Downtown Report: August 2023


Downtown Report

Wilshire Theater -Take A Seat, Part II

If you missed part one, go to page 9 in the July issue, continuously available online at Just click on E-EDITION.

Alex Beard, the youngest of the Beard brothers, worked for his older brother, Peter, owner of the Wilshire Theater and the Malden Arms Apartments as the night manager when he was just 15. In addition to being regulars at Mickey’s on Harbor, “The Malden Arms dwellers also hung out at The Little F bar next to the theater. It later became the Paddock. There was also a beauty shop on the ground floor. ” Alex moved on because Grandma did not like him working there and headed over to work at Town and Country Liquor store, which is still there on Raymond and Commonwealth.

Alex also tells us, “The full-time manager was a retired Marine named Ken Briggs. He slept with a gun under his pillow in his ground-floor apartment. Ken had a brother named John Briggs, a California State Senator, and he had four theater seats lining the north wall of his family room.”

“Most people who lived at Malden Arms were full-time, harmless drunks. Ken frequently evicted people, and nobody ‘messed’ with him because they knew he was one tough guy with a gun. For as long as I was around, there was a bullet hole in the front door of Room 307 where Ken fired through it from the inside one night when some drunk was pounding on it. It was a reminder to anyone who ever thought about not paying their rent or messing with Briggs after he kicked them out.”

Stay Cool

The hot Summer continues, as does the fun at the Downtown Plaza. The water is on, so don’t forget to check it out; open from 10 am to Sunset. This photo was taken during the weekly Thursday Market, in full swing; heat or not, the customers are there. More fun water options are available at Adlena Park and Lemon Park, open from noon to 5 pm.



In case you spotted the monolith at Raymond and the 91 Freeway and wondered what the heck, it’s an electronic billboard project. Here are some photos; the tower is up, and the sign will go on top like a giant electronic cherry. Stay tuned.

Time Change

Update on the weekly Monday morning get-together for all Veterans (mentioned first here in the Early May issue) concerning the start time. Initially, everyone met at the Korean War Memorial at 9:30 am, but if you want to join fellow Vets, past and current, be there at 9 am instead so you don’t miss the free cup o’ Joe. Someone new seems to arrive each week, and some have become regulars, like Minard Duncan and Jim Weiks, pictured here. The Memorial is located at Hillcrest Park, and there is a convenient lot right next to it on Brea Boulevard.


Last Chance at A Downtown Legend

For months now, the talk of downtown has been- how much longer are Angelo’s and Vinci’s going to be open? By the time you read this, the venerable meeting place for so many of us will be serving its final meal after 52 years. Thanks so much to Cynthia Peck for welcoming us and everyone who found a way to make it over in time. These photos tell a small part of the story, but they may stir up memories of your days and evenings there. Congratulations on a great run, and we all hope exciting adventures are in the future for Cynthia and everyone at good ol’ A&V’s.