1950s Memories of Celebrities, Mickey Cohen, Jack Ruby, Jimmy Fratiano, JFK, Wiseguys, Movie Stars and Charlie Sample
Johnny “X” (last name withheld because ‘you never know who’s left out there’) interviewed by reporter Captain Jack in a wide-ranging discussion of Nightclubs and Hot Spots.
Johnny is getting up in years. He says “high eighties”. He’s in constant physical pain from a variety of old problems, and has trouble walking. He wanted to talk about the “good old days” in Hollywood and West Hollywood, the 1950s, when wiseguys rubbed elbows with movie stars. Johnny was there, working the clubs in Hollywood, the Sunset Strip, and later the fancy joints on La Cienega. At first he worked as a clean-up guy, later as part owner of a club, and later on had his own “industrial” type shop on South La Cienega, making rod iron for the public, and special gambling equipment for “the boys.” He also made special stuff for famous magicians – the secret kind, like loaded dice, shaved cards, and mechanical wonders. These items had a certain cross-over appeal, useful both for magicians and gamblers. His shop on Blackwelder Street was near Charlie Sample’s place, another famous Los Angeles character. Go downtown to Phillipe’s beef dip at 1001 N. Alameda and if you go in the back door look left to see a huge poster size photo of Charlie Sample, who was 101 at the time.
So sit back and enjoy the chat with Johnny, it’s a trip down Hollywood’s memory lane, peopled by characters that most folks only read about. Johnny knew them all.
Click here to go to the youtube video, or watch the embedded version below.