By Rafael Guerrero, 1/06/2011
1928 Company Has the Keys to Success
“Play it again, Sam,” Humphrey Bogart said, and Sam tickled the ivories to end the classic film “Casablanca.” Edith and Archie Bunker sang “Those Were the Days” to open the hit 1970s sitcom “All In the Family,” with Edith’s off-key solo drowning out the piano as the song entered its final verse. Lucy and Ricky Ricardo argued in their New York apartment in “I Love Lucy” while a beautiful piano rested against the living room wall.
All of these classic Hollywood moments had one thing in common, the Hollywood Piano Company.
Since its opening in 1928 the Hollywood Piano Company has been a staple for Hollywood and the entertainment industry. They have supplied studios with some of the most famous pianos in movie and television history.
While Hollywood Piano has been involved with many classic television shows and movies, the company’s involvement with Hollywood could be attributed to perfect timing and a great location. The Tishkowitz family opened the company in 1928, one year after “The Jazz Singer” opened the door for sound in the movies in 1927.
“The timing was perfect,” said Glenn Treibitz, president of the Hollywood Piano Company. “Sound was being introduced to movies and it was only natural that Hollywood Piano would supply the pianos.”
The company continues to supply studios with pianos, including recent Academy Award nominees “Ray” in 2004 and “Dreamgirls” in 2006.
The company’s reach also stretches to television. “Two and a Half Men,” currently the number one rated sitcom on television, has used pianos supplied by Hollywood Piano. Other current shows that have been supplied by Hollywood Piano include “Desperate Housewives”, “Glee”, and “Lie to Me.” Treibitz admits those are just a few of the shows he can recall.
“There are just too many to count,” Treibitz added.
They also provide pianos to the studios’ composers to provide the soundtrack to the shows or movies.
Treibitz, his mother and sister bought the Hollywood Piano Company six years ago. They owned four piano stores before they purchased Hollywood Piano. Treibitz has been involved in the piano business since he was 10 years old and music is in his blood.
His mother, Rhoda, was a nightclub performer and singer. She also taught music at local schools before she passed away in 2010.
Cheryl Fox, Treibitz’s sister, graduated from the Boston Conservatory of Music. She and Treibitz run the company together.
“We’re a very musical family,” Treibitz said. “A lot of piano companies are run by people who don’t know how to play the piano.”
The company moved from its original location on Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue shortly after the Kodak Theater was built. There was a need for extra parking in the area and the company had a desirable location. The property was sold and the company was moved further south on Highland Avenue before eventually settling into their current location in Burbank just a few blocks from Warner Bros. Studios.
The walls are covered with Hollywood memorabilia. Movie posters featuring pianos supplied by the company decorate the walls. When guests enter, they are greeted by a “wall of fame” of signed photos from some of Hollywood’s greatest stars. David Bowie, Mae West, Eddie Murphy and Frank Sinatra are just a few of the recognizable names featured on the wall.
“People are very impressed when they come in here,” Treibitz said.
Treibitz also said he gets a kick out of rubbing elbows with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Treibitz said. “You get to meet a lot of interesting people.”
Treibitz has been called to the homes of Barbra Streisand, Rita Wilson and others. He paid a visit to Joe Mantegna’s house on Christmas Eve. The star of “Criminal Minds” asked for Treibitz’s help in deciding the best location for his new piano.
“A lot of times the people want us to help them with placing their piano,” Treibitz said. “Others buy digital pianos and ask for instruction on how to use them.”
Another historical piece inside Hollywood Piano is the massive neon sign that rests on the north wall. The sign was one of the first neon signs ever built in Los Angeles and hung over the original location at Hollywood and Highland for 80 years. The Treibitz’s carefully had the sign taken apart piece by piece and replaced inside the new store, complete with the original neon. Special transformers are used to avoid damaging the sign.
Despite their famous clientele, Treibitz takes more pride in providing great service to his customers.
“It’s very important to us that people have the real facts on the pianos they buy,” Treibitz said. “We are the only piano business in Los Angeles that gets an A-plus rating from the Better Business Bureau.”
While most studios buy the pianos, they are also available to rent. Families can rent pianos from the company for as little as $19.95 per month. More upscale pianos can be rented for $500 per month.
The company provides tuning, moving and other services associated with pianos.
“We will do anything to make sure somebody is happy,” Treibitz said.
For more information on the Hollywood Piano Company, call (818)954-8500 or visit www.hollywoodpiano.com.
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