Way back in December, 2012, I wrote a post about Hollywood Studios. Much of this post was dedicated to my favorite store – Sid Cahuenga’s – located right up front as you enter Hollywood Studios. When I read yesterday that Sid’s would be closing, I was heart-broken! Sid Cahuenga’s has closed to make way for a MyMagic+ Service Center. Collectible merchandise will be relocated to the AFI Showcase shop at the exit of the Studio Backlot Tour. It will not be the same! I have spent hours carefully looking at each item in the store. Apart from offering one of a kind movie memorabilia, the story behind the store is very unique. I will really miss Sid’s!
Here is how the story goes:
The “bungalow” is an exact replica of Sid Cahuenga’s store in Hollywood, California. Some say it’s not just a replica, but the actual building, carefully moved and restored by Disney. Movie fan Sid Cahuenga and his wife Rosie moved from Chicago (or Omaha) to Hollywood in the 1920s to be close to the fledgling movie industry. The couple bought vacant land at the edge of town and built a small home. Hollywood boomed. Within a few years, their house was surrounded by new movie studios, stores, restaurants, and offices. Despite finding themselves living on a busy commercial street, Sid and Rosie did not want to move. They liked their home and its location—and even turned down numerous offers from real estate developers who had other ideas for the property.
With a steady stream of shoppers and tourists walking by the house, Sid saw an opportunity. Ever the movie fan, Sid had amassed quite a collection of movie memorabilia from friends in the industry. He displayed some of his extra movie posters, lobby cards, props, and artifacts on his front porch—with price tags. The venture was an immediate success. Sid converted the front rooms of the Cahuenga home into a shop, using the existing furniture to display his unique merchandise. Even the fireplace was covered with things for sale.
When he wasn’t selling “movie treasures” to tourists and collectors, Sid would drive his truck all over town to replenish his inventory. In one version of the story, Sid would buy surplus items from the studios, which were only too happy to get rid the stuff. In another version, Sid depended on his friends to sneak things out of the studios. And in yet another version, Sid relied on the dumpsters behind movie studios for a never-ending supply of merchandise. When Hollywood “names” shopped at the store, Sid let them pay with autographs instead of with money. Sid would frame the autographed pieces and sell them at higher prices.
According to the story, Sid’s business flourished for decades. In all that time, Sid and Rosie never moved from their little bungalow. When Disney-MGM Studios park opened in 1989, the new park included three carefully reproduced icons of Hollywood: the Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and Sid Cahuenga’s One-of-a-Kind Antiques and Curios. The tribute to Hollywood would not be complete without Sid’s.
It’s a great story, but it’s fiction. Sid Cahuenga and his store never existed in the real Hollywood. In other words, Sid and his store were invented by the Imagineers. That is the great part of Hollywood Studios and Disney – each and every ride, attraction and show – is based on someone telling a story – Hollywood style. You can live your desire to become a star by participating in parades, fantasies and attractions that are all based on movies and TV shows.
I am sure I will still roam through the items for sale even when they are located in the AFI shop. The atmosphere of the bungalow in the front of Hollywood Studios will be lost I’m sure – It will never be the same!