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California Piano Supply Co.'s piano
Alternative Title
Security Pacific National Bank Photo Collection
Date Created and/or Issued
[ca. 1930]
Contributing Institution
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Rights Information
Images available for reproduction and use. Please see the Ordering & Use page at http://tessa.lapl.org/OrderingUse.html for additional information.
A chiropractor named Dr. Ashley Manning opened the California Piano Supply Co. in 1927 and added the large red piano, measuring 40 feet high and 25 feet long, to the front of his store in 1930 as a gimmick to lure customers. The piano received national attention, and was described by New Yorker magazine as “evidence of Southern California’s special brand of madness.” By the late 1930s, Manning’s California Piano Supply Co. became the Big Red Piano Shop, and later it became Manning’s Big Red Piano Shop. In 1966, Manning sold his business to another music company, who continued to operate it as Manning’s Big Red Piano Shop. The Refrigeration Equipment Co. then bought the property in 1970 and merged several buildings together to form a 150 foot showroom for its appliances. The piano survived a 1972 fire, but the Los Angeles Building and Safety Department declared that it had to be knocked down. In 1973, property owner Robert Taylor (not the movie star), tried unsuccessfully to donate the piano to a historic and preservation organization. Eventually, a pop-architectural buff named Tom Sewell arranged for the piano to be moved 12 miles west to Venice, CA. The move was successful. However, when the contractor tried lowering the unsupported three-legged piano onto a new, specially-fitted concrete base, the piano broke into fragments and was lost.
A giant grand piano marks the entrance of the California Piano Supply Co. at 2251 Venice Boulevard at Oxford Street. Four little girls stand atop the piano while a women on a step ladder plays the giant keyboard.
1 photograph :b&w
Photographic prints
Security Pacific National Bank Collection
Architecture-Programmatic.; N-004-503.2 4x5
California Piano Supply Co. (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Commercial buildings--California--Los Angeles
Mimetic architecture--California--Los Angeles
Lost architecture--California--Los Angeles

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