Memories of A Lost Boulevard; Ghosts of the Eastside


The character of the E.L.A. that I knew growing up is long gone. Everything changes, evolves.
Those who lived there before me surely must have cherished their own “good old days” as much as I do mine. And twenty years from now, others will do the same.
We are beings that exist in that sliver of time between our past and future. Yet, if we were to somehow erase every memory from the past out of our minds, who would we be? The sum of our experiences, the memories of what we have lived before, are essentially the totality of who we are at this moment. So have my experiences and present memories of growing up in E.L.A. formed this person that I am today. E.L.A. is in my DNA.
It now brings me joy to reminisce, because I can relive those times. Many thanks to all of you out there who join me on these little journeys to memoryland. So let’s take another trip….

Cruisin’ Music

The Commerce Shopping Center has taken many shapes and forms since I can remember it. My earliest memories are of scattered retail stores amidst large parking lots and vacant dirt lots in the 60’s. I recall the large street sign for the supermarket “FOOD GIANT” looming over the street. It featured a cartoon logo of a smiling farmer with a cornucopia besides him. Later, I remember this becoming the “FOOD KING” for many years afterward. Sometime later, the market changed names once or twice more. Today it’s “EL SUPER”.

Recently, I went back there for a visit and made a startling discovery while snooping around inside. I saw many changes in the interior design that made it all unfamiliar to me.
There was a vague, general resemblance to the old supermarket I used to know, but one thing in particular stood out. I sensed that the flooring had remained original after all of these years. Beneath the layers of multiple coats of finish, was the same floor from the 1960’s. Wow!


Ignoring the people that were giving me weird looks for walking around staring at the floor of their supermarket, I approached a corner near where I remembered the old snack bar used to be.
I moved a trash bin aside to get a better look and was shocked to find this!


The original logo from the FOOD KING store (FK) still embedded in the flooring tile! The present managers must keep it hidden with this waste can. Amazing.

A few steps east of the market stands the landmark eastside temple of discount shopping:
K-MART. Memories here include; the flashing blue light, the floors sticky with spilled multi-colored ICEE drinks, the submarine sandwiches, popcorn, pudding and jell-o cups. And that floating voice that called out: “Attention K-Mart Shoppers!”…

Since I can remember and to this day, the checkout lines at K-Mart have been the most inefficient and chaotic places in the retail universe. Every item needs to have a “Price Check” called on it, mis-priced items are commonplace, customers attempted to actually haggle with cashiers over prices (“Andele, no sea mala, dejemelo mas barato!”) There has always been the screaming kids running amok, smearing sticky hands on the Jaclyn Smith designer dresses, parents setting their little monsters loose to trash the toy section,
Annoying teenagers turning up the volume on the stereo systems, the old viejitos parking their carcasses on the patio furniture all day, and the occasional spectacle of the shoplifter being walked out in handcuffs (I once witnessed a thief run from security through the store and attempt to escape by crashing through the front glass window like in the movies. It didn’t turn out like in the movies.) By the way, I have to say that I was never too keen on K-MART’s decision to  bring in the Little Caesar’s Pizza franchises into their stores, I’ve found that it made the place stink of bad pizza.

Next door to K-MART, I remember was a Marinello School of Beauty, an alternative to Community College for many young ladies in the neighborhood. I dated a girl who went to beauty school there, She’d show up hung over in the mornings for class after partying all night at CLUB 47 and Audio Climax parties and fuck up clients hair for them. But she was cute, and made good tips.

Over to the west of K-MART and the Supermarket was a retail building that took on many names over the years.


  • Unimart
  • Disco
  • Fedmart
  • Tu-Guys
  • Target (today)

As a kid, this was one of my favorite places for buying Hot Wheels toy cars and 7” vinyl singles of the latest hit records. I still own those 45’s by artists like:

•    The Beatles
•    Stevie Wonder
•    The Partridge Family
•    The Carpenters
•    The Jackson 5
•    Cat Stevens
•    Blood, Sweat & Tears

Further west of Target, I recall a Thrifty’s Drug Store and then a big vacant lot bordering Goodrich Ave. that stood empty for years, much to our delight, as this empty lot became the stopping place for numerous Carnivals and Fairs that came by through the years. That lot eventually became the site of new retail buildings and the infamous Commerce Theater that was new and modern for about 5 minutes.


