EASTSIDE MEMORIES: Who Remembers?….

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Lalo’s Place. Lalo Guerrero’s Eastside nightclub on Chavez & Marianna Ave. Here’s a look at what some special Eastside places look like today…..

marihuana-boogie and speaking of which…..

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206½ Atlantic Ave. This little storefront on Atlantic Avenue between Pomona Ave. & The Pomona 60 fwy is what I remember to be the first E.L.A. HEAD SHOP that I ever saw. I was a student at Garfield HS when I followed some friends to this strange little joint one afternoon after school. I recall the oddly strong aroma of incense as we walked in. I was mesmerized by the walls covered in multi-colored, flourescent posters and the display cases full of hippiesh paraphernalia. There was a curtain behind the counter and behind it I could spy many weirdly shaped glass tubes. Being the socially retarded dweeb that I was at the time, I had no idea what the Hell any of that was, but a couple of my friends seemed quite familiar with it all. We went back to the one friend’s house and he put on a record for us in his room. (which oddly enough also reaked of incense and had the same posters, including a cartoon image of a guy saying “Keep on Truckin‘” and an old bearded guy named “Mr. Natural“) The voices of a guy with the heaviest Pocho accent I’d ever heard and another guy who sounded like he was passing out came through the speakers. I was introduced to Cheech & Chong, and I lost a little bit of innocence and pendejo-ness that day.

dsc01218 dsc01013 Who remembers going to dances at KENNEDY HALL & RUDY’S PAST HOUSE?

dsc01217 Who remembers when this corner of Atlantic & Whittier Blvd. had a Drive-In style Burger Restarant?

dsc01115 dsc01113 Who remembers VIC THE TAILOR & EDDIE DILLEN HARDWARE on Whittier Blvd. near Arizona Ave.?

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The old SILVER DOLLAR CAFÉ location. 4945 Whittier Blvd.

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The old THRIFTY’S DRUG STORE on Whittier Blvd. & Fraser Ave. The side entrances, long boarded up. The rear alley entrance which led you to the Coffee Shop. Log Jammer breakfasts, hot apple cobbler with vanilla sauce á la móde, strawberry shortcake with mountains of whipped cream. The fluffiest pancakes you ever had. An old lady waitress named “Elmer”. (She was always nice to me). Always a great selection of Halloween costumes in October. Stacks of toys & games above the aisles. The Hot Wheels cars were kept in a locked glass case. Many of my favorite comic books including CREEPY, VAMPIRELLA & MAD were for sale on their magazine racks.

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Who remembers when this site on Whittier Blvd. west of Eastern Ave. and the Home of Peace Cemetery was the old L.A. Trolley Street Cars turnaround area where you could catch a ride to Downtown?

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JOE GALLO’S PRODUCE MARKET on the corner of Whittier & Ford Blvds. This Joe Gallo guy literally started his businesses by parking his truck on a then empty lot and selling produce out of the flat bed. His business evolved as he built a modest structure to house his growing trade. But, in my opinion, After about 50 years at this corner, the place still seems not that far removed from the level of selling out of a truck. I mean, I’d expect see a lot more to show growth-wise from this popular neighborhood place. It no seems to have diversified with various sub-let enterprises.

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The EASTSIDE ICE COMPANY on Ford Blvd. Just north of Whittier Blvd.. I’ve spoken with many an Eastside old-timer and they all claim that this place has been around since they can remember. Anyone who has ever need to chill their chelas has probably been here. You would drive or walk up to the loading dock and some guy would go inside and hand you ice in any form you needed. On this day I watched him push out a large 4 ft. block and slide it across the dock. Pretty cool.

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Heading east on Whittier Blvd. was one of my favorite blocks. The picturesque and classic looking stretch between McBride & Duncan avenues. This is where you’d find places like WESTERN AUTO (where I got my first bike), THE HOTEL ASHMUN that seemed to house many families on a long-term basis, and the ever popular CHA CHA CHA BAKERY. This Mexican style Bakery was family run and I remember that behind the counter worked twin daughters named LUNA and ESTRELLA. Years later after this bakery closed, one daughter took over the old SOTELO’S BAKERY location on Whittier next to the SILVER DOLLAR CAFE where she renamed her new place: LA ESTRELLA BAKERY. I’ve included this image of what it looks like today, it’s now called L.A. Whittier Bakery.

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The other THRIFTY’S DRUG STORE was at Atlantic Square in Monterey park. This would be the view of the rear entrance and the awesome Thrifty’s coffee shop. Now a Ralph’s.

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Next to THRIFTY’S was a NEWBERRY’S. Between those two was a short covered walkway that had a barber shop and Pete’s Deli. There was also a little shack Key Making Shop.The adjacent strip included various small shops like DOBRIN’S gift shop. On the north end of Atlantic Square was a strip that housed (what I can remember..):

  • GOOGIE’S Diner
  • MUSIC + PLUS Record store
  • The GAP
  • YEE LOW DELI
  • A Pet Store

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Across the street was the VAN DE KAMPS bakery restaurant with the giant windmill sitting atop the building. Look at this photo and imagine a huge white windmill that actually spun at one time. It’s now a Carrow’s.

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A couple of miles North on Atlantic Avenue was ANDY’S BILLIARDS 742 Atlantic Ave., just south of El Portal Pl. (the street that led to Cascades Park and the multi-tiered fountain that was a favorite backdrop for many a wedding photo) this is where many of us High School pals spend Friday nights shooting pool amidst clouds of smoke from our MORE menthol cigarrettes while listening to WHOLE LOTTA LOVE on the jukebox. The wood beamed lodge style Andy’s Billiards building no longer exists. The Stucco Monster Blob of development has devoured acres of areas that once held some character & style.

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Continuing north on Atlantic just past Harding Avenue where we find the site that once housed the Monterey Park Cinemas (that sold movie tickets for 99 cents before they closed down!) and the popular 1990’s hang out; PIRATE’S COVE ARCADE. Everything has been since torn down. This is what it looks like today.

