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Celebrity Real Estate: Former Bing Crosby Estate Sold in Toluca Lake; Also Previously Owned by Mickey Dolenz, Andy Griffith, and Jerry Van Dyke

Thursday, December 29, 2011 / No Comments

Hot off the presses from the always informative Lauren Beale of the L.A. Times Hot Property comes word that the former Bing Crosby estate in Toluca Lake was recently sold on December 20, 2011 for $4.020 million.

Bing Crosby was an American singer and actor with over half a billion records in circulation. From 1934 to 1954, Crosby was a leader in record sales, radio ratings, and motion picture grosses. His recording of Irving Berlin's White Christmas has sold over 100 million copies around the world according to Guinness World Records. His list of accomplishments, performances, and business ventures are too many to list for this post. If you are interested in researching further, I recommend reading, the Official Home of Bing Crosby, and the Bing Crosby Media Archive.  For a small tease, here is a performance by Bing Crosby and David Bowie for the song Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth which was recorded in London in September 1977 which was aired weeks after his death.

Also, more importantly to this blog, Crosby sang a song titled San Fernando Valley, which was written by Gordon Jenkins. According to the America's Suburb blog by Kevin Roderick:
The tune "San Fernando Valley" was written by Gordon Jenkins and appeared, sung by Roy Rogers, in the 1943 Republic Pictures western by the same name. It was Bing Crosby's rendition, however, that enticed war-weary GI's with the promise of a mythical place. "San Fernando Valley" hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart on April 29, 1944.
Jenkins, who lived in Sherman Oaks, never felt the song was one of his best. He was a composer-arranger-conductor who wrote for popular orchestra leader Benny Goodman. Jenkins later became the musical director at Decca Records. After moving to Capitol Records he worked with Frank Sinatra and did the arrangement for Nat King Cole's "When I Fall in Love."
Before his death in 1984, at age 73, Jenkins expressed wonder that "San Fernando Valley" had any tug at all on the World War II generation. The lyrics never actually say anything positive about the Valley, except that the singer yearns to go there. Of course, it helps when the singer is the most popular crooner of his day.
Once the war ended, about a year after the song reached No. 1, plenty of Americans took Bing's advice and took a trip to California to make the Valley their home.
Here is the video for the San Fernando Valley song:

So back to Real Estate. According to the listing, this 6 Bed/8 Bath home on 7,132sqft on 1.91 acres which is a Southern Colonial Mansion states:
Bing Crosby Estate, circa 1936. This approximately 2 acre compound sits behind totally private grounds w/ 2 electric gates & full circular driveway. Exquisitely appointed. Approx 7200 sq ft, Southern Colonial Mansion. This Majestic Masterpiece has sweeping foyer, 6 beds, 5.5baths, 5 FP's, & chef's gourmet kit. Large formal dine. Grande liv rm w/ marble FP. Billiard room & den w/ wet bar. Fabulous mstr suite w/ deluxe marble bath w/ steam shower, spa tub. Hardwood floors throughout. The manicured lawns, rose gardens, lush landscaping, and many fruit trees add to its beauty. Championship tennis court w/ gazebo & grand stands. Oversized swimming pool w/ separate inground spa & Italian FP w/ Viking BBQ. The cabana has 2.5 baths, 2 changing rms, steam shower & kitchen. Separate guest house w/ 2bedrms, 2 baths, full kitchen w/ top of the line appliances, living room & gym. This magnificent home boasts too many amenities. A must see for your most discriminating buyer.
Bing Crosby only lived in this home from 1936 through 1943 when a fire destroyed the home caused by Christmas lights but there were other celebrity owners too. According to the Berg Properties blog,
Crosby did indeed live on this property in Toluca Lake (before he moved to his mansion on Mapleton Drive in Los Angeles’ Holmby Hills area, which was of course torn down to make way for Aaron and Candy Spelling’s monstrous 52,503-square-foot mansion, which now is on the market for a staggering $150,000,000), and he built the guts of what stands there now in 1936. However, the house burned down on January 3, 1943 from a fire that was caused by Christmas lights, of all things, and Crosby subsequently sold the estate and the charred remains of the house for $15,000. Our good friend E.J. tells us that other celebs who since have lived on the rebuilt estate have included Mickey Dolenz, Andy Griffith and Jerry Van Dyke. In fact, Griffith had owned it from the 1970s until the 1990s, and subsequent owner Van Dyke sold it for close to $1,930,000 in 1997 to the estate’s current owners, according to a December 1997 column by the Los Angeles Times’ Ruth Ryon. The current owners, who are big fans of Crosby, are not celebrities.
I also recommend checking out the Paradise Leased site for a thorough and extensive history on this estate which was posted in the beginning of the year. So whats even more amazing about this property on top of the massive history, is the recent price history. This home was originally listed for $10,000,000 in 2009 and has been price chopped and sold for $4.020 million representing a humongous $6 million price drop. Take a look at the price history over the past two years from Zillow. Luckily, the previous owners, entertainment  publicist Keri Fretty-Stickney and attorney Larry Stickney purchased at a good price and were able to sell at substantial profit not including expenses. Talk about chasing the market down!

