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Mel’s Drive-In on Ventura Boulevard - Los Angeles - 1953

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Message  Predicta Lun 19 Sep - 20:00

At the corner of Ventura Boulevard and Kester Avenue in Sherman Oaks, Mel’s Drive-In (formerly known as Kerry’s) exhibits a striking profile. Having seen it on the street before I knew what it was, I took it at first for a retro reproduction of a Googie coffee shop, only discovering later that it was built in 1953 and designed by the great Armét and Davis firm. In honor and memory of the late Eldon Davis, the May installment of the Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride Series took us over the hills to pay Mel’s a visit.

 Mel’s Drive-In on Ventura Boulevard - Los Angeles - 1953 Ab100617



Mel’s follows the classic Armét and Davis profile, with a roofline that angles up toward the street to define a space simultaneously cozy and open, although it is less sure of this diagram than later coffee shops like Pann’s and La Cienega Norm’s.

 Mel’s Drive-In on Ventura Boulevard - Los Angeles - 1953 Ab100614


While we should be grateful that it is still operating at all, this coffee shop has suffered terribly from the heavy-handed interventions of the Mel’s Drive-In brand. It has fared far worse than the formerly Ben Franks location. Compare the photo above with how it looked in the mid-1980s in this image hosted on Flickr (one in a great set of 1980s photographs of mid-century Googie architecture):

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We don't care the People Says , Rock 'n' roll is here to stay - Danny & the Juniors - 1958
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Message  Predicta Lun 19 Sep - 20:01

 Mel’s Drive-In on Ventura Boulevard - Los Angeles - 1953 Ab100613


Here you can clearly see the mistakes made by the Mel’s remodel. The pylon sign was already bad by the 1980s, but Mel’s really went wrong in a few places – the contrasting edge of the angled roof line, the tile applied to the retaining wall that follows the sidewalk, and worst of all, what they did to the front along Ventura Boulevard.

 Mel’s Drive-In on Ventura Boulevard - Los Angeles - 1953 Ab100616


The original design integrated the angled posts that support this roofline by expressing them all the way up and even a couple feet above the top of this roof-parapet element; we read it as an architectural element integrated with the roof of the building. Mel’s remodel cut off the expressive angled column elements in order to transform the front into something like a billboard, and applied a bunch of diner-like signage elements that lack relation to both the style and the structural module of the architecture. Seeing a poor remodel often brings the merits of an original design into starker relief.

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Message  Predicta Lun 19 Sep - 20:01

 Mel’s Drive-In on Ventura Boulevard - Los Angeles - 1953 Ab100615

 Mel’s Drive-In on Ventura Boulevard - Los Angeles - 1953 Mel_s_10

 Mel’s Drive-In on Ventura Boulevard - Los Angeles - 1953 Mel_sd10

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Message  Predicta Lun 19 Sep - 20:01

 Mel’s Drive-In on Ventura Boulevard - Los Angeles - 1953 Melsdr10

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Message  CanyonCarver Mar 20 Sep - 10:22

Nous habitions dans une rue voisine dans les années 90. J'y allais parfois pour breakfast avec ma femme et le petiot. Très moyen pour la bouffe, mais le cadre était sympa, et c'était une petite marche à pied.
Celui de Sunset Blvd. est assez sympa et il y a toujours beaucoup de monde.
CanyonCarver
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Date d'inscription : 28/08/2016

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Message  P.J. Mar 20 Sep - 13:26

On a mangé dans celui d'Hollywood cet été:
 Mel’s Drive-In on Ventura Boulevard - Los Angeles - 1953 Img_3910

Puis dans celui le plus proche du Golden Gate de San Fransisco
 Mel’s Drive-In on Ventura Boulevard - Los Angeles - 1953 Img_4410

Pas forcement top pour la bouffe, mais ambiance sympa!
P.J.
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Date d'inscription : 27/02/2014

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Message  CanyonCarver Mar 20 Sep - 15:45

Oui, côté graille, ils ne font aucun effort. C'est mangeable, mais pas plus.
CanyonCarver
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