Yes We’re Open…but not for long.

TinyNaylorsI arrived in Hollywood with a camera just in time to take one of the last shots of Tiny Naylor’s Drive In at Sunset and La Brea before it was flattened.  The roof resembled an aircraft carrier and I half expected fighter jets to arrive and save this place from the destructive forces of commerce and modernization. Hell, when I was a kid modern meant cool.  Modern meant a roofline like Tiny Naylor’s, a jet-age version of a 1950’s malt-burger sci-fi flick drive in. But Tiny N’s version of modern was itself modernized into a bad stucco strip-mall.  And today you can order franchised Crazy Chicken parts and never know that at this same site modern man & modern woman once drove up in modern finned American cars and sat beneath a flying rooftop eating burgers and malts.

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Sometimes you can save an old building like the Sunset Grill but then you can’t save it from itself.  There was quite some dust up over the demise of the Sunset Grill, a classic burger grill just east of Hollywood’s heartland.  Guitar Center was going in next door and may have needed a parking lot.  Or maybe they just didn’t want their cheap Japanese knock off Fenders to compete with the authentic grill and grease of a joint that probably spawned a thousand classic songs over the years.  How authentic can a 1950’s replica of a Fender Tele seem next to the reality of the Sunset Grill?  The dust up saved the Sunset Grill but today it resembles a stucco box.  Gone are the stools, the grease, the soul of the place.

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Endless Entertainment

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This was my bowling alley.  A few blocks east on Pico, at Westwood and Pico, The Picwood Bowl.  I could walk there and I did.  Endless entertainment because it was open 24 hours.  Damn!  Three levels of steps & chairs down to the main floor where the balls were tossed.  A sunken cocktail lounge with trophies and forgotten odes to alcohol behind display glass.  Always felt a bit weird sitting on a bar stool in that sunken bar – tall on the chair but short to the rest of the world up on level ground bowling.

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But one day the lanes were stripped of their wood and the building flattened for one gigantic ugly hell of a shopping mall.  Some post modern monstrosity. Designed by an architect raised on junk food & profit margins.  Yes, the family who owned the lanes sold out.  I hope the hell they made a lot of money because they made a lot of folks pretty damn unhappy when the sold out.

Across the street the Apple Pan still flips out burgers and pies, some of the best in Los Angeles.

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Burgers & Huts

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The old burger stand.  I’m not talking about a Tommy’s Burger but a little stand.  The size of a roach coach.  Take off the wheels, add a few bar stools and start grilling the patties and onions.  Pass the ketchup while you’re at it.

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Back in the 1980’s, I could walk down Sawtelle in my westside neighborhood and eat a different burger at a different stand and no two burgers were the same.

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Heading East down Pico toward Fairfax, Mr. Philly was already boarded up.  By the time I reached Fairfax there was another burger joint with the deliciously misspelled but apt name Meatty Meat Burgers – what you got here was meat and a bun.  I preferred the patties back in my neighborhood but MMB was well known.  They even repainted it green after this photo was taken.

meattymeat-copy WM.jpgOne of the last to go was Jay’s Jayburgers on Virgil and Santa Monica but it’s been a memory for about 8 years now.  I hear you can still find a good burger at some classic joints like Capital Burger (also on Pico) but I stopped eating meat back when Jay’s closed. With Jay’s chili gone, it was time to pack it in.

Rehash your best burger memories in this Handmade Upcycled Burger Journal.

The Ivar – Legit Goes Strip

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I first stumbled on the Ivar with this slide I took in the late 1970s.  Hollywood was rundown and the Ivar was a lovely shade of pink that symbolized what was left of the city of dreams.  A legit theater that opened in ’51, it had turned into a peep show and strip club a couple decades later.  Famed street photographer  Gary Winogrand left the street to photograph the show inside and why not, they even had a photo night where horny men with cameras could get their film exposed in more ways than one.  In the 1960s and into the early ’70s, rock acts like the Doors played the stage.  For more info and some great old photos, check out this website and the various links contained on its page:  http://sites.google.com/site/hollywoodtheatres/ivar

Terminal Bar & Cafe Long Ago Terminated

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When I got to Los Angeles in ’78 there was still some of it left, like this bar located in a warehouse building across from the old fruit and vegetable wholesale mart in downtown Los Angeles.  Too much of this entire area has been razed along with the memories of anyone who once had a drink in the Terminal.  I have yet to find one posting of the Terminal Bar let alone the Terminal Cafe that adjoined the joint.  Being the fool that I was, all I have is this snap shot.  At the time, I wasn’t ready to have a drink in every joint I photographed and Oh Boy what a fool this guy was.  I can say that because I was that fool.

Enjoy this photo, because that’s all that’s left of the Terminal Bar.  Find more photos of long gone bars in Los Angeles here.

The Big P On Pico At Fairfax

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Who amongst ye in Los Angeles can recall the Picfair movie theater,  a small single screen on Pico at Fairfax?  Built in 1940 and destroyed in 1992 following a torching during the riots.  By then it had been closed since 1979 and had morphed into Albee’s Discount Appliance.  The joint has a curious history including owned for a time by James Nicholson before he started American International Pics in the late 1950s.  This picture is of the front of the marquee, uncovered by fires from the rebellion.  We’re looking up, seeing were hundreds of bulbs once blinked in patterns.

I recall walking beneath the P, through the ghosts of a ticket booth & concession stand, down into the pit where chairs once sat audiences upright for the movies.  I walked around the empty shell of the theater, sky above, simple stenciled designs on what was left of the plaster walls.

For more info, check out the great memories of the place left in the comment section of the Cinema Treasures site.