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A Guide to the Best of Southern California : NOSTALGIA : Classics for a New Generation

September 30, 1990|MARTIN ZIMMERMAN

THE SIGN OUT FRONT is the first and best clue to what you'll find inside Pasadena's Starlight Roof--Classic American Music and Video: "Sorry, we do not sell rock 'n' roll, rap, heavy metal . . . no X-rated, no truck-crashing. We do sell big bands, shows and sound tracks and all the great films of Hollywood's Golden Era." Walking into Starlight Roof is like venturing back to an earlier time--a past you can return to when you get home after purchasing audio cassettes, CDs and videotapes. Small but well-stocked, Starlight Roof is a cinephile's dream, a pre-rock 'n' roll haven.

Why are no slasher movies represented? No head-banging music? "Essentially, it's what I like, with some variation," says owner John Cooper, who opened Starlight Roof in 1988 after 20 years in music and video retailing. "I stock things that I don't object to. I started with music, then branched into films."

There is a strong musical mix: audio cassettes include works of such celebrated entertainers as Louis Prima, Carmen Miranda, Louis Armstrong and Harry James. The video selection is divided into such subdrama categories as "Women in Love," "Women in Danger," "Women in General" and the catchall "Politics, Social Issues, Men vs. Women, Whatever's Left." A small sampling: the 1925 "Wizard of Oz," with Oliver Hardy, and classic films ranging from the early silents through '50s camp, including a number of hard-to-find B movies.

"A lot of younger people come in who appreciate older movies and tapes," says Cooper, who enjoys sharing his knowledge with a new generation. "That's great; they get a whole new slant on listening to music or watching films."

So a trip to Starlight Roof may be just the thing the next time you're faced with the 73rd sequel to "Friday the 13th." Prices range from $9.95 for Orson Welles' "The Third Man" to $59.98 for "Pete Kelly's Blues," a musical starring strait-laced "Dragnet" cop Jack Webb.

Starlight Roof--Classic American Music and Video, 641 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; (818) 568-2945.

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