Top 10 Hollywood Survivors
November 6, 2014
Keeping the doors of a new business open for a year is a good milestone for an entrepreneur. Staying afloat for 10 years is success. What does it take to keep a business alive for 50 years? We were inspired to take inventory of businesses that have been in continuous operation in or near their present Hollywood Entertainment District locations for 50 years or more.
1. The Musso & Frank Grill (1919)
On September 27, 1919, The Hollywood Citizen announced the opening of entrepreneur Frank Toulet’s new restaurant, Frank’s Café at 6669 Hollywood Blvd. Eventually, Toulet partnered with restaurateur Joseph Musso and renamed their venture, Musso & Frank’s Grill. The pair sold the restaurant in 1927 to two Italian immigrants, Joseph Carissimi and John Mosso, who years later moved The Musso & Frank Grill next door to 6667 Hollywood Blvd. where it still stands.
2. Frolic Room (1934)
The iconic Frolic Room bar, located next to the Pantages Theatre at Hollywood and Vine, is reputed to be the oldest bar in Hollywood. Said to have started life as a speakeasy attached to the Pantages (evidenced by still remaining stairs and a bricked-in entrance), the Frolic Room was reportedly established in 1934 by a gregarious host named Freddy Frolic who loved to entertain the actors and guests coming over from next door. The bar was owned and operated by Howard Hughes in the ‘40s and ‘50s who added the eye-catching neon sign that still glows today.
3. World Book & News (1936)
After more than 78 years in Hollywood and 20 years at this location, World Book & News, has been cut back to about a quarter of its original size and its imminent demise is announced constantly. But for now the newsstand once billed as “California’s largest 24-hour newsstand” for its huge collection of magazines is still in business at Cahuenga and Hollywood.
4. Larry Edmunds Bookshop (1938)
Larry Edmunds Bookshop has been in business for over 70 years. With an astounding inventory of more than 500,000 movie photographs, 6,000 original movie posters and 20,000 motion picture and theater books, Larry Edmunds has long been the place to go for everything pop culture nostalgia.
5. Boardners (1942)
Boardner’s has a loooong history in Hollywood. In the early ‘30s a singer named Gene Austin opened a club in Boardner’s present location named after his 1927 hit, “My Blue Heaven.” Later it became a speakeasy, then a gay bar called Cherokee House, and after that, Club 52. Finally, in 1942, a golf caddy from Akron, OH put his name over Club 52’s neon sign and there the sign remains today, paying tribute to bar owner, Steve Boardner.
6. Snow White Café (1946)
The Snow White Café is perhaps one of Hollywood’s best-kept secrets. This local dive bar, located between hip new hangouts and tourist shops, is decorated head-to-toe with murals paying tribute to the animated Disney classic, Snow White & The Seven Dwarves. It is said that the murals were a gift from a group of Disney animators who used to breakfast there every day (back when it was a waffle house) before going to work.
7. Frederick’s of Hollywood (1947)
Frederick’s of Hollywood lingerie shop was established by Frederick Mellinger (the inventor of the push-up bra) in 1947. Its flagship store was originally a gorgeous 1935 art deco gem at Hollywood and Schrader that was once home to Kress Department Store (pictured below). Frederick’s moved a couple of blocks west in 2005 to a brand new location near Hollywood and Highland.
8. Supply Sergeant (1948)
The Supply Sergeant was founded in 1948 by Jack Arian, a World War II veteran. The store sells a broad assortment of military goods, apparel, and footwear. Over the years, Jack opened and closed more than 40 stores throughout California and Nevada, but the Hollywood Blvd. location has endured.
9. Miceli’s (1949)
Miceli’s was established in 1949, when Carmen and Sylvia Miceli scraped together enough money to open Miceli’s Pizzeria—Hollywood’s first pizza house. Today, it’s known for its singing waiters, authentic Italian bistro atmosphere and warm rolls to die for.
10. Capitol Records (1956)
British company EMI acquired the Capitol Records label in 1955, and soon thereafter completed construction on their distinctive round headquarters on Vine Street, north of Hollywood Blvd. Built to resemble a stack of records, with the needle on top blinking out “Hollywood” in morse code, the iconic round building is still a must-see for every Hollywood visitor.
And because we love them so, we’re including a bonus entry even though they won’t officially be turning 50 until next year.
Hollywood Wax Museum (1965)
Entrepreneur Spoony Singh opened the Hollywood Wax Museum, the longest-running wax museum in the United States, in its present location on Hollywood Blvd in 1965. The museum has undergone significant renovations in recent years, and the wax figures and sets change regularly.
Kim Sudhalter has worked with the Hollywood Entertainment District since its early years, helping to attract investment and revitalize the area. Originally from Europe and New York, she is an architecture and history buff who has a deep and abiding love for Hollywood and its past.