Eventually, large portions of the Commerce Center’s parking lot were converted into more retail buildings from Gerhart Avenue to Goodrich Avenue facing Whittier Blvd. to become the mega-shopping mall it is today. Back when it was all parking lots in front, I remember that it was a favorite gathering spot for Car Clubs on weekends. You’d drive by on Whittier Blvd. and see groups of Low Rider cars and all the guys & gals neatly displayed near the sidewalk for everyone to check out. They’d hang out all day long till the sun went down. Then it was time to Cruise!

Behind the center was, and still is I believe, a large cannery packing/storage plant. Going south to Olympic Boulevard is the building that once housed the old WHITE FRONT store. We used to shop there when I was a kid and I’d be bored silly. Luckily they had those kiddy rides outside where we could ride a fiberglass pony or clown car in little circles for a dime.


I also remember going to WHITE FRONT’s parking lot one particular Saturday for a special event; The host of Channel 9’s Horror Show “Fright Night”, SEYMOUR himself, was making a personal appearance and we were thrilled to see him.



Those were the days……


This entry was posted in Blogs, East Los, Eastside, history, Personal, Photos 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: Al Guerrero P.O. Box 29697 Los Angeles, CA 90029-0697

94 thoughts on “Memories of A Lost Boulevard; Ghosts of the Eastside

  1. Ruby- I would say atleast 10 yrs ago, sadly, it was a good place to eat, my parents used to eat there after dances on the Eastside in the 60’s and 70’s, “Vivian’s” down south off Atlantic & 6th street was very poular also!!

  2. Join us for the Blvd Nights movie free on a 20 X 40 foot outdoor screen in Pershing Square 532 So. Olive on July 23 @ 8:30. For more details please view

  3. Al,

    Thanks for this website, a real trip down memory lane and MUCH BETTER TIMES!!! My compadre and I often talk about the fun we had back in the day and how so many of the things we loved are gone. But, we are STILL HERE and we know what we had back then. WHAT A THRILL TO KNOW THAT WE ARE NOT ALONE!!! We might be a little beat up and kinda grey, PERO NO ESTAMOS MUERTOS Y NO NOS DEJAMOS!!

    Man, I know that change is always inevitable, but that sure as hell don’t mean it’s for the better. You and your contributors know what we had back then, an identity as CHICANOS and PRIDE!! WE had our own groove going and it was really sweet.

    Sorry to say, I almost want to get sick or cry when I travel down our beloved BLVD or go downtown. It has a third world flavor that I can’t dig. Before you put me down as some kind of tio taco a–hole, I was around during the days of the MOVIMIENTO, the moratorium and the walkouts. These were ALL good causes and I do respect them. I did and still consider myself a CHICANO and not a Hispanic or a Latino!

    My main beef is the feel I get that I am some kind of OUTSIDER because I speak English or because I might dress a little different than the current norm. An OUTSIDER???
    Man, like your other contributors I was cruisin’ the BLVD when it was OUR domain back in the days of KGFJ and Huggy Boy! NO WAY are we OUTSIDERS!

    Now, before I catch a big load of S—, let me say my point is that WE know how COOL things once were and that we sure as hell miss them! Those who were not around then in the days before drive by shootings and the other nonsense don’t have a clue what a groove it was to have a list of partys and night spots you could got without worrys. Hey, things could get rough then, but usually only if you were looking for it. Most of us only wanted to party and have fun. And WE DID!

    Sorry to go on so long, but THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES.


  4. I think it did change for the better, R. Ayala, because the times you speak of, it was a white man’s world, despite the Chicano culture on the east side. The police could whip your ass back then and they were beyond reproach. I know I don’t want to go back to that. They still whip peoples’ asses now but at least they face disciplinary action when caught (usually). And, maybe it’s just me, but the Mexican culture (that you call 3rd world culture), doesn’t threaten me. I like the culture.

