Just Above Sunset
Volume 5, Number 10
March 11, 2007

Down on the Corner

 The world as seen from Just Above Sunset -

"Notes on how things seem from out here in Hollywood..."

This Corner of Sunset

It's been a long time since the corner just down the street was, on the southeast, Schwab's Drug Store -

    In the movie "Sunset Blvd," William Holden's character calls Schwab's Drug Store "headquarters; a combination office, coffee klatch, and waiting room" for Hollywood writers. And so it was. F. Scott Fitzgerald (author of "The Great Gatsby") had a heart attack here in 1940, while buying a pack of cigarettes. Songwriter Harold Arlin wrote "Over the Rainbow" (from "The Wizard of Oz") by the light of the Schwab's neon sign. Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd used to play pinball in the back room. And the rumor still persists that Lana Turner was discovered at Schwab's, but it isn't true.

On the southwest corner is where "The Garden of Allah" once stood. You can read all about that here.  Joni Mitchell's song "Big Yellow Taxi" ("they paved paradise and put up a parking lot") is supposed to be about the Garden of Allah - she was living just up the hill in Laurel Canyon at the time. "The Garden of Allah" is a strip mall now - fast food and a florist and this and that, and a big branch bank.  Buffalo Springfield's song "For What It's Worth" is about the minor riot on this corner on November 12, 1966 - the cops trying to take back the Strip from the hippies. Arthur Dreifuss' junk film Riot on Sunset Strip (1967) is also about that riot.

Things have changed. They always do.

What was Schwab's is now Sunset Plaza, a complex with a giant Virgin Megastore, a few chain restaurants, a multiplex theater, a fancy gym for the narcissistic, offices for minor film and television companies, and four or five layers of parking deep underneath.  F. Scott Fitzgerald would hardly know the place - they tore down the building where he last lived to build the complex. But Greenblatt's Deli is still there across the street, where he had his last meal.  The sliced tongue and chopped liver on rye is good.  Maybe that killed him.

Privilege - Sunset Boulevard

On the northwest corner, the Coconut Teaser has been replaced by the trendy Privilege (owned by the same people who run the Hyde Lounge a few doors east).  There's this strange pink woman floating above it.

Privilege - Sunset Boulevard
Privilege - Sunset Boulevard
Privilege - Sunset Boulevard
Privilege - Sunset Boulevard

Just beyond is the Chateau Marmont - "When actor Montgomery Clift was almost killed in a 1956 auto accident near her home, Elizabeth Taylor brought him to the Chateau Marmont, where she leased the penthouse as a place for him to recuperate. (She also saved his life immediately following the accident, by removing two of Clift's teeth from his blocked windpipe - with her fingers.)"  You can see the penthouse here, and in the lower left a bit of the Macdonald's arch where they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

Chateau Marmont - Sunset Boulevard

Between what used to be Schwab's and the Chateau Marmont this looks ominous.

Food Network billboard - Sunset Boulevard

But it isn't. (It's a bit of a Hollywood inside joke.)

Food Network billboard - Sunset Boulevard

The new gym for the narcissistic -

Crunch Gym - Sunset Boulevard
Crunch Gym - Sunset Boulevard

The new view -

View west from Sunset Plaza - Sunset Boulevard

The new tenants -

Infinity Entertainment - Sunset Boulevard
Infinity Entertainment - Sunset Boulevard

If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me.

These were shot with a Nikon D70 - using lens (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300mm telephoto, or after 5 June 2006, (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0

The original large-format raw files are available upon request.

[Down on the Corner]

Last updated Saturday, March 10, 2007, 10:30 pm Pacific Time

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 - Alan M. Pavlik