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Back in the E.L.A. /Montebello area. 3000 W. Beverly Blvd. & Via San Clemente, to be exact. Who remembers when this was a BASKIN-ROBBINS 31 FLAVORS Ice Cream store. Just west of the SUPER A Market and the H.SALT FISH & CHIPS. Next door was a little coffee shop called ROD’S that in I never went into in all my years of living near there. There was a time, way back, in this neighborhood where regretably, there still existed certain spots that were the unspoken “outposts” of the old guard White people that lived around there. We, the non-whites, rarely ventured in these places because frankly, you’d get a lot of shitty looks if you did, the wjite patrons seemed entirely content just socializing among their own kind, so there was always this kind of segregational deténte that kept things harmonious in certain spots of good ol’ Montebello. My perception in those days was that Rod’s was one of those kind of places.

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And of course, good ol’ BILL’S PARADISE 3202 W. Beverly Blvd. at Findlay Ave, as it stands today. A mere stuccoed shadow of it’s former cheesy self. Ahh,–Paradise lost.

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Within the MONTEBELLO PLAZA shopping center at 2629 Via Campo at Wilcox-….. This Circuit City (RIP) building was once ZODY’S.

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This used to be SWENSON’S ICE CREAM PARLOR.

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…And I believe that this was the location of the old STRAW HAT PIZZA . I had many good times there!

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BOYLE HEIGHTS. This is at Soto St. & Rogers Ave. just north of Whittier Bl. The old CHILI DOG DRIVE-THRU. My dad would pack the whole family into the step-van for much anticipated trips to “Los Chili-Dogs de la Soto”. We enjoyed our fill of steaming hot franks and scalding hot chili sauce while riding in the back of the bare, seat-less van that my father seemingly screeched and jolted to a halt at every fucking stop light he came to. Dear old dad! My parents remember that at one time, the hot dogs here sold for each, the price eventually grew to 10, 15, 18¢, and then 5 for $1.

Finally,….. I have 3 more items to ask about. Who Remembers?…….

  • The Olympic Avenue exit of the 710 (Long Beach) North Freeway used to have an enormous Electric Digital Sign that read the TIME & TEMPERATURE.
  • Channel 34 Spanish language Television, late 70’s maybe early 80’s, there was a late night horror show with strange tales of madness & the macabre hosted by a creepy old crone by the name of “LA BRUJA MALDITA!“. Please tell me someone remembers!!!
  • Who remembers making paper flowers out of Kleenex tissues, hi-lighting the edges with lipstick and making flower chains to tie on the cars for the WEDDING PROCESSION DOWN WHITTIER BOULEVARD. Usually the ceremony took place at a church like ST. ALPHONSO’S. Afterwards, You could hear every car honking loudly as it made it’s way down the boulevard. Usually with Car Club escorts leading the way. You’d stand on Whittier and spot the car with the beaming happy couple in the back seat and we’d wave at them for good luck!

So who remembers?………………………….

This entry was posted in East Los, history, Personal, Photos, Uncategorized and tagged , , by AlDesmadre. Bookmark the permalink.

About AlDesmadre

Al Guerrero, Artist/Humorist. Los Angeles, CA. Born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in East Los Angeles from the age of two, Al Guerrero grew up just steps from the famous Chicano strip, Whittier Boulevard. His youth experiences include witnessing and participating in the 1970 Chicano Power demonstrations, cruising cars on Whittier Boulevard, and graduating from Garfield High School. After dropping out of UCLA (with honors), he drew upon his lifelong passion for art and cartooning and pursued a career in graphic arts. During this period, he traveled overseas and found artistic inspiration from the masterworks he discovered within the European Art Museums. His career blossomed when he was eventually hired by the Walt Disney Company in 1995, where he worked as a creative artist for a number of years. Although the artistic work was rewarding, he eventually grew weary & disillusioned with the bureaucracy of the entertainment business, and left to work briefly in the educational field. His credits include producing a feature film with actor, Conrad Brooks of Ed Wood fame, founding and performing with the Punk Rock group “The Psychocats” at numerous L.A. & Hollywood venues during the 1990’s, and in 1999 he founded and created a hell-bent puppet cabaret show aptly named: “The Puppets from Hell”. As a long time active member of the Los Angeles Cacophony Society, Al “Quaeda”, as he was known, was involved in countless Cacophony Society pranks and events throughout the city. He also produced the “Incredibly Strange Cinema” cult film series as well as themed events such as the now infamous “Pornothon Movie Nights” and the satirical “Mexican Night: Noche De Tequila & Putas” shows at local nightclub venues. Throughout his art career, he has exhibited his canvas paintings at various local galleries, and has also written & illustrated numerous comic strips and Graphic Novel stories. Today, he lives in Silver Lake, California and works as a freelance artist and writer with numerous multi-media projects under his belt and in the works. His personal hobbies include collecting vintage toys and comic books, cinema history and Los Angeles City history. Contact: alguerrero@earthlink.net Al Guerrero P.O. Box 29697 Los Angeles, CA 90029-0697 www.alguerrero.com Myspace.com/thepuppetsfromhell

92 thoughts on “EASTSIDE MEMORIES: Who Remembers?….