  5. Very, very cool blog!
    I grew up on Burger street (pre-freeway, just after Eastern and before Ford). It was the turn-around point after you completed the cruise coming from Atlantic. Lee’s market was on Whittier/Burger and the icehouse was on Ford.

  6. Yo trabaje en lo 80’s con carabello furniture y en el palacio furniture y la phoenix furniture fueron como 6 años por E.L.A.y los recuerdo con mucho cariño,Yo llevo a E.L.A. en mi corazon,gracias por las fotos!!!

  7. Sonny,

    Interesting that you think that today is better than the times which are the focus ot this blog. Seems funny that you would even bother to comment on this type of memory lane forum. I guess I have to wonder if you were even around in the time frame we are discussing. I doubt it very much as I don’t think you have a clue what it was like back then. If I am wrong and you were, then I still have to wonder how the hell you figure the ‘Mexican Culture’ as you put it is better than the CHICANO pride we had back then. If you prefer the street vendors and generally run down condition of the BLVD to what we had then (FIVE movie theaters and many QUALITY retail clothing and variety stores and places to eat), then I guess you are entitled to your opinion as to what you prefer.

    As to feeling threatened, man you sure are off base. I NEVER SAID I FELT THREATENED. What I did say is that I feel that I am considered an outsider in my old neighborhood, AND I DON’T like IT!!

    These differences of opinion are all to be expected as we are all different people with different backgrounds. If your family is of more recent immigration than mine, then you sure as hell will be more comfortable in the ‘Mexican Culture’ than my third generation background. You can dig FUTBOL and I can dig the NFL. You can dig whatever the hell kind of Mexican music you like, but I will still dig my R&B and oldies. NO PETHO, ESE! Groove on. BUT, don’t try to tell me and and the people who comprise the main body of the contributors to this website that things are better now!!! THE WHOLE POINT OF THIS WEBSITE IS REMEMBERING HOW COOL THINGS ONCE WERE AS COMPARED TO NOW. Maybe you missed that point.

    As far as MY preferred era being the white man’s world, you really must be dreaming if you think things are that much different. THE MAN can kick your ass now the same as before, sorry to say. They just cover their tracks better. The main thing is being wise enough to not put yourself in the position to get your ass kicked! Get educated and learn how to PLAY THE GAME to your best advantage! The PINTAS and graveyards are full of guys who were going to to whatever the hell they wanted whenever they wanted. Still don’t believe me, then find out where a lot of the most militant and zealous people in the MOVIMIENTO ended up working, the state and federal government!

    Anyway, the bottom line is you like the ‘Mexican Culture’, and I prefer the CHICANO culture. To each his own, but remember we are the prevailing population in a relatively small area and number of the entire nation we are blessed to live in. If you don’t agree that we are blessed, ask those breaking their butts to get over here why.

  8. Damn, R. Ayala, I didn’t know you were going to go there, with the “Why are Mexicans coming here if Mexico is so great” angle. The war cry of the minutemen right.

    And then before that you diss the Chicano political movement of the ’60s by basically calling them sellouts because some of them took government jobs.

    Also, back in your heyday there was no way for a Mexican to “play the game” and avoid an ass whipping, other than staying home. If you were 5 deep in a car the cops would kick your ass, for nothing. Didn’t have to be in a varrio. And yes, they still do it today. I said that already. I just said that nowadays if you catch them on tape they at least have to answer for it to some degree. Back in the old days? They kicked your ass at will. You can have those days back.

    Lastly, the author of this story didn’t go in on immigration the way you did. That was your angle, and that’s what I disagreed with.

  9. this is really fantastic so well written i lived on eastside blvd in the 40s i remember all the places life was much better then mabe becouse i was young…. i wiss we could go back……..

  10. I just remembered something that I have been trying 2 remember. This past Saturday I went to a fundraiser to raise money 4 hr Chicano Moritorium .
    There were some pictures from the march on the corner of Whittier and La Verne with the sheriff pointing guns pointed towards The Silver Dollar..There was the restruant I had often wondered about. It was El Camino , what I remember best was the mexican choclate.

