Director Paul Thomas Anderson told Variety that it took him “many months” to come up with the title for his recent coming-of-age dramedy. The film, which was set in the San Fernando Valley during those eternally sepia-toned days of the early 1970s, was almost called Soggy Bottom, as a reference to the waterbed company featured in the flick.
“In the long run, I couldn’t live with naming a film ‘Soggy Bottom,’” he admitted to the outlet, so he decided to name it after a real-life SoCal record store chain called Licorice Pizza. According to Los Angeles magazine, Licorice Pizza was founded in Long Beach in 1969, and took its own name from a bit by short-lived folk duo Bud & Travis. During a 1960 live show, they joked that they’d made such a terrible album, that it could be “played on a blender” and that it was being sold at feed stores not as a vinyl record but as “licorice pizza.” (Yeah, I guess that was hilarious, like, sixty years ago.)
Licorice Pizza lasted until 1985 when it was sold to the larger Record Bar chain, and then that chain was sold to Musicland, and then that became known as Sam Goody. (As of this writing, there are only two Sam Goody stores left: one is in a mall in Ohio, and the other is in a mall in Oregon.)
But Anderson says that you don’t need to know anything about the store to get the movie – and the words ‘licorice pizza’ aren’t referenced in the script. “It seemed like a catch-all for the feeling of the film,” he said. “I suppose if you have no reference to the store, it’s two great words that go well together and maybe capture a mood. Maybe it just looks good on a poster?”
It definitely looks better than ‘Soggy Bottom.’
We did a whole video rewind about movies that sound like cocktails and Licorice Pizza totally showed up in it. Give it a watch here.
Featured image courtesy of: FLC001, Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication