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Looking Back: The Brown Derby

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

The original Wilshire location - ca. 1936. The first Brown Derby on Wilshire was actually at 3427 Wilshire - just west of the second location at the NW corner of Alexandria and Wilshire which opened in 1937. Pic from the Huntington Archives.

The Beverly Hills location ca. 1940. Can anyone identify what that car is??? This branch of the chain (NW corner of Wilshire and Rodeo) opened in 1931 and closed in 1982. Pic from the Huntington Archives.

Looking South East across Vine towards the Hollywood Brown Derby - ca. 1951. This location was super famous in its time because of its proximity to the studios. It was in I Love Lucy (when they came to Hollywood), was where Clark Gable proposed to Carole Lombard, and is where both the Shirley Temple and the Cobb Salad were first made - so they say. The Hollywood Brown Derby existed from 1929-1985 (there would be another short-lived one just up the street on NW corner of Hollywood and Vine). Photo from the Huntington Archives.

A fire at the Los Feliz Brown Derby which caused $10,000 in damage - 1951. Cecil B. De Mille, a part owner of the Wilshire location, bought the building on the SW corner of Los Feliz Blvd. and Hillhurst in 1940 and it was a Brown Derby for about 20 years. Photo from the LAPL.

A couple outside of the (second) Wilshire location - 1968. This location opened in 1937 and closed in 1980. Photo from the LAPL.

Looking up towards the Broadway neon sign from the Hollywood Brown Derby's parking lot - late 1930s. Photo from LIFE Magazine.

Outside of the Beverly Hills Brown Derby - 1978. Photo by Anne Laskey.

The (second) Wilshire location - 1979. Photo from the Claremont Archives.

The same location as above just a year later in 1980 when people were picketing to save the building after the restaurant's closing. Photo by Bob Chamberlain.

A 1987 shot of the short-lived Hollywood and Vine location (1987-1989). Photo by William Reagh.

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