Hole punched in doughnut shop's hopes for shuttle celebration

Hole punched in doughnut shop's hopes for shuttle celebration
Tourist Mika Shima, 26, of Tokyo holds up photos she took of Randy's Donuts. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

Say what you will. Say stay off the sidewalk. Ora Alcox is going to see the space shuttle.

On Friday, the now-earthbound Endeavour will be wheeled by very slowly, a block from Alcox's Inglewood home.


She will witness it, she says; try to stop her:

"They'll have to drag me, screaming and crying. I'm 70 years old. I have MS and I plan to see this."

At the drive-through window at Randy's Donuts, Alcox was picking up her usual apple fritter.

And like a lot of those there for their morning fixes Thursday, she was peeved.

The mayor of L.A. promises "the mother of all parades." Then officials shut down stretches of sidewalks, limit viewing areas, and say, if you want to view it, please go wait with thousands at the Forum or at some event Debbie Allen's staging in Baldwin Hills.

"I've seen all the other capsules go up, I've seen them go in the water. And they're not going to let me see this any other way?" Alcox asked Larry Weintraub, who owns Randy's with his brother Ron.

Randy's, at Manchester and La Cienega boulevards, was all set to be shuttle viewing central. The brothers put a miniature shuttle in the giant doughnut hole. They put a yellow sign in the window: "SPACE SHUTTLE XING." They started punching out shuttle doughnuts with a special cookie cutter they got from a place called the Space Store, Ron Weintraub said. They iced them white with brown letters, USA and NASA.

The Endeavour likely will be out front for some time Friday as it gets towed over the 405 Freeway. It could have been a real sugar fest.

But that stretch of Manchester, it turns out, will be closed from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., crowds discouraged.

So Randy's, which is usually 24-7, planned to shut at 8 p.m. Thursday.

A Toyota Tundra truck will tow the shuttle over the freeway. Toyota will rent out the Weintraubs' property.


And the brothers, freed from frying up dough, will be paid some amount of it larger than their daily doughnut take.

What amount, they won't say. But it has to be big, from the looks of the lines at the walk-up window and at the two drive-throughs.

All morning, they never let up.

Hip kids from Tokyo, coming to shop for American clothes. A couple from Ponca City, Okla., celebrating a birthday.

One guy from the neighborhood complains that the towing truck should have been an American Ford or GMC. Another regular, buying for the office, says bringing the shuttle here's a waste, given the state of the economy.

Larry and Ron Weintraub — a little gruff, a lot funny — rarely stop reaching, for glazes and cinnamon rolls and bear claws and iced shuttles.

Even without a sign out front, the iced shuttles take off.

It could have been a big day for Randy's Donuts, like every day.

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