Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ciro's on the Sunset Strip

Two folders, two prints, but only one negative. Most of these old, classic nightclubs would have photographers, usually a pretty girl in a skimpy costume, at least by the standards of the day, who would wander the room offering to take pictures of the guests. The photographer caught and interesting group. She probably instructed these four people to look into the lens and smile. The couple on the left followed directions, but the couple on the right, not so much. The woman only had eyes for her date, while he barely acknowledged her presence.


Ciro's was opened in January of 1940 by William Wilkerson. With gossip columnists Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons dropping in on a regular basis, Ciro's became the place to see and be seen. Average Angelenos and star struck tourists could rub elbows with such regulars as Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich and Cary Grant. In the 1960s Ciro's made the transition to rock club featuring acts from Dick Dale and the Surftones to The Byrds. In 1972 Ciro's became The Comedy Store, which is still going strong. I couldn't find anything on when ownership of Ciro's went from Wilkerson to H. D. Hover, but I did find out that serial killer Rodney Alcala killed 23 year old Ciro's heiress Ellen Jane Hover in 1977. An interesting mix of acts are listed on the back of the folder. I wonder what guests made of folk singers Libby Holman and Josh White. Two of my favorites. Click on nightclub in the labels section to bring up a number of other old souvenir photos.

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