  1. Wow Al, do I ever remember Lalo Guerrero and his club “Lalo’s”
    The mention of “Lalo Guerrero” who I had the privilege of knowing almost all of my life, really hit home.
    I have and had family members who were friends and who played with Lalo for years in his band. Two of my uncles, Pete Alcaraz, and Bill Trujillo, are shown in photos with Lalo in his autobiography, “Lalo”
    The late Lalo is now respected not only for his music and composition but also for his political views and support of all things “Chicano”. He is called the “Father of Chicano Music” and the original “Chicano Hepcat”. His seminal recordings of “Marihuana Boogie”, “Chico’s Suave’s” and his 1950’s take offs of “American Standards”, Tea for Two (Taco’s for Two), Take me out to the Ballgame (Take me out to zee Bullfights), Davy Crockett (Pancho, Pancho Lopez). Made him lot’s of feria.
    But he like many “Mexican Americans” of that era lived between two worlds, the often rejected and dismissed American’s of Mexican decent here in the USA, and the rejection by Mexico Mexicans as Pochos.
    Lalo’s composition of the beautiful and classic “Cancion Mexicana” and “Nunca Jamas” also recorded by “Trio Los Pancho’s” was considered the unofficial Mexican National Anthem, but Lalo was castigated and refused credit by the Mexican Recording industry for many years because he was a “Chicano” from the old Tucson Barrio.
    Lalo was given the outstanding “American Artist Award” by President Clinton among the many awards and accolades he received in his later years, but to me and the family he was a real authentic “character”.
    One of my Tio’s, Pete Alcaraz played the piano for Lalo many many years and was a close friend, Uncle Pete played the piano like “Horowitz” but due to his lifelong alcoholism never achieved the fame his talent deserved.
    Both Uncle Pete and Lalo, like many musicians, were notorious womanizers and I heard many stories from them concerning their weaknesses. One that always made me laugh like hell was about Lalo’s “paternity case”, when a former main squeeze took Lalo to court for child support and Lalo fought it vehemently.
    Lalo was not a handsome man and in fact had a “pieface that was scarred by a childhood bout with “smallpox”. When the case went to court the “ex lover” brought the 4 year child to court and unfortunately for Lalo (and the kid!), it was a spitting image of “Dad” Lalo.
    The judge took one look at the kid and then at Lalo and slammed his gavel down loudly and yelled out, Guilty!
    I also remember my Uncle Pete and Lalo laughing about the time that while on stage, playing a serious “Bolero” at Lalo’s club, my Tio asked Lalo “hey Lalo look out in the audience, is that “Hortense” over there? Lalo replied, “I don’t know Pete, she looks pretty calm to me”.
    Another Tio, Bill Trujillo, is a very well known musician who was playing with “Charlie Parker” in New York when he was only 21 years old. He is also famous (or infamous depending on your take) for being engaged to the much older Jazz singer “Ella Fitzgerald”. He was living like a “bought man” in her Long Island mansion and my poor abuelita almost had a stroke over it.
    Anyway one of my uncles close friends and a fellow musician with “Stan Kenton’s Band” was the great “Lennie Niehaus” who did all the musical scores for the “Clint Eastwood” movies. They would tease each other all the time because Tio was from” Lincoln Hts” and Lennie Niehaus was from “Boyle Hts”.
    Lalo Guerrero had a nightclub for many years called “Lalo’s” which was on “Brooklyn Ave and Mariana St. (right in El Hoyo Mara) and he needed some musicians one time, years ago.
    My Tio hooked up his partner Lennie for the gig but Niehaus was nervous, he spoke no Spanish and Lalo’s band played Latin Music exclusively. When Lennie Niehaus told Lalo this, Lalo reassured him that after putting on his Ricky Ricardo puffed sleeve shirt, learning to lip synch, and play the maraca’s he would fit right in.
    Last time I saw Lalo was in Rancho Mirage at the Las Casuela’s restraunt. He was a very popular singer and guitar player there for years and Frank Sinatra would always request that Lalo sing for him when he ate there. Lalo said he would always get a hundred dollar tip from Frank.
    It’s curious that the other well-known Chicano singer of the Pachuco era, the great Don Tosti, also lived in Palm Springs until his death a few years ago.
    My Father was in Palm Springs recently and told me that there is now a Lalo Guerrero Blvd in Cathedral City. You got your Gene Autry Blvd. Frank Sinatra Dr., Bob Hope Dr., Eisenhower Medical Center, and now straight from the Eastside of LA, “Lalo Guerrero Blvd.”

  2. I remember that on saturday nights, I’d get a babysitter and my parents would head off to Lalo’s place for a good time. I’d hear them come home late at night laughing at the good times they had.
    Lalo was like a big bear and would single out my mom to sing to her at the club. He would make you feel like family and was a great entertainer and musico as well as a significant artistic representative of Chicano culture.
    Lots of love to the late, great Lalo Guerrero.

    calaveras- that’s the joint I’m talking about! de cual fumas ese?! LOL!:)

  3. I passed by the silver dollar just this friday and I saw the plaque there. I literally stopped and had a moment of silence for Ruben. to think that I’m following in his foot steps all these years later and I didn’t even know. crazy. And again i emphasize that i was born in the wrong decade. Chale !!!

  4. My boss used to own Yee Low deli. Pretty awesome that it was mentioned outside of my job!

  5. Al, yours is the kind of drive-by shooting I like to see in Eastlos. Great memories.

    Thanks for posting the location of the trolley car yard. When I travel around LA, I often think about the rail lines that cris-crossed the city and see places I suspect where rail yards, and power stations.

    Love the classic Baskin-Robbins A-frame. I recently noticed this one in Gardena.

    Seriously, what happened to the frickin’ Kleenex flowers and car processions!?? I ‘member this was a weekly occurrence every Saturday. I blame those pinche Hummer Limos. Now the whole wedding party just piles into one of those tinted whales and drives to the reception. No procession, no Kleenex flowers, no honking, no fun.

  6. sheny- please ad any info or stories you may have re: Yee Low Deli. There are many of us fans out here who still can’t get it out of our systems. Is the old owner still in the business somewhere?!!!

    Walt!- Those processions also added a true sense of community when the entire Blvd. would stop to celebrate the parade of horn honking, flower adorned cars that were meticulously washed and detailed all week for the special wedding day. The bride & groom could see all of their neighbors and shop keepers waving to them as they passed. It stopped traffic for a few moments in tribute to the happy couple and I never saw anyone complain. In fact, everyone smiled, whistled and cheered. Try THAT in Westside traffic.

  7. Lalo Guerrero, yes someone great from Tucson Arizona where my Momis from!! I believe he played at Rudy’s Pasta House in the early 80’s, his musical style was fabulous tosay the least!! How come no one ever mentions one of his greatest songs “Chorizo Sandwich”?
    That was my all time favorite song!!
    The Hippie place on Atlantic was called “The Joint”,I went there as a young kid locked my green schwinn stingray to a fence,and when I came out it was gone!!
    I was a little dizzy from the incense and all the haze in that store, the blacklight posters really stood out, as well as the patches you could sew on your Levis back pocket!! Can’t forget the big water bed they had there also!!