So I just have one question, who are the new owners of this historic estate?

You can find more San Fernando Valley Celebrity Real Estate here

Stories Heard Round The Web....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 / No Comments
Courtesy Museum San Fernando Valley

Courtesy LADOT Maps

Courtesy i am san fernando
Here are a collection of articles relating to the San Fernando Valley published in the past week that might be of interest:

  1. Chatsworth Hotel Is a Radisson Again.......[Chatsworth Patch]
  2. Krekorian, Greuel Dedicate Open Space at Big Tujunga Canyon...[NoHo-Toluca Lake Patch]
  3. Marie Callender's in Toluca Lake to be Replaced by Chase Bank Branch......[NoHo-Toluca Lake Patch]
  4. The “Bad Santa” House......[IAMNOTASTALKER]
  5. Security cameras put 'eyes' on Van Nuys Boulevard.........[LADN]
  6. Final Farmers Market Saturday: Closed Till Spring......[Sherman Oaks Patch]
  7. 22 People Studio City Will Sorely Miss.....[Studio City Patch]
  8. Danny Trejo Mural in Pacoima......[i am san fernando]
  9. Fred Willard Talks 'Cinderella' Panto at El Portal, His Old NoHo Comedy Group and Rob Schneider.....[NoHo-Toluca Lake Patch]
  10. Studio City Walk of Fame Highlights: 'The Red Pony'.....[Studio City Patch]
  11. Former NFL Star Willie Gault Sued by SEC; Stock Fraud Alleged at Studio City-based Heart Tronics......[Studio City Patch]
  12. City of L.A. releases interactive bike lane map.....[LA Times]
  13. 21 Pounds of Drugs, $10,000 Seized in Narcotics Arrest at Best Western in Sherman Village....[Sherman Oaks Patch]
  14. Historic Bing Crosby Estate in Toluca Lake Is Sold.....[NoHo-Toluca Lake Patch]
  15. Actor and Dialect Coach Robert Easton of Toluca Lake Dies.....[NoHo-Toluca Lake Patch]
  16. It's A Wonderful Life, Filmed in Encino, Celebrates Its 65th Birthday [VIDEO]....[Encino Patch]

Stories Heard Round The Web

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 / No Comments
Courtesy Encino Patch

Courtesy LA Daily News

Photo Courtesy Phils Diner; Article at NoHo-Toluca Lake Patch
Here are a collection of articles relating to the San Fernando Valley published in the past week that might be of interest:

