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L.A. Eats, Cooks And Drinks Coffee – Chef Mike Roy And Epicurean Los Angeles – 1967 – Past Daily Pop Chronicles

Phi Ahn's Moongate - 1967
Phil Ahn’s Moongate – Eateries that are no longer here.
Mike Roy’s Weekend Cooking Show – KNX – August 26, 1967 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

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Chef Mike Roy was a fixture in L.A. Popular culture from the 1950s up until his death in 1976. He was a staple in the diet of L.A. life and was a treasure trove of recipes and observations as well as reviews of new restaurants; all which he did on his daily show; six mornings a week, as well as a five-minute show for CBS radio.

This particular show, one which was done on Saturdays and for a half-hour, was a trip around L.A. nightlife as well as the mandatory recipes and interviews. Originally broadcast on August 26, 1967, it features a rundown and interview with the owner of one of the landmarks of San Fernando Valley Restaurant Culture; Phil Ahn’s Moongate in Panorama City. It was one of the Valley’s most popular Chinese restaurants, opening its doors in 1954 and remaining part of Valley life through the late 1980s before finally closing in 1990. The owner and namesake, Philip Ahn had quite a fascinating life. While still attending USC, Ahn began his acting career and by the end of the 1930’s he had appeared in films with Bing Crosby, Mae West, Victor McLagen, Shirley Temple, Gary Cooper, Alice Faye, James Cagney and Anna May Wong. He acted in well over a hundred film and TV roles throughout his life and is best remembered as Master Kan in the series “Kung Fu”. He’s interviewed by Mike Roy, weaving in and out of discussing his career as an actor and his career as restauranteur.

He also interviews Judy Prince from the Coffee Information Bureau who is busy pushing an idea of “do it yourself” coffee houses for the Southern California Youth market. Sounds rather strange, and realizing what year it is sounds more apt for 1962 than 1967. But in 1967 the generation gap was showing signs of splitting even wider and anything to try and bridge that gap was being tossed around as a possibility.

This was the nature of life in L.A. from the standpoint of an older audience, one still very much in charge but one feeling its age. Chef Mike Roy was the epitome of folksy charm in a world quickly heading off in another direction.

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