Schwab's Pharmacy was a drug store located at 8024 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California, and was a popular hangout for movie actors and movie industry dealmakers from the 1930s through the 1950s. Like many drug stores in the United States throughout the mid-twentieth century, Schwab's sold medicines and had a counter serving ice cream dishes and light meals.
Schwab's closed its doors in October 1983. Five years later, on October 6, 1988, Schwab's was demolished to make way for a shopping complex and multiplex theater.
In popular culture
Sidney Skolsky, a syndicated Hollywood gossip columnist for the New York Daily News who was the first journalist to use the nickname "Oscar" for the Academy Award in print, made Schwab's famous in the 1930s. He used the drugstore as his office, and called his column in Photoplay, the country's premiere movie magazine of the time, "From A Stool At Schwab’s". A persistent Hollywood legend has it that actress Lana Turner was "discovered" by director Mervyn LeRoy while at the soda counter at Schwab's. While the 16-year-old Turner was indeed discovered at a soda counter, the actual location was not Schwab's but another Sunset Boulevard establishment, the Top Hat Cafe, and the person who discovered her was not LeRoy but Hollywood Reporter publisher William Wilkerson.
The exterior of Schwab's is featured in the film Sunset Boulevard as a setting where the lead character, down-on-his-luck screenwriter Joe Gillis, ran into friends in the movie industry. For filming convenience, director Billy Wilder had the store's interior duplicated on the lot of Paramount Pictures. In an episode of I Love Lucy, when Lucy visits California while Ricky is making a movie, she announces that she is going down to Schwab's Drug Store to be discovered.
Jan and Dean make reference to Schwab's in their song Dead Man's Curve as they start racing at Sunset and Vine. "I flew past LaBrea, Schwab's, and Crescent Heights". Schwab's is featured in the opening segment of the film Moment by Moment which stars Lily Tomlin and John Travolta. It features Lily's character talking to the pharmacist about her medication.
Schwab's is mentioned in connection with classic Hollywood glamor in Tom Waits's song "Invitation to the Blues," released on his 1976 album Small Change: "And you feel just like Cagney, she looks like Rita Hayworth / At the counter of the Schwab's drug store."
There is a recreation of Schwab's Pharmacy in Universal Studios Orlando in the Hollywood section. It sells light snacks and ice cream treats.
- Alleman, Richard (2005). Hollywood: The Movie Lover's Guide : The Ultimate Insider Tour to Movie L.A. Random House, Inc. p. 73. ISBN 0-7679-1635-2.
- "SCHWAB'S, HOLLYWOOD DRUGSTORE, SHUT". The New York Times. 1983-10-24. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
- "Daughter of Famed Hollywood Columnist Sidney Skolsky Passes". Marilyn Monroe Collection Blog. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
- Jon Ponder (December 11, 2010). "Schwab's Drug Store: Where Lana Turner Was Not Discovered". Retrieved January 5, 2012.
- Wilkerson, W.R. 3rd (1 July 1995). "Writing the End to a True-to-Life Cinderella Story : Remembrance: The facts of Lana Turner's discovery at a soda fountain have changed through the years, but the legend remains.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
- Staggs, Sam (2003). Close-up On Sunset Boulevard: Billy Wilder, Norma Desmond, and the Dark Hollywood Dream. Macmillan. p. 89. ISBN 0-312-30254-1.
- "Universal Studios Florida Restaurants". Universal Orlanda. Retrieved February 15, 2013.
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