5939 Sunset: Auto Showroom/ KNX / KMPC

5939 Sunset Boulevard, located at the northeast corner of Sunset and Gordon Avenue, was designed by architect McNeal Swasey in 1924 for Stanley W. Smith as his Hollywood showroom of Peerless motor cars. The star-studded grand opening took place in the evening of June 25, 1924.

As the expansive Spanish-style structure was sectioned into 3 seperate showrooms, it was sometimes adressed as 5941 Sunset Blvd. Just inside the 6 classical columns was a patio. Cars were displayed behind large windows at either end of the Sunset-facing facade.

6/25/1924 Hollywood Daily Citizen

6/22/1924 LAT

On January 7, 1925, Smith announced that this building (addressed as 5941 Sunset) would now be a dealership for Hudson-Essex cars, in association with local distributor Walter M. Murphy. In July 1926, when Smith relocated to Northern California, Murphy took over the building here.

1/7/1925

 

As the Hollywood branch of Walter M. Murphy Hudson-Essex 7/7/1926. Hollywood Daily Citizen.

6/22/1926. LAT

In January 1927, Murphy moved his Hollywood dealership from here to 6250 Hollywood Boulevard. 5939 (aka 5941) served briefly as a gallery in 1928. In November 1932 it housed a short-lived Motion Picture Museum and was later used as an exhibition space, the Hollywood Auditorium (addressed as 5045 Sunset).

Radio Station KNX was broadcasting some shows here by May 1933. In April 1935, the Los Angeles Evening Post-Record reported that the station would soon have the “finest studio headquarters west of the Mississippi on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Gordon Street. Nothing will be spared in the way of expense and expert craftsmanship to make the KNX home the acme of all all studios. Kenneth Ormiston, KNX chief technition will go east to study the accoutrements of the great Radio City, of all the leading eastern and midwestern broadcasting headquarters.” In May 1935, KNX applied for a permit to reconfigure the space into a fully-fledged broadcasting studio, designed by architect Earl T. Heitschmidt. One of the key features of the new facility was a $35,000 pipe organ capable of making any sound effect required. Less than a year later, in April 1936, KNX was sold to the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).

 

4/2/1936. Van Nuys News.

In October, 1936, CBS announced it would build a new Pacific Coast headquarters that would include space for KNX down the street at 6121 Sunset Boulevard between El Centro and Gower. This building opened in April 1938 and KNX moved in.

5939 Sunset thereafter became the home of Max Reinhardt’s Workshop, a school for state, screen and radio actors.

As Max Reinhardt’s Workshop, 8/28/1938.

In December 1943, radio station KMPC, “The Station of the Stars,” announced that it was moving from 9361 Wilshire Boulevard to 5939 Sunset. The dedication of the move was held on March 19, 1944.

3/19/1944. LAT.

3/18/1944. Hollywood Citizen-News.

5939 Sunset as KMPL in 1944. LAPL

KMPC remained here until 1967, when it moved across the street to 5858 Sunset (once Stanley W Smith’s used car lot). 5939 was used for storage.

From 1976 to June 2007, having undergone extensive alterations, it was an outlet of the Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant chain.

In 2011, plans to build a 22-story apartment building (the cleverly named Sunset-Gordon Tower) on the site were announced. Though initially it was reported that the 1924 building would be preserved and incorporated into the new structure (a condition of the project’s approval), it was demolished in 2012. The current red-tile roof building on the site is a reconstruction built in 2014.

A replica facade of the demolished 1924 building was constructed in 2014. City of LA photo.