Back in the halcyon days of roller skating, roller rinks would produce a label with an rink or roller skate theme and the name and address of the rink so you could put in it on your roller skate box. The more labels you had, the more places you have been skating.
I have more than 100 different labels and thought it might fun to to showcase some of them
Akron Rollercade, Inc. – Akron, Ohio
2. Dimond Roller Rink – Oakland, California
3. Erwin A. Beyer’s Roller Skating Rink – Celina, Ohio
Pinafini opened on April 15, 1985 at 8612 Beverly Blvd. on the ground floor of the Beverly Center in Los Angeles. Started by Walter Shui, shopping-mall mogul and Los Angeles, via-Italy chef Antonio Tommassi, the modern Venetian restaurant was a big hit from the start.
The Los Angeles Times called it a “..slick, hip, high-tech place with its white tiles, hard edges and loud music serving extremely interesting Italian food – and at rather reasonable prices” The interior was self-proclaimed to be “hip, chick, sleek.” Coral booths, coral and blue neon – red and white ’50 style wire chairs, white tile with red grout, red wire tables and various glass-bricks filled the 200-seat space in the Beverly Center.
However, the July 28, 1985 Los Angeles Times stated “Pinafini is something to see. Like the city, the restaurant bears a resemblance to an amusement park; unlike the city, this one is purely 20th-century vintage. The place is a high-tech paradise, all white tile and neon lights and modern art. Modular wire sculptures hang overhead, echoing the little wire bread baskets that sit on the table and the little wire chairs on which you sit.(Extremely uncomfortable chairs, the Reluctant Gourmet was quick to note.)”
The LA Weekly described the menu as “a mix of seafood, meat, vegetable and pasta dishes, includes polpete de came, Venetian meatballs sautéed in tomato sauce; broeto ciozoto, fresh seafood soup with garlic toast; risoto de sepe nero, black risotto with calamari; figa a la venessiana, calfs liver sauteed with sweet onions; pizzas made from potato-dough; and tortes“
The location – next to the Hard Rock Café – and staying open until 4am kept Parafini busy for a few years. Reggae music and live DJS kept the party pumping. However, the food and modern atmosphere were very evocative of a short period of time and the operation was never really sustainable.
Pacific Shanghai, Inc., parent company of Parafini, declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy on December 27, 1988 with assets of $1,493,200 and debts of $1,051,266.
Parafini was pretty short-lived and didn’t leave a major legacy, but it is places like this that make me love collecting matchcovers.
The Bonaventure Shopping Gallery was one of the largest shopping galleries located within a hotel in the United States. The Los Angeles Bonaventure Hotel (now the Westin Bonaventure) was constructed between 1974 and 1976 and was originally owned by investors from the Mitsubishi Corporation and the architectural firm of John Portman & Associates. The 33-story hotel has four different elevator banks, and I can personally attest, is a very confusing building. The elevators are color and symbol-coded to try to ease in navigation.
The shopping gallery within the hotel was originally 75,000 sq. feet and stretched from the first-sixth floors of the hotel. In 1980, the mall area was renovated and doubled in size. With a retail area of 150,000 square feet, 50 retail shops and featured five levels of retail shopping within enclosed atrium, the gallery was designed with businesspeople and international travelers (many visiting from Japan) in mind. There were many high-end jewelry stores, clothiers, luggage stores and giftshops.
This list is from an undated telephone guide to the shopping gallery. I believe the list to be from shortly after the renovation, around 1980 or 1981.
ART _____________________________________________________ Galeria Cano Precolumbian art reproductions Level 5 – Telephone 625-2939
Louis Newman Galleries Fine art – painting, sculpture and original graphics Lovel 2 – Telephone 687-3200
Winbell Western art. crafts and gifts Level 4 – Telephone 620-1733
BOOKS, CARDS, MAGAZINES ________________________________________________________ Elson’s News, magazines, gifts, etc. Level 2 – Telephone 620-5732 in hotel dial 75127
Andre Frelier and his brother Pierre owned and operated L’Omelette on El Camino Real Street in Palo Alto, California from 1932 to 1970.
The original restaurant burned to the ground on August 12, 1941 when Harry Gillette, the 57-year old caretaker of the building, inadvertently started a fire when he lighted the gas stove in the café preparing in his breakfast. The flames engulfed the building quickly, killing Gillette.
A new building was erected in October 1941 at 4170 El Camino on a stretch of highway that was alcohol-free. However, L’Omelette did not always adhere to the prohibition-like rules and were raided and fined on at least 2 occasions for liquor sales. In fact, the place became widely known for their liquor sales.
The rebuilt interior evoked a charming bistro with a multi-colored awning and French décor throughout. The chimney near the middle of the restaurant was a popular gathering place.
Specializing in French cuisine and strong drinks with “sec-appeal” the restaurant thrived under the Frelier brothers’ leadership.