  8. I remember the ICE place. My dad would go get a chunk of ice and bring it back home to make his homemade guayaba ice cream. I also remember that ice place being there a long time. I remember the Atlantic Sq. JC Penny’s and Newberry’s having a bottom floor to shop. I would go to Music+ and pick up a couple of 45’s and the latest top 40 list from music radio station KHJ 930AM. Who remembers the Thrifty’s at Brooklyn and Soto?

  9. I don’t remember any of that (or with much detail).

    BUT I do remember that my Grandma would buy me frilly dresses (on layaway) from a store on Atlantic near where IHOP is at (or used to be?).

    And thanks so much for that song. I remember the first time I heard the song as well as many of Lalo’s other songs. Neat.

  10. DING! I just remembered another place. How about Leo’s Stereo on Atlantic and 1st street. Across the street from the Chevy dealer. I remember buying an under the dash 8-track player with FM radio for my parents 70 Pontiac. This was the original “pull out” system. It had a bracket for under the dash and a bracket on top of the unit and a connector at one end and slides in and out. I wasn’t gonna let anyone steal my cool hi-tech player that I worked hard for then I moved up to the cassette version.

  11. I have a few memories to add:

    Like Cindy I remember crepe or tissue paper flowers being used for the wedding processions. How I miss this Chicano tradition! Why did it end? It was my favorite part of the dozens of weddings I went to as a kid. It was also cool to see a procession make it’s way down the street and hear all the cars honking and see the people waving. Does anyone have footage of this anywhere? It seems like something that should be archived.

    I totally remember Music Plus in Atlantic Square! It’s where I’d go to buy my import albums and concert tickets (The Smiths, anyone???) It’s also where I bought my first copy of Flipside. It was the edition with Red Hot Chili Peppers naked on the cover with only socks covering their private parts. I was only 12 or 13 years old and I was thrilled to buy it. Hehehe…thus my punk rock youth began.

  12. Cindy- Thanks for that wonderful photo! It fits in perfectly with the spirit I’m trying to convey.
    Chimatli-Thanks for adding your memories. Even in some places in Mexico I used to see wedding processions honking their horns down the streets like that.

    Music + was a great store. The only negative I felt about it was that the employees acted like rock stars themselves and you were hard pressed to get any assistance from them. It’s where I bought my first RAMONES album. I’d also get Creem magazine and import mags like NME. I’d spend most of my $$ there & at Yee Low Deli a few stores down.
    Did you get tix for the Smiths when they played the Forum?
    I was there too when some guy went stabby in the floor section. Good Times! I also have a full collection of early Flipsides, I wonder if they’re worth anything?

  13. This is funny, for some reason I had a craving to look for old Straw Hat Pizza commercials on youtube, I remember the one in Montebello, searched for it, and your page came up.. I use to love going there for pizza and then next door to Swensons for ice cream, there was also an arcade for awhile next to Swensons. Some kid was molested in the bathroom at Zodys, after that my family got very careful about where I went.
    I also never went to Rods either and lived in Montebello from 1970-2000, I did love the H. Salt fish and chips.
    The Flipsides are not worth much at all, I use to get mine in the mid 80s from Middle Earth in Downey and Wild Rags, what issues do you have?
    Nice site, I will have to add you to my RSS feeds.

  14. “Next to THRIFTY’S was a NEWBERRY’S. Between those two was a short covered walkway that had a barber shop and Pete’s Deli. There was also a little shack Key Making Shop.The adjacent strip included various small shops like DOBRIN’S gift shop. On the north end of Atlantic Square was a strip that housed (what I can remember..):

    * GOOGIE’S Diner
    * MUSIC + PLUS Record store
    * The GAP
    * YEE LOW DELI
    * A Pet Store”

    Yes! IIRC, Thrifty was across the street in another plaza. I think there was an old Market Basket store there too. I very much remember the basement levels of JC Penney’s and JJ Newberry’s. Googie’s was so cool in a Bewitched groovy 1960s kind of way. I remember one wall had these huge trophy fish hung up. One side of Googie’s appeared to be an adults-only bar. I loved the groovy round windows!

    In the old Atlantic Square, there was also an old See’s candy shop, The Attic, and Judy’s where my mom used to shop for clothes

  15. Al- Can’t forget the JC Penny Store that was in Atlantic Square also! Kiddy Korner was there also, my Mom bought alot of my clothes there when I was very young, they had a few toys also, a good old fashioned store. Lawson’s Jeweler’s was there also, our neighbor Connie used to work there. The Thrifty Diner was the best, with the chef in his white uniform with Chef’ s Hat and all!! Can’t forget the Atlantic Square Bakery with the old fashioned box tying machine either!!I believe there was also a “Howard’s for Men”. Do you remember the first Manager at the Music Plus? An asian dude with long hair named Victor? He was a cool cat looked like he was buzzed most of the time!!

  16. Whittier and Soto st. a little hot dog stand called “The White Spot.”

    The Hot Dog Stand on The corner of Soto and Rogers, my grandmother lived in the house that bordered the property. Before it was a hot dog stand it was a lawn mower repair shop. It was a weedy slightly overgrown lot with one small shed, around the lot was a series of iron poles and an old greasy chain. Across the street was the ‘Mayo Clinic’ (doubtful if there was any relation). My uncle was killed by a bus, crossing Soto right there at Rogers. (He was partially blind and deaf, hopefully he never saw it coming)

    Does anyone remember all the movie theaters between Indiana and Atlantic on Whittier Blvd? There was a theater right near the corner of Whittier and Alma. The Boulevard and The Center across the street just off of Ford st. The Golden Gate and two others if I remember correctly. One on the corner of Woods and Whittier and I think there was another a couple blocks further west of Atlantic. And of Course who could forget the Garmar at Whittier and Concourse?

