Our story concerns the film director Preston Sturges, whose great legacy is his canon of laugh-out-loud, politically tinged screwball comedies: “Sullivan’s Travels,” “The Palm Beach Story,” “The Lady Eve,” among them.
The former private home where Sturges’ bar/restaurant, The Players, once operated still stands at 8225 Sunset Boulevard. In the 1940s it formed a Triangle of Amazingness with neighbors Chateau Marmont (next door) and the Garden of Allah complex (caddy-corner).
With its innocent-looking checkerboard balcony beckoning both trouble and fun, this building just screams vintage Los Angeles.
[Click photo for detail.]
Reprinted from The Hollywood Reporter (04.06.12)
Harry Morton— son of Hard Rock founder Peter Morton — soon will open the second L.A. outpost of his Mexican restaurant chain Pink Taco at 8225 Sunset Blvd. During the renovation of the property, which has been Miyagi’s, the Roxbury and Imperial Gardens, Morton, 30, peeled back enough layers to discover traces of the site’s original hotspot: Preston Sturges’ Players Club.
Run from 1940 to 1953, the multilevel supper club, frequented by Humphrey Bogart, Orson Welles and Howard Hughes, was a nexus of the Hollywood scene. Morton dug out the entrance to the Players’ legendary VIP tryst tunnel — which connected to the adjacent Chateau Marmont and has long since been sealed by the city — as well as a revolving circular band stage buried beneath the dance floor that he hopes to restore in a later phase of the project.
“When I first got into this place, it had years of shit piled on top,” says Morton. “But when I stripped it all down, incredible things came to light.
The new club going in? “The Pink Taco.” Ya’d think that a legendary watering hole frequented by Humphrey Bogart might inspire different treatment. Chasen’s, the Brown Derby, the Cocoanut Grove, Ciro’s — all gone. Musso’s on Hollywood Boulevard, imperturbable or so it seems, still operates.
Writer Martin Turnbull tells the story of The Players on his website.
Sturges died at The Algonquin Hotel. That’s classy.
The Players, owned by “Big Daddy” Eddie Templeton, was going strong in the late 60s, very much a music celebrity place, lots of beautiful young people, no jeans, we dressed up in those days. The busy soul food restaurant was lively, celebs table hopped. Was loving pics of LA in the 40s, and suddenly The Players photo appeared! ! Been looking for yrs!!!
Agree, Jeff, that “Pink Taco” trumps “Pinkberry.” Thanks for the note.
“Pink Taco” might not be in the same class as The Players, but I would rather see that and the owner restoring the building, than another 99 Cents Only store move in, or a Pinkberry…
My strongest memories of that corner are when the gigantic statue of Raquel Welch – costumed as “Myra Breckenridge” – towered and spun there. Raquel was eventually replaced by Bullwinkle Moose. And then, all that imagination was gone.