Manufacturer: Shenango China
User: Pig 'N Whistle
Date of grill plate: circa 1948
Notes: Founded by John H. Gage in December 1908, the first Pig 'N Whistle confectionary store opened at 224 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA. Lavishly furnished with solid mahogany, the store was popular and touted by some as "the finest confectionary and ice cream parlor in the United States." Four years later, in 1912, Gage opened his second store at 212 West Fifth Street, and then opened another store in Pasadena, CA in 1914. His fourth store opened that same year at 712-14 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA. Gage adorned the walls of this luxuriant store with oil paintings valued then at $60,000.
The Pig 'N Whistle incorporated in July 1926 with the issuance of 60,000 shares of stock. At that time, the corporation had a total of ten stores with two stores under construction. That same year, the corporation acquired the Melody Lane confectionary shop and later expanded that chain of shops throughout Downtown Los Angeles.
In July 1927, the Pig 'N Whistle opened its flagship Hollywood location with "carved oak rafters and booths, red leather upholstery, wrought iron grills and a huge cut class chandelier." The Hollywood location prospered under the direction of Corporate General Manager Sidney Hoedemaker (also spelled Hodemaker) until early 1953.
By 1928, the Pig 'N Whistle chain had thirteen locations, extending along the Pacific Coast from Seattle to Los Angeles. There were eight locations in Southern California and five shops in San Francisco, Seattle and Portland.
The chain was successful until Gage passed away in 1938; and by 1968, there were only three Pig 'n Whistle restaurants remaining in Downtown Los Angeles. That same year the Pig 'N Whistle was sold to the King Kastle Corporation of Illinois.
In 2001, restaurateurs Chris Breed and Alan Hajjar meticulously restored the Pig 'N Whistle on Hollywood Boulevard to its former grandeur at a cost of $1 million.
The chain was one of the first restaurants to offer souvenir menus, children's coloring books, paper masks and a storybook, detailing the home of the pigs in Ever-everland. Ads invited one in with "That Piping Little Dancing Pig with a Jolly Come Hither Smile has all sorts of good things for your refreshment and entertainment. Breakfast, Luncheons, Ice Cream Sodas, Pastries, delicious dinners, special evening supper dishes and drinks, special parties, and Oh, such wonderful candies truly famous for their qualities. Everybody here follows the crowd to "Pig 'N Whistle."
"Pig'n Whistle Still Eyeing Downtown Return" by Eric Richardson; Published April 27, 2009 in the Blogdowntown: A Conversation about Downtown L.A.
Los Angeles from the Mountains to the Sea by John Steven McGroarty; The American Historical Society Chicago and New York, Volume III, 1921, Harvard University
The Story of Hollywood: An Illustrated History by Gregory Paul Williams; BL Press LLC, September 1, 2006
Early Hollywood by Marc Wanamaker and Robert W. Nudelman, Arcadia Publishing, 2007
White body children's grill plate featuring a multi-colored scene of the famous Pig playing a flute with children and animated vegetables (a corn cob, celery stalk and carrot) holding hands, dancing around him. Beneath the scene are the words, "LETS GO TO THE PIG 'N WHISTLE!" The top border of the plate has an image of a boy eating a bowl of soup at the 12 o'clock postion and there are three different images of the pig as a waiter and chef at the 3, 6 and 9 o'clock positions around the border. All of these images are overglazed, but are original (Shenango often did this on their children's china).
ID and plate photos contributed by leontiev
Venue photos contributed by apPaul