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Read this: A brief history of “Licorice Pizza,” the L.A. record store that inspired Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest

Formerly named Soggy Bottom, PTA’s upcoming film will premiere this November

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Paul Thomas Anderson
Paul Thomas Anderson
Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF

Aside from “Martin Scorsese comments on Marvel movies,” there are few things more exciting to cinephiles than “new Paul Thomas Anderson movie.” Anderson is ramping up the excitement for his next film by making a few changes, including updating the title from Soggy Bottom, which is just an astounding title for a movie, to Licorice Pizza, a confusing one. For many, the title Licorice Pizza probably means as much as Chappie or Finch or Soggy Bottom. But as L.A. Mag explains, Licorice Pizza shares its name with a now-shuttered southern California record store. They write:

The new name comes from a long-gone chain of L.A. record shops founded in Long Beach by James Greenwood in 1969. By the time the Glendale-based chain was sold in 1985 there were 34 locations in Southern California, including Canoga Park, North Hollywood, Reseda, and the Sherman Oaks Galleria. Their logo, featuring a depression-era cook proud of her freshly baked record album, was plastered all over the streets of L.A., and is currently a top-selling T-shirt at the Valley Relics Museum, which registered the apparel trademark just in time to get in on the movie action.

The name for the store comes from a joke made by folk duo Bud & Travis on their live album Bud & Travis…In Concert. Recorded at the Santa Monica Civic Center in 1960, the album features some stage banter, including some choice self-deprecating roasts of their album:

The comedy/folk duo are on a self-deprecating roll about how unsuccessful their record was, remarking that it had “sesame seeds on the other side” and could be played on a Waring blender. Just before going into their version of “La Bamba,” they mention that the platter was being sold at feed stores as a “licorice pizza.”

The store did what it could by airing commercials during American Bandstand and Soul Train, LA Mag notes. However, a string of scandals, including stocking shelves with counterfeit merchandise and “a charge that Greenwood purchased stock that had been shoplifted from other stores, including Kmart, and competitor The Wherehouse,” led to the store’s decline. Eventually, a northern California store, Record Bar, purchased the chain in 1985, and within five years, they were all Sam Goodys. It’s the circle of life.


As for the movie Licorice Pizza, the trailer has been slowly rolling out in repertory theaters in major cities worldwide, including London and Chicago. When will have the trailer to post? We don’t know, so stop asking! Licorice Pizza stars Bradley Cooper, Alana Haim, Benny Safdie, and Cooper Hoffman, the son of late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. It’s set to begin a limited release on November 26 and is going wide on December 25.