  11. Sonny,

    Just wanted to say that I am enjoying the exchange of views with you, no kidding! Would like to clarify a few things though. First off, I never did ask why Mexicans are coming here and I think we all know why. Quite simply, it is because they feel they have a better opportunity to succeed than in their home land. Nothing new about that, it was the same story when my grandfather came to the states after the Mexican Revolution. As far as the immigration, which I also did not mention, I don\’t have a beef with it if it is done the right way. I guess in your mind that makes me a Minuteman!

    I would remind you that it was you who referred to the new face of the Eastside as the Mexican Culture. I don\’t remember singling out Mexicans, as there are a lot of non Mexican immigrants here now as well. Maybe you think they don\’t count. Only you know the answer to that. Anyway, if you will recall I stated that what I didn\’t like was being looked upon as an outsider in my old neighborhood. That, sir, is as wrong as the discrimmination you seem to believe I am guilty of toward the \’Mexican culture\’.

    In regard to dissing the Chicano Movement you totally missed the point. My reference to the \’sellouts\’ (YOUR term, not MINE) was meant to convey the fact that some did learn to play the game to get where they wanted to go, whether we like it or not. Back when I was taking Chicano Studies classes at ELAC and Cal State the instructors were emphasizing that we could learn to \’PLAY THE GAME\’ as a means of getting better for ourselves and the community. Obviously you do not agree with this premise.

    Sonny, when I used the word immigration it was in the context of referring to the timeline of when our families might have come to this country, as each person\’s views and opinions are greatly influenced by his generation and peer group. Incidentally, the Compadre I referred to was born and lived in Mexico for years but who loves this country enough to have fought for it in Nam and to have become a citizen. Like me, he thinks that things were better in, as you put it, \’your heyday\’. Seems to indicate to me that you weren\’t around then.

    As far as the cops kicking everybody\’s ass all the time, all I can say is that one goes along with the \’all chicanos are gang members\’ stereotype. While I do agree that it happened to often, staying at home was not the only way to avoid it. Man, I was a cholo in my junior high days like a lot of my peer group but we weren\’t hiding under the bed from the placa! Being wise enough to avoid the confrontation was the key to the game.

    You seemed to take some exception to my statement that we are blessed to live in this country. While that may not be your opinion it sure as hell is mine. Like Chuck Berry\’s song says, I\’M SO GLAD I\’M LIVING IN THE USA!!!

    A song by Los Lobos says \’Mexican by birth, American by Fortune\’ That says a lot, at least to this Chicano.

  12. What do you mean you dont’ have a problem with immigration if done the right way? The right way is to apply for permanent residence and go on a waiting list forever. It is impossible for a Mexican to emigrate into the US legally. Impossible. They will never get citizenship. You didn’t know that? And you’re from the East Side? Wow.

    You reminded me of a minuteman when you mocked Mexico, giving the whole line that if Mexico is so great, why are immigrants coming here, etc. That’s what those minutemen guys always say.

    If you weren’t talking about Mexicans when you complained of the “3rd world culture” on the east side, what particular 3rd world culture were you referring to? Botswana? Georgia? If you can recognize something as being 3rd world, surely you can define which 3rd world country it represents. And yes, of course there are other ethnic groups besides Mexicans, but it is mostly Mexican culture visible on the east side.

    As far as playing the game goes, so to speak, that was the phrase YOU used. You said that Mexicans on the East Side should have played the game to avoid getting beat by the police. Just what game would that be? Dodge the night stick? I seriously doubt your Chicano studies professor said that, unless he was Alberto Gonzales.

    If you were a cholo, that’s your deal. I’m talking about people who weren’t cholos getting it from the cops, and they got it all of the time.

  13. Hello Sonny,

    Well,well. You seem to have got you calzones in a bunch. Too bad as I thought we could have a dialogue without the name calling. Guess I was wrong as your are really spewing all that venom about the minutemen and how I am mocking Mexico. Funny, but I never mocked Mexico or asked if Mexico was so great why are all the Mexicans are coming over here. You seem to be injecting dialogue that is not there into your arguments.