    The Rod’s Diner at Garfield Blvd, was one of 2 or 3 in a chain, they made an incredible milk shake, my parents used to take us there maybe once every couple of months. The Big thrill was going to the Sizzler on Beverly Blvd at 19th street in Montebello, that was the only Sizzler that I knew of in the East LA area at the time. We would finish off with the trip to the Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors on Beverly just off Garfield. My cousins and I got into trouble several times for trying to climb the side of the building (it looked like playground equiptment and we were bored children).

    Next to the Sizzler was a Thom McCann Shoe Store, it had this weird western theme wall. It seemed we spent a lot of time in that store, not exactly sure why.

    I lived in East LA til I was 17 and my parents moved us to Montebello, just 2 blocks up from the Garmar theater. The 70’s. I left Montebello when I joined the Army, 4 years later it wasn’t the same place anymore.

  17. Ray, Thanks for all your great recollections! With comments like yours, we are slowly painting a wonderful picture of what E.L.A. was like in past years. I also see many places gone or changed as I go by these days, and many others that stayed exactly the same.

    Vince- Thanks for reminding me of more Atlantic Square memories. I loved that bakery. My first memories of Atlantic square are of a kid’s miniature Choo-choo train that ran up & down in front of Newberry’s during Xmas time. I also remember the grand opening of that McDonalds up the street on Floral. I remember when that McD’s first came out with Hot Apple Pies. My Dad took my bros & me to get some and we all burned the shit out of ourselves spilling all that super hot filling on our legs and everywhere! Ouch! I don’t remember that Music+ manager. I’d go in there as often as I could to check out a girl who worked there that I luckily wound up dating. She was hot! Ahh memories……..

  18. This is for you vejos like me who are still out there.
    I don’t remember the trolley that went up Whittier Blvd. to Montebello, but I do remember them taking the tracks out in front of the Center Theatre. I remember at the Center Theatre you could smoke on the side isles but not in the center isle!

    Behind Learners Department store which was on the north east corner of Whittier Blvd. and McDonnell Ave. was a trolley station that had a hotdog standing in the middle of it.
    I remembered the old trolley system because, like my mom would tell me, had a “pata de perro” and I would go all over the place. The Kern bus would stop there too. There was a place across the street on McDonnell Ave. where we use to pay the gas bill.
    The trolley’s from that station would go up on Whittier Blvd. and turn south on Eastern and then turn west onto Olympic. It would pass by the old Sears building on Soto. In those days you could cash your check if you didn’t have a bank account at Sears.
    The “R” cars, which turned around by the cemetery, had a hotdog stand. There was the old Strand Theatre by there too. I wonder if the old building is still standing.
    By the way, the old Ford Bus line would take you by the Ice place.
    Yes, I remember the White Spot on Whittier and Soto, but does anyone remember the Cooper’s Donut shop which was west of there, on Whittier?
    Does anyone remember the bowling ally that was by the Golden Gate or the A&W Root beer stand east of there, on Whittier Blvd? We used to cruse in 60’s down Whittier all the way to Georges Hotdog Stand on Whittier and Record Ave and then go back up again. Man, those were some good times!

  19. Thanks Mr. Moreno!
    The old Strand theater building is still there. I’ve taken lots of photos of it and the old faded vaudeville signage:
    “Laskey Players- Adults 10c, Children 5c”. I’ve heard that the interior is or was used as a sweatshop?
    I remember that Coopers Donuts was a popular L.A. chain.
    Please add any more memories you may come up with. It’s all music to my ears!

  20. Al- Where the old Tower Records used to be in Monterey Park, (now a Walgreen’s) used to be an Original IHOP, there used to be a Winchell’s Donought House there as well!! and there was a mexican fast food place, perhaps next door,I’m not so sure maybe you could help me on that one!! I remember a mexican food place further up Atlantic by Shakey’s also!! What about the Safeway Market that used to be on Atlantic, just south of Beverly Blvd?? Also, remember the Winchell’s on Whittier Blvd just west of Garfield Ave? Al- did you ever get any toys from Toy Villa on Whittier Blvd?, I think it is a guitar shop or musical instrument store or something!! Toy Villa had the best toy selection I remember!! Downstairs at Newberry’s was a close second place!! Also, I remember the huge rolls of fabric that would be displayed downstairs at Newberry’s, I think there was a post office or postal center where you could pay your bills!! Who remembers Sir George’s Smorgasborg!!!?????

  21. Alantic Bl.
    For someone who grew up off of Lorena St most of my life (just below the ‘Pina’ from *Blood In Blood Out* and then just behind the Jonson’s MKt at Whittier and Lorena) I spent alot of time in the Atlantic Square Area. (I stayed at my aunt’s apartment off of Floral, just above the Stadium at ELAC)

    But back to the subject: Atlantic Square, my earliest recollection: North end of the parking lot, was a couple of Small shops (I think one was a pet shop) and Then Googies Resturant and Bar (my Dad hung out there alot in later years) Across was a space that was later the area they built the Music Plus. (Cheech and Chong autographed the Sleeping Beauty Album there) Pedrinis’ Music, some mens store and a small repair shop then the Bank. That is where Floral meets Atlantic, then a big parking lot, The department store, then another smaller mens store, a shoe store, then I think the Bakery, (i may have missed a jewelry store or something). Altantic Square Bakery! Does anything else need to be said? The cake displays, the day old cookies, watching them decorate by the window, that was cheap entertainment. The Newberry’s, then a walkway between the buildings that ended where Findlay Ave starts. There were a couple of small businesses in the walkway then the market (which seemed to change owners every couple of years,) My dad worked there when it was Fazio’s, Smith’s, Albertsons ….. he was a meat cutter.
    I might have missed the sewing machine repair shop, another cothing store, and some other electronics type of place, then at Riggin/Brooklyn/Cesar Chavez. Thrifty’s
    Across from Thrifty’s was a gas station and the Van De Kamps with the Giant Windmill. Most of that lot was empty. Across Floral going north was the A&P. Behind that a hill and a row of apartments. I accidently set fire to that hill one summer. No one got hurt it was put out quickly, not quick enough for me, but before any real damage was done, that spot haunted me for the rest of the summer and fall.
    South of Brooklyn was a gas station then a small parking lot with the Winchell’s and Tio Taco, I used to love their bean and cheese burritos and they were cheap!. Then the Ihop, and another Thom Mccann Shoe Store. Wasn’t The Joint across the street from Ihop?

