Guests in the Late 1930s
New Nightclubs 1940-1941
As the 1930s came to an end a series of celebrity nightclubs opened on the Sunset Strip that became popular with guests at the Garden of Allah.
In 1940, six years after he successfully launched Cafe Trocadero down the street in Sunset Plaza, Hollywood Reporter publisher Billy Wilkerson acquired the former Club Seville building, redesigned the interior in his glamorous style and opened Ciro’s in the space on January 31.
Wilkerson created Ciro’s as a “celebrities only” club. He did not book acts for the stage, but instead hired orchestras who played music appropriate for after-dinner dancing. Ciro’s was a big success, and soon overtook Trocadero as the stars’ favorite place to spend the evening.
Read more about Ciro’s here.
Nightclubs on the Sunset Strip were designed to attract Hollywood elites. In 1940, one of the elites built his own club. The Players Club was the brainchild of screenwriter and director Preston Sturges. His concept for the Players was that it would provide a complete night – from drinks and hors d’oeuvre to dining and dancing – all under one roof. It was popular with celebrities like Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley, Barbara Stanwyck, Joel McCrea, Rudy Vallee, William Faulkner, George S. Kaufman, Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles and Howard Hughes.
Read more about Player’s here.
Mocambo, the last of the great nightclubs of the era, opened on January 3, 1941. The partners, agent Charlie Morrison and Felix Young, spent over $100,000 (more than $1.6 million today) remodeling the club. Frank Sinatra made his solo debut at Mocambo in 1943, after he left the Tommy Dorsey orchestra. The club was also at the forefront of breaking the color line during the Jim Crow era. Eartha Kitt, Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald all played there in the 1940s and 1950s.
Read more about Mocambo here.