    Gee, I guess my compadre and all his fmily became citizens only in their dreams, as well as the millions of legal residents who are dreaming too.

    Funny, but I never said anything about a 3rd World Culture, I said that there was a 3rd world flavor that I did not dig in comparison to the one I had experienced back in the times discussed in this blog.

    In regard to playing the game, what the professors meant was not playng the fool and not doing dumb things that would put you in trouble as well as getting an education and using it to your advantage. In other words, don’t make yourself a victim of the system needlessly by being too belligerent or radical when dealing with the establishment. In plain language use your brain instead of your big mouth and you will get better results in life.

    I don’t know Alberto Gonzales, but I knew Claveran, Santillan, Negrete, a well as others who were trying to put into our heads that we were just as good as any other people and that we could succeed if we used our heads.

    When I mentioned being a cholo in Jr. high, it was very much the norm at that time and no big deal. The point of my telling you that is that was so you wouldn’t put me down as some naive kid from the seminary.

    By the way, how many times did the cops beat YOU up, as you sound as if you were a constant victim. If so, I’m sorry for you but wonder why you coudn’t figure out how to avoid it. The dudes I hung out with COULD!


  14. Basically, you just denied saying a bunch of things that anyone can scroll up and see for themselves that you said. You’re only fooling yourself. Oh, and congratulations on being a cholo in the old days and avoiding being beat by the cops. The only cholos I’ve heard of that evaded police brutality were snitches.

  15. What great memories. ELA, Whittier Blvd will never be the same as it was in the late 60’s early 70’s. Cruising the blvd listening to the oldies on my 8 track, checking out the cars at the Jack n the Box. Hangin out with the Orpheus, Volksman, New Breed and yes my bro was one of the Son’s of Soul! Those were the days that make me what I am and have instilled some of that history into my childrens hearts! Will never see days like that again. Ahhh yes, those were the days. One thing they should have never torn down…The Golden Gate Theater. First place I saw the Thee Midniters & Cannibal and the Head Hunters play…yeahhhh those were the days!
    Thanks for letting us with the memories share.

  16. Hey there Mr. R. Ayala and Mr. Sonny,
    I have no problem with each one of you sharing your comments and heartfelt expressions BUT I thought this was a site where we could share all the GOOD memories we had growing up in ELA. Yes I was born and raised therein ELA , even lived in Estrada Courts for a bit of time before we moved to Boswell St. What I am trying to say is yes the places we grew up has changed and yes people have changed, but all in all they are still prople regardles on their race, creed, color or how they got here. We have our memories good and bad, big and small so why don’t you two just shake hands and call it quits. Let’s not ruin this site with bickering, things like this is what brings us down as a race. Sorry to interfere, but hey we are what we are and we could be proud of where we came from, look back and smile and thank God we are still here to share the memories.

  17. Richard and Ricardo
    I was wondering about “El Matador Carabello”?
    Wasn’t he Italian or Spanish he looked like it.
    He used to do commercials for his furniture store and what other furniture stores?
    Wasn’t he a nice guy?
    He’s probably really rich huh?

  18. laura,thanks for bringing us back on the beam. Baby, we all loved our good times on the boulevard and that is why we bothered to comment on this blog. You are 100% right in that Sonny and I let it degenerate into a pissing contest. NOT GOOD!! You are a wise person with her own memories and opinions about those times, which I think we both miss. In any case, kudos to to you for trying to make things good.

    Baby, I sure do miss GOLD’S, KURLEYS, AL’s ARMY aand NAVY,
    FLAGG BROS., WOOLWORTH’S (BIG bag of popcorn for a DIME!!), YOUNG CHINA CAFE, etc.,etc.. Guess the point is that it’s all gone now and that nobody NOW gives a rat’s butt!! But I do , and I think a lot of us still do.