  1. Casing the Hood......[Here in Van Nuys]
  2. A Walk into the Chumash World......[]
  3. Pedalers Fork Project Gets Redesign.............[Calabasas Patch]
  4. UPDATE: City Presses Forward to Open Chatsworth Park South.......[Chatsworth Patch]
  5. The El Torito Grill from “Crazy, Stupid, Love........[IAMNOTASTALKER]
  7. Lawsuits: Disabled Tenant Blames CRA/LA For Bad Treatment in NoHo.......[Curbed LA]
  8. Once Upon a Time in Sherman Oaks.....[Sherman Oaks Patch]
  9. Farralone – Frank Sinatra’s Former House........[IAMNOTASTALKER]
  10. Valley Village's The Fifth Is Guilty of Being a Fancy Dive Bar....[NoHo-Toluca Lake Patch]
  11. New to Market: Woodsy Mid-Century By Barry Moffitt in Studio City.....[Curbed LA]
  12. Meet the 405 Project’s utility player.....[Zev Yaroslavsky Blog]
  13. Westfield Topanga Announces First Annual “Favorite Things” Giveaway......[Van Nuys News Press]
  14. 'Save Los Encinos' Task Force Holds First Meeting....[Encino Patch]
  15. Next Great LA Bike Street: Chandler: Chandler Blvd. in the Valley...[Curbed LA]
  16. Ryden’s House from “Post Grad”.....[IAMNOTASTALKER]
  17. How Lisa August Became an Award-Winning Artist by Accident.....[Chatsworth Patch]
  18. Owner of Googie icon Henry's Tacos in Studio City opposes landmark status.....[LADN]
  19. Longtime Florist to the Celebs Still Starts His Workday at 3 a.m.......[Sherman Oaks Patch]
  20. Jamie Lee Curtis Donates Books to Carpenter Charter School.....[Studio City Patch]
  21. David Santiago’s House from “Post Grad”.....[IAMNOTASTALKER]
  22. Keyes European Flagship Mercedes Dealership Now Open in The Nuys.....[The Nuys]
  23. Tujunga Village Mixes Sophisticated Boutiques and Cafes....[Studio City Patch]
  24. Justin Bieber, Megan Fox, Miley Cyrus—Half of Top 10 List of 2011 Live and Play in Studio City....[Studio City Patch]
  26. Dr. John Ansel Armstrong Thomson: 1911-2011....[NoHo-Toluca Lake Patch]
  27. The Sky Coyote Is Watching Over Chatsworth.....[Chatsworth Patch]
  28. Brits Fascinated by Chatsworth Schoolgirl.....[Chatsworth Patch]
  29. Phil’s Diner Closes After Less Than 8 Months.......[NoHo-Toluca Lake Patch]

Filming Locations: Back To The Future Trilogy (1985, 1989, 1990)

Thursday, December 15, 2011 / 3 Comments

Unused art poster from
This film is one of my favorites which has had numerous filming locations in the San Fernando Valley as well as other parts of LA. This film is the inspiration to create the Back To The Future series which essentially allows this site to travel back in time to explore the SFV. Additionaly, the Marty McFly name is used as a pseudonym for this site. 

The filming locations for Back To The Future were already discovered by the sites listed below so this post wouldnt be possible without their respective contributions so I recommend visiting those sites. While this site only focuses on filming locations for the SFV, the sites below cover the whole movie which was mostly filmed in the LA area. 
BTTF in a way accurately reflects the growth of the SFV. In its present setting in 1985, Marty lives in a working class suburban neighborhood which was actually filmed in Arleta. Doc Brown used to live in a mansion but in the present has been reduced to living in a garage (partially due to a fire that destroyed the mansion) on a major street (Victory Blvd in Burbank) which is surrounded by commercial activity as the film shows his neighbors being a Burger King and other commercial buildings. The scenes where Doc Brown unveils his Delorean is set at the Twin Pine mall parking lot which one can argue was the place to be in the 80's.

So traveling back in time to 1955, Marty's home in Arleta is a massive farmland currently in development as the front gates are only shown. Doc Brown as mentioned above lived in a mansion on a large acreage lot that appeared to be fairly distant from Hill Valley and any other stores. And lastly the Twin Pine Mall was also a massive ranch farm which becomes the Lone Pine Mall courtesy of Marty knocking down one of the pines. The history of the SFV growth and development is loosely reflected in this film and may have even become the basis when creating this story.

With respect to the SFV, BTTF II and III only used Marty's house in Arleta and the Universal Studios Courthouse Square. BTTF I locations are shown below. I didnt post those images since not much changed expected for Courthouse Square.

The opening scene in Doc Brown's garage is actually a fake garage made to resemble Doc Brown's 1955 garage from the Gamble house in Pasadena which was in the parking lot of a Burger King located at 535 N. Victory Blvd in Burbank. 

Marty auditions for a "Battle of the Bands" at McCambridge Recreation Center at McCambridge Park at 1515 Glenoaks Blvd in Burbank. The mural in the back is no longer present.

