The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on March 29, 1977 · 55
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · 55

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Tuesday, March 29, 1977
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It's Bankruptcy Blues at Music City Hos Sngrlrsi Zimti IEW PART IV TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 1977 JACK SMITH Another Drop in the Bucket Americans are maligned throughout the world as soft and greedy, but I am much reassured by the mail I have been receiving from people who are willing to face up to hardship, if need be, to save water and fuel. Underneath our leisure suits we are still pioneers. As I have reported here, my wife and I are not waiting for mandatory restraints to be imposed; we have already begun our regimen by taking Navy showers, and stand ready to switch from frozen grapefruit juice to champagne for breakfast, if true austerity is called for. Not everyone sounds eager to adopt such spartan measures as those, perhaps, but the important thing is that they are thinking conservation. "Some time ago," writes Walter Lee of Santa Monica, for example, "I changed from showering to a tub bath. Later I use the water for my household plants. Doesn't hurt the flowers a bit." "If my wife would use her bath water to water her house plants, I imagine we would save more water than anyone else on our block, by that device alone. "Our daughter up north is rationed," wrote Kathryn C. De Grasse of Balboa Island. "They put plastic bowls in the wash bowl to save the cool water you run waiting for it to get hot Also, plug up the tub and shower and scoop the used water into a bucket to use; a real chore, but necessary." I can't quite picture a family of any size running about the house with buckets and bowls of water. Inevitably, I suppose, there would be collisions, spilled water and ruffled feelings. But it might work for a well-disciplined couple like my wife and me. "As an ex-sailor," writes Ted Mason of Redondo Beach, "I considered the Navy shower you mentioned but rejected it in favor of an even more spartan method the Marine bath. This, as you certainly know, is accomplished with soap, a washcloth (if available) and a helmet partly filled with water, followed by plenty of deodorant and cologne. . ." This is an excellent idea, though I would recommend that it be augmented by a full shower once a week, perhaps on Saturday night. Also, women will find that they can save a great deal of water by washing their lingerie in their helmets, and then, of course, putting the used water on their potted plants. I was especially pleased to hear from my friend Robert Lee, now retired in Newport Beach. Lee used to be a top executive with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and tried to prove me wrong some years ago when I reported that their water was artificial. First, he reproaches me for saying that our watergivers were sometimes "ruthless" in bringing water to our arid city. "I would like to think," he says, "that your use of the word was a subconscious throwback to the interesting but highly fictional movie 'Chinatown.' " Indeed, he reminds me, it was the ruthful enterprise of our watergivers "whose-labors in years past have made it possible for Southern Californians in this year of the Great Drought to have all the water they need for reasonable uses, assuming prudent voluntary cutbacks." Evidently the old wound hasn't quite healed. "Do you still have the canteen I gave you," he asks, "the one filled with a special blend of water from the Los Angeles River, the Owens River, the Colorado River and the Feather River, to prove that the Department of Water and Power does not deal in artificial water as you inadvertently stated in one of your columns? It might come in handy now! " "After my wife went to work," writes Roy Verdery of La Habra Heights, "I would add a little more detergent and daily mop the slight soil on the kitchen floor. This eliminates the building of several days' dirt and backbreaking scrubbing with a full bucket of virgin water." It's interesting to hear that they have virgin water in La Habra. In Los Angeles, as I have said, we use artificial water, and I doubt very much that it's virgin. By the way, Verdery explains that he writes in the past tense because his mother-in-law has been visiting all winter, and he lets her scrub the floor to keep her happy. Perhaps the letter that best puts our problem in perspective is from Alice Bohem, who quotes another letter written a century ago by a mother whose daughter had married and started housekeeping: "Divide clothes into two . . . When wash is on the line, take the rinse water from the white and cleaner clothes and water the garden. Take that from the others, wash the back steps; catch the water at the foot and wash the