    Hey, I guess I forgot about the cool night spots like the Plush Bunny, the Maquerade Room, the Luau Room, the Pasta House, etc. Funny thing is, we used to party there at least three nights a week WITHOUT getting our butts kicked by the cops(those Montebello cops were MEAN BASTARDS, weren’t they?). Sorry, Sonny.

    Bottom line is we had a BALL! By the way, we weren’t snitches either!



  19. Mr. R Ayala,
    Thank you for the response. I was hoping to hear from one of you. You’re right the generation today don’t care about the events of the past. I have told my children of my past, the cars, music, car clubs & place I would hang out. I have been asked many questions and I don’t hold back, the good and the bad, the fun times and the sad times. I am proud to say there were more fun times for me. You only mentioned a few places to drink and dance but in LA there was a lot more. I don’t know your age, but I remember going to the Golden Gate theater to See THEE Midniters and Cannibal and the Head Hunters. Am I aging myself yes! Would I do it all again, Yes. My children although raised in Indio knw the history of the grand old ELA and they are very rpoud of where their Mama came from, including my 19 yr old. Again thanks for the response..Take care and I hope all is well with you.

  20. Thanks Al for the cruise down memory lane..

    I wasn’t born till the late 70’s but I had my fair share of visits up and down Whittier Blvd. Shopping for tops and lipliner was the thing for us teenie boppers. Even know as an adult I pass through there twice a day. And yes I still shop there just not so much for make up.

    I Can’t help but feel a little wave of nostalgia when I see things like the Huggy Boy sign. Any info on that?

    BTW~ Great find at El Super! Going to take a looksie soon..I get the wierd looks there as well but when I start speaking spanish they go from wierd to surprised looks.

  21. How about the kimpo karate dojo on McBride behind Porkys and the western auto across the street. Also esquivels bakery was my first job.

  22. Well, I do like to look back down memory lane. eventhough, we are treated better in so many ways, somehow within the last two years we are being portrayed as criminals. So, in a sense, we are going back in time. I am talking about all mexicans, for some reason we are facing the worst descrimination in history. Maybe I have forgotten part of my childhood, but today, I see and feel how we are being treated across the board. Illegals (mexicans) are to blame for the debt, crime, and everything else that is wrong in this country. The media caters to all the hatred and sometimes I wish it was the 70″s again. Can someone correct if I am wrong?

  23. Loved Whittier blvd. As a little german girl growing up in ELA 60’s and 70’s I have so many great memories. lol One of which was my childhood friend getting busted for stealing at “whitefront” and me, acting as her lawyer (age 10) pleading with the store Detective not to send us to Juvie! HA My friend who was a “loca” was mouthing off, and I was begging this guy not to call. I told him we would never come back again, if he let us go. ( I was thinking of the butt whoop my strict father would have given me. (remember the old belt on the chair?) anyway the guy let us go, and we still went back to the store for our 45’s. I remember one day seeing huggie boy in “disco fair.” I remember “billy barty” the midget coming to the opening of Food giant” we got balloons. As I grew up my friends protected me, if some people dissed my color. I used to ride in some of the gangs lowriders. (my own kid today loves them) I turned her on to how cool they are/were. Oh forgot, one night in the late 60’s we had a “new breed” car club guy that lived 2 house’s down, some guys drove down the alley and sprayed the house with bullets. We rolled onto the floor. (just another day.) I fondly remember all my friends as a white girl, I have to admit my heart is always with the Mexican culture. Best friends I have ever made. To this day I defend hispanics before I defend other cultures. Funny huh? Golden gate theater was the place I bought a cool cig holder out of a vending machine in the lobby. Memories, its all we have 🙁

