Monday, March 30, 2009

Sambo's, Coco's, etc.

I just received an email from Chris Nichols with a link to a new website, followed with the words, "WOW! The Jack Laxer of Sambo’s... Tim Putz! Must...pick...up...jaw"
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I couldn't agree more.
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The photos of the old Buena Park Sambo's posted above are just a sample of the scores of amazing images you'll find on photographer Tim Putz's Sambo's Photos website. According to the site, "From 1964 to 1986 [Putz] operated one of Santa Barbara’s most successful photographic studios, specializing in commercial and portrait photography... Tim was a personal friend of the Battistone family (the original owners of the Sambo's Restaurant enterprise) and therefore in 1964, was commissioned to photograph the first 25 Sambo’s restaurants in this growing chain..."
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The photo below is from the Sambo's at 1100 W. Katella Ave. in Anaheim, just across from Disneyland. (It's now a Coco's.) I always loved those back-lit panels on the dropped soffit, which told the story of Sambo and the tigers. How can you look at an interior like this and not wax nostalgic the golden age of Googie?

Speaking of Coco's, I noticed an obituary for Coco's co-founder Audrey McIntosh (1923-2009) in yesterday's Register. She and her husband, John Reuben McIntosh, bought the Snack Shop in Corona del Mar in 1948, a business which "subsequently grew into Far West Services, the parent company of Snack Shops, Coco's, Reuben's, Reuben E. Lee among others." She was a 65-year resident of Newport Beach, and served in the USMC at El Toro during WWII.

11 comments:

Dave said...

Chris - That's an absolutely phenomenal set of photographs! Great to see those restaurants in such a pristine state. It makes modern-day eateries seem positively boring.

Capt. Tomorrow said...

A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Even if only in photographic form. Ah, the good ol' days when going to Sambo's was an event and not just a time to eat.

Linda said...

Great photo of Sambo's - I grew up in Orange County but left in 1966 and sure miss it. I had forgotten all about Sambo's and the photo brought back so many memories. It is so great that a professional photographer captured all those photo's for people to enjoy for many years to come.

I wish now that I would have gotten postcards from all the motels around Disneyland - we took it all for granted since we lived there and never gave any thought to what might be valuable or cllectible in the future. I have saved many postcards that I collected, I will go through them to see if I have any that you might want.

Thanks for this great site.

Chris Jepsen said...

Linda: Thanks! I do have a growing collection of Orange County and Googie postcards. I appreciate your generous offer.

walterworld said...

How incredible these photos are!

I'd love to own copies of the whole lot to be sure...

Two out of the three Sambo's in my town are in the collection. These are the same two that remain standing today. The third went up in smoke in the 80's while it was open as a Chinese Restaurant. A car wash now occupies the site.

Too bad such fine designs are now deemed passé.

Thanks for bringing this to light...

Julie Hibbard said...

OK...last one, I promise. I worked at Coco's for 15 years. I was on the training team when Coco's bought up all the Jojo's in Southern California. Wow. Amazing stuff.
LOVED Sambos...and the story board around the restaurant...
wow...

Chris Jepsen said...

Post away, Julie! Glad you're enjoying the blog!

Carl Johnson said...

The Sambos on Beach/Cypress sponsored our Pop Warner team, what a great time and place to be a kid.
Thanks,
Carl

Carolyn said...

I loved going to Sambo's with my parents. I have the original Sambo's poster and cards for the Tiger-Tamers... The Indian boy with the jewel. It is in mint condition. It brings back found memories.

N22Tango said...

Chris:
Thanks so much for adding this specific photo. In 1969, me and a very good friend Rick Surratt snuck away from our homes in El Paso, Texas so we could be with some other kids from our high school (mainly our girl dance team called the Trooperettes and our band) who were invited to perform at the half-time show at the LA Rams - Miinnesota Vikings game. Since we were on our own and not part of the official group, we ate here the three days we stayed at Disneyland. In fact, I'm about 99% certain we sat in the two-seat booths about in the middle of your photo on the left side across from the window/isle booths. Neither one of us had ever seen a Sambo's or even heard of the name back in 1969, And I suspect now that it is almost 2014 as I write this comment, the name "Sambo's" would be politically incorrect, even though I think the name was a hybrid for the two men who started Sambo's long ago. This brings back a flood of memories from my youth. www.AskMeAboutMyVolt.com (my electric car site)

Robbi Gandara said...

Was There A Sambos in Brea, Ca
I really thought there was' can someone help me out?