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Friday
Jul092010

our neighborhoods: weho

Before CB2, the previous tenant of 8000 w. Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood was a popular Virgin Megastore—but its most famous was the legendary Schwab’s Pharmacy a few doors down at 8024.

photo courtesy of the_toe_stubberIn the movie “Sunset Boulevard”, William Holden’s character refers to Schwab’s as “headquarters—a combination office, coffee klatch, and waiting room” for Hollywood. 

For over fifty years, from 1932 until 1983, Hollywood’s most famous stopped by once or twice, during low and high times: Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Shelley Winters, Marilyn Monroe, Ronald Reagan, Sylvester Stallone, Goldie Hawn, Al Pacino, Diane Keaton…

Schwab’s was the hangout for anyone in the business. Legends—and rumors about them—got started here. Lana Turner was discovered at the counter. F. Scott Fitzgerald had a heart attack buying a pack of cigarettes. Songwriter Harold Arlin wrote “Over the Rainbow” by the light of the neon sign. Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd played pinball in the back room.

photo courtesy of onefish2Farther west on the boulevard, at the southwest corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights, was the The Garden of Allah.

In 1928, silent screen star Alla Nazimova developed the land surrounding her mansion into the legendary private bungalows.

Silver screen stars who visited regularly included Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, W.C. Fields, Humphrey Bogart, F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Marx Brothers, and Orson Welles.

It’s rumored that Tallulah Bankhead swam naked in the swimming pool and Marilyn Monroe was discovered sipping a Coke beside the same pool. Alas, as Joni Mitchell sang, they “paved paradise, put up a parking lot” when it was demolished in 1959 and replaced with a strip mall.

Who knows, maybe someday you’ll hear someone say they saw _____ at Crunch Gym, Trader Joe’s or CB2!

Thanks to todd, store designer west hollywood, for this contribution—and for the concept of the series.

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