Chapter 6 ~ The Neighborhood

Hollywood, USA

The area surround Vine Street, between Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard in the late 1930’s and through the early 1960’s was home to radio performers and visitors came from all over the country to sit in the studios and watch live radio programs and see Hollywood landmarks.

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Vine Street was home to famous restaurants and cocktail bars, from the Brown Derby to Clara Bow’s It Cafe.  Tom Breneman, mayor of Encino, was host to Breakfast in Hollywood, a daily program broadcast from his restaurant. There was the Conga Room, Al Levy’s Tavern, Club Morocco, the Tropics.  Near Hollywood and Vine were the Pantages Theatre and the El Capitan, home to Ken Murray’s Black Outs.

It was a time and a place where radio touched everyone.  If you weren’t sitting at home listening to your favorite programs, you might be walking down Vine Street, passing the stars you just heard on the  air.  Night spots broadcast live performances while diners sat at tables and in booths.  Tourists might stop in the Radio Room or De Vine at the Greyhound bus depot where writers  huddled around cocktails planning next week’s program.  Tom Breneman had a line outside his Breakfast in Hollywood restaurant on Vine, where every day tourists dropped in for a meal and entertainment.  Brittingham’s in Columbia Square was a favorite of industry professionals and the general public.

If you were an out of town visitor and looking for a place to stay, there was always the Radio Motel on Sunset.  It was virtually impossible not to be touched by radio in Hollywood in the 1940’s and early 1950’s.  Ralph Edwards of Truth or Consequences and later This is your life, enjoyed an extended lunch at Musso and Frank on Hollywood Boulevard almost daily, sitting in his own booth where a telephone was installed for his personal use.

When television changed things forever, radio gradually took a back seat and studios converted to the new medium.  Radio City slowly became Television City and then branched out to other areas, leaving Hollywood and the nightlife to find a new incarnation. Radio turned to rock roll and restaurants and nightclubs closed or changed to meet a new era.