In the fall of 1941, Carole Lombard was fulfilling a years-long dream by starring in a film for director Ernst Lubitsch, "To Be Or Not To Be." A United Artists production (thus enabling Carole to boast she had worked for all of the industry's eight major firms), it was shot at the Goldwyn Studios off Santa Monica Boulevard in what was then an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County.
And perhaps during a break in shooting, she and others in the cast and crew would head to this nearby place for a meal or drink:
It's the Formosa Cafe, so named because it intersects North Formosa Avenue (and also featured Asian food on its menu), in what is now known as the city of West Hollywood. The restaurant dates back to 1925, and its proximity to a studio made it a favorite with the film crowd. While there's no concrete proof Lombard ever dined there, chances are she did. So did many other stars, as the place has proudly noted:
Earlier this year, it was announced the cafe had been purchased and would be restored to its '40s glory (https://la.curbed.com/2017/6/5/15744022/formosa-cafe-west-hollywood-reopen-renovation), two years after its former owners drastically modernized the interior, to many customers' dismay.
Last month, fans of the Formosa -- and there are many -- received even better news: It won $150,000 in preservation funding in a national contest (http://beverlypress.com/2017/11/formosa-cafe-wins-preservation-funding/), and will use it to restore the trolley car that was part of the building.
The Formosa has a noirish feel; in fact, some scenes of the 1997 classic "L.A. Confidential" were shot there. Now, that landmark will exude its period charm for years to come.