  24. Okay, I had one more memory. In front of the K-mart store does anyone remember a homeless man, he had one leg or no legs? He had a hat filled with pencils to buy? Always remember him sitting on the ground right outside the door. Also, didn’t millers outpost open a store down on the corner end of this compound? I remember buying “ditto” jeans in the 70’s there. Also, oh oh Sols or Sauls, deli next to a jewelery store, next to kmart, they sold cornbeef sandwiches, which my dad liked he was from new jersey and this place reminded him of home. ah, dear…this is what happens when you get old, I guess we only look back. (Atleast I do) I wish I could dream forward, lol Its just not the same. later. Oh okay how about some of the slang talk. We used “bad-o son” (don’t know when the -o-son was added) the “nod” for hello. I remember driving with our mom and we saw some friends on the corner and she told us to say hi, and we told her “mom we did” (we used the nod) she would say “what’s wrong with you?” My dad used to wear khaki’s on his day off” Mom would wash them and hang them to dry outside. Atleast once a month they would get “kiped” (stolen) lol kipe…..ahahha okay, peace.

  25. Does anyone else remember the bar or restaurant in the 80’s/90’s that sat way in the back of KMART mentioned above?

  26. Does anyone remember the Blue Bunny and/or know what happened to it?

  27. Lynn:

    I was there the day Billy Barty came to Food Giant too! Also, I remember the old crippled guy who sold pencils as well, usually hanging out by “Eddies Delicatessen” which was next door to K-Mart.

    I used to hang around up there by catching the Commerce free busses, the Red/Green/Blue routes that came up there every hour. I used to love the Pioneer Chicken that was on the corner of that shopping center when it came in the early 1980s.

    We bought our first color TV at the White Front on Olympic in 1968.

    Incidentally Lynn, I was a “wuedo” or white boy too. My sister was named Linda, and we grew up on Jillson Street in Commerce. Did you maiden name start with an “A”.

    My last name is my moniker below , but spelled backwards. Thanks for the memories!

    Eddie H. Nessul

  28. Sophie, I think the Blue Bunny changed their name to Nutty Nero’s but I’m not sure. I’m a former musician that played Nutty Nero’s in the late 60’s and early 70’s. We were called the CarTunes or was it the Cartunes, anyway, we followed Pat & Lolly Vegas, 2 Chicano bros.from Delano who later formed Redbone (remember Come and Get Your Love and Witchy Queen of New Orleans? ) We also backed up several oldies groups such as the Drifters, the Rivingtons, Roger Collins (my fave who did “She’s Lookin Good”) and finally Wolfman Jack, yes thee Wolfman Jack from the radio and “American Graffitti” fame. He was the most vulgar and meanest act we’ve ever backed up. We would also perform for after hours till 6 am. Boy, those were the days.

  29. Sophie, I think the Blue Bunny changed their name to Nutty Nero\’s but I\’m not sure. I\’m a former musician that played Nutty Nero\’s in the late 60\’s and early 70\’s. We were called the CarTunes or was it the Cartunes, anyway, we followed Pat & Lolly Vegas, 2 Chicano bros.from Delano who later formed Redbone (remember Come and Get Your Love and Witchy Queen of New Orleans? ) We also backed up several oldies groups such as the Drifters, the Rivingtons, Roger Collins (my fave who did \”She\’s Lookin Good\”) and finally Wolfman Jack, yes thee Wolfman Jack from the radio and \”American Graffitti\” fame. He was the most vulgar and meanest act we\’ve ever backed up. We would also perform for after hours till 6 am. Boy, those were the days.

  30. Thank you very much for posting this.

    I’d completely forgotten about the guy with the pencils outside K-mart before I read this. I left the neighborhood at ten… lived down by the Tic Toc on Amalia Street. What do I remember about Whittier Blvd.?

    The A&W next to Sloane’s Cleaners on Whittier.
    Buster Browns Shoes.
    Walking down from St Alphonsus (the whole school!) to the Golden Gate to watch movies once a year.
    Johnsons (?) Market.
    Lying to the Commerce bus driver and telling him we lived in Commerce so we could ride the bus for free to the Aquatorium (otherwise it was a dime).
    The small grocery store on Atlantic that sold us fire crackers and bottle rockets.
    Drinking an eight ounce Coke with a paper straw at the JJ Newberry’s lunch counter.

    Again, thanks.

