Studio City Dick Whittinghill Home (and Bessy the Cow) Has 'Walked Out The Door'

This is for those of you old enough to remember when Dick Whittinghill ruled the airwaves in Los Angeles with this wacky brand of humor.

Wickepedia remembers him this way:

Beginning in 1950, Whittinghill was for almost three decades a popular disc jockey at radio station KMPC-AM in Los Angeles.

Among the features of his program were the "story records," sent in by listeners, in which a short anecdote was completed with a line from a song. For example, the spider told Little Miss Muffet, "You can keep the curds but give me...All the Way (whey). (using Frank Sinatra's song).

Whittinghill always signed off from his morning show with "I'm walkin' out the door, with you on my mind..." from the Nat King Cole record, "Walkin'."

I remember him because I used to ride my bike past his house in Studio City when I was a kid. It was on a nice big corner lot on a gently sloping hill. The house was a two story colonial with a red front door and gleaming white columns. And I was jealous that he'd built his girls the cutest little gingerbread playhouse round back. The property was all wrapped up in a white picket fence.

There was also a giant redwood tree growing in the far corner of the lot. The huge tree branches reached out shading the green lawn making it look like a meadow in a Flemish pastoral. All you needed was… a cow.

One magical night a fan left a giant, life-sized cow under the redwood tree. It looked exactly like a real cow and she became quite the local celebrity. People drove by real slow to take a gander at Bessy. The cow wound up living on the front lawn for decades.

I spoke to Mr. Whittinghill years later and he told me he'd been asleep the night Bessy arrived. She also weighed a ton, so he was pretty sure it must've taken a few people to get her over the fence (without damaging it) and onto his lawn. He assumed it was a fan. Nobody ever took credit for the feat.

Well, I was in the old neighborhood the other day and thought I'd drop in on the old girl. I was shocked to see she is gone and so is the Whittinghill house. The lot has been subdivided and two mini mansions have been shoe-horned onto the lot. The redwood has been hacked back so far it looks like a telephone pole.

Here's a photo. Don't look if you can't take it. I guess sometimes you just can't go home again.

I can only hope the cow has found another green pasture. Bessy, we hardly knew ye.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the nice write-up. My sister Willy and I sold the house to a couple who loved it like we did. They planned to marry in the garden and have children there. Then they turned around and sold it to a developer for a nice profit. I hope they got a nice paper-cut signing my childhood away.

Nora Whittinghill


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