Sadly, there are too many places I hear people talk about but I never took the time to visit: The Ambassador Hotel, Schwab’s Pharmacy, Chasen’s and C.C. Brown’s, to name a few. For more "extinct" restaurants, check out L.A. Time Machine's list.
Now, here are a few of my own memories of old Southern California Used-To-Bes:
The Pike –
from 1902 to 1979, A
Many of our family trips through L.A to
(Warning! If you have a weak stomach, skip this.) So I spent my last day at the Pike bent over a wooden railing as I watched my churned Enchiladas splatter on the ground. (Sorry for that.)
Disneyland's Old Tomorrowland -
As a kid enthralled by the future - waiting in anticipation of television phones, flying cars, and kitchen robots - I found Tomorrowland fascinating. It was bright-white, sleek, space-like... and oh so forward-thinking.
One favorite of mine was the Adventure Thru Inner Space ride. My first time on it, I thought I was really getting “miniaturized,” after seeing the huge eyeball looking at me through the microscope. That completely freaked me out. Jumping and running seemed like a very real option. And there was the General Electric Carousel of Progress, spinning to this happy lyric: “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow,shining at the end of every day.” I watched in awe as the human-looking robots demonstrated the wonders of electricity through the 20th century. When I was sixteen, Tomorrowland was still fun, but I met a musician in one of the Tomorrowland bands I liked even better. We made out in the food-court.
From my first visit at three to my adult years, no
matter how much time passed, our present never looked as futuristic as
Tomorrowland. And then... it changed. (photo: I followed Pluto to the employee exit and accosted the poor dog)
The newer look is more Jules Verne or H.G. Wells - a style that was considered futuristic in the early 20th century, but hardly forward thinking for today. So what are the Disney executives saying? There's no hope for the future - you've already seen the best innovations that the human mind can imagine...but here, we dredged up this refurbished look?
*UPDATE: The Tomorrowland Submarine ride is coming back in 2007 as Finding Nemo
Martoni’s Restaurant: (
Many record contracts were signed and movie plots scribbled on napkins at Martoni's...or so I've heard. One quick Google search reveals that it's apparently one of the last restaurants singer Sam Cooke went to before he was shot to death, and that supposedly Sonny Bono wrote "Laugh at Me" after being kicked out of Martoni’s for his wild attire.
But more than that, Martoni's was an all around great Italian Restaurant. It became a favorite dating place for my husband and me from the mid '80s to the early 90s. We liked the warm and simple decor - Chianti bottles and red leather booths. No pretensions. At Martoni's, the scampi was exquisite and the service even better.
And then there was the '94 earthquake. I've heard, though I'm not sure, that Martoni's suffered too much damage to open again. Martoni's closed its doors forever.
I don't really remember the food. I do remember the building was cool and round. My mom always took my sister and me there for breakfast before heading out for a day of sight-seeing in L.A., whenever we were on vacation in Southern California.
The last time we ate there we were on our
Charlie's - a multi-storied thrift store
emporium - on Sunset Bl, Silverlake
Charlie's - a multi-storied thrift store emporium - on Sunset Bl, SilverlakeBack in the '80s, my husband and I used to visit Charlie's as often as possible. It was like raiding the attic of a crazy aunt who happened to have really great taste. There were two entire stories jammed from floor to ceiling with all kinds of dusty and strewn collectibles. In the midst of the jumble were jewels; downstairs, stuck under some lesser junk, I found a Charles Eames designed Herman Miller aluminum framed chair in near perfect condition. I got it for $40!!! Man, I miss Charlie's.
As Joni Mitchell said, "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone..."