top of page

Mysterious Streamline Moderne at Hollywood and Cahuenga

One of the largest dental chains in the U.S. can be traced back to the intersection of Hollywood and Cahuenga nearly 90 years ago.

Cahuenga and Hollywood
Dr. Beauchamp's dental office at Cahuenga and Hollywood (California State Library)

In 1934, Dr. Curtis Beauchamp expanded his struggling downtown practice to the new Streamline Moderne building at 1654 Cahuenga Boulevard, designed by architects Morgan, Walls, and Clements and distinctive for its curved corner and vertical tower. Located on the second floor over Owl Drug, the “credit dentist” made a name for himself offering interest-free payment plans during the Depression era.

When Beauchamp became ill and eventually died in 1939, Dr. Sidney Green moved into the Hollywood office (later joined by Dr. Paul Chase), while his son Dr. Robert Beauchamp took over the downtown practice—both carrying on his legacy of affordable care for low-income patients (as well as his office hours: 9 a.m-9 p.m., six days a week).

Dr. Green Cahuenga and Hollywood
Dr. Green's dental practice c.1937 (USC)

That year, state legislature passed to prohibit dentists from maintaining more than two full-time offices, inspiring the younger Beauchamp to hatch a plan to grandfather himself in before the restriction went into effect. With money borrowed from a friend, he purchased seven more offices—and by 1944, the “Dr. Beauchamp” chain was back at his father’s Hollywood and Cahuenga location.

1940s Hollywood and Cahuenga
Dr. Green and Owl Drug (USC)

Over the decades, “Dr. Beauchamp” branched out across Los Angeles and Southern California, leasing turn-key practices to young dental school grads to cut their teeth in the competitive field. The chain aggressively advertised its affordable services everywhere—newspapers, billboards, radio commercials—much to the chagrin of his colleagues.

Consequently, in the late 1970s he was prohibited from joining the California Dental Association.

The real Dr. Beauchamp, however, had stopped practicing in 1964. At the age of 50, he pivoted to real estate, amassing a half-billion portfolio with holdings throughout Orange County by 1985. That year, the “Dr. Beauchamp” chain evolved into Western Dental, which now operates 560 offices in 20 states.

Back to Cahuenga and Hollywood ...

Dr. S. M. Cowen
1930 advertisement

As it turns out, before Dr. Curtis Beauchamp and his Streamline Moderne office, there were several “credit dentists” who followed a similar business model at the exact corner, when it was the Wilcox Building (6380 Hollywood Boulevard). Most notably, Dr. S. M. Cowen,“Hollywood’s Painless Dentist,” advertised customized payment plans as well as the motto “If it hurts, don’t pay.”

The Wilcox Building was constructed in 1905 by pioneer Daeida Wilcox Beveridge as the first Hollywood National Bank (and only the second two-story brick building in town). During those early years, it also housed Hollywood’s first club quarters, Newberry’s grocery, and Manscheffer pharmacy.

Following Daeida’s death in 1914, her daughters Phyllis Brunson and Marian Pringle managed the family’s 160 acres of Hollywood real estate holdings. And in 1934 it was with a heavy heart they razed the historic structure on the southeast corner of Cahuenga and Hollywood to enter a new, modern era.

The Wilcox Building, one of the last vestiges of a vanished Hollywood, would soon be but a memory, eulogized the Los Angeles Citizen News: “And so, today a new and famous Hollywood, figuratively, gave a salute of respect to a bygone and beloved Hollywood, as it mourned the passing of another landmark.”

Hollywood and Cahuenga
The Wilcox Building (circled) c. 1925 (LAPL)

Today, the Streamline Moderne is known as the Julian Medical Building, after Dr. James Julian who opened a “weight normalization center” in 1977.

Among his four basic treatments, three were diets—plus a controversial HCG “fat mobilizing” shot made from the urine of pregnant women, denounced by both the Food and Drug Administration and the California Medical Association.

Cahuenga and Hollywood 2023
The Streamline Moderne today, with Popeye's on the first floor (Google)

The most recent tenant was Dr. William S. Eidelman, a now-retired specialist of non-drug treatment for nicotine addiction who claimed he could cure cravings in two minutes or less using micro-current electrical stimulation. Eidelman is also one of the original pioneers in cannabis medicine, offering natural treatments for everything from anxiety to cancer and heart disease. In 2019, he made national news when his medical license was revoked by the California Medical Board for prescribing cannabis cookies for a 4-year-old he had diagnosed as having a “probable combination” of ADHD and Bipolar Disorder.

Fittingly, 30 miles south of the Streamline Moderne landmark, a replica can be found at Disney California Advenuture’s Hollywood Land ... albeit just the building’s facade.

Disney California Adventure
copyright Andrew Schmidt (2022)


bottom of page