While conducting research for my third historical novel, tentatively entitled SCAM, I’ve come upon more interesting tidbits buried or forgotten beneath the local—and international—underbelly. One of these dust balls received a Hollywood paint job and makeover to become the Vibe Hotel, 5922 Hollywood Boulevard.
When Italian immigrants Anthony and Salvador Pinelli constructed the establishment in 1952, the Vibe was christened the “Movie Town Motel.” The Pinellis’ little jewel became a stopover for hipsters on a budget and an “in” crowd that dates back to Elvis and the Hollywood glamor period of the late 1950s to early 1960s.
Hollywood industry members flocked to the motel, attracted by its proximity to production studios and, very likely, management’s alleged ability to suppress the indiscretions of an often boisterous and imprudent cast of rising young actors and actresses. Allegedly a number of young starlets, including Marilyn Monroe, lost their innocence on a casting couch while occupying one of the motel’s rooms.
When the glory days of Hollywood subsided, the Movie Town lost its stature and fell into disrepair, victimized by ensuing eras of gang violence, mobsters, earthquakes, and riots. Then, in the early part of this century, Hollywood underwent a period of restoration that included the old motel.
Today, over sixty years later, the rejuvenated facility serves a new budget-minded clientele as a drive-in, retro-look hotel.