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The Third Eye: Encino's Coolest Head Shop

The homey-looking store sold beads, handmade leather goods, pop-art posters of the era and even had a psychedelic bus parked out front.

The Third Eye was far and away the coolest, hippest and most far-out shop that Encino ever had on Ventura Boulevard. The so-called "psychedelic shop" also sold a variety of creative crafts, art, beads, leather clothing and accessories, and movie and pop art posters of the '60s. 

The Third Eye was the first "head shop" in Encino. There was the Peace of Mind in Encino and The Hippodrome in Sherman Oaks that popped up shortly afterward, but none we nearly as successful or as popular with people from outside the immediate neighborhood as The Third Eye.

I was a young boy when The Third Eye opened in 1966. My parents chaperoned me into the store to buy posters and look at all the creative handiwork that was on display. We hardly fit in with the tie-dyed hippie customers.

The Third Eye was famous for several things, including the Day-Glo-painted school bus that was parked in front of the store, a converted house. The bus had a real "commune" look to it and certainly some of the local Encino neighbors were not thrilled at the prospect of The Third Eye staging live music concerts in the house's front yard.

Another thing The Third Eye was famous for was its black-light room, which was lit only by purple black lights that illuminated the many Day-Glo posters on the walls. I remember Beatles posters from their Yellow Submarine movie and one of a famous psychedelic, spiral, circular design that seemed to come to life in that room.

I also bought iconic posters of Raquel Welch in the fur bikini from her famous film One Million Years B.C. and Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper on their '60s choppers from Easy Rider. The famous poster of John and Yoko Lennon posing nude and a very "underground," adult-oriented spoof of a classic Disney character misbehaving was for sale at The Third Eye, but I never got to see those until many years later!

The owners of The Third Eye were Kit Sandidge, his wife, Brenda, and close friends Rick and Marinell Redus. They ran The Third Eye like a country inn. All four were from Alabama.

"We had a lot of Southern hospitality at The Third Eye," Brenda Sandidge told me.

The shop closed in 1971 and later became the Town and Country Shopping Center.

"The property had a lot of beautiful oak trees on it, and we even had a bathtub in front of the house with flowers planted in it," she said. "The '60s was such a creative time."

The owners of The Third Eye opened an art gallery next to the shop called the Walrus, which featured a lot of local artists' work. Kit Sandidge stayed in the leather and custom bead business for many more years after The Third Eye closed and had a couple of other successful stores in the San Fernando Valley.

"The Third Eye is the place people remember most that Kit and I owned together," Sandidge said. "That's the one store that seems to hold the most precious memories for people. When people find out I was involved with it, they are always asking questions about the store.

"It was like we really tapped into what was happening in the '60s and I am proud to have been a part of that. It was such a time of peace and harmony. I miss those days."

Jo Ann Sandidge February 14, 2013 at 05:47 PM
Hi, I'm Jo Ann Sandidge, Kit Sandidge's 2nd wife (of 31 years...). We opened another Third Eye in San Clemente in 1997, that is still open today. We sell beads, jewelry, and other unique gift items (sorry no poster or "head" stuff). Unfortunately, Kit passed away August 17, 2009. I miss him everyday, and feel lucky to have spent so many years with him.
Wendy Anderson Sparks August 23, 2013 at 04:11 PM
My heart to your heart. Wendy
Jeff Brown June 15, 2014 at 01:57 AM
I used to sweep the floors, work the counter, do errands for Rick and Kit. When I left in 1972 they gave me a 12 string Yamaha guitar. It was a great experience. They are remembered and missed. Jeff B.
Jane Sobo July 13, 2014 at 04:43 PM
I loved going to The Third Eye with my parents and sibs. The bead room was ground central for my sister and I to gather up thimbles-full of beads to create a plethora of necklaces. Was the woman who "manned" (curated?) the bead room Brenda Sandige? (The one I'm thinking of always had low decolletage revealing her ample bosom, never cracked a smile and spoke practically in a whisper. We couldn't figure out if she was a hippie-snob or just utterly aloof! Still, super memorable moments when Rick Jr.'s band featuring Mike Hamilton and other bands played on the grounds at their "happenings". I too remember the nude John & Yoko poster (and what a sight for a small kid; their genitals, etc. were pretty dang freaks of nature!). Sibs and I got fluorescent posters and maybe some leather accessories. Loved the scented beads too! The memories just keep emanating! Light Brigade at Topanga Plaza overlapped, but seemed much more mainstream.

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