Moments in time from the Gaslamp

Horton Plaza before it was a mall, Hollywood Theater, ABC Club, Horton Grand Hotel

“There’s money down there,” he answers gravely. The girl’s mother rushes up and yanks her away.
  • “There’s money down there,” he answers gravely. The girl’s mother rushes up and yanks her away.
  • Image by Alex Farnsley

South of Broadway: The Pigeons in Horton Plaza

He used to own the Off-Broadway Theater next door, the last burlesque house on the West Coast, “I paid $5 a week rent, and I took in $10 a night. I paid the girls a dollar apiece, and put the rest in my pants pocket and took it home. Didn’t even have a safe. These days, goddamit, you need a bookkeeper to take care of your business, and the bookkeeper needs a bookkeeper.”

By Nancy Banks, October 5, 1972 | Read full article

The picture taken in 1945 shows the Hollywood Theater. The marquee proclaims: “Vicki Evans The Girl in The Mitchum Case." Robert Mitchum, Johnston explains, had just been caught with drugs.

The picture taken in 1945 shows the Hollywood Theater. The marquee proclaims: “Vicki Evans The Girl in The Mitchum Case." Robert Mitchum, Johnston explains, had just been caught with drugs.

This is the Elephant’s Grave, You Know

Johnston, who is now 77 years old and has owned this place for close to 50 years, points to a picture taken in 1945. It shows the Hollywood Theater, next door to the Palace and now called the Off-Broadway, which he sold just a couple of years ago. The marquee proclaims: “Vicki Evans The Girl in The Mitchum Case." Robert Mitchum, Johnston explains, had just been caught with drugs, and this girl was with him.

By Connie Schlossberg, June 14, 1973 | Read full article

Because it is not especially exciting to watch, billiards is a game that many people play but nobody pays attention to.

Because it is not especially exciting to watch, billiards is a game that many people play but nobody pays attention to.

They Don’t Play Like They Used To

And then, she says, her husband died in March and the arrangements have worn her out. She touches the customer on the forearm. “But you know,” she says, “two months ago, that's a long time, and the people here still remember him and tell me they’re sorry. Isn’t that nice of people? It makes me feel so warm. Here, I feel so good, I buy you a beer. Smoke? No? Maybe I buy you two beers.”

By Robert Paul, June 16, 1977 | Read full article

Mrs. Yamada and her husband on a pool table during a game

Mrs. Yamada and her husband on a pool table during a game

Eight Ball in the Corner Pocket

You could smoke a joint so long as you kept it at a respectable distance from Mrs. Yamada. You could do most anything you wanted except fight, which brought an astonishingly swift visit from the police. I would call the ABC Club the freest pool hall in town — not as comfortable as Chris’s on Kearny Mesa, nor as competitive as the College Billiard Center near San Diego State or the Billiard Tavern at Broadway and Twelfth Avenue.

By Joe Applegate, Nov. 4, 1982 | Read full article

Horton Grand today (with Hyatt Regency Hotel in background). Pearson said he found out about the “secret deal” between the CCDC and Rose a few weeks later.

Horton Grand today (with Hyatt Regency Hotel in background). Pearson said he found out about the “secret deal” between the CCDC and Rose a few weeks later.

Gaslamp’s Grand Old Money Pit

Pearson and current wife, Kit Goldman, a downtown theater entrepreneur and actor, are one of those couples who will end up finishing one another’s sentences when they’re older. In separate conversations, they make the same points and use some of the same punch lines. Tall, glib, and passionately involved, the couple has been the Gaslamp’s reigning king and queen for the past decade. “We have the actor and the businessman,” Pearson said with a laugh.

By Denise Carabet, June 1, 1995 | Read full article

Patricia Fares (right) at ReinCarnation building. "The artists keep moving to where they can afford to live. But then the original people, who were the draw, are driven out.”

Patricia Fares (right) at ReinCarnation building. "The artists keep moving to where they can afford to live. But then the original people, who were the draw, are driven out.”

Fearless Below Market

It is, of course, ironic that as neighborhoods like the East Village are discovered, their characters are inevitably altered. Chances are good that the ballpark will destroy it. “It’s like the SoHo-ization process in New York, or like what happened to the neighborhood in the musical Rent — the East Village of New York. The artists keep moving to where they can afford to live. But then the original people, who were the draw, are driven out.”

By Jeanne Schinto, Aug. 30, 2001 | Read full article

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