Marty's home is located at 9303 Roslyndale Avenue in Arleta. The Lyon Estates gates I believe are still on display at Universal Studios. The scene below with Marty skating past the gates is located three streets down from Roslyndale at Sandusky & Kagel Canyon Street. This location was also used for BTTF II and III.

And here is a shot of the McFly home in Arleta that I visited on my own. Still looks the same after almost 25+ years.
All of the town scenes were filmed at the Courthouse Square at Universal Studios which has become infamous. Unfortunately, the courthouse was destroyed by fire and rebuilt with a new design. Below are some notable images from that set. This location was also used for BTTF II and III and was obviously modified to reflect the time (II was the year 2015 and III was 1885). 

And the Courthouse Square from BTTF II:

The scene where Marty takes the Delorean to the starting point for traveling back home when lightning strikes the clock tower is actually located at 2700 N. Vermont Ave. in Griffith Park near the Greek Theater. 

And below are trailers:

There was a rumor of BTTF 4 but I dont think that is happening anymore:

And also the BTTF ride at Universal Studios which is no longer present (I hate it when they remove good rides):

Celebrity Real Estate: Former Cuba Gooding Jr Home in Studio City Now Owned by Composer-Arranger Roger Neill Lists for $1.499 Million

/ No Comments
[Update: February 6, 2012]: This home sold on February 3, 2012 for $1,550,000 which was $51,000 more than the listed price at $1,499,000 in approximately 2 months time. 

[Original Post]:

Image courtesy Prudential California Realty
Hot off the presses from the always informative Lauren Beale of the L.A. Times Hot Property comes word of a former Cuba Gooding, Jr Home in the Studio City area which is now owned by Roger Neill is now available for sale starting at $1.499 million.

Cuba Gooding Jr is an Academy Award winning actor for his portrayl of Rod Tidwell in the 1996 film, Jerry Maguire. He has also performed in various films like Boyz n the Hood, A Few Good Men, Lightning Jack, and a variety of other films with his career in acting going all the way back to 1981. Gooding, Jr is a native of the San Fernando Valley who attended North Hollywood High School and John F. Kennedy High School although he was born in New York City. I am not sure where he actually lived but according to Wikipedia, he lived in various hotels throughout Los Angeles after his father left the family. 

Roger Neill is an arranger, orchestrator, conductor, and collaborator who has worked with variety of artists and projects. He is mostly known for his 13 seasons scoring the Fox prime-time animated series King of the Hill. 

According to the listing, this 4 Bed/4 Bath home on 2,875sqft on 1.2 acres which is a Mid Century Modern Ranch house in the style of Cliff May states:
One of the best buys in the Studio City Hills. The "former Cuba Gooding compound". A classic 1955 Mid-Century Modern Ranch House in the style of Cliff May. 4 Bedrooms including 3 Bedroom Suites plus 5 Baths. Formal Entry with Powder Room, Master Suite with Fireplace & French Doors opening onto Pool & Decks. Large Formal Dining Room. Huge Chef's Gourmet Center Island Kitchen. Living Room with Fireplace and Walls of Glass. Family Room-Screening Room-Recording Studio. Immense Park-Like Grounds, Pool, Custom Decking, Private Terraces, Panoramic San Fernando Valley Views. The property affords Total Privacy & Seclusion. Feels like Brentwood or Mandeville Canyon. Minutes from Beverly Hills and the Westside via Coldwater Canyon Avenue. Close to the Tree People Compound, Harvard-Westlake School and the Shops & Restaurants along Ventura Boulevard. Close to All Valley Studios and some of Los Angeles Finest Private Schools. A Wonderful and Unique Property with Large Flat Land.
Cuba Gooding, Jr originally purchased this home in 1994 for the measly sum of $305,000 which makes me wonder if this home was in really bad shape when purchased. However, there was a time when homes were relatively cheap and affordable and being that the architecture of this home is a Mid Century Modern style may have depressed its value back then when MCM's were not as popular as they are today. Gooding, Jr sold this property on December 30, 2009 for $1,375,000 to Roger Neill netting Gooding, Jr approximately a 4.5x gain not including expenses which is quite the profit in 15 years. Imagine how much he would have earned if sold at the peak. 

