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July 16, 2005

Holiday Bowl

I have discovered a history project about the Holiday Bowl. I've got to tell you that I'm going to have to make myself known to these people because Holiday Bowl was a very important part of who I am. Well, it seems like that today because I was going down memory lane and writing about the time in my life when it was.

Among other things, I was one of the teenagers that hung out at Holiday Bowl in 1978 and 1979. I was also a part of the Burger King street race crowd early on and just before it broke up. Holiday Bowl was a very cool place, it was a street home and I have a few stories about the joint that I think are worth telling.

It doesn't surprise me at all that there would be a commemoration of the Holiday Bowl. Crenshaw was a fabulous place in the 70s, even as it wound down. Holiday was the last great institution before the Riot - the place where blacks and Japanese had always gotten along, as any local fan of the band Hiroshima would tell you.

I was recently invited to give some tours of the area, but the big plan has not emerged yet. I know that between my father and I and a guy named Donald Bernard who had a studio up behind Maranatha, there's a goodly amount of photographs of the Crenshaw District of old.

I have a new project.

Posted by mbowen at July 16, 2005 10:01 AM

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At first, I thought you were talking about the other "Holiday Bowl" -- you know, the one that happens every December 30 at Qualcomm Stadium

Had me scratching my head for a minute there...

Posted by: SMASH [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 18, 2005 10:50 AM

Saw your post through Google. Did you know "The Lone Ranger"? At least that was the nickname among the "buddaheads" who raced. Dark brown Celica with Centerlines and Dual Weber carbs? Other cars? Yellow 510 with polished vectors and dual Webers or Mikuni's from Baldwin Hills. What did you drive? Reminiscing about back in the day.

Posted by: StreetRacer at July 22, 2005 02:21 AM

Yes!! I do remember the yellow 510. Also my favorite was the black Camaro - Deadly Cancer. I drove a Suzuki 550, ported and polished with clipons and a Yoshi pipe.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 22, 2005 08:13 AM

Go check the LA CRA site. They have the plans for the new Starbucks and partial Holiday preservation. Am I surprised you just learned about this as many people came out and fought hard to Save The Holiday Bowl (name of campaign). In the end, it was not successful. Last year, there was some kind of preservation meeting in which people were asked to bring photos etc. and I'm assuming if they don't make it into what will be Starbucks, they will go into another community/ethnic museum.

Which H.S. did you go to?

I still remember the street race gatherings in front of Vons Market (not the BH mall).

Posted by: StreetRacer at July 22, 2005 10:31 PM

I went to Loyola, but my family has been gone from the Crenshaw area since about 1995 so I hadn't kept up. I drove by there this afternoon and they are building some kind of strip mall there but retaining some elements of the original building.

I don't believe that this is any kind of problem that 3 million dollars couldn't fix, and obviously there's nobody *that* interested in that kind of solution. I don't believe the Holiday Bowl could ever be what it was (nor Midtown and World on Wheels for that matter). It has already been the kind of success it needed to be, by giving us a place to live and love and all that.

I tend to be a lot less nostalgic about the place - my old home - even though I have great and inspirational memories. It wasn't about the physical place, but the people and the people are gone. I'll continue to write about the past and those feelings - about Johnnie's Pastrami, about the guy who used to wave at everybody on Sunday morning from the corner of Crenshaw and Adams, about the old windmill and the original Chinese laundry, about Kay's Hardware, Crenshaw Square and the Nesei Carnival.. but that was then.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 23, 2005 01:22 PM

You left out Boy's Market and Karl's Toys and Hobbies. Comet Cleaners is now Rocket Cleaners. Ralph's will always be Boy's Market IMO. Lerner Nutrition (later GNC?) were Wells Fargo is at now. Broadway and May Co. Mr. Moto's (on the block were Cingular is now) across from Boy's. Miss the 99 cents Teriyaki plates while walking home from school and then hanging at Holiday shooting pinball. Also the Wherehouse store next to Boy's and the one on La Brea. Oldsmobile dealer on the "Der" block. Tags Liquor (still there next to the Post Office) but doens't look good. Tag's is still around but looks like they get compeition from Ace now. Furniture store on Jefferson is gone. Think we bought something there in the past. Grace Pastries on Arco block gone. Arco garage gone--now self-serve and Shell seems to be the place to buy gas for folks. How about the Lone Ranger Restaurant? That was a cool place eons ago. Cannot get used to seeing all the mini-malls. I drive by the area a few time each week now after a long abscence from California and am surprised at the changes myself.

Is the mural with the painting of the Brothers Johnson still up further south? That was so cool to see on the way (route I took) to Hollywood Park or the Forum.

Posted by: StreetRacer at July 25, 2005 12:32 AM

I meant Kay's Hardware not Tags hardware. Also the walk up restaurant (cannot recall name) across the street from Arco. Old Japanese lady cooking some serious American food served on rice with large portions. I HOP is still around. Any truth to rumour Sparky Andersen (from the Reds) and old fogies still go there once per year to meet up?

Posted by: StreetRacer at July 25, 2005 12:36 AM

Aw man you're killing me. I'm still writing about me and my partners back in 1979 playing foosball at Moto's and eating char shu. I have still not had char shu better than Moto's.

I still remember being in elementary school (Virginia Road) and going to Akron with Pops. Akron was just a big adventure, and the coolest building in the whole area.

Then Miss Milliken, my 5th grade teacher was the adopted daughter of the Halls who ran the bookstore on King, excuse me Santa Barbara. There's just a huge amount of history around the place. Let me dump some more...

Pig Out Barbecue, The Nubian Queen Restaurant, Crenshaw Records, Lonnie's Go Karts, Leo's BBQ, Rudi's Restaurant, the yellow Pantera that used to sit on the lot at the Lincoln dealer, the green Daytona Charger at the Dodge dealer, the VW dealer who used to give out little steel cars. The RC racers at Crenshaw & Jefferson just before they built the Burger King. The Kabuki Theater, where I never went once... The Shiseido cosmetics place over near 10th Avenue and Jefferson. The old Baldwin, the new Baldwin. Swimming at Rancho Pool.

Kids just don't grow up like we did, and it's a shame.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 25, 2005 07:00 AM

Oh yeah and that was LTD, not the Brothers Johnson on the back of that theatre... then they changed it to a picture of MLK. I don't know what's up there now. The biggest shame is Grace's is gone.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 25, 2005 07:02 AM

Forgot about the cafeteria (cant recall if it was a Cliftons) at the shopping center where the mall is now. Then there was JJ Newberrys in the Lerner shopping center. I forgot all about Akron. Man that was a long time ago. Early 1970's I'm thinking. Pioneer Chicken was across from Rocket cleaners I seem to believe. I heard Mr. Moto (real name?) and his wife ended up getting a divorce but that was after that place shut down. RC's raced at the Audubon ("Autodud") parking lot too. Brothers J mural was way south more near Crenshaw High.

Posted by: StreetRacer at July 25, 2005 03:28 PM

Audodud! Damn. I haven't heard that in a while. It's very rare that I hear any voices from the old hood. Here are a couple other posts I've made on the subject.

People of the Dons

The Jungle

Eatz in the Hood

The Loyalty of Hard Men

I Love LA Volume 4

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 25, 2005 08:04 PM

With Holiday Bowl gone, there's nowhere else that will sell Bacon Fried Ricer with gravy. A strange dish but dam that stuff was good.

Posted by: Holiday Bowl Alum at July 28, 2005 05:03 PM