privy. Then draw a pot of water from the well, comb your hair, make yourself a cup of tea and set and count your blessings." Which is what I suggest we all do. THE VIEWS INSIDE BOOKSi Frank Spiering'i "The Man Who Got Capone" by Robert Kirsch on Pag 8. AND OTHER FEATURES Art Buchwald ....Page 3 Cotnici Pag 9 Bridge Page 2 On View Page 2 Television ..Paget 7, 8, 10 Because of the Academy Awards, other entertainment news will be in Part I today. Kim..... ..nut,,,, "Mtn,,,,, 't'f I yvsW . " ;", j ...miiiiiSflwr a "' , If mm him if tirmm htm iw niwuiiiinriiiiiiriniiim m AN ERA ENDS? Clyde Wallichs' Music City has failed the acid test of the record business. FRENCH DESIGNERS SWITCH HEROINES So Long, Scarlett; Hello, Alice BY MARYLOU LUTHER Tlnwt Flthlm Editor PARIS Frankly, my dears, the French ready-to-wear designers have just decided they no longer give a damn about Scarlett O'Hara. Or her corselets. Or her off-the-shoulder necklines. Their new heroines for fall are Alice in Wonderland and Kate Greenaway. And their hero is Charlie Chaplin. In a remarkable switch away from the waistlines they so carefully carved out for spring and summer, designers here are showing clothes so big and voluminous it will take the skills of detective Hercule Poirot to find the body. The favorite, waistline-skipping look of the young designers here is an inflated tent top over an inflated tent skirt just like Alice wondered around in. And just like the little girls wore in Kate Greenaway's illustrations. It's a storybook idea, complete with first-grader, flat-healed shoes and worked out in such nursery school fabrics as cotton flannel and corduroy. Naive Interpretations The Charlie Chaplin look is another naive interpretation of how to wear a one-size-too-big blazer over a pair of one-size-too-big, peg-leg, pleated-front pants pulled tight with a belt so the waistband gathers above it The unlined, untailored blazer is cut with wide shoulders and no bust darts so it hangs limply. And it is absolutely required to wear the back of the collar turned up an affectation helped along by the prescribed muffler or scarf placed securely under the back collar and left to dangle free in front This oversized, hand-me-down fit is all that remains of the classic, crisp, man-tailored look of recent seasons, and it's in the spirit of the loose, unconstructed clothes that prevail at all levels. The "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" look of big tops over big skirts is an idea proposed here more than a year ago by Kenzo Takada, and one that's now resurfacing in more sophisticated renditions. France Andrevie's little girls wear big, loose corduroy vests over big, loose printed challis dresses over big corduroy skirts. The smock-like, zip-front dresses or tops, or both, are probably about 2 to 4 inches shorter than the skirts, but you're never quite sure how long they are because the models always, always pull them up so they can put their hands in the skirt pockets. Some of the dresses Please Turn to Page 5, Col. 1 Just the Ticket for Pay TV BY LEE MARGULIES Tlnwt StlH Wrtttf In the past the only way to see the Dodgers and Angels engage in their annual freeway baseball series was to buy a ticket and drive to the stadium. But this Friday night you can see it at home on TV. You'll still need a ticket, however. That's because the 7:30 p.m. telecast will be carried only by Los Angeles' new pay-TV station, KBSC Channel 52. In fact, the game will mark the premiere of National Subscription Television, as the KBSC folks are calling their venture. The "ticket" is a special device hooked up to your TV set It costs $17 a month after an initial outlay of $54.95 $29.95 for installation and $25 for a deposit on the device, which is refundable. Open to All Until now, pay TV has been available only to homes that already had a cable connection, such as the Z Channel offered by Theta Cable in many parts of the Los Angeles area. If there was no cable service, there was no opportunity to have pay-TV. KBSC, however, is beaming its programming through the air rather than through wires and thus anyone within a 50-mile radius may receive it The key is that special device. It's a decoder. During its pay-TV hours of operation, KBSC's broadcast signal will be electronically scrambled and only those sets with the decoder will receive a picture and sound. Like most pay-cable operations, National Subscription Television's standard fare will be unedited, uninterrupted motion pictures. Among the films it is offering in April are "The Fortune," "Bite the Bullet" "Funny Lady," "Murder on the Orient Express" and "The Prisoner of Second Avenue." Broader Programming But Jerry Perenchio, principal owner of National Subscription Television, has much broader plans. "I want to try for $17 to give a subscriber a well-balanced menu," he said. "I want to