John Pomeroy

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"Alfonse's" The Disney Wateringhole.

 From the day it opened this iconic Toluca Lake restaurant became a popular hangout for the Disney animation staff. Fred Moore, Marc Davis, Eric Larson, Bill Justice, Woollie Reitherman,  all wind and dined there.  Alfonse's  was opened in the mid to late 40s by Alfonse Sorrentino and his six brothers, one of which would be my future father-in-law, Ott Sorrentino. 

 Disney patrons all had their favorites. The prime rib entrée and cannelloni were among some of them.  Of course one of the main draws was the bar. Liquid courage was in big demand, especially in bolstering ones spirits in advance of a pitch to Walt himself.  It got so bad that the whole story department would take refuge there. Rumor had it that Walt put out a memo to all staff making Alfonse's "off limits".  I remember the first time I was taken there for lunch by Eric Larson and Burney Mattinson.  Eric introduced me to Donald Duck director, Jack Hannah (  who was responsible for helping me get into Disney Studios. I had only communicated by phone until then ). 

 Everyone had their own booth… Marc Davis with his cigarette holder, Al Bertino, XavierAtencio and guys from WED (  what Imagineering used to be ). Jack Kinney, Bill Peet,  and guys from the story department to Eric, Jack Hannah, and others from animation. 

The stories abound from my father in law, Ott,  and he got such a kick out of telling me story after story after story.  The time he stopped a hilarious fight between Lance Nolley and Bill Peet to Marc Davis proposing to Alice there.  

 Alfonse's  became quite a jazz destination with Tuesday and Thursday nights featuring the Pete Jolly trio.  No wonder it was such a hotspot! 

John Pomeroy