devlin said...

Truly, Nanook "Stay for the stories". That one is something I'm never going to forget. I wish my Mom was still alive so that I could pick her brain regarding the Top Hat and Schwab's, what with her being an alumna of Hollywood High. Ah, bygones...

JC Shannon said...

Wow TokyoMagic, You are a true Lucy fan. I had forgotten that. I loved those Hollywood episodes. Nobody was better at physical comedy than Lucy. She learned from the best, the Marx Brothers. Nobody did it better. The only one who could compete was perhaps Vivian Vance. A duo like that may never exist again.

TokyoMagic! said...

JC Shannon, I also loved the Hollywood episodes! As a kid, everything I knew about old Hollywood, I learned from "I Love Lucy."

Nanook said...

Deal All-

I should'a mentioned that "Lana" was discovered in January, 1937.

Melissa said...

The same Zeppo Marx who won WWII.


In addition to his role as an agent, Zeppo Marx was also active in engineering. He established Marman Products Company, Inc. of Inglewood, California in 1941. ...Marman Products produced the "Marman Clamp", which was designed to secure cargo during transport. It was used, for example, to support the atomic bombs carried on the Enola Gay.

Major Pepperidge said...

Hi everybody, sorry it took me so long to respond to the many MANY comments - I got home late last night and needed some sleep. It took me well over a half hour to write these responses! :-)

Nanook, thanks for the ID on the cars; I wish I had eaten at Hody’s! My mom says that she used to go there with my grandparents. I’ve seen “West Side Story” on stage, but have not seen the movie. Isn’t Spielberg working on a new version?

K. Martinez, how about a dozen or so additional Ella photos?! Because that’s all I’ve got left. No wonder I’ve never heard of Jerry Wald, I haven’t seen a single film that you mentioned (even though I’ve heard of the films)!

TokyoMagic, remember, 30 cents in 1962 equals $8000 in today’s money. Inflation.

Chuck, I thought that maybe they were in the Salvation Army. I feel kind of dumb now.

Patrick Devlin, yes, those were the days of fantastic movie marquees. I have a few photos of theaters in Times Square that have amazing façades (from the 1950’s)… I’ll share those someday.

Irene, YES. You can hardly see it. There are cranes all over that part of Hollywood. It’s like a miniature Manhattan. I guess it’s just the way things are, but I’ve read that development is outstripping demand - I have no idea if that is true or not.

Irene, I believe that the first photo was taken on the day Ella arrived in California, while the others were taken during her tour. Unless she had boundless energy, I’m sure that these are from at least two days, if not more.

TokyoMagic!, I noticed the workmen, but it didn’t occur to me that they could be working on one of the stars. As a kid, I didn’t hate clowns, but I didn’t love them either; my first trip to a circus had me praying that the clown wouldn’t interact with me!

TokyoMagic!, Ella went to the famous Schwab’s Pharmacy as well. Stay tuned.

Nanook, I knew there were two Schwab’s locations, but had no idea that there were at least five, and maybe more!

Melissa, I believe that The Pawnbroker? is a feature length version of “Pawn Stars”.

Melissa, you mean research done by everybody else! I just sit back and watch it happen.

TokyoMagic!, Lana Turner was actually eating ribs and corn on the cob, and had BBQ sauce all over her face. It’s kind of amazing that she was discovered at all.

Jonathan, Ella has been around long enough to know that shoes are the key to happiness. Wow, cool that you saw “2001” at the Pantages. It is still one of my very favorite movies of all time, even if dopes complain that it is “slow and boring”. I’ll bet the driver of the black Mustang was rubbernecking like a tourist.

Alonzo, considering that I like classic movies, I sure have missed a bunch. Time to add “Judgement at Nurmberg” to the long, long list.

Melissa, you should watch “Judgement at Wormleysburg (Pennsylvania)”.

Nanook, poor Top Hat Soda Fountain - imagine the crowds of hopefuls who would have flocked to their establishment for years after that story became famous? I’ll bet that legend was a large part of why there were eventually five (or more) Schwab’s Pharmacies. Thanks for doing the research!

TokyoMagic!, you have some kind of photographic memory when it comes to I Love Lucy episodes.

Patrick Devlin, I’ll bet your mom would have had some fun stories.

Jonathan, since you are new-ish to the blog, TokyoMagic! loves to bring up “I Love Lucy” because he knows I don’t like that show!! That and he actually loves it, too.

TokyoMagic!, I learned everything I know bout the rock and roll business from “The Partridge Family”.

Nanook, I remember knowing the name “Lana Turner” when I was a kid, but I didn’t really know who she was. Then I saw some photos of her in her prime. Holy Toledo! What a beauty. No wonder people noticed her.

Melissa, wow, I had no idea. Good for Zeppo! What a cool piece of info.

Nanook said...


I really should have identified the restaurant as the Top Hat Café. And, yes, it had a soda fountain. (So much for my 'accurate' research).

I was able to find someone willing to commit to Schwab's seven locations, but only included spotty addresses. Here's what I came up with... The original @ 8024 Sunset Bl; 6255 Hollywood Bl; 401 N. Bedford Dr; 430 N. Roxbury Dr (both in Beverly Hills); 9201 Sunset Bl, at the LA/Beverly Hills border; 2538 San Vicente - the location on the SW corner of San Vicente & 26th St @ the LA/Santa Monica border. So, where's that 7th location-?? I'm afraid the fame of the original overshadows all their other locations. (Where are those old 'phone books'. Yes, THOSE things-!

Melissa said...

The original @ 8024 Sunset Bl;

I assume that's the one we see in the movie Sunset Boulevard, when Joe goes to buy more Turkish cigarettes for Norma? I always thought the storefront next door looked oddly deserted.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, what a great post.

Amazing vintage pictures, deep research, and the comments... indeed, the GDB Difference (TM).

Sorry I missed this post in real time. It comes right on the heels of my recent visit to Hollywood, featuring dinner at Musso and Frank and my own pic of Hollywood and Vine. Alas not enough time to get down to Graumans.

Thank you everyone for the research into the Lana Turner Question. I had no idea it was so spurious. Never trust anything you read on the internet.

Irene, please forgive me, I am at least partly to blame for one of the buildings blocking the Capitol Records view (having had a slight part in it's construction). Real Estate values keep climbing and the architecture has to keep up. My only defense is, that if I turned down the work, someone else would have done it instead.

Cheers all.


Nanook said...

@ Melissa-

Yes indeed, it is.