try to give somebody a hell of a buy, so they perceive it as a big value and a convenient value. That means offering programming that isn't available on "free" TV although that s a misnomer because advertisers pass on their sponsorship costs to the consumer. The difference with pay TV is that the viewer is paying for the programs rather than a company trying to sell a product unedited, uninterrupted movies are one alternative attraction. Home sporting events, normally blacked out to Please Turn to Page 7, Col. 1 OVERSIZED Kenzo's new look balloon dress. Store's Operation Out of Step With Times? BY BARRY SIEGEL Timts Stiff Wrlttr The news item, which appeared inconspicuously in the financial columns, served vividly to mark the passing of an era. Wallichs Music City, onetime mecca of the record business, had quietly filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy laws. There was a time when such a thing would have been unthinkable. During its heydey in the 1950s, Wallichs dominated the music business in Los Angeles. Besides picking from the largest selection of records in town, customers could buy televisions, radios, stereos, pianos, organs, musical instruments, sheet music and tickets to local concerts. But there was much more than merchandise on sale. Passersby could watch the Wallichs' clientele playing records in the famous listening booths in the store's windows at Sunset and Vine, or see disc jockeys like Ira Cook broadcasting live. Music City became the gathering spot for anyone drawn to the record scene.-NBC flourished across the street; down the block the Palladium swung with big band sounds; songwriters nursed hangovers at Coffee Dans around the corner; young men looked for Friday-night dates in the listening booths. Life magazine showcased the scene in 1954 with a photo layout. A Familiar Jingle The mood stretched beyond Sunset and Vine. Everyone from Dean Martin to Nat (King) Cole, Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby, Pearl Baily, Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Hope and Johnny Mathis could be heard on radio advertisements crooning the familiar jingle, "It's Music City ..." One day, Fred Astaire called Clyde Wallichs to volunteer his services, since he had not yet been asked. "It was the Tin Pan Alley out here," recalls Art Laboe, a disc jockey then and now program director at KRLA radio. "You could liken it to Schwab's drugstore in the movie business. Songwriters would collar disc jockeys on the street and start singing their songs. You could see a Stan Kenton or Nat Cole buying records. Sonny Bono was down the street, working as a promotion man for Specialty Records." Meanwhile, on the business side, Wallichs had pioneered the modern record store, the first to seal record albums in cellophane and put them in self-service display racks. Record industry executives waited nervously each week for the Wallichs top 10 list of best-selling singles. What happened to change all this? Basically, the times changed, but Wallichs Music City did not The 1960s brought a new kind of rock 'n' roll, drugs and multimedia light shows. The 1970s brought the hip capitalists: record chains such as Wherehouse and Tower and stereo chains such as Pacific Stereo and Federated, complete with discount prices, splashy full-page newspaper ads, blue-jeaned clerks and hanging Boston ferns. This was not Clyde Wallichs' style. Old World Brahmin His older brother, the late Glenn Wallichs, who had built the first car radio, started Music City in 1940 as a small shop at Sunset and Vine. When Glenn moved on to found Capitol Records, Clyde bought a half interest and in 1949 took over as president of Music City. He was not then, and is not today at 59, a man who relates to the world of drug-consuming youth or hard rock. His crew cut and conservative suits have given way to styled gray hair and turtlenecks, but industry friends still use terms like "gentleman" and "Old World Brahmin" to describe him. Store personnel respectfully call him "Mr. Wallichs." He talks frankly today of being a "family" record store and waves his hand in disgust at "those record guys with beads and 'hey mans' and far outs.' " Music City s filing for bankruptcy is, then, more than another example of mismanagement It is the story of a man who may have missed the boat at least partially because he did not want to catch that particular ride. "Wallichs was a Nat (King) Cole store in a Led Zeppelin world" is the way one record company executive puts it. Please Turn to Page 4, Col. 1 Hargrove -Roosevelt Wedding w fix' immimmm M a :-S. 811 i sail? Mr. and Mrs. Stephen MacDonell Hargrove (Miss Julianna Edwards Roosevelt) are all smiles after their wedding at All Saints Episcopal Church Saturday. See story on Page 5. Timet pbote by Lou Mick I

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