Yesterday I promised I’d show you a place in Studio City where John Wayne and Humphrey Bogart taught their sons how to fish.
…and no, it isn’t the Los Angeles River. This hasn’t changed in 55 years, and it is the way I remembered it.
No, the Sportsmen’s Lodge has been a Studio City institution and was around before there was a Studio City. However, everything that it was is no more. It has been around since the 1880s and as LA’s film industry grew, it became a hangout for generations of Hollywood stars.
What I remember was a huge man-made pond in a rustic atmosphere. You’d rent a fishing pole and they would cook any trout that you caught. Around the pond – it was big – easily 1/2 acre? – were tables with beach umbrellas. I can just see Clark Gable, or better yet, the Duke or Bogie, sitting there with a martini while his son is fishing.
In the early 1960s, just a few years after we left, they changed the hotel to an early 60s theme (which of course was avant-garde when it was done). I believe the Northridge earthquake in 1971 blocked the underground spring that fed the pond, so the pond is gone.
Robert Kennedy stayed here the night before he went to the Ambassador and that fateful night.
Anyway, here it is today on Bill’s through-the-moving-window tour.
I wanted to see if a restaurant we frequented was still there, so we are heading down Ventura – the store names have changed, but the view looks pretty much the same.
And here it is – Dupar’s restaurant – a Los Angeles tradition since the 1930s. The outside had been freshened but the inside – while refurbished, looked about the same. I had dinner there and didn’t want to take pictures inside
By the way, right outside the restaurant there was a minor fender-bender involving a beautiful 64 Lincoln Continental convertible (with the suicide doors). It had collided with a Honda.
I thought “Only in Southern California”.
The Lincoln had a few scratches, the Honda, probably outweighed by a good 2,500 lbs, was less fortunate. No injuries.
My mother has never been what you’d call mechanically inclined, but she has always been attuned to her car. On more than one occasion, she has confounded shop owners and service writers detailing a perceived malady in her car – it was making a noise or didn’t feel right – only to be told “nothing’s wrong”.
And a few weeks later the “nothing’s wrong” would finally manifest itself enough that the mechanics could identify it.
I smiled a bit because at this Mobil service station on Moorpark where she would bring her 1950 Pontiac and ask for “8 gallons of ethyl and the rest regular”.
Of course the station changed – it used to look more like this.
I took a short drive that I had completely forgotten for 55 years. Take Coldwater Canyon, over the Hollywood Hills – you will see another famous road intersect – Mulholland Drive – and about 12 minutes later you are on Beverly Blvd in Beverly Hills.
I guess Beverly Hills is 100 years old this year.
To tell you the truth, if I could afford to live in Beverly Hills I’d probably prefer the beach area like Malibu. But then if I had “money” it probably wouldn’t have to be a choice!
The Farmer’s Market was also something we visited on the weekends. It has a lot of vendor stalls and small restaurants, and has been an LA tradition since the 1930s.
Like the Sportsmen’s Lodge, it’s still there but completely different. I remember a wooden windmill on the outside.
Just wandering around in the car and thought you’d like to see this area of Hollywood
We used to go to Hollywood Presbyterian Church most Sundays – I still have the Bible presented to me for memorizing verses – it has not changed in the slightest. It was just a 15 minute drive down the Hollywood Freeway from Studio City.
Right past the exit for the Hollywood Bowl.
I can remember going there a couple of times.
Finally, I wanted to see the house where my 2 great aunts lived – Nan and Emily. Nan’s son Spencer lived with them for decades…and was a renowned pianist. Emily was a spinster, used to drive my sister and I to the beach (usually Santa Monica) in her own ‘54 Chevy. I can remember going 45 on the Hollywood Freeway which even at my young impressionable age was a bit stressful with the honking horns 😉
Emily was a kind soul – used to play tennis into her 80s – only had to quit when all of her friends were either infirm or gone –
In the space of about a year in the mid 80s, , all were gone. Spencer died mysteriously in Mexico, his mother Nan 6 months later and Emily, who had been a picture of health, 6 months after Nan.
I am convinced it was grief.
I wanted to see their house and and after a few hit and miss tries remembered it.
This is their house on Troy Drive, and right across the street – and down the hill, you can see some movie studios – I think Warner Brothers for one.
I always remember a story Nan told me that one morning she was fixing breakfast, looked out the window and saw a wagon train.
They were about a 20 minute ride from our house.
I remember a lot of happy times with them.
The sight over the hill.
Universal City has become huge – it is maybe 3 miles from Studio City but has gotten so big I think they now have their own zip code.
I had wanted to see the Petersen auto museum for years but it wasn’t to be. Sunday they had some private event and Monday – they were closed.
So I drove a bit down Wilshire to this place that is unique in the world. It’s worth its own post in this final installment.
See you tomorrow.