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."

Alan Rifkin August 31, 2011 at 05:17 PM
Coolest heads prevail
Bob Kirk September 06, 2011 at 06:08 PM
Great look 'back'....hard to believe it closed 40 years ago.......wow it was an adventure to go there...
Carol September 09, 2011 at 03:52 AM
Love that picture of the bus. I remember it well.
Kathie S. October 12, 2011 at 06:54 PM
Can anyone recall the name of the place that was on Ventura Blvd. east of White Oak, it was like an indoor hippie swap meet filled with booths selling handcrafted treats, the smell of incense in the air, it was cozy and mysterious all at once....
Shari S November 12, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Whole Earth Marketplace was the indoor swapmeet, it's now a storage place behind Carl's Jr. Another one of the original places was an old house called The Head Shop. Corner of Ventura Blvd & Encino Ave.
Kathie S. November 12, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Thanks Shari S.! Encino sure was filled with treasures back then, new ones popping up everyday but my favorites will always be the ones when I was a kid and carefree...
Herb B. Green November 12, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Awesome article dude...i got Zig-zags there back in the '60 s man!
andrew miller December 30, 2012 at 02:59 AM
i grew up in reseda, i sold metal chopper sculptures to Kit in 1969 and 70, also to the Hog Shop in Van Nuys ,Gary Bangs shop in Canoga Park. Kit was a friend of my brother in law, John Gilmore, the both had shops on San Fernando Rd in pacoima. i surley miss those days.....Andy Miller
Eleanor Redus January 11, 2013 at 09:30 PM
To me it's like a legend... My father Richard Redus was one of the owner's. Thanks for posting this. I love reading this stuff !
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


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