L’Omelette was part of the fabric of Palo Alto. Countless wedding receptions, gatherings and events were held in there. However, the Frelier brothers were getting older and looked to get out of the business.
The restaurant was sold to a group of Stanford investors headed by former basketball coach Bob Burnett for $500,000. The new group struggled through multiple management changes and even changed their name to L’Ommies in hopes of attracting a younger crowds. Regular patrons were alienated by the changes to the venerable old restaurant and business suffered.
Louis Borel purchased the restaurant in 1977 and changed its name back to L’Omelette. However, in 1981, Borel would change the name once more to Chez Louis. It would enjoy success throughout the 1980s, but as neighborhood and tastes changed, business suffered and Chez Louis closed in April 1995.
Sometimes I come across a piece of ephemera from my collection that sends me down countless wormholes and side stories that I seem to lose all track of time and place. Such is the case with Bud Averill’s Airport.
The restaurant was the second Bud Averill restaurant at the same location. The first establishment, known as “Bud” Averill’s Paradise Cafe. Featuring dining, dancing and in-house entertainment from Averill himself playing a THEREMIN. This is where I lost track of the world.
Cyrus Edward “Bud” Averill, Jr. was born in Elberton, Washington on February 14, 1896. It is said that Averill was the first WWI volunteer from the state of Idaho, but I cannot find any corroborating evidence. After he was discharged from his duties in naval aviation, Averill homesteaded north of Casper, Wyoming, where he joined the Powder River Orchestra.
During the early 1920s, Casper, Wyoming was a booming oil town desperately lacking entertainment. Averill and a group called Arminto’s Jolly 7 were brought to town on a multi-month engagement at Oil Center Hall starting March, 1921. A baritone tenor vocalist by trade, Averill would sing the top hits of the day and became something of a hit in the region.
Casper Star-Tribune – March 11, 1921
Averill would sing as pre-show entertainment for stage productions such “The Idol of the North” starring Dorothy Dalton as “the beautiful dance hall girl on the frontier of civilization.”
Casper Star-Tribune – March 11, 1921
For the next few years Averill would hone his skills in the Casper area, slowly adding comedy to his performances and eventually become a vaudeville-style performer. Bud Averill, serious vocalist was all but forgotten for a while and Bud Averill “the world’s funniest human” was captivating audiences in Wyoming, Montana and Utah. He and his wife, Virginia Nelson, moved to Salt Lake for a brief period before settling in California.
Anaconda Standard – July 9, 1927
A brief tour of Los Angeles, as part of a show called “Revue of Revues” opened a new world of possibilities for Averill. In 1929 alone, he appeared (in chronological order) as a serious vocalist for the KEJK dance orchestra; a lead performer in the show called “Rose Garden Revue” at the Million Dollar Stage in downtown Los Angeles; a vaudeville performer on radio station KPLA; and a cast member in the all-talking melodrama called “The Isle of Lost Ships” at the RKO Theatre (8th & Hill Sts). He was also a coach for the Los Angeles Orpheum ensemble and appears as if he did some uncredited vocal work on multiple motion pictures.
The Los Angeles Times – October 31, 1929
A tour of the United States followed in 1930. Bud Averill and His 18 Sensational Songsters (Some Steins! A Table! Songs Ringing Clear!) joined several other acts as a traveling vaudeville show. There were dates from Montana, Utah, Oklahoma, St. Louis, New York and several others.
Other shows and radio gigs followed in 1931 and 1932. It may be somewhere in this time that Averill discovered the ethereal sounds of the theremin. The theremin is an instrument played without any physical contact, making it extremely difficult to play. The instrument was only a few years old in the 1930s after it had made its way over from the Soviet Union. There were only a few thereminsts in the United States and around 1930 & 1931, it reached oddity status on the stage and radio. There are no known stories of when and how Averill learned to play, but soon he would be showcasing his skills.
By the summer and fall of 1933, Averill’s talents were mostly being showcased on radio station KRKD at 3:15 in the afternoon. He was also doing shows around Los Angeles. After a stint with his orchestra at the Boos Brothers Beer Garden, Averill opened a new restaurant called Bud Averill’s Paradise Gardens in October 1933. The new place located at 674 South Vermont Avenue and featured “legal” beverages and delicious sandwiches.
The Los Angeles Times – October 6, 1933
The music for the new place was provided by, you guessed it, Bud Averill. Originally he and his orchestra were the main focus but plans changed and the focus would be on him and his theremin playing. Now we are back to where we started. A matchcover from the Paradise Cafe (Gardens) features an illustration of Averill playing his magical music machine. One can only guess how diners reacted to the sounds of the theremin as they ate their sandwiches and drank their not-illegal drinks.
The restaurant would stay open for sometime and eventually go through a name and theme switch to become the Bud Averill’s Airport restaurant this piece was supposed to be about. Information is sparse about when the switch occurred and when Bud Averill’s Airport (named for his aviation days) closed. I found evidence that it was named the Airport in 1943 and was open during World War II but I would guess it probably didn’t last much into the 1950s.