    Who used to go to Gardunos?
    The Hot Dog stand Across from the Gas Company on Whittier Blvd was Chroni’s.
    There was another Trolley turn around on Rowan Ave just above Brooklyn Ave. They used to go down Rowan to First Street and then head Downtown, we used to put pennies on the tracks, jump on and ride to Ditman or Indiana if we could get away with it. That was just about the time they started dissappering.

    I almost killed myself trying to skateboard down Indiana where it dips between !st and Brooklyn. I had one of the ‘old’ school skate boards, with the metal wheels, I was doing good for a little while then the board stopped, I didn’t, I ended up in front of the first house on the North side of the street, who happened to be my school nurse (ELA was that small then).

    OK, I have to go lay down now, my brain hurts, from too much ‘Membering’

  22. Vince- you touch on 2 great former sites. The Toy Villa site I’m already working on that post. Stay tuned!
    Sir George’s Smorgasbord was another one, they had great cheesy decor. Do you remember the PUP & TACO on Whittier & Goodrich? Who remembers driving up and parking at night at Turnbull Canyon Road to do things you shouldn’t be doing?
    Does anyone remember the legend/story about the spot up there where your car would start doing strange things like rolling backwards uphill?
    Ray- Thank you for adding more pieces to the puzzle! Especially Tio Taco on Atlantic. I’d get my shoes at Thom McCann too. What was that music store next to JonSons Mkt on Whittier? I remember hearing bands rehearse upstairs. After your brain cools down, please add some more!:)

  23. I didn’t even realize that the big windmill on the old Van De Kamp’s was gone, and I am shopping on that corner all the time.

    You know what’s funny. Some people on Yelp think The Hat on the opposite corner is old.

    Sure, 20 years is “old”. 🙂

    Blockbuster took over Music Plus, unfortunately. Of all the mall-type record stores, I think Music Plus and Licorice Pizza were the best.

    @Mike – the Wild Rags store is still there, but has been closed for ages, along with the other shuttered stores on that corner. What is up with that building?

    Someone tore down the French Cafe building. What a waste! That place would have been cool if they opened up a cafe in there.

    Also that arcade was the “Fun Arcade.” It was next to the Perry Boys buffet.

    Montebello Plaza haven’t changed the font on their sign. That typeface is really trendy again!

    Now, all they have to do is put up a new Denny’s sign with the squiggly 1960’s font. Here’s what I mean: http://static.px.yelp.com/bphoto/9Ts1LAHWM-aPmNoVVNaJRA/l

    I have good memories of the old Miki Chan’s. It’s still there, but it is heavily Chinese now. It was the original “Hawaiian” buffet in the area. The other Hawaiian places that have opened up recently are different. Miki Chan’s was all about their saimin, flown in from Hawaii, they’d always point out. They also had their macaroni salad and unusual chow mein, which is still served up there (though not as good… they need to add more slivered, nearly raw green beans).

    Anyway, one of the ladies at Miki Chan’s, I think she was the owner… she rode the bus to work. I forgot her name, but, that kind of stuck in my mind, that you can be part of something big, but still ride the bus. Well, I thought a restaurant was a big deal… and still do.

    @Ray – that Sizzler just closed up. Maybe it’s remodeling. But this is all just happening right now.

    Anyway, I hope this site stays up forever, so people will know that what they think of as boring today will become great memories tomorrow. Even in the suburbs or the quasi-urban suburbs. I hope all the people who ran these mom and pop operations feel good that it’s their little shops that we remember, as well as the big chain stores.

  24. thanks alienation. I have an ulterior motive for these nostalgic posts btw. I notice that when “newcomers” start moving into certain old areas of town, in this case, the Eastside, not all of them realize/respect/care that there is a history & existing culture here, and that many long time residents’ lives & generations are intertwined with the surrounding neighborhoods. I read time and again how new businesses/residents arrive (ie. gentrifiers+whitewashers) and are quoted as saying “We’re bringing in a vibrancy, a flavor, we are the new life to these neighborhoods.” I say BS! I just want to establish here & now that “Hey, we on the Eastside have a life and have always had a rich, deep vibrant life here. We’re not sitting back here waiting for somebody new to come along and define & validate us through some hip/trendy criteria. If you aren’t aware of us and don’t recognize & respect our community the same as any other L.A. community out there when you come here, then it’s going to be YOUR problem & YOUR loss. Not ours. Nomas.

  25. I’m kind of late on this but very simple mentioned trophy fish on the wall of Googie’s and I distinctly remember a huge mounted swordfish that hung on the wall. Seeing that swordfish as a kid made me very scared of the ocean and it’s mysterious creatures.

    Yes, alienation, that windmill was removed awhile back, so sad! They had to fight to keep the one on the Denny’s in Arcadia. For some reason, I thought the IHOP was still around too…On one happy note, was glad to see that Tower Records gone, hated that store. Does anyone remember when they were carrying radical literature in the 90s? Like Guy Debord and Bob Black? It was so bizarre. I would go to the Tower Records outlet in the Valley and buy all these books for like .25 cents.

  26. Does anyone remember that there used to be a book store on Atlantic across the street from where the Tower records was?
    I think it used to serve the ELAC crowd and sadly it closed sometime in the 80s.

    Chimatli- The decorative fish that first scared the F out of me was one you’d see at various Mexican Seafood restaurants. Hanging from the ceiling would be this dried fish thing that looked like a DEMON. It had a little evil face and arms & legs & fins. Some would call it “El Diablo del Mar” or something like that. That was scary.

