Ciro's Nightclub


Some of Hollywood's restaurants and nightclubs were located on Sunset Blvd., also known as the Sunset Strip. Entrepreneur Billy Wilkerson was at it again; this time, planning another legendary showplace of magnificent proportions on the site of the old Club Seville. Wilkerson was the founder of Cafe Trocadero and The Hollywood Reporter newspaper. Ciro's opened at the end of January, 1940, and, as was the case with his other enterprise, it was an instant hit. The stars, abandoning the recent trend of staying home, flocked to Hollywood"s newest-in-spot. What greeted them was a sophisticated exterior facade by George Vernon Russell and inside a Baroque confection by interior designer Tom Douglas. Under the supervision of Wilkerson, Mr. Douglas created the latest in Hollywood glamour, with walls draped in heavy, ribbed silk, dyed pale reseda green, and a ceiling painted American Beauty red. The stars sank themselves into wall sofas also of silk, dyed to match the ceiling. Bronze and urns served as lighting fixtures that flanked the bandstand. Everywhere, the endless attention of Wilkerson business was evident. Ads preceding the opening were a daily occurrence in the Hollywood Reporter, wherein readers were reminded that: "Everybody that's anybody, will be at Ciro's." And pretty much everybody in Hollywood turned up for the two openings on subsequent nights. Emil Coleman's orchestra initiated the bandstand, and it was reported that as a tip a bartender received five shares of Grand National stock. For weeks after the opening, the only place to be was Ciro's. Post premiere parties, benefits and birthday parties were all celebrated there. Certainly one of the oddest occasions in its early days was a fashion show by a local furrier who paraded models in his expensive pelts accompanied by a live animal with the same fur she wore. Beavers, leopards and minks go a firsthand view of Hollywood nightlife in the hallowed halls of Ciro's. The latest hotspot naturally was under surveillance by the leading columnist, and Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons camped out many an evening to inform the public of Veronica Lake's alcoholic bouts, who Judy Garland was palling around with, and the clothes worn by Hollywood's finest. The fights matched the fame of the club, and barely a week went by that some leading man was banned for causing a ruckus. Lana Turner named it her favorite haunt, and with high powered endorsements such as hers, Ciro's entered the realm of legend, which it held for almost two decades. After several years, as was Wilkerson's habit, he abandoned Ciro's and went on to establish La Rue down the street. In his place, Herman Hover took over the reins, and once again the club made a hit with the film colony, sustaining its reputation through the McCarthy era. Ciro's soon became packed nightly as audiences listened and watched the likes of Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Maurice Chevalier, Sophie Tucker, Sammy Davis Jr., Peggy Lee and Librace. Ciro's was a popular place for photographers to take hundreds of photographs of the famous and not-so famous patrons each night. With the increasing popularity of the Las Vegas shows, Hollywood's nightclubs found it almost impossible to compete with the enormous salaries paid entertainers by the gambling capitol of the world. With business dropping off and expenses increases, Hover filed for bankruptcy and closed Ciro's in January, 1958. Two years later, Frank Sennes, who owned the Moulin Rouge Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. acquired the Ciro's nightclub and reopened it. For the next several months, Ciro's headlined some of the days best entertainers. For some reason, Frank Sennes renamed Ciro's, in 1961, to Le Crazy Horse and previewed the famous Crazy Horse Review from Paris. Le Crazy Horse continued under that name for a few months until the club was taken over by Paul Raffles and Bill Doheny who acquired the lease and reverted the club's name back to Ciro's in February, 1967. Less than six months later, the club was renamed Spectrum 2,000. In the early 1970s, the famed pioneering disc jockey, record producer, and record producer, Art Laboe, acquired the club and renamed "Art Laboe's." A couple of years later, the former Ciro's was acquired by Sammy Shore and his wife, Mitzie and renamed the place The Comedy Store. As a result of a divorce settlement, Mitzie began operating the club and bought the building in 1976.  Down the street, from Ciros, was the famous Mocambo nightclub.

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Bette Davis addresses the audience during the Hollywood Canteen fundraiser at Ciro's
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Arthur Murray and Carole Landis greet Jackie Coogan at the Hollywood Canteen's benefit at Ciro's
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Ciro's Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
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Ciro's Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
Ciro's NightclubBette Davis addresses the audience during the Hollywood Canteen fundraiser at Ciro's
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Aug. 29, 1942
Ciro's NightclubArthur Murray and Carole Landis greet Jackie Coogan at the Hollywood Canteen's benefit at Ciro's
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Aug. 29, 1942
Ciro's NightclubCiro's Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
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1941
Ciro's NightclubCiro's Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
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1942
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Interior of Ciro's nightclub
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Interior of Ciro's Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
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Interior of Ciro's Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
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Ciro's Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, with Sammy Davis on the marque.
Ciro's NightclubInterior of Ciro's nightclub
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1950
Ciro's NightclubInterior of Ciro's Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
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1950
Ciro's NightclubInterior of Ciro's Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
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1950
Ciro's NightclubCiro's Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, with Sammy Davis on the marque.
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1955
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Ciro's Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
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Ciro's Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
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Dezi Arnez rehearsing his band at Ciro's Nightclub in West Hollywood
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Interior of Ciro's Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
Ciro's NightclubCiro's Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
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1955
Ciro's NightclubCiro's Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
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1953
Ciro's NightclubDezi Arnez rehearsing his band at Ciro's Nightclub in West Hollywood
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1950
Ciro's NightclubInterior of Ciro's Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
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1950