Wil Wrights, Los Angeles 1940s
Celebrities from the Marx Brothers to Marlon Brando and Shirley Temple were among the fans of Wil Wright’s ice-cream parlors. In the early days of her career Marilyn Monroe would regularly drop by for a hot fudge sundae after acting class, and it featured in multiple films and an episode of the comedy TV series I Love Lucy. The album cover of Brubeck a la Mode by jazz musician Dave Brubeck was shot in a Wil Wright’s.
The ice-cream emporium was also beloved by tens of thousands of Southern California kids, some of whom still mourn its demise today.
Established in the 1940s by Wil ( short for Wilbur) Wright, who was originally from Cincinnati, there were locations in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Westwood Village, Sunset Strip and Pasadena as well as an outlet at a Neiman Marcus department store in Dallas, Texas.
Three restaurants - the Piccadilly, the Ready Room and the Hamburger Hamlet in Los Angeles – were also allowed to serve its 22 per cent butterfat ice-cream.
The ice-cream flavors were tantalizing – Dutch chocolate, peppermint stick, English toffee, pineapple pecan, pistachio and black coffee.
Another was the strangely named Nesselrode Bula – which was chock full of candied fruits and chestnuts along with rum and brandy. This fruit-cake confection was said to be a favorite of film star Clark Gable.
Every portion of ice-cream came with a tiny, chewy almond-flavored macaroon in a rice paper bag that had the image of an angel and the phrase ‘it’s heavenly.’
The chain flourished in the 40s, 50s and 60s and many times chauffeurs would drive up to the Sunset Boulevard store to purchase quarts of ice-cream for the movie stars of the day like Doris Day and Gary Cooper or their studio bosses.
In the 70s, Wil Wright’s faced competition from other ice-cream emporiums such as Farrell’s Old-Time Ice Cream Parlors and an article in the LA Times pointing out that i’s ice-cream was richer and fatter than other brands probably didn’t help either.
The chain was sold to restaurateur Dennis Lowell in the 80s but didn’t regain its former glory.
This striking menu cover with Wil Wright’s signature and candy cane stripes will bring back memories for some.
Included with this print is a list of almost 400 celebrities who patronized Wil Wright's.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each order includes a print of the interior menu.
All printed in USA.