LET'S EAT OUT: Part 4...with Kojak

I wish I had a bunch of history to share about eating at the Sheraton-Universal Hotel, but I don't. I do have memories which most will find boring. And I can tell you that the restaurants shown no longer exist.

I will briefly say that in 1972 two friends and I drove down to Los Angeles for vacation. We stayed at the Sheraton-Universal because, well...it was right on the grounds of a movie studio! We were hunting for movie stars! We were in search of our own "I Love Lucy" William Holden episode. Alas, we did not find it on that trip.

Click on either image to see it larger.

In 5 years I returned to the hotel with one of the friends and we did have a wonderfully awkward moment worthy of Lucy but with Telly "Kojak" Savalas. Kojak lived in the hotel so it was hard to miss him. And I can tell you it involved me kicking a friend under the table at breakfast as Kojak came up behind her to get to a coffee pot. I was subtly pointing and whispering "Kojak" over and over again only to have my friend turn around hesitantly to see what was going on and end up face to face with Kojak. She did a slow motion turn back to me, her eyes bugging out. By now I was in my best Ethel mode trying to smile and act like all of this behavior was normal.

As to the images on this card...I never saw the Four Stages Restaurant, but I can confirm that the Circus Room was just as 1970s tacky as it appears here.

One night upon returning to the hotel from whatever escapade we'd been on we decided to go to the top floor and see what the Circus Room looked like. We figured there would be some sort of an entrance, we could get off the elevator, then go and look in the lounge. Unfortunately that wasn't how it panned out. When the elevator door opened on the packed room we were IN the Circus Room. The door opened, we three numbskulls stuck our heads out, in unison we said "ohhhhhhhhhhh," the door shut, and we rode back down to our floor. We still laugh about how stupid we were. We were not cut out for the Circus Room.

A few years later I went back to LA and got to eat at the Universal Studios dining room. Now THAT was an experience. Dining with one of the top execs at the studio. People turned to stare at us figuring we had to be someone. What a disappoint we were, but I did see quite a few stars including one I had a big crush on. Wish I had a postcard of that place. Cool, very cool.

In 1977 I moved to LA and lived right over the hill from the hotel and never visited it again.

Now as to what the heck a "poolside Portuguese lounge" is....

Should you wish to visit the Sheraton-Universal now you'll find the garish colors of the 1970s gone. It's all subtle hues and mood lighting.


  1. The Circus Room was my mothers favorite restaurant as a little girl (she was born in 1937)So I guess around 1947. I'm sure it's the same restaurant as it's in Long Beach where she grew up. She was so influenced by it that she painted the walls in my bedroom in the red and white stripes with circus animals posing all around! That was 1963. I have never seen the actual place of inspiration! Thanks!

  2. That's so wonderful about your room. Very cool mom. However, this restaurant was not located in Long Beach. This one was in North Hollywood on the Universal Studios lot.