Shortly before the current Hollywood Candy opened, a restaurant the founder owned, Hollywood Diner, had sadly closed its doors. This closure had left a “Hollywood” diner neon sign so it started there. As for the inside of the theater, the reason that this particular spot was chosen was that the floor is significantly sloped which provided a great spot for the stadium seating. The old school wooden seats were reclaimed from the former Sokol Chapel when renovations were completed. Finally, the carpet. Sporting “Douglas Theatre Company”, the carpet was salvaged from the former Cinema Center theatre which was located on 83rd and Center St.
On a scorching August day back in 2012, Jack White came into Hollywood Candy and like many others walked out with something he likely wasn’t expecting to buy when he walked in. A bowling ball. Later that morning Larry was contacted by a band representative requesting permission for the band to play a pop-up show in the theatre in the early afternoon prior to their show at the former Music Hall. Intrigued, Larry agreed and the ball began to roll. Around noon, the band tweeted (best form of mass communication at the time) that they would be playing a show at Hollywood Candy that afternoon at 2pm. The store was immediately bombarded with hundreds of fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the star playing in such a unique setting. Some even resorting to sitting on shoulders to gain a better view.
A friend of Larry’s that previously handled propping for the Omaha Community Playhouse contacted Larry about renting a piano for a couple of weeks. After initial prodding attempts at the piano’s use were rebuffed, Larry agreed and the piano went on its way. A couple of weeks passed and the piano was returned. Larry noticed that the piano was now very dirty and dusty as if it had been outside somewhere. Being a somewhat small city, it was no secret that the infamous Lady Gaga had been in town filming a video somewhere out in a rural area. Putting two and two together Larry reached back out to the original renter and was able to confirm that she had indeed rented the piano to assist with the production of “You & I”. A song about her Nebraska-native ex-boyfriend Luc Carl.
(First featured @ 1:36)
The pic collection began when a former nomadic man and former rock star roadie came in and sold his collection amassed over a 35-year career. Now placed in their rightfully prominent display, the collection includes acts from Prince, to Queen to Kiss and local favorites 311. We are continuing to add to the collection as stars visit our store while in town. Just recently adding Gus Hamilton Unger from the internationally renowned band Alt-J.
Larry used to own a bowling alley down in Plattsmouth Nebraska, south of Omaha. An alley tech that worked for Larry was going through a messy divorce and need to divest from his very extensive pinball collection. The founder jumped at this opportunity and now we can boast one of the largest pinball arcades in the entire Midwest. The collection has grown since the initial lot, with many new electro-mechanical units as well as relatively newer dot matrix display games and vintage arcade cabinets to boot.
KREJ Radio Room
When the new Hollywood Candy venue was coming together back in 2010, the idea was to have individuals come in and do live remote broadcasts as well as making announcements throughout the store, a la “Blue Light Special” from the old K-Mart days. The radio room is fully functioning and is actual the location from where the top billboard hits are currently emanating from.
Ranch Bowl Seats
Larry contacted the final president of the Ranch Bowl entertainment complex, Mike Brannan, when it sadly closed its doors for the last time in May of 2005. Larry owned a bowling alley in Plattsmouth Nebraska at the time and was looking to salvage alley equipment for his venue. Many of the seats made their way down to his alley in Plattsmouth, but these two were saved, and eventually found their way here, to grace the grand entrance of Hollywood Candy. This is where you can find Jake and Elwood waiting to join you for a quick selfie.
The bagatelle collection was much more labor intensive to accumulate than the pinball or pics. Fascinated by the game that served as the analog impetus of pinball itself, Larry spent years searching out smaller collections amassing what is now greater than 150 of the game boards
What began as a unexplainable lack of belief in the potential profitability of jelly beans in general, quickly became the largest selection of Jelly Belly varieties in the state of Nebraska. Fighting his instincts, the Founder committed significant capital investment in order to procure the equipment that has now become the most beanerific spot in Omaha.
From day one on 12th and Jackson, a soda fountain was a must. Given all of the Hollywood diner signage and equipment, this was a simple and economic decision. Given his prior fascination with diner-related memorabilia, he and soda fountain icon, Betty Davis, became close acquaintances. She became aware of Larry’s hunt for a soda fountain for the new location and knew of the perfect one. The soda fountain currently in the Hollywood Diner was from the former Cris Rexall Drug store which was formerly located on the corner of 50th and Dodge St. until owner Don Klein sold the business in 1997 to Kohll’s Pharmacy which it remains today. Prior to its closure, the soda fountain which served as the foreground for countless first dates and shared milk shakes, was sold to the Douglas County Hospital who held the fountain in their basement as they had planned to one day open a soda fountain of their own. This never came to fruition so Betty was able to facilitate its sale to Larry for the new store.
Champion the Horse
Champion the Horse came out of the former Philips Department Store on 24th and O Street where it originally entered in 1953.
Elvis and the Cadillac
Elvis was purchased through a statue vendor. Nothing exciting here. The Cadillac was originally purchased from local metal artist Pete Lochren. The car is now very clearly missing the front end. Formerly, both pieces adorned the interior and outdoor walls of a, now closed, Hollywood Diner.