Our great American imagination
CHAPTER 1 | CHAPTER 2 | CHAPTER 3 | CHAPTER 4 | CHAPTER 5 | CHAPTER 6 | CHAPTER 7 | CHAPTER 8 | CHAPTER 9 | CHAPTER 10 | CHAPTER 11 | CHAPTER 12 | CHAPTER 13 | CHAPTER 14 | CHAPTER 15 | CHAPTER 16 | CHAPTER 17 | CHAPTER 18
RICK Well, if you’re cool and hungry, you may eventually get to California, where in Los Angeles, there’s a very cool unusual restaurant on San Vincente Boulevard.
DENNIS On San Vincente between Melrose and Beverly. Chili dogs? In the heart of West Hollywood.
RICK Dennis Blake and his father own and run this place.
DENNIS I mean I’m anywhere from the you know the cook to the janitor to the waitress, so…
RODNEY My first day of work here, about four years ago, was the very first time I saw it. I thought it was a little odd so that’s what initially brought me over.
SCOTTY We were driving by the area cause we used to live here, and you can’t drive by this [cell phone rings] big weenie and not stop and have a hot dog.
NURSE I work right across the street, and I always come here for lunch.
HAROLD I was in the neighborhood servicing an aquarium, and I love their hot dogs and hamburgers.
DOG WALKER We don’t stop here and eat all the time but I walk him every day. I’m a dog walker.
JAMIE Actually I’m between jobs, so I just came over to grab a hot dog.
DAD And I’m here because my son’s with me, and this is our only chance to eat hot dogs.
S RACHEL I don’t eat hot dogs. (laughs) But when I do eat hot dogs, this is where I come because you know it’s a good hot dog, and I love the building.
ROBERT You know when I first recognized, I seen the building, I said, Let me try that. I say the dogs got to be good with a building shaped like that.
DENNIS Roy Black was the original person that, that originated it in 1946, and my dad and I bought it in 75 from Veloz and Yolanda, the famous dance team that was in the Lou Gehrig story.
MARCO Used to know it when they were down on La Cienaga. They moved.
DENNIS We moved in 86 cause they put a hotel on the property and we didn’t own the land.
S RACHEL And I love the constancy of it, the fact that they moved the building, that L.A. finally made that kind of a commitment to a building like this.
GOATEE The shape of the building’s pretty unique, so… And it’s, it’s Hollywood.
SCOTTY And most importantly, they say size isn’t everything. Did you guys take a look at how… C’mon this is L.A.
HAROLD The building doesn’t really draw me here. It’s the food.
SCOTT It’s the best. And it’s, you know, you’re eating in a big hot dog. What could be better?
DENNIS And it’s been in a lot of movies, commercials…
DAD I want number 3.
DAD With grilled onions.
DENNIS We have six different names of our hot dogs.
FIRST We got the Boston Celtic. It just, it sounds good.
KID I got an Extreme. Looks pretty good. I’m pretty hungry right now. So I’ll just…
DENNIS Just come around, folks.
KID…eat that up.
COOK Over here are Boston baked beans. Go on the number 4: Boston Celtic.
S RACHEL And you can’t go down the street and see twenty-five of them at every corner, you know, and you know you know this is it. This is Tail O The Pup.
DENNIS That’s original sign, I can tell you that one, the little one. Up on top.
SCOTTY & STACEY Tail O The Pup.
SCOTTY It’s an Irish/Jewish thing. It’s like Patty O’Furniture, you know, Tail O Pup. It’s an Irish thing.
DAD Yeah, it’s a puppy dog’s tail coming out of the rear of the, of the bun, right?
DAVID But we’ve seen people come here from all over the world. No serious. For the building.
LILY If you don’t come here as a tourist, then you really, there’s not that much you’ve experienced then. Cause this is one of the places you have to come to as a tourist.
MARCO As somebody who’s from a foreign country, this is, this is fully American, yeah.
STACEY Oh yeah.
SCOTTY Oh you, oh you. Wow.
SCOTTY Do that one more time.
STACEY How ‘bout you?
S RACHEL It’s not plastic fantastic. It’s authentic.
DENNIS And it’s kind of like a dying phenomenon in ‘specially California to see these kind of places around anymore, and…
RODNEY You can lose sight of it, once you come here so much, but the fact that it’s a, it’s a huge hot dog you know makes it all the more interesting.
HAROLD It makes me smile. It’s nice to see unusual buildings.