Explore Palm Springs: Jack Freeman Serves Up the Stars

Village Pharmacy counter attracted stars like John Wayne, Rod Taylor, and Rudy Vallee

Jack Freeman assumed the fetal position in the middle of Palm Canyon Drive during the summer of 1934, demonstrating the lack of traffic.

Photo Courtesy of Palm Springs Historical Society


After meeting Palm Springs pioneer Earle Strebe in Lake Arrowhead at a food counter, Jack Freeman was asked to come to Palm Springs in 1933 to run Harry Brott’s food counter at the Village Pharmacy.

Freeman made $25 a week in Palm Springs working 12 hours a day, Monday through Sunday. While working at the Village Pharmacy, Freeman met many of the celebrities of the day who would come in to grab a bite.

Freeman recounted in an oral history done with the Palm Springs Historical Society in 2004 that John Wayne came in after working on his first movie. Others Freeman mentioned included Rod Taylor, Rudy Vallee, William Powell, Alice Faye, Phil Harris, and Paul and Daisy Lukas, who according to Freeman, taught him to fly a bi-plane.

In 1934, on a particularly slow summer day working at the pharmacy food counter, Freeman assumed the fetal position in the middle of Palm Canyon Drive, demonstrating the lack of traffic on the main thoroughfare.

Freeman left Palm Springs briefly to serve in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He later partnered with Irwin Schuman to open Freeman’s Desert Grill, which went on to become the Chi Chi.

Schuman later took over the restaurant and Freeman went into the meat and provisions business opening Desert Provision Co., a business he would run for many decades.

Freeman was a founding member of Temple Isaiah, Tamarisk Country Club, and the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce. In 2005, he died in Palm Springs at age 94.

There is a multitude of ways to learn more about Palm Springs, which turned 75 in 2013. One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring the city’s history.

The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a weekly story whose time and place corresponds with today.

The Palm Springs Historical Society is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive. For more information, visit www.pshistoricalsociety.org

Like what you're reading? Then "Like" us on Facebook and "follow" us on Twitter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

More Expansion Ahead for Modernism Show & Sale

The 16th Annual Modernism Show & Sale in Palm Springs s not done growing with plans to expand exhibit space, a lounge, and more midcentury modern dealers.

Explore Palm Springs: Desert Circus Parade

The Desert Circus Parade became one of the most popular in Palm Springs featuring gigantic, strange laugh-provoking creatures.

Thinking Inside the Box

You have another opportunity at the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair to see how artist Larry Bell's illusions not only stand the test of time, but continually break new ground.

Midcentury Master

Well-known midcentury architect Hugh Kaptur is once again making an imprint on Palm Springs with the construction of three new midcentury-style, single-family homes.

Explore Palm Springs: The Dunes Club

In February 1936, property was purchased one-half mile from the Dunes Club in Cathedral City and extended all of the way to Ramon Road on the north.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

Palm Springs Life's Women in Business

Palm Springs Life's Women in Business

Winner profiles will be highlighted in a special section in Palm Springs Life’s May 2016 issue. Nominate Your Top Women in Business!
Fashionista Friends

Fashionista Friends

Experience the glitz and glamour of Fashion Week El Paseo 2016.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Food + Wine Festival Grand Experience

Food + Wine Festival Grand Experience

Enter for a Chance to Win a Food + Wine Festival Palm Desert 2016 Grand Experience
Edit ModuleShow Tags