Hal Linker reminisces, part 3

The third section of Hal Linker’s epic e-mail, picking up from his comments about the Wherehouse and Pacific Stereo at Indian Hill and Holt Avenue circa 1970:

Also in this strip was Xochomilcho’s Mexican restaurant which I think is still there. I loved Xochomilcho’s back in my youth, not so much for the food, but because the waitresses were young and hot and served alcohol to minors like myself (the statute of limitations is long up, right?).

Anybody remember Muntz Stereo Pak on Holt just west of East End a bit? That was the place for eight track tapes and car units. Another place was Foster’s Tapes on Mission just east of Central. I think it’s the Maylly Oriental Massage Parlor now. That’s progress for ya.

Anybody remember The Wild Cat on West Holt just up the street a bit from Orlando’s? Best topless bar in the area. Great place to shoot some pool too.

Speaking of barely clothed women, The Ritz Theater in Ontario devolved into a XXX house by the late 1960s, eventually changing its name to the Pussycat and then being torn down.

I’ve never heard the Pussycat name, although it’s possible. The place burned in a fire in 1978 and was torn down. As for Xochimilco, it went out of business circa 2005.

Next up from Hal Linker: Movie theaters.

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  • Jim L

    Wow, I vividly remember all those places! Well, except for the Pussycat and Wild Cat, Maylly and The Ritz, I swear.

  • Gene Harvey

    I am enjoying Hal’s comments immensely and can’t wait for the remaining installments that you’re sharing with us. But just one quick correction.

    The Ritz Theatre did indeed become an “adults only” venue in its final incarnation, but was never the “Pussycat” or part of the Pussycat chain of adult theatres. It was owned by Bill Wall who had three other similar theatres in Southern California. He actually resided in Ontario during that period.

    The Pussycat people (headquartered on Western Avenue in Hollywood) were very interesting and successful entrepreneurs who built up and operated the largest chain of adult theatres in the country. They wanted very badly to make inroads into the Pomona/Ontario market area and repeatedly tried to buy from me my Canyon Theatre operation in San Dimas. The closest they got was to take over the Arrow Theatre in Fontana (now a church).

    People interested in movie theatre history may like to know that the Ritz in its earlier life (until 1969) was part of the United Artist chain, same as the United Artist Theatre in Pomona (mentioned earlier by Hal).

    [Thanks, Gene, for confirming, and expanding on, my thinking on this. I'm running Hal's note as it was received and noting afterward where I think his memory is faulty, based on my own limited knowledge. All corrections are welcome. And I'm glad you're enjoying this. There's plenty more Hal to come! -- DA]

  • April Patterson

    Xochomilcho’s isn’t there any longer.

  • Chris Hansen-Nelson

    I remember the little man who was the logo for Muntz. He wore an admiral’s hat and I believe carried a sabre.

    They were the kings of car radios in the area for quite a while.

    [Madman Muntz! -- DA]

  • Bob House

    I bought an 8-track for my VW at that Muntz location before heading off to my sophomore year of college in 1966. The “Madman” got his nickname from his original business — selling cars. His slogan was “I buy ‘em retail and sell ‘em wholesale — it’s more fun that way!” see http://www.madmanmuntzmovie.com/index.php?m=2

  • DWIGHT SIEBERT

    Earl Madman Muntz: “I lose money on every deal but I make it up in volume.”

  • “Hal Linker”

    I stand corrected on the Ritz/Pussycat issue. I must have just imagined or memory-blended that.

    With regard to the Wild Cat topless bar, I got some input from my older brother this week which I found sort of interesting.

    My brother says that the Wild Cat was originally owned by a guy named Henry who also ran or owned the Bowlium in Montclair. Sometime in the late 1960s he sold the place to Johnny Garcia, who had worked at the club since it opened as a topless venue in the mid 1960s.

    My brother was an excellent pool player and was frequently at the venue. Consequently, he became good friends with Johnny. As a result, Johnny let my brother interview and audition the women who were applying for the topless waitress jobs. Quite the perk! At the time, my brother was a student at Cal Poly Pomona and a crafty pool hustler.

    There was also a pool hall, I believe on Mills Avenue (maybe Indian Hill) just north of Holt which was run by a guy named Don Reed. This guy was a World Class pool player. He was a master, and I’m not overstating the case one bit. He was the king of the safety. He never left his opponent with a shot. And that was only when he wasn’t clearing the table. The guy was exceptional. He dug nine ball.

    In the late 1960s / early 1970s there was a small bar with pool tables in Old Town Chino on 6th Street between “C” and “D” streets just northwest of the old legendary Herb’s Hardware store (now a museum). The name of the place was Riguierie’s (excuse me on the spelling, if incorrect — pronounced Rig Gary’s). The place had a lot of “action.” High stakes poker games amongst the locals were frequent along with pretty high wagers on nine ball games.

    Many of the same people who played pool there also took part in the poker games. The guys that played pool at the venue thought they were hot stuff. They were great, but they never saw Don Reed coming.

    Don cleaned the clock on the best three pool players at Riguieres in three games of nine ball, winning a ton of money. The hot shots turned into little puppies with their tails between their legs running for cover.

    Not long after, Riguiere’s lost their license due to the gambling going on at the place. As for Don Reed, last I heard, in the 1970s he moved to Minnesota where he was a school teacher.

    Back to topless bars for a second: Anyone remember a seedy joint called Satan’s Place which I believe was on Mission (but coulda been Holt)? It was pool tables and not always beautiful topless gals. My brother informed me that, during the mid-1960s topless bar heyday, he saw the entire Consistory (the Elders and Deacons) of my parents’ church in the bar. Apparently they decided to have a bit of extracurricular activities after their normal Wednesday night Consistory meeting. When they saw my brother, they fled!!! Lucky for them he no longer attended that church and couldn’t give a damn about their apparent hypocrisy.

    Reminds me of the time when I went to Ontario Newsstand* to get the Cliff Notes (or was it Monarch Notes) for Wuthering Heights and saw my parent’s minister pouring through the porn in the “chained off” adults only section. I suppose he was doing research for his next sermon. Ha ha!

    * Ontario Newsstand was located on Euclid just north of Holt on west side of street between “B” and “C” streets. There was also the Pomona Newsstand which was in the Hughes Market shopping center on Holt. Eventually they changed the name to Newsboy and opened stores in Chino (Central and Walnut at the old Alpha beta center) and Claremont (at which they had two different locations (though not concurrently) on opposite sides of Foothill. As far as I know, only the Ontario store is still open and the roof was leaking like crazy last time I was in there to pick up my Standard Catalog Of Cars.

  • TOM THOMAS

    Oh, the Wild Cat. I once worked at that place as a night manager with Johnny Garcia working the door. The bar was owned by Henry Barosso. Every once in a while after that I used to run across one of the girls who worked in the place. The building became a motorcycle club clubhouse before it was lost to history. Henry also owned another club on Holt Called the Red Flame. I dont believe he ever had an interest in the Bowlium though.

    [I believe "Tom Thomas" is a pseudonym just like "Hal Linker." -- DA]