A SIDE TRIP FROM
Yesterland
Food, Lodging, & Theaters
around Yesterland

When you leave Yesterland, you might need a place to spend the night. Perhaps you’re hungry. Or you just want to get off your feet watch a movie. Maybe your car could use a wash.

 

Frontier Motel
Frontier Motel
933 South Harbor Boulevard, Anaheim (1974 photo)

Yes, it’s the last motel before the park, as you head south on Harbor Boulevard. They don’t tell you that there are motels just beyond the park, and even across the street from it. Also, it appears that proper spelling wasn’t important in the old Frontier days.

The Frontier Motel is still in business 33 years after this picture. It’s still the same building, and it still has the same name—including the word motel, which most lodging chains these days avoid. But the covered wagon with Disneyland spelled as Disnyland, the endearing folk-art cowboy, and the tall, freestanding sign are gone. The Frontier Motel now has a low-to-the-ground sign, in keeping with current Anaheim sign laws. The sign has a rodeo rider, a cactus, and a sunset on it, recalling the days when motels had individual identities, rather than lodging chain logos.

Watergate Motel
Watergate Motel
1211 South West Street, Anaheim (1974 photo)

What did President Nixon know about this motel in Anaheim, and when did he know it?

The June 17, 1972, break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. eventually led to the August 9, 1974, resignation of President Richard Nixon. With the Watergate scandal on the front pages of newspapers, the developers of a new motel in Anaheim decided that take advantage of the name recognition—despite the dubious value of being associated with criminal acts by government officials.

The Watergate Motel has been demolished. South West Street became South Disneyland Drive, although the section where the Watergate Motel stood is now a very short road called South West Place.

Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn with two freestanding signs
1850 South Harbor Boulevard, Anaheim (1974 photo)

They don’t make Holiday Inn signs like they used to. From the 1950s through the 1970s, the iconic Holiday Inn “Great Sign” greeted motorists across America. Long after other lodging chains had made the transition to simpler, “more modern” signs, the Holiday Inn chain continued to erect these large, expensive free-standing signs with neon and blinking lights.

The Holiday Inn in Anaheim had a second, equally impressive, sign—unique to just this Holiday Inn. The rotating sign, with green script on a white background (in contrast to the usual white script on a green background), had a gold, multi-pointed star on top. The Holiday Inn’s lobby had originally been the Wide World in Wax, home to 200 wax sculptures of figures from the Bible, from history, and from legends. Opened by Walter Amusements, Inc. in 1965, the Wide World in Wax lasted only a few years. The developers of the Holiday Inn reused not only the building, but also the wax museum’s expensive sign.

The former Holiday Inn Anaheim is now the Radisson Anaheim Maingate Hotel. It has a single, relative small, low-to-the-ground, “tasteful” sign along Harbor Boulevard.

Holiday Out
Holiday Out
Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles (1974 photo)

Why do you suppose that there are hundreds of Holiday Inns, but only one Holiday Out?

Somebody was having some fun when they gave this motel its name and sign. Please notice that the take Master Charge and BankAmericard. If the credit card logos look familiar, it’s because “Master Charge: The Interbank Card” retained its distinctive interlocking circles design when its name changed to MasterCard in 1979; and BankAmericard retained its distinctive blue, white, and gold flag design when its name changed to Visa in 1977.

Chicken Boy
Chicken Boy
Broadway, Los Angeles (1974 photo)

Look! Up in the sky! Is it a chicken? Is it boy? It’s Chicken Boy! With the body of a man and the head of a chicken, he stands over two stories tall. Could this be the result of a scientific experiment that went horribly wrong?

On March 19, 2007, the Los Angeles Times had an article about Chicken Boy—even though the restaurant had been torn down in the 1980s. The article by columnist Al Martinez begins...

“Chicken Boy was lying in the sun behind a Highland Park studio when Amy Inouye reintroduced me to him after a separation of more years than I can remember.
“He was in three parts: a stand, his human body and his chicken head, its round, dark eyes staring straight up into the afternoon glare. All 22 feet of his fiberglass body seemed in fine shape for someone who had been in a dissected condition for 23 years.”

The article went on to explain that book designer Amy Inouye had obtained Chicken Boy when the restaurant was demolished. Inouye hoped that the City of Los Angeles would one day allow Chicken Boy to stand atop her Highland Park studio.

Update: Success! Chicken Boy is on Amy Inouye’s studio roof as of October 18, 2007.

Chicken and Pizza
Drive In
West First, Santa Ana (1974 photo)

Where else can you get A&W Root Beer, pizza, and Broasted® Chicken—all in the same place? And what is Broasted® Chicken (or “BROASTED CHICKE” as the sign says), anyway?

After a quick Google search, I learned that Broasted® Chicken is marinated, coated, and pressure fried to lock in the chicken’s own juices while limiting cooking oil absorption—and, most importantly, I learned that Broaster® and Broasted® are registered trademarks of The Broaster Company, and that their site is littered with so many ® symbols that they probably wouldn’t appreciate it if I didn’t do the same.

Fox Cinemaland
Fox Cinemaland
1414 South Harbor Boulevard, Anaheim (1974 photo)

It can get pretty cold in December, even in Southern California, so maybe it’s a good thing that they’ll reopen as three heaters. Do you suppose that’s the British spelling of heater on the sign?

There’s a brief history of Fox Cinemaland at Yesterland’s Other Lands page. Needless to say, Fox Cinemaland reopened as three theaters, not as three heaters. Fox Cinemaland had been a magnificent showplace for exclusive Orange County engagements in the days before big movies immediately went to wide releases. After it was split up, Fox Cinemaland was a collection of three substandard auditoriums. For much of its final decade before its demolition in 1998, the theater sat vacant.

South Coast Plaza Theatres
South Coast Plaza Theatres
South Coast Town Center, Costa Mesa (1974 photo)

Is that the name of a movie on the marquee, or just an explanation of what happened to the missing letters? Wow! They’re showing the movie in 7 mm. That’s almost as good as 8 mm.

The 1939 classic Gone with the Wind was re-released to movie theaters in 1974. Although the movie was made 35 years earlier, it had never been released to television. In an attempt to attract audiences of the 1970s who were accustomed to wide-screen movies, Gone with the Wind, was blown up to 70 mm. The movie had originally been shot on 35 mm movie film with a 1.37:1 aspect ratio, a rectangular shape similar to a conventional television screen. To make 70 mm prints with a super-wide-screen 2.20:1 aspect ratio, the original composition of the movie was ruined. For example, in close-ups, the actors lost their foreheads and chins.

That’s probably more than you wanted to know about the 1974 re-release of Gone with the Wind, but it explains why a 1939 movie was at a first-run theater in 1974. It also proves, once again, that people did a lot of stupid things in the 1970s.

God’s Car Wash
God’s Car Wash
West First, Santa Ana (1974 photo)

I always thought that a heavy rainstorm was God’s car wash.

If the name of this typical self-service car wash had been Bob’s Car Wash or Joe’s Car Wash, I would not have bothered to take a picture. I never found out if the owner’s given name was God, or if the car wash was named out of reverence for the Almighty, or if it was simply an attempt at a memorable business name.


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Updated October 21, 2011.

© 1995-2011 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

All photographs by Werner Weiss, 1974.
Thank you to Chris Jepsen for his assistance in researching facts for this page.