Remembering Toluca Lake

What do you remember about Toluca Lake in days gone by?  Share your memories.  At the bottom of this page you can add your comments or stories. 

The China Trader

The location of the Trader is now partially a public green space, partially Garry Marshall’s Falcon Theater and partially a retail space. You can find some souvenirs from the China Trader on e-bay.

China Trader 300The China Trader was owned by Jack Webb, creator of Dragnet, Adam 12 and Emergency. Jack’s ex-wife was Julie London – who married Bobby Troup after she and Jack divorced. It was, however, a “friendly” divorce – and all three remained close friends, which is why Bobby (and Julie) were often found performing at the China Trader. The China Trader was opened when both Trader Vic’s (Beverly Hills) and Don the Beachcomber (Hollywood) were all the rage, and The Trader filled that themed South Pacific lounge/restaurant niche in the San Fernando Vallley.

China TraderAs a side note, when Jack Webb created his Emergency show he cast both Bobby Troup and Julie London as the emergency room doctor and nurse – continuing the friendship. Some side trivia about Jack Webb and The China Trader. When Webb was creating his (first) Dragnet radio shows and then later the TV version, he turned to a young LAPD officer to supply him with stories and then later write the show scripts with him. That LAPD Officer was Gene Roddenberry – who later created Star Trek. Roddenberry and Webb would write their Dragnet episodes at Jack’s Toluca Lake home, but when they were done for the day they’d head over to the China Trader for some relaxation time. So – who knows what Star Trek characters may have been dreamed up at the China Trader bar.

Tick Tock Restaurant
10123 Riverside Drive – now The Counter

My Mother and Father owned the Tick Tock Restaurant and it was their lifelong pleasure to serve the communities of Toluca Lake Tick Tock on Riverside Driveand Hollywood. As children we LOVED growing up in a town where everyone knew you and people took care of each other. Toluca Lake was truly the diamond of the valley.”
Helene Johnson Bradley


Tick Tock PostcardMy grandmother and I would go to the Tick Tock from Glendale when I was a child. I have wonderful memories of the shrimp cocktail and all of the clocks. I am am 67 yers old now and have never found such a wonderful place.”
Sheri Chalstrom

“Where to begin? I grew up on Forman and Kling (my parents bought the house from the Tick Tock owners!) My grandparents had a house right on the lake… that was awesome! We would sail, swim and swing on the swing at the end of the lake near Lakeside.

Tick Tock restaurant was the best! Loved the peppermint ice cream at Chapman’s. I also remember the Green Store, that someone else already mentioned. Pop’n Cork used to deliver to our house! I also remember my brother and I riding our bikes to the Hot Dog Show…. many memories!”
Christina Carroll

9 Responses to Remembering Toluca Lake

  1. John O'Neil says:

    I have the original menu from the the Cahuenga Tick Tock down in Hollywood, signed by the Owners on the day that they closed that wonderful restaurant. I bought a place in Vegas at The Lakesand I discovered one of the siblings of the Johnson’s worked a new Vons up in The Lakes, west of the Strip, and I meant to get that to him. That was four or five years ago. We have lived on the “Burbank Side of Toluca Lake just east of Vons on Pass.

    • Paul Williams says:

      Mr. O’Neill:

      Hate to bother you, but I’m writing a family history, and one of the places they like to eat was in fact the tick-tock. We have been trying to figure out a handwritten diary which mentions some of the things they ate. The diary was from the year 1937.

      If you have a copy of the menu, and we share a scan of it with me, we would be most grateful, as it would enable us to solve a mystery.

      Thank you very much,

      Paul Williams, San Francisco, California.

  2. Donna Lindeman says:

    Growing up in North Hollywood, I have the fondest memories of my Mother taking me to The Tick Tock , oh the wonderful aromas of turkey dinners, smelled like Thanksgiving when you walked in the door. Then the wonderful aroma of homemade cinnamon rolls, and all the beautiful clocks ticking on the walls. It was very delightful to go there, and to this very day, I can still smell the aromas, and remember how very delicious everything always was. Truly a good childhood memory that will last forever. Donna Lindeman

  3. Susie S. Hiestand says:

    Jonathon Winters was one of the numerous regulars @ the Toluca Lake restaurant. The Johnsons’ were wonderful hosts to people who needed to have a place where they could enjoy a meal without people interupting, etc.

  4. Caren says:

    In 1967, my sister and I were in a commercial filmed at the Tick Tock restaurant, Toluca Lake… I remember the director wanted to get all the shots as quickly as possible, before the clocks started ringing, bonging and cuckoo-ing!

  5. Gregory C Doane, MD says:

    I also would love to see any copy of the restaurant menu. Did it close in 1964? (I went there as a child and remember the orange rolls, turkey dinners, possibly french pastries, and of course, several rooms of screaming cookoo clocks going off 4 times an hours.

  6. Keith Thompson says:

    Change is not always good. Although I was not raised in the surrounding environs, I came to visit my parents regularly while my dad was at USC and mom working as a nurse. This restaurant just plain and simply had the formula. This may be something a bit obtuse for those not raised in the SDA church, but they held the belief that no business transactions should be performed on the sabbath. This included shopping, purchases, and even paying for meals in a restaurant. But just to show what kind of incredible people would honor this belief, the owners of Tick Tock opened accounts for Adventists only. Eat now, pay later. I would hope that the owners weren’t stiffed by putting in place an accommodation of this nature. The owners would also be aware that the after-church lunch-bunch on Saturday noon would be needed to service the crowds. This would be unheard of now, but this speaks volumes as to the virtue of the owners. I still miss it. But it is a good memory. Thank you!

  7. Terry Smith says:

    Back in the 60’s we often went to the China Trader, in Talouca Lake. Bobby Troup was playing in the bar area. Where can I find some pictures of those old days and the restaurant. I’ve found a lot of information on our other favorite spots: Frascati’s, Scandia, Cock n Bull, Etc. Just can’t find the above. I’d greatly appreciate anything you can send. Thanks, T. Smith

    • Richard Bogy says:

      It’s hard to find photos of the China Trader. The location of the Trader is now partially a public green space, partially Garry Marshall’s Falcon Theater and partially a retail space. You can find some souvenirs from the China Trader on e-bay.

      The China Trader was owned by Jack Webb, creator of Dragnet, Adam 12 and Emergency. Jack’s ex-wife was Julie London – who married Bobby Troup after she and Jack divorced. It was, however, a “friendly” divorce – and all three remained close friends, which is why Bobby (and Julie) were often found performing at the China Trader. The China Trader was opened when both Trader Vic’s (Beverly Hills) and Don the Beachcomber (Hollywood) were all the rage, and The Trader filled that themed South Pacific lounge/restaurant niche in the San Fernando Vallley. As a side note, when Jack Webb created his Emergency show he cast both Bobby Troup and Julie London as the emergency room doctor and nurse – continuing the friendship. Some side trivia about Jack Webb and The China Trader. When Webb was creating his (first) Dragnet radio shows and then later the TV version, he turned to a young LAPD officer to supply him with stories and then later write the show scripts with him. That LAPD Officer was Gene Roddenberry – who later created Star Trek. Roddenberry and Webb would write their Dragnet episodes at Jack’s Toluca Lake home, but when they were done for the day they’d head over to the China Trader for some relaxation time. So – who knows what Star Trek characters may have been dreamed up at the China Trader bar.