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South West LA

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The Hacienda Motel / The Polaris Motel (9137 South Figueroa)

There has always been doubt about the circumstances surrounding the killing of the soul crooner Sam Cooke at the Hacienda Motel in the early 60s. The motel owner claimed that she shot Cooke because he appeared to be attacking a young girl in his room, but some observers have suggested that there was more than an element of racism involved in the killing.

Fosters Old Fashioned Freeze Hamburger Stand (Hawthorne Boulevard)

This is the hamburger stand immortalised in the Beach Boy’s Fun, Fun, Fun (which retells the true story of Dennis Wilson’s girlfriend: she really did drive her daddy’s T-Bird here when she should have been at the library). The Wilson brothers grew up in landlocked Hawthorne, and often had burgers at Fosters. When they had their first big hit, Surfin, they celebrated here, although Carl drank too many milk shakes and threw up.

The other famous Fosters customer was Quentin Tarantino, who grew up in the area and worked as an usher at the nearby Pussycat Porno Theatre (on the corner of Grammercy and Ravens Avenues). In 1994, the theatre was used as a location for Tim Burton’s movie Ed Wood.

The hamburger stand is located in a small shopping centre opposite the Hawthorne Plaza hypermarket.

Video Archives (1822 Sepulveda Boulevarde)

Quentin Tarantino worked in this video rental store for 5 years, where he developed an exhaustive knowledge of classic and cult movies. The store later moved to Manhattan Beach, but it closed down in the mid 90s (Tarantino bought many of the videos). The original location is now home to a tuxedo rental company.

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