How the designer of “Licorice Pizza” found waterbeds and pinball machines


Paul Thomas Anderson has studied the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles from all angles in films like “Boogie Nights”, “Magnolia” and “Punch-Drunk Love”. For his latest “Licorice Pizza,” which opens wide on December 25, he looked back at his earliest memories of the sprawling suburb, combining them with events from the life of his childhood friend producer Gary Goetzman, played by Cooper Hoffman. . Even the name of the film makes reference to a favorite record store chain from the 1970s, although the store does not appear in the film.

Decorator Florencia Martin’s vintage palette of browns, rusts and oranges manages to look lived in rather than kitsch, with plenty of period details, from the KMET billboard and bean bag chairs to the Teenage. Hollywood Fair. One of the key locations was based on the store Goetzman opened when he was 18, Fat Bernie’s Environmental Living.

Before Gary opened his own store, he took inspiration from the owner of Mr. Jack’s, a wig store with a sideline in waterbeds. Martin found an article mentioning Goetzman in the LA Times archives that named some of the original waterbed companies.

Once the designer learned that some of the original waterbed manufacturers, like American National, were still in business, she traveled to Covina and knocked on the factory door. “They looked at me like I was crazy,” Martin says, but after mentioning the article, she ended up talking to an executive who was able to help her more than she expected.

He showed her a shoebox full of Polaroids from the heyday of the waterbed trade. “There were pictures of Mr. Jack and the custom bed,” says Martin, who was inspired by the photos.

When the waterbeds business leaked due to difficulty in sourcing vinyl during the gas crisis, Gary pivoted – in real life and in the movie – and opened Fat’s Pinball Palace. Bernie. The pinball machine had just been legal in the city of LA, and the shrewd teenager jumped at the chance to make some money. Martin worked with Gene Lewin at Glendale’s Vintage Arcade Superstore, where she found playable pinball machines. “It was an incredible feat to find working pinball machines from before 1973,” says Martin, “and to create this fun environment for the end of the movie.”

Actor Cooper Hoffman in ‘Licorice Pizza’ by Paul Thomas Anderson
Melinda Sue Gordon / MGM


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