A couple of pics from the Vintage Los Angeles blog showing a horrible new building on Sunset Boulevard and what it replaced.

“In the summer of 1958, Dean Martin and his business partner, Maury Samuels, bought a former restaurant called The Alpine Lodge located at 8500 Sunset Boulevard. They immediately renamed it Dino’s Lodge. Out front they placed an enormous neon sign featuring Dean Martin’s handsome face and it became one of Hollywood’s campiest novelties. The suit and tie jazz joint served steaks and breakfast until 4 a.m!! (See the marquee). The interior included dark wood paneling and leather booths (perhaps meant to replicate Martin’s personal den). Continuous entertainment was provided in a separate cocktail lounge that promoted female singers. But by 1960, Dino had flown the coop for the Sands in Las Vegas and sold the restaurant to new owners who kept the name and neon sign for 27 additional years. Visitors flocked to the restaurant in hopes of getting a glimpse of Martin, but his neon face is as close as they got. This location was also used for 1950s show 77 Sunset Strip. The opening 30-second sequence was filmed in front on Sunset Blvd.

“By the early ’70s, the swanky restaurant that had once hosted parties for Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, and Eartha Kitt descended into a tourist trap and was abandoned by its celebrity clientele. During the Miami Vice era, the block on which the restaurant sat suffered a devastating makeover. What was left of Dino’s Lodge, the Tiffany Theatre, North Beach Leather, and the old remains of the 1960s dance club, The Sea Witch were all stuccoed over, leaving them unrecognizable. A 77 SUNSET STRIP dedication was later engraved directly in from of the original entrance.

“This entire block was demolished to make way for a massive new development that resembles a prison. But I’m happy to discover that the plaque is still on the street and survived.

“I think even the city planners were fooled. It looks nothing like the original rendering. They should just tear it down and start over! And we thought the Beverly Center was ugly!”

The obvious lesson — property developers must be closely scrutinized before and during what they build.  This happens all the time.