  27. Al- The sewing machine shop in Atlantic Square was a “Singer” sewing machine shop!! They sold some fabric, those patterns that were so available in the 60’s, I don’t see them very often anymore, you know the ones where the lady buys it, takes it home and makes her own dress at home!!They also, very oddly, had a rack where they sold the current 45 singles!! I bought the song “Arizona” by Mark Lindsay there at that store!! Very early 70’s!! At the south end of the Square next to the Thrifty Drug Store was a place where they had these huge rolls of carpet, I remember that clearly!! Also, who remembers the Western Union Store in Atlantic Square and the original Gap that was there as well!!?? Al- absolutely remember Pup n’ Taco, I always liked the tacos, they even had a little pastrami sandwich, the cherry slush is what I always ordered!! Then I would turn around and see Zorba’s, my mouth was watering!!!My next door neighbors used to be managers there!!(at Pup n’ Taco)

  28. Al- Who remembers Vivian’s on Atlantic just south of 6th St? Who remembers Chole’s Mexican Restaurant on Whittier Blvd (northside of the street) just slightly east of Garfield?? Close to where the old original Winchell’s Donut House used to be? They had excellent Mexican Food, killer chile colorodo, when my parents would go to dances at Our Lady Of Lourdes, or St Alphonsus, Vivian’s or Largos was the place to go!! A very popular order in those days was a bowl of menudo and a machaca burrito (no beans) on the side.(at Vivian’s)

  29. Yeah! I ate at Vivian’s and Largo’s Mitote too.
    Here’s some more Eastlos joints I used to hit up:
    -The Jim’s behind the Golden Gate
    -That burger joint next to Eddie’s Liquor on Whittier & Clela
    -A Taco joint on Atlantic near Shakey’s called Uno Mas
    -Ambrose Pizza in uptown Whittier
    -La Costa across the street from J&S & the golf course on Garfield. Up that street there was this bar that turned into a Disco in the late 70s then they started featuring this new fad attraction: Female Mud Wrestling! The stuff you could get away with in those days for a dollar tip! Ay Guey!
    -Tony’s Italian Deli 2012 Whittier Bl. Montebello: An awesome place for sandwiches, pizza, everything was good!
    -Frumentos- across from Beverly Hospital in Montebello, the subs are really great! another good far-Eastside joint for great deli style food is Hacienda Village Meats in Hacienda Hts and Claro’s in La Habra(?) I think..
    – There’s this little strip mall on Beverly & Maple in Montebello that has a place called BROASTER CHICKEN. It was one of my favorites & they made great pies! in that same strip behind the Taco Bell there was a middle eastern deli that some made awesome huge turkey wraps.
    These two places may still be in operation I believe.
    -Here’s one few will remember: the cafeteria burritos from Griffith Jr. HS & Garfield during the 70’s. They weren’t too bad!:)

  30. Al- Who remembers the name of the place on the Northeast corner of Beverly & Gerhart??
    I remember it was some kind of Performance Shop, possibly called “Newhouse”. I remember as kids we would get our “STP” stickers there!! Al- don’t miss my post(LOST EATERIES) about “Jesse James’ speech at Vivian’s back in the 60’s!! Do you remember McKeon’s Market on Whittier Blvd, in ELA?

  31. I don’t remember “Newhouse” sorry! But I remember (Cronen’s?) music down the block on Beverly. I’d get my STP stickers from this performance shop on Atlantic just north of Whittier next to the Travel agency. Who remembers the Leather Shop NW corner of Beverly & Bradshawe? Yes, I shopped at McKeon’s market! I noticed last week that they’ve now opened a Polly’s Pies restaurant on Beverly Bl. near Taylor at the former site of the old Sambo’s.

  32. Vince, I thought I was one of 5 people in East LA who wasnt a total low-rider. (I was eyeing a little Monza spider in Germany and my two home boys (from East LA) started ragging on me because I was looking at a hot rod, not a low rider)
    Anyway, back to the point, I used to love to get off the bus and just walk through Newhouse. They had a pair of big racing slicks sitting in the front window, M&H Racemasters! Doug Thorley’s Header shop across from where Zodies/Two Guys was on Whittier. They catered to all the big west coast drag racers.
    Big John Mazmanian used to have a Funny Car at his disposal yard off of Olympic and Lorena.

    Who Remembers the Raspada Stand at Indiana and 3rd St? How anyone could make raspadas that tasted so much better then the rest is still a mystery. It’s just Flavoring on top of shaved ice, but we used to wait for him to open in May or June just to get his Rapsada’s.

    (I went to Our Lady of Lourdes and remember all the dances and happenings that went on at the hall)

    We stayed at my grandparents house on Lan Franco and Indiana. We played in vacant houses when they started clearing the area for the 60 freeway. We had large scale war games when they tore down the houses and we had blocks of exposed basements to use as foxholes. We used to have bicycle races on the freeway itself while they were finishing the paving.

    My kids play video games all day and have no idea what it is like to ‘live in a neighborhood’ we could go blocks from home and meet other kids and explore the couple of tunnels that went under the streets where the vacant houses were Eagle St, 4th st between Indiana and Rowan Ave.
    (Just a couple of blocks north of where Richard Ramirez, The Night Stalker, almost got himself killed for messing in the wrong neighborhood.)

    Who was at Laguna Park on August 29th? (a story for another post, gotta jam)

  33. Ray – Me and my sister were at Laguna Park August 29th in 1970. But I was gone when the Riot started. My sister was by the ballpark and got tear gassed. I was going to Cal State LA at the time, and went to the march, to see if I could pickup any chicks, but no deal.
    It was a strange time. I was subsequently kicked out of College, but had enough credits to work at the Welfare Office on Whittier Blvd. It was sad working there. I would see the people from my old neighborhood, coming in for help and it would break my heart.

  34. Ray- Thanks for the great follow -up!! I really appreciate it!! It’s hard to find people who share some of the same memories!! Was it called Newhouse?
    Al- also, in my pre teen age years we would go to the alley of Beverly Blvd Southside of Beverly Blvd, between Bradshawe and Findlay and we would open the dumpster lid and get all these stickers to put on our PEE Chee Folders, it was some kind of a label/ sticker factory!! We had so much fun doing that!! It’s just a kid memory that brings back simple, fun good times!!

