Our Story Yesterday & Today
The Hollywood Piano Company Opens For Business
The year was 1927 and Hollywood had just released its first all talking motion picture “The Jazz Singer”. With the advent of sound in films, music was about to become a permanent part of the movies. The following year, 1928 saw the introduction of Mickey Mouse in “Steam Boat Willy”, the 1st air-conditioned office building in the USA, Scotch Tape, Mae West making her Broadway debut, Madame Tussaud’s wax museum opens in London, GE opens the first TV station, George Eastman shows the first color motion picture, Babe Ruth hits home run number 42, Alexander Flemming discovers penicillin, the 1st recording session was held in Nashville, Jacon Schick patents the first electric razor, the first issue of Time magazine was published, George Gershwin’s American in Paris debuts, Hoover Defeated Smith for president and The Hollywood Piano Company opened for business.
Pay In Pianos? What Do I Do With 300 Pianos?
The Hollywood Piano Company was not a grand scheme or plan, it was born from circumstance when Russian immigrant Abe Tishkof ( Hollywood Piano founder) was in the construction business and had a client who couldn’t afford to pay for work on a building Abe built for him. He told Abe he was leaving for Buffalo and he had 300 pianos he could offer in lieu of payment. With no choice Abe took all of the pianos. At first he didn’t know what to do with all of these pianos. He had them everywhere on his property, in his house and his office.
The Historic Los Angeles Area Piano Company Is Born
One day one of his neighbors asked him if she could “borrow” one of his pianos for their children to take lessons on. Abe let her have it for $2 per month. Another neighbor heard about it and she also got a piano from Abe for $2 per month, then another and another, and soon a Hollywood institution was born. The initial location was in Abe’s offices on 8th street, then within a year at Western Avenue and shortly after that to the landmark Highland Avenue location below (which he eventually purchased) where the historic, iconic Hollywood Piano neon sign was put up and lit for the first time. ( Check out the founder’s sons talking about the early days of the company. Jerry Tischkoff and Eddie Tischkoff remember their dad and the start of the company on their last day of ownership.)
Hooray For Hollywood Piano – Being At The Right Place At The Right Time
It was only natural for the movies to come knocking on the door of the new company for those new “talkies”. Within no time the Hollywood Piano Company was not only supplying families with pianos, but also became the key supplier of pianos to the burgeoning motion picture industry. The history of the motion picture industry and the history of the Hollywood Piano Company are closely tied together. Many customers of the early years included the major Hollywood Studios and such motion picture luminaries as Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Norma Talmadge, Cecil B. De Mille, Walt Disney, and Louis B. Mayer. The young company was supplying pianos faster than it could acquire them because the motion picture industry was buying and renting pianos for behind the scenes and in front of the cameras. Many of the most famous pianos in screen history were provided by the Hollywood Piano Company. At the same time hundreds of families were renting pianos for the princely sum of $2.50 per month.
The Biggest Names In Show Business Came To Hollywood Piano
Over the years the original landmark Highland location was a magnet for the biggest stars of the day. Where do you think Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell went right after they put their hands in cement back in 1952 at Grauman’s Chinese Theater? They walked around the corner and came into the Hollywood Piano Company. Imagine the expressions on their face when Jane and Marilyn came waltzing in. Jane asked if it was okay to play the piano which she proceeded to do. Then Marilyn sang while both were on the stage in the store window. As you might well imagine, a riot almost broke out with people charging to get into the store.
Frank Sinatra was regular customer of the store often buying pianos as gifts for his friends. It was not rare to find stars such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Vic Damone, all hanging out in the store at the very same time. Otto Preminger even used the store as a set for a movie. Some of the most famous pianos in screen history were either sold or rented to the studios, the most famous of which were the pianos used in “Casablanca”. Other notable Hollywood Pianos were seen in “Love Me, Or Leave Me”, “An American in Paris”, “Easter Parade” and literally thousands more movies since 1928.
(see a collage of photos on the bottom of this page that is truly a retrospective of some of our famous movie and TV placements over the last nearly 90 years)
Television Comes To Hollywood Piano
With the advent of television Hollywood Piano was supplying some of the biggest names in the business. The pianos used by Lucy and Ricky were provided by the Hollywood Piano Company as was the famous piano used at the beginning of every episode of “All In The Family” when Archie and Edith sang “Those Were the Days”. For many years Hollywood Piano supplied many of the piano prizes on “Let’s Make A Deal” with Monty Hall and other game shows of the day. In more recent years you’ve seen pianos from the Hollywood Piano on Frasier, Will and Grace, Desperate Housewives, 2 ½ Men and Dirty Sexy Money, Glee, Dancing with The Stars, American Idol and The Voice to name only a few.
Where Do We Park The Limos?
In 2001 the Hollywood and Highland complex opened with the Dolby Theater (formerly the Kodak Theater), the new home of the Academy Awards. One small problem though, when they built the complex they didn’t construct the garage taking into account the arc needed to park limos. Where to park the limos? The Hollywood Piano Company’s building around the corner stood on prime property that was very attractive for a parking lot. The property was sold and the building was raised (saving only the original sign and all of the pianos). The company moved further south on Highland for a short while until the sons of founder Abe, (Eddy and Jerry) decided to retire.
A New Era For The Landmak Company
Glenn Treibitz in the piano business since 1981 and family were excited to be offered to buy this Hollywood legend. They became the second family to control the company. After the purchase a decision was made to move to Burbank. Hollywood Piano has been family owned and operated by only 2 families since 1928. The current 8,000 square foot facility in Burbank is a state of the art piano store with more than a dozen flat screen presentations throughout the store, an acoustically designed recital hall, Hollywood Piano School Of Performing Arts (HPSOPA) and the Hollywood Sheet Music Company all in residence .
In 2009 the company opened a 7,000 square foot store in Pasadena featuring a great selection in all price points including our collections of high end American and European pianos.
In 2015 a storage warehouse/Annex was opened in North Hollywood. This is where our trade ins, rental returns and excess new inventory goes and is available by appointment only. With more than 1,000 pianos available company wide, If we don’t have what you’re looking for at Hollywood Piano then it probably doesn’t exist. We’re excited about expansion into new markets and new product categories in the years ahead. Watch us grow.
The Historic Hollywood Piano Neon Sign
Our iconic historic sign comes from the famous age of neon and made by the George Claude Neon Company famous for making the very first neon sign in Los Angeles for a Packard car dealership in 1923. Our sign was originally designed as an outside sign which we mounted inside when we moved from Hollywood to Burbank. It was so bright that a special very dark plexiglass cover had to be custom made to tone down the neon. The plexiglass cover is so dark that when the sign is turned off you can’t even tell that there is a sign underneath it. Because the neon is delicate the original transformers had to be used because newer ones might blow out the neon glass. This job was a labor of love for Don McAdams and his crew who removed and then reinstalled this historic sign 2 times. This original enormous sign was removed piece by delicate piece from our last location in Hollywood. It was then reassembled in our Burbank, Hollywood Way location and now reassembled and installed inside our current Burbank headquarters for posterity.
If you’re interested in Hollywood history and neon history, drop by to see our sign. Our sign was featured in the opening credits of the Harrison Ford film “Hollywood Homicide”. The opening credits is a montage of landmark Hollywood signs and our sign is the very last one in the montage filmed when the sign was still outside in Hollywood. (at 3:12 in the video)