There was another Bud Averill owned and operated restaurant called Carmel Gardens by the Sea at the corner of 2nd & Broadway in Santa Monica, California. Information about this place is even more sparse. Only experts mix their drinks.
The matchcover says they had dining, dancing and entertainment. The time frame for this place looks about the same as the other(s), with a similar design to that of the Airport.
Seeing as there just isn’t much information to be gleaned from the internet about these restaurants, lets get back to what sidetracked this whole piece to begin with – the musical stylings of Bud Averill.
Throughout the remainder of the 1930s, Averill would continue to perform, tour and host a radio show – this time on KMTR at 11:30pm with the cleverly titled “Bud Averill’s Dance Band.” In 1938, Averill moved to KMPC and hosted a “Toast to the States” with songs about every state in the nation (all 48 of them) in alphabetical order. A year later, he was on KFWB with a 10pm show.
In 1941, Averill released a set of three 78RPM records of his theremin recordings of Stephen Foster songs with the following titles: “Beautiful Dreamer”; “Old Folks at Home”, “Massa’s in De Cold, Cold Ground”; “Old Black Joe”; “My Old Kentucky Home”; “Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair”. The songs were recorded in Hollywood and featured Bob Thompson at the organ.
Courtesy of Discogs
Averill remained active during World War II. Too old to serve, he volunteered his time elsewhere. He teamed with Hayden Simpson to write and record “U.S.S. Los Angeles.” All proceeds from the recording were donated to the athletic and silver service funds. By this point, Bud had been an active Hollywood songwriter composing tunes for movies and radio.
The summer of 1947 saw Averill in the middle of a controversy and lawsuit. The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) banned Averill’s latest jingle “Union Pacific Steamliner,” ruling that the song wasn’t really a song as much as it was an unpaid advertisement for the railroad. Similar songs by other composers entitled “In My Merry Oldsmobile,” “El Rancho Vegas,” “Rum and Coca-Cola,” and “Love in a Greyhound Bus” were accused of doing the exact same thing but were allowed to remain on the air.
The Pittsburgh Press – June 23, 1947
Averill thought this unfair and brought forth a lawsuit against NBC.The suit sought a large sum of $1,000,000 in damages. Averill asserted the song was copyrighted April 15 and published in sheet music, so it must be a real song. He alleged that advertisers have called NBC and its affiliates for the song, but the network refused such requests. Reports of the outcome of the lawsuit are nowhere to be found, so I am guessing it ultimately led nowhere.
Off and on tours continued for Averill throughout the remainder of the 1940s and into the early 1950s. He and his theremin would return to his old familiar Salt Lake and Wyoming homes for special appearances.
Salt Lake Telegram – August 19, 1950
A foray into the fairly new world of television followed in 1951, with the short-lived “Pardon My French.” He would continue to appear sporadically on local Los Angeles television shows. But Averill’s star faded as the 1950s progressed and he passed away on July 20, 1956 at the age of 60. The cause of death is unknown.
Averill is completely forgotten now, but he was truly a unique entertainer with a set of skills few could ever duplicate.
Tugboat Annie’s was located on Route 66 (930 E. Foothill Blvd.) in Claremont, California. A grand opening celebration was held for the ship-shaped seafood restaurant on August 24, 1969. The opening featured a sample of their fish & chips, pins for the kids and barber shop quartets!
Progress-Bulletin – August 24, 1969
The restaurant was quite popular throughout the 1970s but but did last long in to the 1980s. In 1982 the restaurant was sold and The Original Shrimp House opened in the ship. The building still stands to this day and is still a seafood restaurant.
One of the more eclectic buildings a driver on Foothill Boulevard could expect to see was Tugboat Annie’s. Built in the shape of an actual tugboat, this restaurant offered travelers a unique dining experience. Tugboat Annie’s was eventually changed to the Shrimp House, but continued to operate out the tugboat building. One can only assume that the tugboat design generated plenty of customers, as the building is still standing on Foothill Boulevard today.
“End of the Trail”, smallest cocktail lounge in the world; just a stool and a half. At Trees Motel, adjoining the famous Blue Ox Cafe, opposite Trees of Mystery – 4 miles No. of Klamath, Calif., on the beautiful Redwood Highway.
The self-professed “Smallest Bar in the World” was located slightly north of Klamath, California across from the Trees of Mystery.
Near the entrance to Tress of Mystery with Paul and Babe the Blue Ox.
A small little room attached to the Trees Motel, the bar was called the End of the Trail Cocktail Lounge and featured 1 1/2 barrel stools, a redwood-topped bar, longhorns, a nude painting and enough stale smoke for a lifetime.
The motel is still standing and appears to be in pretty good shape. However, I can find no mention of the world’s smallest bar.