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More Mocambo Nightclub Photos

Mocambo Nightclub

Sunset Blvd. boasted of having some of Hollywood's most famous and lavish nightclubs and restaurants in the world. The Mocambo nightclub, located at 8588 Sunset Boulevard, was founded in 1940 by Felix Young and ex-agent, Charles "Charlie" Morrison. with a capacity of 150 to 175 persons, the world-renowned club became one of the favorite “haunts” of member of the movie colony. Stars such as Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Barbara Stanwick, Rosalind Russell, Judy Garland, Henry Fonda, James Stewart, Errol Flynn, Victor Mature, Lana Turner and Reginald Gardiner were regular patrons who gathered there to enjoy the company of other personalities. Many photos of Mocambo Nightclub can be seen on the hollywoodphotographs.com website.

Historic photo of Mocambo nightclub

Mocambo Nightclub Entertainers

The Mocambo boasted of having some of the top performers, such as Edith Piaf, Eartha, Kitt, Dinah Shore, Bob Hope, Jack Benny Lisa Kirk Billy Daniels and Lena Horne, entertain the ‘Who's Who‘ of the entertainment world. According to Hollywood legend, Marilyn Monroe persuaded the owners of the all-white club to book Ella Fitzgerald in the mid1950s -- and the gig changed Fitzgerald’s career. She became the first black performer at the Mocambo. After leaving the Tommy Dorsey orchestra in 1943, Frank Sinatra made his Los Angeles debut as a solo act at the club. When Charlie Morrison first saw Earth Kitt perform, he was Ecstatic. The Gal’s wonderful,” he declared. “I’ll book her into the Mocambo any time she’s free.”  She performed there several times.

Vintage photo of Mocambo nightclub

The club's main stage was replicated on the television series “I Love Lucy” as the "Tropicana" Club. Both Lucille Ball and Dezi Arnez  were frequent guests at the Mocambo and were close friends of Charlie Morrison. Sunday evening was talent night. Marilyn Morrison, Charlie‘s daughter, interviewed the talent during the day and selected those who would perform that evening. In 1952, Marilyn married the popular crooner, Johnnie Ray, but they later divorced.

Mocambo Nightclub Renovation

In 1941, the club’s owners asked Tony Duquette to provide the special decorations for the Mocambo. Tony provided all of the plaster figurines and other whimsical decorations that adorned the club. The glamorous Mocambo, with its black and white wallpaper and its “glitzie” decor, had an aviary of live birds that lived in ornate cages in the club. In order to show the passersby who was performing at the nightclub, Morrison installed a neon lighted marque above the front entrance on the Sunset Strip. 

Rare photo Rita Hayworth at Mocambo nightclub

The process of Hollywood's nightclub demise was a gradual one, but clearly VJ Day marked the beginning of the end. Las Vegas was cutting into many of Hollywood's nightclub business. The Mocambo nightclub continued to operate for a short time after Charlie Morrison's death, but it was not the same. The famous nightclub closed its doors on June 30, 1952.

Hollywood Photographs Collection

The largest collection of vintage Mocambo photos is on the hollywoodphotographs.com website. The website has over 9,000 vintage photographs of Hollywood, covering more than 90 subject categories. All the photos are available for purchase.

 

 

 

 

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