Trocadero Cafe


William "Billy" Wilkerson, owner of Hollywood's industry tabloid "The Hollywood Reporter", threw his hat in the restaurant ring the first week of May 1933, when he opened The Vendome. It was the first of a string of highly successful and visible restarurant-nightclubs to grace Hollywood's night scene. Conveniently located a stone's throw from the Reporter's offices, The Vendome, at 6666 Sunset Blvd., was originally planned as a gourmet paradise and speciality store for dHollywood's royalty. Even though dinner was served, Wilkerson bowed to the public's desire for a luncheon place. In mid 1934, Wilkerson sought out a location for a new venture specifically for the night crowd storming the stretch of Sunset Blvd. between Hollywood and Beverly Hills. According to one account, Wilkerson was scouting for a place to store his stock of vintage libations and happened upon the La Boheme, which had a large cellar for that purpose. La Boheme, known for gambling and liquor violations, folded about the time Wilkerson began storing his cache, and he bought the place with the idea of opening a nightclub above the basement. With his midas touch, he employed Harold Grieve, decorator to the stars, to remodel the interior in the mode of a smart French cafe. The result was the Cafe Trocadero, whose birth, like The Vendome, was anticipated by a series of provocative ads in Wilkerson's Hollywood Reporter. Wilkerson persuaded agent Myron Selznick to host the opening night party, which was really a private affair, before the club's official public opening a couple of nights later. The official opening of the Trocadero (more commonly referred to as the "Troc") was held on September 17, 1934, to a much anticipating crowd. Among the opening night revelers were Joe Schenck, Tangoing this time with Peggy Fears, the Gene Markleys (Joan Bennett) Carl Laemmle Jr., and Ida Lupino, GEorge Raft, Virginia Hill, Pat DiCicco, Sally Blanc, the Daryl Zanucks and tons more. By all standards, Wilkerson's Cafe Trocadero was a bona fide success. By tossing this latest hat into Hollywood's nightlife ring, he virtually ushered in Hollywood's golden age of glamour. The film co;only finally had it own official playground, sanctioned by the stars and their studios, and officially legal by virtue of Prohibition's repeal and the club's own no-gambling policy. The Troc became the focal point in town to see and be seen, the stars' idea of a perfect nightclub, a place so thick with actors and actresses that it was thought of more as someone's party den than a public nightie. Wilkerson initiated a Sunday night audition policy, where newcomers had a chance to perform in full view of the mightiest powers in Hollywood. Sunday night loon became "the" night to head for the Troc &emdash; not only for the array of talent on display, but also because of Los Angeles's dated Blue Sky Laws, which prohibited dancing within the city limits on the Sabbath. The Troc was located at 8610 Sunset Blvd, which was not in the city limits of Los Angeles, but was on the "Sunset Strip", which was a strip of land that was part of the Los Angeles County. In the shadow of the Troc's enormous success, other clubs sprang up all along Sunset, making the boulevard one long procession of nocturne; merrymaking. The Troc was also know for the many after-premiere parties, benefits, birthday and anniversary parties that were held there. In the ever-popular Trocadero style, male celebs gathered for a stag party to congratulate Daryl Zanuck on the birth of his son Richard. Among the two dozen notables attending were Louis B. Mayer, Michael Curtiz, Wallace Berry, Sid Grauman, Frederic March, Irvine Thalberg, Hal Roach, Harry Cohn and Irvine Berlin. In late 1936, Cafe Trocadero was completely remodeled to the delight of its many patrons. Apparently, for some reason, Wilkerson wanted to sell the Troc but as of August 1937, there were no buyers. In late 1937 or early 1938, Wilkerson, whose Hollywood Reporter offices were just west of the new entertainment area, pulled out stakes from the Trocadero. Felix Young, at some point, became involved with the Trocadero, either as a manager or part owner (probably the later). Shortly thereafter, Wilkerson began work on developing a new nightclub, down the street, which he opened in January, 1940 as Ciro's. The Trocadero began to lose the dominance it had held on the Sunset Strip virtually since opening. Felix Young was the sole owner and continued to run the famous nightclub. Beginning in mid-1939, Young began discussions with the landlord, Chateau Sunset Corp., to renegotiate the lease. When negotiations broke down, Young closed the nightclub on the morning of Saturday, October 7, 1939 and ordered the secretaries to telephone his decision to 400 persons who had reservations for that evening. Young said, "Until my contract is clarified to my satisfaction, The Troc will remain dark." Three days later, The Trocadero was thrown into involuntary bankruptcy by three creditors. In mid-May, 1940, the Cafe Trocadero's furniture and fittings were auctioned off to satisfy the creditors' claims. Even the name "Cafe Trocadero, was for sale. Several months later the nightclub was reopened, under new management, who renamed the simply "Trocadero". Over the course of the next few years, the nightclub had some degree of success but was now competing with such nightclubs as Ciro's. During the mid-1940, the club's liquor license was suspended a couple of times, due to various violations. Finally, in 1947, the Trocadero closed its doors, for good.

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Trocadero Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
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Patrons at Trocadero Nightclub in West Hollywood
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Trocadero Cafe Nightclub in West Hollywood
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TROCADERO NIGHTLUB
Trocadero CafeTrocadero Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
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Trocadero CafePatrons at Trocadero Nightclub in West Hollywood
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Trocadero CafeTrocadero Cafe Nightclub in West Hollywood
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Trocadero CafeTROCADERO NIGHTLUB
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Robert Cummings & Marsha Hunt At Trocadero Cafe
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Robert Cummings & Marsha Hunt at Cafe Trocadero
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Trocadero Cafe Nightclub in West Hollywood
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Trocadero Cafe Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
Trocadero CafeRobert Cummings & Marsha Hunt At Trocadero Cafe
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Trocadero CafeRobert Cummings & Marsha Hunt at Cafe Trocadero
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Trocadero CafeTrocadero Cafe Nightclub in West Hollywood
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Trocadero CafeTrocadero Cafe Nightclub on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood
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Trocadero Cafe Nightclub in West Hollywood
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Trocadero Cafe Nightclub in West Hollywood
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Robert Cummings & Marsha Hunt at Trocadero Cafe Nightclub in West Hollywood
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Trocadero Cafe
Trocadero CafeTrocadero Cafe Nightclub in West Hollywood
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Trocadero CafeTrocadero Cafe Nightclub in West Hollywood
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Trocadero CafeRobert Cummings & Marsha Hunt at Trocadero Cafe Nightclub in West Hollywood
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Trocadero CafeTrocadero Cafe
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