Hal Linker reminisces, part 2

More from Hal Linker’s epic note, this section about music:

I was kind of a Beatle / hippie kid and really dug music, so I remember Rudy Pock’s in Ontario. An old-school music store — meaning that it sold musical instruments, stereos, transistor radios, sheet music and records.

I bought my first few Beatles and Stones records there. Bought my first Dave Clark Five record at Fedway in the Pomona Mall — saw “A Hard Day’s Night” movie at United Artists Theater in Pomona just up the street from The Fox.

David Platt Music was also on Euclid. And Ontario Music, where I got my initial guitar and drum lessons, still stands on G Street! It blows me away that they have survived all these years!

And who could forget White Front, which was located on Mountain in Ontario just past the cemetery a bit. Back in the 1960s you could buy three albums with 10 bucks and still have change — most LPs were $1.97 unless they were doubles. And even some of the doubles were $1.97 when specially priced.

As a record buying enthusiast, White Front was tough to beat — a lot of my collection of vinyl was bought there. And just up the road was a House Of Pies for munchies afterwards. (For those interested, there is still a House Of Pies in the Los Feliz area of L.A. near the Greek Theater.)

Pacific Stereo on Indian Hill near Holt (across from Boys Market). They opened in the early 1970s. And I spent a great part of my youth and money putting together different stereo systems. They even had a record department in Pacific Stereo for a short while — it was managed by the same guy who had worked the White Front record department, and also worked at the Wherehouse in Pomona — was his name Mike Parra? Not sure.

In the same strip complex was The Wherehouse which opened circa 1970 — I think it might be a karate studio now. I actually bought bootlegs in the back room there when this dope-smoking Dutch draft dodger named Jan (Yawn) was managing the place. Jan later had a short-lived record store on Foothill called Atlantis Records in the late 1970s.

More soon.

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  • Anonymous

    But what about Pock’s Records on Euclid Avenue in Ontario?

    [What about it? It's in the first paragraph. Or am I missing something? -- DA]

  • Jon

    I also saw the Beatles’ “Hard Days Night” at the UA Theater. We had to buy the tickets in advance at Ford Music on the mall in Pomona. The girls were screaming so loud you could not hear much of the movie. It made me want to learn to play the guitar, and grow my hair long.

    I also remember David Platt Music at the old Indian Hill Mall. There was a guitar teacher named Lou Sprigner or something like that. He was a great jazz player. Cool as they come, and made it look easy.

    Ontario Music also had George Harris, who worked there for years. Long gone but not forgotten.

    Thanks, David, for keeping this going.

    [We'll see if you thank me by the 10th day, which is how long it will take to serialize Hal's e-mail. -- DA]

  • Linda

    Well, God Bless Mr. Linker, I thought I was the only person who remembered Rudy Pock’s!!!

  • Sid

    I worked at the Pacific Stereo in the late ’70s in the stock room, but it must have been after the record store was there. We’d run up to the Wherehouse or Music Plus up the street to get albums and tapes to demo on the equipment.

    When the place closed at night, we’d run across the street to the Boys Market to get beer and food and crank up the stereos loud and have our own parties… The sales guys partied hard, and made it clear to me I never wanted to go into sales…

    I remember going to the UA Theater in downtown Pomona, but usually if the Fox was sold out or was playing something my parents didn’t want to see.

  • Bob House

    Sid — we’re long-lost co-workers. I was director of marketing at Pacific Stereo in the mid-’70s. Before that, I worked in the Long Beach store. Our parties there weren’t as much fun as yours in Pomona sound. I’ve always claimed that being in the hi-fi business in the ’70s and ’80s was the closest thing to being in a band — all the sex and drugs and rock ‘n roll without the fame or money.

  • Hal Linker

    Regarding the short lived record department at Pacific Stereo, I believe it was circa 1974-75. I do recall buying Steely Dan – Pretzel Logic; Robin Trower – Bridge Of Sighs; Mott the Hoople – The Hoople; and Frank Zappa – Apostrophe albums there all in one visit. The albums were fairly new at the time, so I’m thinking Spring 1974. The guy that ran the department was hispanic and had long shoulder-length hair and a moustache. He also had previously worked in the record department at White Front along with The Wherehouse next door.

    In a somewhat related story, the Dutch draft dodger named Jan (pronounced yawn) who used to manage the Wherehouse on Indian Hill near Holt, hooked up business-wise with a woman who used to manage the Licorice Pizza in West Covina. They opened a very short lived record store in Chino off of Central near Francis in the strip mall behind the 7-Eleven there. The name of the store was Primo Records and they opened up in the fall of 1977.

    I was flabbergasted at their ridiculously low prices. I bought the, then, brand-new Rolling Stones – Love You Live 2-LP live album for $2 and Blue Oyster Cult’s Spectres for a buck. Same for Steely Dan’s Aja – $1. Within a few months the store was shut down by the police who said the two owners had stolen all the records from their previous stores. This was Chino’s first record store and it only lasted a few months. It would be many years before another record store located in Chino.

