5600 Sunset: Fanchon & Marco Studios / 2nd Hollywood Rollerbowl / Stardust Ballroom

The parcel that includes 5600 Sunset Boulevard is located between Wilton Place and St. Andrews Place.

In 1925, a 1-story brick automobile showroom and garage was built at the southwest corner of St. Andrews Place (addressed vatiously as 5600-5606 and 5600-5620 depending on the number of interior partitions). It’s function remained automobile-related through early 1931.

In January 1931 that Fanchon and Marco applied to the city for a permit to turn the auto showroom building into a rehersal studio. Their long-term lease of the building (referred to at that time as the William D. Fyers Building) was made public in February 1931. Once opened, the new space would replace their existing locations at 643 S. Olive Street and 1584 W. Washington.

2/21/1931. LA Evening Express.

Fanchon and Marco were Los Angeles-born siblings Fanchon “Fanny” Wolff Simon and Marco “Mike” Wolf, producers of elaborate theatrical stage shows featuring dancers and other performers. 

On June 29, 1931, they held a lavish party to dedicate the new facility, with Governor Jim Rolph attending, autographed oranges, and the famed F&M Sunkist Beauties dance troupe.

6/25/1931. LA Evening Express.

Ad requruiting Fanchon & Marco dancers at the 5600 Sunset Blvd. studio. 2/23/1932. Pasadena Post.

 

On May 28, 1933 the pair announced that they were now enrolling students for their new school of the dance (later school of the theater) located at 5600 Sunset.

5/28/1933. LAT.

5/28/1933. LAT.

5/29/1933. LAT.

By January 1936 Fanchon & Marco School of the Dance was advertising 3 locations: 5600 Sunset Blvd., 8569 Broadway and 26 E. Colorado St., Pasadena. LAT.

In September 1936, the duo announced that it was combining the Ethel Meglin Studios and the Fanchon School of the Theater at 5600 Sunset Blvd.

9/26/1936

The pair had officially contracted with Ethel Meglin, who taught children dancers, aka Meglin’s Kiddies, in July 1930, authorizing her to teach the Fanchon and Marco system. This would allow FM to concentrate more fully on its theatrical, stage, film and radio enterprises.

Meglin had operated her studios at various locations, most recently at 2203 Venice Boulevard and across the street at 5545 Sunset Boulevard. By 1938 5600 Sunset Boulevard was advertised at the Ethel Meglin Studio, offering the Fanchon and Marco system. Advertisments continued into March 1940, when the property was abruptly advertised for lease.

7/14/1930. LA Record.

5/28/1932

Ethel Meglin Studio “in association with Fanchon & Marco” advertisment from 1/29/1938 counts Shirley Temple, Jane WIthers, Judy Garland, June Lang, Virginia Grey, Maureen O’Conner, and Jackie Moran among its former pupils. Hollywood Citizen-News.

3/14/1940. LAT.

A fire in May 1940 damage 5600 Sunset, but it was repaired. By November 1940, the building was once again used briefly as an automobile showroom.

As Sunset Motors, November 1940.

In September 1947, the building once again taught performers- now for television- when it was leased by American Telecasting Corp, which had operated a radio school next door since 1942. The company operated it’s school here into 1953.

8/16/1947. Hollywood Citizen-News.

5600-5620 Sunset Boulevard was vacant when Sam Schaeffer, as Roller Bowl Amusement Co., acquired it in May 1955 for a reported $350,000. Schaffer planned to open a roller rink here, having previously managed the Hollywood Rollerbowl in the old Warner Brothers Studio at 5842 Sunset Boulevard, from 1950 to 1954. The Police Commission granted Schaeffer a license for the venture on June 1, 1955, but the action was vigorously contested by the Assistance League of California. The group operated boys and girls clubs right behind the building and were convinced the rink would prove to be a juvenile delinquent magnet.

7/12/1955 LAT.

When the issue went to court in July 1955, Schaeffer blurted that he’d paid $50,000 “under the table” to the Police Commission for the license, causing a flap and bringing up allegations of graft. Schaeffer said the remark was just a “slip of the tongue” and there had not, in fact, been any bribery involved. Three public hearings later, Schafter’s license was reinstated over the objection of the Assistance League, only to be pulled again in October 3 while the matter was appealed. It was finally resolved in Schaeffer’s favor and in June 1957, plans for the remodeling work necessary to convert 5600 Sunset into a roller rink were announced along with an anticipated opening date of August 1. Things took longer than expected, however. The rink did finally open by June 1958. Like its predecessor at 5842 Sunset, it was also called Hollywood Roller Bowl. 

The prime corner location was partitioned into a lobby for the rink, and about June 1959, converted into a separate space for rent, addressed as 5600. The Hollwood Roller Bowl was thereafter addressed as 5612.

6/24/1958. Hollywood Citizen-News.

Now addressed as 5600. 6/26/1959

 

In November 1961, Hollywood ballet instructor Kathryn Etienne moved into the corner space at 5600.

2/3/1962.

 

The second Hollywood Roller Bowl operated through November 1972.

Photo of 5600-5612 c. 1973.

 

In December 1975, vocalist Orrin Tucker converted the rink into a nightclub/dance hall, the Stardust Ballroom.

As Stardust Ballroom, 12/12/1975.

The space continued to operate as a ballroom/nightclub into 1995. In August 1995 5600-5612 was demolished and a Home Deptot retail store was built on the site, today occupying the entire parcel between Wilton Place and St. Andrews Place.

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