  31. Hi Al,
    I did not grow up in ELOS, but my husband did. He was part of the of car club Gestapo back in the day. I would like to see if there are any members or pictures from this club. I would like to surprise him with this information. I am very curious about that part of his life. If any you or any of your readers could help me, I greatly appreciated. Or if you know where could I get their plaque, would be even more sweet!!!

  32. Alejandra, most of my friends were in the Gestapo car club, Weecho (Ralph Arguelles, Moneybags/Gilbert/ the Melendez bros./ among others). I was in the band “Thee Gentones/Exciters” who played for many of their parties which usually ended in fights with the cops breaking up the parties. The thing that surprises me now is that for those years in the 60’s we would cruise up and down Brooklyn Ave. where most if not all the shops/stores were Jewish owned. Some of the Jews were holocaust survivors yet no one ever approached or questioned us about the plaque which as you know was the Iron Cross with the word Gestapo underneath it. Anyway, my name is John Martinez and I grew up on Echandia st. off Brooklyn Ave across from Prospect Park & Bridge ST. school.

  33. the best times on Whittier blvd had to be newyeareve everone couldn’t
    wait for midnightwhen all the cars would be still and left aloneas the kissing started and it was so firme thats what remeber 1976 and 1977 as a 15 16 year old kidthat lived on mcbride ave betweenhubbardand sixth st

  34. Great site. Wish that I would have found it a few years ago. I grew up in Monterey Park and graduated from Montebello High in 1966. My wife’s uncle and aunt owned The Atlantic Square Bakerey. I remember taking tubes out of old televisions and taking them down to Thrifty’s to test them. I also remember the Montebello Ballroom. I played in the Montebello High Band. My friends playe in a band called the Evergreen Blues(Elijah). I played in several bands, including a band called The Entertainers 10, and a Monterrey Park band named Myra. My friend LeRoy lived on top of a Liquor store on Whittier Blvd. We had some great times there. One time we had this amazing party there with the Evergreen Blues playing on a roof top in the parking lot. Every cruiser on the Blvd turned in. Went to Bill’s Paradise after Friday night football games. Bill’s daughter played in the high school band. We were also in the City of Commerce Marching Band. Also hung out late night at Manual’s on Evergreen st. If you finished one of his Burritos, he would give it to you for free. My Band, Myra, played at the Teenage Fair in Hollywood. I have a lot of memories growing up in that area. I went to the Garmar Theater, Golden Gate Theater, The Vogue theater. Saw the Blob movie there. Great Memories. Thank You for letting me share them.

  35. I grew up in koreatown but in the mid 80s to mid 90s we used to go to Whittier Blvd every Sunday for shopping. My parents would buy me most of my shoes and were friends with the elderly Spanish couple that own the Buster Brown shoe store on Kern Ave. They bought all their furniture at Phoenix Furniture store still remember the sales man name Rafael Vidrios. Would buy tortillas, tostadas, chips, and other snacks at Tortilleria Acapulco. Our music stop was Libreria Mexico. Would buy all of my Levi’s we with some blond Arab clothing store owner can’t remember the name of the store or his name but spoke very well Spanish and had some Mexican lady name Teresa that would do your tailor your Jean’s. Miss my childhood memories.

  36. I grew up in a little area called El Sereno but some of my happiest childhood memories was going to get get ice cream cones at the Thrifty Rite Aid on Whittier Blvd. It was just around the the corner from a video game arcade hang out where my dad worked. Does anyone remember the name of that place? I’d really like to see if I can find some pictures of it.

  37. Wonderful times, growing up in the Maravilla Projects. Whittier Blvd. in the 60’s, The Record Inn, Center, Boulevard and Golden Gate Theaters. Bought my Hush Puppies at Flagg Brothers Shoe Store. Riggin Elem. Griffith Jr. High, Garfield High School, boy the memories are awesome. Met the love of my life in 1969 my first year at Garfield. We married after we graduated. 48 yrs. 17 grandchildren and 3 great. ELA memories last forever. I enjoy the old pictures, that’s the way Whittier really looked in its splendor. Today’s Whittier Blvd. is not the same. The music has change and Whittier Blvd. change with it. Thanks for taking us down memory lane.

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