    Hal and Hadla say hi to Bob House who called out the “Passport To Adventure” show. Yeah, Hal Linker is a pseudonym to protect my anonymity. Does anyone recall the Firesign Theatre’s parody of Hal and Hadla on the classic “Everything You Know Is Wrong” LP?

  • Bob House

    Hi Hal — Thanks for clarifying my “Passport to Adventure” puzzlement. A little more on the Pacific Stereo record department.

    Pacific was owned by CBS (the television network, etc.) at the time and they also owned an East coast/Midwest chain of record stores called Discount Records. The Pacific record departments were an attempt to capitalize on the synergy of the two chains.

    As director of marketing at the time, I was the one who ordered demo albums for Pacific stores. I had a code number that allowed me to order whatever I wanted from the CBS/Columbia catalog. I kept a few for myself as well.

    Sitting in my garage right now are several hundred LPs from the mid-’70s — everything that CBS/ Columbia pressed that I had even the least interest in. I even have stereo test records from the the day. I’m going to go out to the garage and find “Everything You Know is Wrong” (It’s a Columbia LP) to check the Linker parody. Thanks.

    [Let us know what you find, Bob. -- DA]

  • “Hal Linker”

    Thanks for the cool info on the short lived Pacific Stereo Record Department. I worked for Discount Record Center in Montclair (next to Dugan’s Music behind the Montclair Plaza) for a short spell. My checks came from CBS / Integrity Entertainment or something like that, my memory is a bit sketchy here. At that time, I think CBS/ Integrity also had their claws into The Wherehouse chain — this would be later 1970s circa 1978-1979. The guy who managed the store before me and his employees were ripping the store off blind. Needless to say, the record biz in the 1960s and 1970s was populated with many shady folks from top to bottom.

    Good luck finding the Firesign Theatre LP. Haven’t heard it in years. Better dig mine out too. The Linkers are parodied as the characters Buzz and Bunny Crumbhunger. Evel Knievel is parodied as Daredemon Reebus Cannebus. It’s very trippy, surreal comedy which demands a great deal more from the listener than most humor records. It sounded real good in a dorm room in Ann Arbor with a headful of hash circa Fall 1974.

  • JMac

    Well I guess it’s time I jump into this discussion. I was an employee of Discount for about 2.5 years.

    In my opinion, during the mid-1970s, Discount was the best record store in the area. It definitely had the deepest catalogue, especially the classical section. Around late ’75, they changed the name to Hitsville. We were sold to the Wherehouse chain, when they decided to expand, in early 1977.

    The Wherehouse then came in, shortened the inventory and cut the store in half, and renamed it Hits for All. It didn’t last long, as they lost a really strong client base from the colleges, who were big buyers of every genre.

    As to your assertion of the “previous manager and employees” ripping the place off blind, I have to take offense to that comment “Hal.” I’m not sure when you were there, but those I worked with took a lot of pride in running that place, especially the guy who managed the place my entire tenure.

  • “Hal Linker”

    Hey JMac

    I agree, Discount Records had the best catalog of any record store around during that time. I even mention it in what I suppose will be a future installment of the enormo-mail I sent to Dave. Additionally, they would get special order albums in stock very quickly. I loved that store between 1970 and 1975.

    But there was a manager named Tony, I believe, who was either fired or quit around the very end of 1978 after back dooring a lot of merchandise. When I transferred to the store, all the other employees thought I was a company plant to spy on them. The level of paranoia I got from my co-workers the first week of duty was palpable and kind of eerie. I was a stranger in a strange land. Eventually one of the co-workers broke the ice and explained what their thinking was at the time of my job start.

    You’re right, it was called Hitsville then — that slipped my mind.

    Please don’t take it personally, I’m merely relating my experiences with the store circa tail end 1978, early 1979. I didn’t work there long (only a couple of months) as I moved to Venice for a while with a blonde hairdresser who recently had graduated from the adjacent Marinello’s Beauty College and was a frequent visitor to the store.

  • JMac

    Hey Hal, your time there would have been after it was sold to the Wherehouse chain. Everyone affiliated with that particular store ended their employment in Feb of 1977. THe only person that would stay on with the Wherehouse was our district manager, and his name was Jim. Tony must have been a Wherehouse employee previously.

    Hal, I’ll look forward to your reminiscing on the store when it shows up. David, sorry about hijacking the thread.

  • David Paul Moore

    I grew up in Glendale, California and visited family in Loma Linda/Redlands, California. I therefore traveled through your communities regularly.

    Reading about the price of records, I still have my family records. But, my Mother never bought a record at a price as low as those listed here. We would special order Mitch Miller records from Webb’s Department Store. My Mother paid $4.98 each in 1958 for Fred Waring and Old Fashion Revival Hour records. We never had a $1.97 record. I paid $27.00 each in 1973 for two Columbia Masterworks records (“The Union” and “The Confederacy”).

    Some records come at a low price because they are lower in quality of content. DPM