The Larger than Life Past and Exciting Future of L.A.’s Most Iconic Hot Dog Stand, Tail o’ the Pup

This tale has an ending history buffs can relish

8thwonder_num1. THE SIGN
The name was more than just a pun. it mirrored the sobriquet of the swank restaurant nearby: Tail o’ The Cock.

2. THE AWNING
It doubles as a form-fitting door, coming down at the end of a day to complete the hot dog effect.

3. THE DESIGN
Along with cooking up the dog, architect Milton Black designed Streamline Moderne, Spanish Colonial, and French Art Deco buildings around L.A.

4. THE WIENER
Longtime owner Eddie Blake sold Hoffy NC 7 hot dogs. The new owners say the pup will feature old standards as well as “new classics.”

Among the many architectural styles Los Angeles is known for, “programmatic” buildings—those roadside stalwarts that mimic the thing they sell—are perhaps the most memorable. The Brown Derby (repurposed), the Tamale Café (gone), and Randy’s Donuts (still there) all come to mind, but no account of giant-edible advertising is more fraught than that of a famous frankfurter. Designed by Milton Black and erected on the corner of La Cienega and Beverly in 1946, the Tail ’o the Pup hot dog stand wasn’t just larger than life because of its 17-foot length. Such dedicated customers as Aaron Spelling and the Go-Go’s could be found at the counter, and it enjoyed cameos on TV and in film, from The Rockford Files to Body Double to the opening sequence of L.A. Story, where it cruised above L.A. suspended from a helicopter.

Father and son Eddie and Dennis Blake purchased the stand in the early 1970s from a famed ballroom-dancing duo. In 1985, it moved a block west to make way for the luxury Sofitel hotel. A condo development (that never surfaced) kicked the wiener to the curb in 2005, relinquishing it to a lonely Torrance warehouse—until now. The Blake family recently partnered with Killer Shrimp owners Kevin Michaels and Brett Doherty to reinstate the Pup on La Cienega in early 2016; they’re also opening a replica downtown at the Bloc next year. Says Doherty, “It’s a link to those times from the ’20s through the ’70s that we need to recapture and embrace.”

I put together this video about the Pup when it underwent a restoration process in January 2014:

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Alison Martino is a writer, television producer and personality, and L.A. pop culture historian. She founded the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles in 2010. In addition to CityThink and VLA, Martino muses on L.A’s. past and present on Twitter and Instagram

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