Schwab's Pharmacy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

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.[1] 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 in October 1983.[2] Five years later, on October 6, 1988, Schwab's was demolished to make way for a shopping complex and multiplex theater.

In popular culture[edit]

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 premiere movie magazine in the US at the time, "From A Stool At Schwab’s".[3] 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 discovered at a soda counter, the location was not Schwab's but another establishment, the Top Hat Cafe, further east on Sunset Boulevard at McCadden Place, directly across the street from Hollywood High School where she was still a student. The person who discovered her was not LeRoy but Hollywood Reporter publisher William Wilkerson.[4][5]

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.[6]

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' 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."

F. Scott Fitzgerald suffered a heart attack in Schwab's during the 1930s.

Schwab's is referenced in Magnum P.I., Season 4, Episode 2

Schwab's is featured in a short scene from the film It's a Great Feeling

A large replica of the Schwab's Pharmacy store sign was built and placed on the corner of Vine St and Selma Ave in the Hollywood District of Los Angeles. It was built as apart of the new condominiums built in 2011.

In February, 2015, a replica of the Schwab's Pharmacy store sign was part of the studio backdrop for The Tonight Show's first visit to Hollywood since New York-based host Jimmy Fallon succeeded Jay Leno.

There is a recreation of Schwab's Pharmacy in Universal Studios Orlando in the Hollywood section. It sells light snacks and ice cream treats.[7]


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ "SCHWAB'S, HOLLYWOOD DRUGSTORE, SHUT". The New York Times. 1983-10-24. Retrieved 9 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "Daughter of Famed Hollywood Columnist Sidney Skolsky Passes". Marilyn Monroe Collection Blog. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  4. ^ Jon Ponder (December 11, 2010). "Schwab's Drug Store: Where Lana Turner Was Not Discovered". Retrieved January 5, 2012. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ "Universal Studios Florida Restaurants". Universal Orlanda. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°05′53″N 118°21′53″W / 34.0980096°N 118.3647861°W / 34.0980096; -118.3647861