Photo by Tony Pierce

Happy Foot Doctor Reunites with Nearly-Stolen Sign

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The iconic Silver Lake landmark’s legendary status continues.

Smiles, hugs and celebratory pictures were taken Thursday night in Los Feliz a fortnight after the Happy Foot Sad Foot sign was nearly absconded.

Dr. Thomas Lim, the longtime Silver Lake podiatrist whose Sunset Boulevard practice has become a bit of a local landmark thanks to the whimsical rotating sign, entered Y-Que Trading Post yesterday for the first time ever, so he could shake the hand of the store owner who stopped men from swiping the advert.

Even though Bill Wyatt has been selling Sunset Foot Clinic Happy Foot Sad Foot merchandise at Y-Que for nearly eight years, Lim had never stepped foot inside the quirky store on Vermont Avenue.

“I’d seen pictures of the shop,” Lim says, but he never traveled the 2 1/2 miles to see his quirky logo emblazoned on t-shirts and hats. “I’m just glad that people are buying it and it’s a good way to spread the word … but it’s kinda like one of those things you’re afraid to find out what’s really happening.”

On Thursday night, Lim finally examined the operation in full swing. There was a man drilling and hammering, fashioning a way to affix the sign more securely to the north wall of the store. Customers were browsing and friends of the owner were visiting. For being past 9 p.m. on a school night, Y-Que was bustling. Lim was impressed.

As he spoke, the affable doctor set the record straight about the mysterious men who nearly took away the sign.

Apparently, Lim had “a gentleman’s agreement” with the property owners at 2717 Sunset Blvd., that even though the Sunset Foot Clinic had moved to the Rampart Village neighborhood, the sign would remain until arrangements could be made.

“I was thinking about taking it to the Valley Relics or bringing it here,” Lim says.

Before he could iron things out, however, the property owners broke the agreement and hired two men and a truck, and while the doctor was enjoying a day off, they attempted to remove the sign behind his back. “These weren’t just random thieves,” Lim says.

Fortunately, Wyatt was in the neighborhood to measure the sign when he saw the dirty deed being done. That’s when he put his foot down and sat beneath the sign until all of the parties were alerted.

Bill Wyatt and Dr. Thomas Lim pose for a photo at Y-Que Trading Post, the new home of Lim’s famous Happy Foot Sad Foot rotating sign. Photo by Tony Pierce.

“If it wasn’t for Bill, we don’t know what would have happened to the sign. We don’t know if after they took it down, if it was going to mysteriously disappear or if they were going to hold it for us,” Lim says, adding that it would have been difficult for the property owners to store the sign since it was too big to fit through most doors.

Lim says that upon examining the sign, it might not be able to make it to his new location.

“I just never realized how big it was,” he says, “it’s massive.”

But will it fit? What’s the prognosis, doc?

“I’m looking at the sign right now,” he says, turning to it. “It looks a bit delicate, so I don’t know if the actual one could survive being put back up again.”

Wyatt says if the sign cannot follow Lim, it has a home with him at Y-Que.

Lim is considering building a newer, smaller sign, but he isn’t sure if people would hate it because it’s not the one they’ve seen since 1985. “Does it matter that it’s not the original sign?” he wondered aloud.

So now that Lim has finally seen all the different incarnations of his logo on shirts and hats and tiny replica signs, what does he think?

“You know as much as I love this other stuff, the one I can’t get my mind off of is this little onesie with the happy foot on it. He has these onesies that a little six-month-old baby could wear,” Lim says. “That really got me. It brought a little tear to my eye.”

Los Angeleno