Gooding, Jr has kept his roots in the San Fernando Valley and continues to own a home in Porter Ranch that was purchased on February 10, 1999 for $439,000 as well as a Pacific Palisaides home that was purchased on May 31, 2000 for $3.5 million. All three of the homes including the Studio City home were purchased under a trust.

You can find more San Fernando Valley Celebrity Real Estate here

Celebrity Real Estate: Music Couple Tamar Braxton and Vincent Herbert List Home in Encino and Purchase in Hidden Hills

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 / 1 Comment
[Update October 19, 2012]: Tamar Braxton and Vincent Herbert have listed their Hidden Hills home for sale after barely living in it for one year. You can read more about it here.

[Update February 20, 2012]: This house sold for $2,650,000 on February 17, 2012 after being listed on the market for roughly 2.5 months. The selling price is $50,000 higher than what was paid for in September 2009 translating into most likely a loss when factoring a 6% realtor commission. Also, this sale price is $350,000 less than the original list price of $3 million.  

[Original Post]:

Back on December 9, 2011, the always hilarious Your Mama at the Realestalker discussed music couple, Vincent Herbert and Tamar Braxton (sister of Toni Braxton), new listing in Encino and their subsequent purchase in Hidden Hills. Vincent Herbert is an award winning music industry executive and producer who has worked with musical legends like Toni Braxton (of course), Destiny's Child, Whitney Houston, and Lady Gaga. Tamar Braxton is an R&B singer and songwriter and stars with Toni in a reality show, Braxton Family Values

Tamar and Vincent are currently listing their Encino home for $3,000,000. According to the listing this 6 Bed/5.75 Bath, 7,817 sqft home on 0.42 acres built in 2007 states:
Elegant & Sexy Spanish Hacienda meets Tuscan Villa. this custom built estate features, 6 bedrooms, 6.5 Bathrooms, Formal Dining Room, Living Room, Family Room, Breakfast area and Gourmet Kitchen that is enhanced with the finest stainless steel appliances, Copper sinks, Granite Counters & Center Island, 2 Dishwashers, walk-in pantry, wine cellar and a complete bar for the finest entertaining! Situated on over an 18,000 square foot USABLE lot! Meticulously & beautifully enriched interior & exterior living areas include. .. Soaring ceilings, Spanish tile, Hardwood flooring, grand spiral staircase, custom designed & engineered home theatre are just the beginning of what this estate has to offer. The Master Retreat features two (2) Oversized walk in closets & Glamorous master bathroom with a steam shower and sunken tub overlooking the lush & private landscaped grounds. The resort style pool & spa include two (2) waterfalls, while incorporating an integrated motorized pop up television that rotates 360 degrees! Not to mention the built in BBQ, stone patio, large grassy area and cabana! This Grand Encino Estate is privately gated; secure with interior/exterior cameras. No expense has been spared. Too many upgrades to mention!! MUST SEE!!!!
This property was last purchased on Septemeber 21, 2009 for $2,600,000 hoping to give Vincent Herbert a $400,000 profit not counting taxes, commissions, and expenses. 

At the same time, the music duo purchased a home in the exclusive equestrian community of Hidden Hills for $6,900,000 on September 8, 2011. According to the listing, this 5 Bed/7 Bath home with 11,747sqft on 1.25 acres states:
NEW Hidden Hills French Country masterpiece! Sensational unobstructed views and complete total privacy!! Unparalleled quality construction with exquisite finishes rarely seen. Nearly 12,000 square feet of opulence! Amenities include a dramatic grand double staircase entry, home theater with 125 inch screen and 7.2 surround sound, Pub/ pool table room with tremendous hand carved wet bar, Magnificent library with fireplace and custom paneling, elevator, safe room and a truly great room with pocket sliders to take advantage of panoramic views. The grounds boast a classic custom pool with fountains. In addition there are waterfalls, fire pit and manicured lawns all with truly remarkable views. This is a NEW Premier Hidden Hills Estate that must be viewed to be appreciated.
Vincent Herbert and Tamar Braxton's new neighbors include Jennifer Lopez, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne who are selling their home discussed here since June, Melissa Etheridge, Denise Richards, Nicolette Sheridan, The Kardashian clan, and Beau Bridges who is also trying to sell his home discussed here.

You can check out other celebrity real estate listings here.