AIDS Healthcare Foundation Leads Charge to Mark Iconic, Hollywood Cat & Fiddle Restaurant & Pub Building a Historic-Cultural Monument, Passes City Council

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Nov 08, 2019 11:21 pm

On Tuesday, November 5th, Housing Is A Human Right, the housing advocacy division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), successfully led the charge at Los Angeles City Council to designate The Fred C. Thomson Building at 6536 Sunset Blvd., a Historic-Cultural Monument.

Commissioned by a Hollywood star, occupied by the head of Costume Design for Paramount Studios, home of “The Charlie McCarthy Show” and Edgar Bergen, a major star of radio and television, it was then eventually purchased by a couple of rock and rollers who turned it into an icon of Hollywood nightlife for decades.

The building is most iconic as the longtime home of the Cat & Fiddle Restaurant & Pub, a rock and roll watering hole, and a cherished Hollywood institution. The pub occupied the space from 1985 to 2014, until gentrification and a steep rent increase forced it to move.

The Cat and Fiddle was founded by Kim and Paula Gardner. Kim was the bassist for the British Invasion rock bands, the Birds and Creation before forming Ashton, Gardner & Dyke. He also played bass with Eric Clapton.

Celebrities such as Keith Moon, Rod Stewart, Robert Plant, Christopher Lloyd, Drew Barrymore and Morrissey were among those that were regularly spotted at the Cat.

The Fred C. Thomson Building was designed by Henry L. Gogerty and Carl Jules Weyl (an Academy Award Winner). Built in 1927, the brick and stucco building with a gable roof, designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style typical to Southern California, is classic Hollywood, par excellence.

The building was originally commissioned by the silent film cowboy star, Fred C. Thomson. Shortly after its construction, it was bought by Edgar Bergen, a star of Vaudeville, radio, and television, on Nov. 10, 1945, who built a state-of-the-art radio studio in it, which he used to broadcast “The Charlie McCarthy Show” nationwide for CBS.

The building also housed Travis Benton’s studio and store. Benton, the head of Paramount Studios’ Costume Department, was a celebrated designer who worked with the likes of Greta Garbo.

The building’s most recent occupant was the restaurant, The Hearth and Hound, whose partner founder, April Bloomfield, is a celebrated chef.

Housing Is A Human Right and AHF are proud to have led the charge in championing the building as a Historic-Cultural Monument and we’re happy to know that it’ll be preserved as one.

The City Council voted in unanimity on the building’s Historic-Cultural designation.

“I am pleased that The Fred C. Thomson building is now a Historic-Cultural Monument in the City of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, 13th district, where the building resides. “The Thomson Building, once home to the iconic ‘The Cat & Fiddle’ restaurant on Sunset Boulevard, is a welcome addition to Hollywood’s historic cultural monument list.”

Miki Jackson of Housing Is A Human Right said, “The Fred C. Thomson Building is a quintessential Hollywood site; the building’s been a cornerstone of Hollywood history, from the silent film and rock and roll eras, through, more sadly, our current moment of excessive luxury development and gentrification.”

Housing Is A Human Right’s Director, René Christian Moya, said: “Personally, I grew up visiting the Cat & Fiddle on Sunset with family and friends, and I still have fond memories of watching European soccer matches there for years. I’m proud that our organization, Housing Is A Human Right, has led the charge in designating the building as an official Historic-Cultural Monument. The city doing so will go a long way in maintaining a bit of historic Hollywood, which is under assault by high rents, rapid gentrification, and displacement.”

Housing Is A Human Right is especially grateful to work with historian Charles Fisher on this campaign.

The Fred C. Thomson Building

More info on Travis Banton

The Cat & Fiddle:

The Cat and Fiddle was first founded in Laurel Canyon, then it relocated to Sunset and Seward, it's now located on the 700 block of Highland, between Melrose and Waring Avenues.

Kim Gardner:

Joshua Smith
Communications Director
Housing Is A Human Right
[email protected]
(917) 231-5841

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