When I was a teen growing up in Hollywood, the place I wanted to go everyday during the summer was the Fosters Freeze that was on the eastside of La Brea a few blocks south of Fountain for a large chocolate-dipped vanilla cone.
Looooooooved them. More often then not I’d wind up at the ice cream counter of the Gower Gulch Thrifty’s for what was then a 15-cent triple scoop, usually of chocolate mint. Of course, had I my druthers and an endless supply of cash, a C.C. Brown’s sundae would’ve been part of my daily imbalanced diet, but that was some serious green.
Sadly the Hollywood Fosters, Thrifty’s and most heartbreakingly, Brown’s, a landmark on Hollywood Boulevard a block or so east of the Chinese Theater for so many years, has been gone for what will be 10 years this June 8. How do I know this? Well because when news of its impending closure hit the papers, of course I wrote a letter outlining my devastation at the news and my life-long love affair with the place. Hell, I even busted out some freakin’ W.H. Auden for the occasion (overwrought much?):
June 7, 1996
Letters To The Editor
20000 Prairie St.
Chatsworth, CAÂ 91311
Re: “Saturday’s Sundaes to be Parlor’s Last,” Valley section, June 7, 1996
To the editor:
Reading of the closing of C.C. Brown’s ice cream parlor in Hollywood was like reading of the unexpected death of a dear, dear friend.
I cannot imagine my Los Angeles without the legendary birthplace of the hot fudge sundae and I am not coping with such tragic news very well. There are many memories of that wonderful place I grew up with: my first wide-eyed visit as an 8 year old with my mother; an hour spent sequestered in one of its high-backed booths with my first date in junior high; a rowdy stop with a group of high school friends on a Saturday night; a quick call upon the place with my wife on our wedding dayâ€”she in her wedding gown, me in my tux; and my 5-year-old daughter’s first wide-eyed visit there last year. All recollections are now shrouded in the knowledge that there will be no new ones to add to them after C.C. Brown’s serves its last Buster Brown banana split tomorrow.
W. H Auden sums up my heartbreak best:
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Well, I will come. There will be one final memory. I will be there tomorrow at C.C. Brown’s on its final Saturday to say goodbye, and I will linger in one of its walnut booths and lay my hands on its cool marble table and do my best to keep tears from falling into my sundae as I look around the place one last time and bid farewell to yet another cherished part of my vanishing city and to experiences never to be.
An old ice cream place might seem like not much to get worked up over, but I think it’s just a cumulative effect of living a life in L.A., where few things here are ever so hallowed or hearty as to escape either the wrecking ball or a strong enough temblor. But anyway, I didn’t turn this post into yet another sob story about my vanished landscape. All I wanted to do was exclaim that Susan and I made a special hot-afternoon trip over to the Fosters on Fletcher at the the south end of Atwater Village* where we found the place still soft-serving ’em up like I remembered them from back in the day when I’d raid the bottom of my mom’s purse and bike through Hollywood to get me some (I believe the one on Eagle Rock Boulevard in Eagle Rock is still in service as well). It was fantastic!
Susan loved hers, too!
*btw: that intersection where the Fosters is, served as the location for the scene in Pulp Fiction after Bruce Willis’
character kills John Travolta’s where he runs into Ving Rhames’… literally.