7007 Hollywood Blvd
From 1906 to 1996 - arguably the best place for a hot a fudge sundae bar none - was C. C. Brown's.
photo: Lawry's on line
C. C. Brown's confectioner's was located at 7007 Hollywood Boulevard - between Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the Garden Court Apartments. It was directly across the street from the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
Conveniently ... it was only 3 blocks from Hollywood High.
C. C. Browns was all about decor and presentation. It smelled of warm chocolate, fresh bananas, cane sugar, vanilla and eggs. Ice cream and candy was made on the premises the old fashion way.
It looked like a relic from the previous century. The parlor was dimly lit, long and narrow. There were high-backed black walnut booths with the varnished mahogany tables tops. The tables tops were all scarred up with carved initials. On each table was a red plastic carnation.
The walls were covered in a Victorian style flocked wallpaper. From the tall ceilings hung Victorian style light fixtures. Waiters dressed top to bottom in white.
It was open for business Monday through Saturday, 1 p.m. to midnight - closed on Sundays.
photo: Dick Whittington Studio:
University of Southern California libraries
C. C. Browns - center left with the red awning
Clarence Clifton Brown was a candy maker from Ohio. In 1906 he traveled by covered wagon to Los Angeles. He brought with him his candy making tools including a big copper kettle, marble work slab and old gas stove.
He set up his confectionery store at 7th and Flowers streets in downtown Los Angeles ( 715 S. Flower Street). He called it C. C. Brown's confectioners.
Clarence Brown eventually passed the business over to his son Cliff in 1924.
In 1926 C. C. Brown's needed to find a new location when Brook's Bros. home furnishing store took over the block with a huge 11-story building at 7th, Figueroa and Flower streets (818 W. 7th St).
Barker Bros. Building today
C. C. Brown's Goes Hollywood
Cliff Brown packed up his tools, candy recipes and furniture and moved into the newly built commercial building at the northwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Orange Street.
The building at 7001 Hollywood Boulevard was designed-to-suit it's primary tenant -
the Hillcrest Motor Company - by the premier L.A. architectural firm of Meyer & Holler.
7001 Hollywood Blvd.
Meyer & Holler had designed a slew of early Hollywood landmark buildings such as; Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Grauman's Egyptian Theater, the Monmartre Cafe, the Hollywood Athletic Club and the iconic Hollywood First National Bank Building at the northeast corner of Hollywood and Highland.
Hollywood First Nat'l Bank - 6777 Hollywood Blvd.
Hillcrest Motor Company was the Don Lee organization of Cadillac and La Salle agents. (They later sold Oldsmobiles). Hillcrest also had a showroom in Beverly Hills at 220 N. Canon Drive.
The 2 story, 140 feet by 230 building is a modified Italian style. There were auto showrooms on the first floor, auto repair and service shops above.
The facade of the building had dark tooled stone with light plaster, large plate glass windows and ornamental iron work.
7007 Hollywood Boulevard
The interior had high ceilings and high arched windows which allowed a flood of natural light in.
The building mirrored many other buildings nearby which incorporated classic Italian style elements.
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel - 7000 Hollywood Blvd.
The westerly end of the Hillcrest Motor Company building had designed-to-suit three specialty shops. C. C. Brown's would be by far the longest lasting specialty shop tenant - staying there for 65 years.
In 1948 Hillcrest Motor Company vacated the building and an appliance store called Electra City moved in. Electra City sold all types of appliances, TV's and radios.
1947: FRASHER FOTO POSTCARD COLLECTION: Pomona Public Library
In 1955 the space was leased to Hert Rent-a-Car and later to Avis Rent-a-Car.
Ten years later (1965 - 1972) it was a Shakey's Pizza Parlor.
Then, in 1975, it was leased to Rob Petersen to house his valuable car collection in the Motorama - Motor Museum of the Stars. Petersen was a magazine publisher, sportsman and car enthusiast. Petersen Publishing published Motor Trend, Teen, Car Craft, Guns & Ammo, Skindiver, Motorcyclist and many others.
source: L. A. Times
On display were automobiles made notable by motion picture, TV shows and well as race cars, motorcycles, sports cars and hot rods.
Garden Court Apartments at left and the Hillcrest Motor Co. Building
photo: Dick Whittington Studio
[host] University of Southern California Libraries
1975: L. A. Times ad
In 1994 Petersen helped create the non-profit Petersen Automobile Museum at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard. He retired in 1996 and sold his business for $450 million. He died in 2007.
Recipe for Success
C. C. Brown's was a favorite hangout for locals, tourist and celebrities alike. Celebrity regulars included Mary Pickford, Clark Gable, Elvis Presley, Bob Hope, Judy Garland, Marlon Brando, Joan Crawford, Art Linkletter and Ronald Reagan.
Brown served up sandwiches, sodas home-style candies such as butter creams with chopped almonds coated in chocolate, hand dipped caramel turtles and English Toffee. But it was his hot fudge sundaes which kept customers coming back time and again.
photo: Five Crowns
Ingredients in Brown's famous hot fudge included fresh eggs, Dutch cocoa, heavy cream, real vanilla and pure cane sugar. The fudge was thick, sweet and smooth - stirred up in the same copper kettle pots he brought out from Ohio.
Brown served his ice cream in a silver looking tin goblet which helped keep the ice cream cold. Hot fudge was served on the side in a little 2 1/2 ounce ceramic pitcher. This allowed guest to pour the hot fudge over the ice cream as they ate. Along with the thick hot fudge, the sundae consisted of fresh sliced banana topped with a scoop of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, roasted chopped almonds and whipped cream. Brown called this ice cream concoction the Buster Brown.
In 1963 Cliff Brown sold the store to his friend John Schumacher, a Carnation Ice Cream dairy chemist who had began working at the parlor in 1959. Candy making recipes were passed down from the Brown family to the Schumacher family (which included his wife JoEllen and their eight children.)
The shop seldom changed it's menu items or shop decor. Even the prices remained stable. And it developed a loyal following.
However the Boulevard outside had changed. Hollywood in the '70's and '80's had gone downhill - crime was rampant. The area combed with shop lifters and panhandlers. Many once upscale shops and hotels were now boarded up, burnt-out - and filled up with vagrants and trash.
Those with means fled to the suburbs to raise families. Young folk shunned Hollywood Boulevard since good ice cream could be had in much safer places. Tasty sundaes were served up at Baskin-Robbins, Curries, Gill's at Farmer's Market, Carvel Ice Cream, Carnation, Bennett's in Farmer's Market, Clancy Muldoon's, Farrell's, Fosselman's, Howard Johnson's and Swensen's Ice Cream Factory. Of course, many opted to just make the concoction at home.
In the 1982 - Haagen-Dazs ice cream scoop shop opened two doors down the street from C. C. Brown's. Schumacher accused Haagen-Dazs of taking away 80% of its day time customers -
as business waned Schumacher laid off everyone but his family. Haagen-Dazs didn't last long at the location, but neither did C. C. Brown's.
John Schumacher died in 1994. His wife and children continued to run C. C. Browns for two more years. Then in 1996, it shut it's doors for good.
Today the space is occupied by another Hollywood souvenir and T-shirt shop. The place that once sold Cadillac and La Salles automobiles is now used as a parking garage.
The only apparent remnants of the original decor is the brown and beige Victorian style flocked wallpaper hidden (behind souvenir towels) and three dusty Victorian style light fixtures.
Jars of C. C. Brown's hot fudge sauce can be purchased at Lawry's/Tam O'Shanter restaurants.