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February 16, 2003
Hollywood, Calif.

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One night about 15 years ago, we took my grandma to dinner at Chasen's, one of the old Hollywood restaurants (along with Brown Derby and Musso & Frank's), whose roots tap back to the days before Technicolor. George Burns was there in a corner booth, his nose barely reaching above the table. During our meal the maitre d' stopped by to ask how we were enjoying our meal (immensely), and asked if we had been to Chasen's before. Yes, my grandma, told him. In fact, she recalled one evening she had dined there in the 1950s, on a night when Jimmy Stewart was having his bachelor party upstairs. The maitre d' smiled, and said he remembered that night, and for a few minutes they reminisced about the guests and goings-on at Chasen's on a night 35 years before.

Chasen's is gone now, and -- so we discovered the other night, when we visited with Steve & Calli -- so is C.C. Brown's, an old-style hot-fudge sundae place a block or so west of the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd. C.C. Brown's looked like its roots extended much further back than Technicolor, probably before sound. But the Chinese Theater is still there, with John Wayne's tiny cement footprints.