  35. Vince- You are SO right, brother! It’s the littlest things that become the greatest memories and biggest parts of our lives! As evidenced here. I hope this thread keeps rolling on forever…

  36. Al- I remember the leather shop on the NW corner of Beverly and Bradshawe, was it called “Drake” Leather?
    Was the logo a duck? What about Don Jose’s by Beverly and Hillview? How about “Chanticleer Diner” on the West side of Atlantic Blvd, close to Repetto Ave, where a Tacos Mexico now sits!!Remember the big Rooster on the sign? That goes way back! How many people remember that?? Also, Al- you’ve gotta do a book or a documentary about these things, we need our memories immortalized as well, like PBS has ‘Things that aren’t Here any More’, and ‘More Things that aren’t Here any More’

  37. August 29th, Laguna Park, I watched the whole thing start from the top of the tennis court fence. We bailed out of there just before it all came down. Got gassed anyway, while trying to get across Whittier Bl. Was caught in the crowd moving down Whittier toward Atlantic. The Sherriff’s actually shot into the crowd, it is not surprising about what happened at the Silver Dollar, and was it ‘Huggy Boy’ who claimed there were rioters in there? (He used to broadcast from the Record Store acrossWhittier from the Silver Dollar [ which I could swear made a brief apperance in Reservoir Dogs, Steve Buscemi runs past it twice while escaping the police]

    I used to have the ‘La Raza’ magazine with all the photos from the riot . (the sherriff’s were the ones who rioted, we were all there for an-anti Vietnam protest) They had a machine gun and sand bags mounted on top of the Sheriff station on 3rd street.

    Vince-‘homes’ you come up with some serious memories. Chanticleer’s was a sometime special outing for us on an occasional Sunday morning (like Rod’s, Sizzler and Shakey’s) We didn’t go out to eat nearly as much as we do now.

    The McDonalds on Whittier between Lorena and Esperanza, was probably the first one in East LA. Like everything else in our neighborhood, while it was being built we explored the inside. One night we even busted a couple of windows right after they were installed, with a little rock throwing party (ok it wasn’t right, but it was fun.) There was a liquor store next door, everytime we went in there, the owner would ask what we wanted, and of course our answer was ‘Trouble’ He would come out from behind the counter to yell at us “Hey, no trouble here!”

    The late 60’s early 70’s, wild times!

    Off of Whittier and Euclid, across from Euclid School was a little record/head shop. Richard’s Records, I smoked my first joint there with one of the employees, while listening to side 4 of the Chicago Album (freeform guitar). Bought my first Zap Comic there, it was a little bit of Hollywood in East LA. I last saw the owner working as a postal carrier in the old neighborhood.

    Has anyone else noticed that a lot of these memories revolve around food and eating establishments?

  38. Ray- I went back to Indiana and Whittier about an hour after when the riot was going on. The cops closed the streets, but they didn’t close the alleys. I had a girlfriend, in those days that lived by the Unemployment office on Indiana and Siskiyou St. I just wanted to check up on her.
    Her mom worked at the 5 and 10 cent store on the northeast corner of Whittier and Indiana (earthquake destroyed it). I had a friend (Gravedigger) whose dad owned the mortuary, by there. We had a bachelor party at the funeral home for one of our friends there. Does anyone remember the Jewel Theater by there?
    Speaking of old girl friends, do the cops in ELA still stop the pretty girls just to hit on them?
    Did anyone out there, remember going to The Farm Workers party on Whittier Blvd. by Fresno St. when Caesar Chavez showed up?
    Vince- I remember Largo’s because, I worked at the 76 Gas Station on Atlantic and Beverly, while going to E.L.A.college in the late 60’s.

  39. Jaime-Ray- Al-, Who remembers when the McDonald’s at Whittier Blvd & Hoefner was built? I clearly remember that empty field, then an Arby’s Roast Beef was under construction there, the Arby’s was almost built, and then a very suspicious fire struck the Arby’s, then guess what? A McDonald’s was now built there on that site where an Arby’s Roast Beef should now stand, alot of people aren’t aware of that slice of history!! We should have an Arby’s in ELA!! BUT WE GOT BURNED!!! LITERALLY!!

  40. Also, can’t forget the KFC that used to be on the NE corner of Whittier and Hoefner? Who remembers the KFC promotion called “Corn & Cluck FOR UNDER A BUCK”?

  41. Al- Who remembers the “Kodak Foto Mats” that used to be all over town in supermarket parking lots? That’s real old school, considering the digital cameras we can buy nowadays!! It was kinda like a mini drive thru where you could drop off and pick up your photos!!

  42. Al- Yes!! That’s where one was, there was one in ELA a few blocks west of Herbert and 3rd in that shopping center. What do you think about us getting burned for the Arby’s Roast Beef Restaurant??
    Jaime- Thanks for the feed back, Largo’s was a good place to eat and have a cold beer!!

  43. Fotomat ….. I had a crush on a girl that worked at the one on Beverly and Wilcox.

    I spent the Summer of 73 working at Der Weinerschnitzel on Beverly and Concourse, now they are just called ‘Weinerschnitzel’ We used to get Germans in there all the time asking if we really served ‘Weinerschnitzel’ (which is either breaded pork or veal, depending)

    There was a Safeway at the corner of Brooklyn and Rowan, when it rained the loading dock would flood, a couple of times we went out there and made rafts out of the wooden pallets and tried floating from one side to the other.

    Did anyone ever go to City Terrace Park, on top of the hill on Hazard st. They had this gym that was low enough to climb the roof, we would go up there and get caught climbing, they tried to ban us from the park, but we always went back. In the 70’s they had a couple of free concerts there and I would almost always run into someone I knew.

    Speaking of Concerts and bands, Does anyone remember, Cooperstich, the singer used to wear a girls one piece dress with the yes logo on it. Cold Duck? Yesterday’s Dream? The Battle of the Bands shows at East La College?

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