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Friday, December 14, 2007

Van Nuys Blvd. Memories


With Christmas looming large I started to think back to Christmas in Van Nuys and things that used to be, but are no more, including me in Van Nuys. One of these was the annual Bethlehem Star Parade which used to take place every Christmas season on Van Nuys Blvd. I remember going to the parade sometime after we arrived in Van Nuys (1960). I believe the parade was finally canceled due to lack of interest sometime around 1970. By then I was 15 years old and into music and didn't give it a lot of thought until I got older.

As you get older it seems the vague memories start to haunt you more than the things you remember clearly. One of those places was a restaurant called, Otto's Pink Pig". My parents used to take me there once in awhile. Somewhere in my office I have a matchbook from Otto's. Another place on the boulevard I remember but was never very fond of was Farrell's Ice Cream. Friends and I usually went there on Wednesday cruise night. A loud place that was even louder on cruise night. Does anyone remember, "The Zoo" and "The Pig's Trough"?

I also recall liking to eat at a place called "Oscar's". Now I don't recall if they had a location on the boulevard but I do recall they had one at the corner of Sepulveda Blvd. and Sherman Way. My Dad almost always ordered a Chili Size. When Oscar's closed it was replace by a burger place who's local claim to fame was having red hamburger buns. Now does anyone remember that place and the name?

The picture above from the 1958 Bethlehem Star parade is from the CSUN digital library. I recommend their website for anyone wanting to view images from the past. Be prepared to spend a night at your computer.

Merry Christmas!

12 comments:

mlw0427 said...

I was browsing Google to get some info on the Bethlehem Star Parade and ran across this. That Parade more than likely wouldn't even be happening today as it wouldn't be "Politically Correct". It was really a Christmas Parade. All of the churches in the valley had floats and each float represented a passage from the Bible about Advent and Christmas concluding with the Birth of Christ just before the Santa Float. It was one of the parades that every high school in the Valley could have a band march in. Some kind of rule in the school district about not playing outside of the district unless a special invitation from Rose Parade, etc. My dad had a Richfiel, eventually became an ARCO station on the corner of Van Nuys BL. and Burbank. Wow this has brought back a lot of memories. I remember going to the parade in the late 1940's. LOL!

Carey Wilson, aka Guitar Rat said...

You are right the parade would probably not happen today. I recall going to it once. My Mom got very sick and I don't believe we went back. Which I now regret.

I used to live right around the corner from Burbank and Van Nuys Blvd. on Chandler back in the late 70's.

Anonymous said...

I live just three blocks from that corner (now a Mobil Station) on Miranda at Tilden!

Great blog, Carey!

Carey Wilson said...

I know where Miranda and Tilden are. I used to slide down Hatteras to see an old friend.The last time I was at that Mobile station was to meet a blind date on our way to a drive in. Must have been about 1996. Sadly the drive in is gone. I'm glad you like the blog, thank you for your comments.

Michael said...

Our family came out west from western Pennsylvania in 1960. I was actually born in Akron, Ohio and we also lived in Wisconsin where my parents were from.

You must be about my sister's age. She went to Louisville High School in Woodland Hills.

My dad had a law office for a while down the street from the Van Nuys Court House. I went to law school across from Busch Gardens on Roscoe and Sepulveda next to Galpin Ford.

Anonymous said...

I lived on Bartee st, right off Van Nuys and Laurel Canyon, 1945 to 1959, a lot of good memories.

GOT'CHA said...

Oscars was at Van Nuys Blvd and Saticoy. It was part of the cruise. Van Nuys Blvd has now been re-born. Lots of faces from back in the '60's-'70's. Back to THOUSANDS of cars, but were older now and can't be intimated as easily by any POWERS THAT BE.
I started Pinstriping cars on Wed. nights at the car wash @ Van Nuys and Burbank in 1971. Was a devote street racer thru the '70's. (Still am). You NEVER forget the Valley or the LIFE it thru at you. Thanks to all that made my life so special by being a part of history and Valley people. John "GOT'CHA" Goms

Guitar Rat said...

Thank you John for sharing those memories and I agree with you. I just put up a new post about the Van Nuys Cruising Associations new Wednesday Night events. I wish I could be back there again but 2400 miles is too far to travel even for a Wednesday Night on the Blvd.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Van Nuys from my birth in 1948 through 1959 when my family moved to Woodland Hills. My dad was very involved the the VN Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Bethlehem Start Parade. After dad left the position of truck sales manager at Wray Bros Ford, he started his own used car dealership, Bud Nugent Motors. Dad provided space for generating the floats and costuming the float "actors". It was a very fun time for my sisters and I - the parade was always something we looked forward to.

Guitar Rat said...

Thank you for your comments. A friend and I were just talking about the parade over the holidays. He was in the parade one year on a float his church had in the parade. Thank you for sharing your memories.

Kathy said...

I loved the Bethlehem Star Parade! My father was Jesus one year on the St. Andrew's Lutheran Church float. The large, lighted, angels hung from the street lights and were incredibly beautiful at night. I spent many nights cruising the Blvd in the early 70's and ended up at Bob's, Farrell's, or every inch of the curb in between.

Anonymous said...

I remember the Bethlehem Star Parade. We lived in Van Nuys from 1955 to 1961. The shopping center on Sepulveda south of Sherman Way was built while we lived there. It had a Food Giant, a Drug King, a Foster's Freeze (which was actually an old building already on the site), and a restaurant closer to Vose and Sepulveda than the grocery building. Later they added the additional wing of stores to the right of the Drug King and set back a ways - one of them was a BofA. Someone in an earlier post mentioned Wray Brothers. Our family knew Lou Grande who was some kind of manager there and a man who lived down the street from us - Mr. Mutaw - worked there as well. When the shopping center was first built Marlin Place didn't go through to Vose, so to get to the shopping center we had to walk through a walnut grove. Valley Presbyterian Hospital wasn't built either when we first moved in - it was a big empty lot filled with tumbleweed which we'd use to build forts and through which we'd make paths. And then there was the Little ChooChoo on Van Nuys Blvd, on the east side of the street, between Vanowen and Victory - a model train would bring your order to you at the counter. Those were innocent days.