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slight correction to above reference, it was either The Kress or Grant’s Department store The Center Theatre faced. This boggles the mind. It all seems so long ago.
If I recall, The Center was located across the street facing The Kress Department store. It was located between Kern Ave. and Fetterly Ave. Remnants of the old place are hardly visible today. Last time I visited the site there was an optometrist office on the right side of where The Center Theatre entrance used to be.
The Boulevard still stands but it has been out of commission for some years now and is in decay. It looks closed down. The remnants of the Fabulous Golden Gate Theatre still partially stands but it is indefinitely closed. These theatres, unfortunately, are run down or partially demolished and it is sad that they have not been repaired or preserved and brought back to its original unique movie house state to provide the community with double features it once did and of course the cartoons. Now, generations to come will no longer be afforded the opportunity to experience a visit to these classic theatres. The Golden Gate and Boulevard Theatres are places I fondly remember growing up in East L.A. To see them now is just a shame that they no longer in operation. Yes, KDAY is back, however, it is hardly comparable to KRLA glory days. Particularly missing are those east side favorite oldies from long ago. KDAY is great for the hip hop scene. I prefer those vintage songs that take me back to those Whittier Blvd cruising days.
Last I heard, Huggy Boy was living in Pico Rivera. A freind of mines, who toured with Eddie Davis Productions-known for his Easide Revue concerts of the 60’s and 70’s whose many artists performing on that circuit were heard on KRLA, knows Huggy personally. He told me a while back he fell in the shower and had to retire from his gig from K-RTH radio due to the injury. It’s unfortunate that he did. However, what I miss is his radio broadcasts from his KRLA days and KRLA in general. That was a classic radio channel. It was definately one of a kind which the likes it seems will never be duplicated again. Huggy was one of the icons of that station. He offered a unique blend of humor and historical analysis of the 50’s and 60’s music scene. I could often depend on him for playing my favorite oldies. I grew up with Huggy and KRLA. I was and still am an avid fan and a loyal follower. In the early 70’s he had a oldies dance show on television channel 56. I remember that show and the songs he used to play on it that I would often find myself singing or dancing along to. It was broadcast from a dance hall near the corner of Slauson and Telegraph near the 5 freeway not far from the old Holiday Inn on Telegraph. He also had a local label in the late 50’s and early 60’s called Caddy Records which Johnny Flamingo and the Dots had signed under. There was one other AM radio station in the late 70’s called X-PRS that played music that Huggy and Art Laboe was known for and that I used to enjoy listening to. The other stations at the time were usually soul and R & B or Classic Rock like KHJ or KDAY AM radio. It’s absolutely boggles the mind that a popular radio station like KRLA used to be is no more. Just like the Golden Gate, Boulevard and Center theatres I remember so fondly growing up in East L.A. are gone. What a shame they were not preserved for generations to enjoy.
Boy oh boy do I remember this Theatre and of course The Center and The Boulevard. What painful memories they bring back of my childhood! Unfortunately, The Whittier Blvd I remember lost it’s charm long ago with the passing of the fine clothing stores and Great Theatres that dotted this historic strip. The Golden Gate Theatre, I recall, was unique and beautiful. As a kid, it almost reminded me of a Castle with it’s long corridor that came in from the street where the ticket booth stood and led back inside the courtyard to the theatres' front doors and beautifully crafted front facade. It also had a charming building wrapping around the main theatre with shops in the bottom and apartments on top. At the southwest corner of Atlantic and Whittier stood its magnificent landmark tower. Incidently, the guy who used to produce Thee Midnighters, Eddie Torrez, had an apartment and office up there. The long corridor had movie posters on the side walls, I recall, and there were two corridors-one on the Atlantic Blvd side and one in front of the theatre on Whittier Blvd. I also remember the lobby which had a 1920’s art noveau shell concession stand and in the restroom they had vending machines that dispensed toys and trinkets. The theatre also had a spectacular balcony seating area and a huge screen. It was sad to see it partly demolished and abandoned. The last true majestic link to Whittier Blvd glory days were cut with it’s closure. Also gone are the fine stores that ran up and down the boulevard. Does anyone remember Curlie’s Men’s store where they displayed their fine Mens suits and overcoats in an enclosed walkway? I still vividly recall Grant’s, Kress, Woolworth, Al’s Army & Navy, Thrifty Drug Store with a cafeteria in the back that served the best pie a la mode, Toy Villa near the Golden Gate that seemed to always have what I couldn’t afford, The Record Inn, Johnson’s Market, Western Auto, Buster Brown’s, Melody Shops and Lerner’s where my Mom used to shop. Also, across from The Boulevard Theatre had this bakery that I can still remember the sweet scent till this day. I am not sure if the bakery is still there anymore. The Boulevard Theatre would only cost me 49 cents to get in. It was a bargain for two movies and cartoons. The utility companies also were located on or near the Blvd. The Gas Company was on the corner of Whittier and Mcdonnell and the Light Company was off of Whittier on Ferris Ave. Memories of that famed roadway take me back to 1970 when I was just 9 years old and flashbacks to the front marquee of the Golden Gate Theatre which was showing “The Family Jewels” and “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World”. It was truly a classic place. Now, Seeing the old Boulevard in its current state reinforces my idea that the Boulevard distinctive charm and grace is gone forever.