Portrait of L.A. Crime Boss Guy McAfee after He Reinvented Himself as a Leading Citizen in Las Vegas

Guy McAfee was one of the preeminent crime bosses in Los Angeles in the 1920s and 1930s. He spent his early career as an LAPD officer, rising to captain on the vice squad. In the 1920s, he married a madam named Marie, who worked in the sphere of crime lords Albert Marco and Charlie Crawford, top operators in a powerful organized crime racket known as “the Combination” and, because of its entanglements in civic institutions, “the City Hall Gang.” McAfee left the LAPD for a much more lucrative career as a vice lord and soon controlled a criminal operation that included dozen of brothels, bootleg liquor operations and the most lucrative underground casino in town, the Clover Club on the Sunset Strip.

A wave of reform swept the city in the late 1930s, resulting in the recall election of Mayor Frank Shaw, who was defeated by Fletcher Bowron, a former journalist and sitting judge in superior court. Once in power, the forces of reform targeted operations like McAfee’s, and he quickly decided to move east to Las Vegas, where gambling was legal. In an interview with a newspaper there in 1939, however, McAfee, who was by then remarried to actress June Brewster, denied he’d been driven out of Los Angeles:
Continue reading

Rare Shot from 1949 of the Trocadero Nightclub on the Sunset Strip Before the Building Was Demolished

Screen capture from the 1949 film “The Crooked Way” showing La Rue restaurant in Sunset Plaza on the Strip with the Trocadero building across the street behind what appears to be a construction barricade; note also Mocambo in the upper right

This shot from a 1949 film may well be the last existing photograph of the building that housed the world-famous Trocadero nightclub on the Sunset Strip.

Located at 8610 Sunset in the Strip’s Sunset Plaza section, Hollywood Reporter founder and publisher Billy Wilkerson opened Cafe Trocadero in 1934. Wilkerson was a compulsive gambler and the ground floor of the building (below the street level shown here) was devoted to high-stakes gaming. He sold the club in 1938 to Nola Hahn, who ran Wilkerson’s gambling operations. Hahn sold it within months to showman and former movie producer Felix Young, who, like Wilkerson, was a compulsive gambler and doubtless continued the illegal gaming operations downstairs.

Continue reading

Felix Young, the Sunset Strip Impresario Who Killed Cafe Trocadero, Launched Mocambo and Discovered Lena Horne

A rare photo of Felix Young,1941

Felix Young was an active player on the Sunset Strip in its heyday. His most significant actions included:

  • Closing Cafe Trocadero, 8610 Sunset [site], the Strip’s most famous and popular nightspot at the time, in October 1939 during a lease dispute
  • Launching Mocambo, 8588 Sunset [site], the Strip’s third and last marquee nightclub in the Hollywood era, with agent Charlie Morrison in January 1941
  • Introducing 25-year-old Lena Horne to Hollywood at his final nightclub on the Strip, Little Troc, 9263 Sunset [site], in January 1942

Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Sunset Strip, 108 Years Old on April 29

Early residents: Los Angeles Mayor A.C. Harper, left, and Victor Ponet

On April 29, 1906, a consortium of real-estate investors announced plans for Hacienda Park, a new residential development to be built on 140 acres of farmland in the “county strip” west of Hollywood. The first order of business would be grading an extension of Sunset Boulevard westward from the Hollywood city limits into the new development. This extension of Sunset Boulevard would be the mother road of the Sunset Strip.

Here is a portion of the Sunset Strip’s birth announcement from the April 29, 1906, Sunday Times:

Continue reading

Early Footage of the Sunset Strip

Via Vintage Los Angeles: Most of this was taken around Sunset Plaza.

Bogart on Bette: ‘Even When I Had a Gun, She Scared the Be-Jesus out of Me’

Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart in a still from “Marked Woman” (1937). At center is Mayo Methot, who would become the third Mrs. Bogart the following year

“Even when I had a gun, she scared the be-Jesus out of me.”

– Humphrey Bogart on working with Bette Davis

Video: The Wrong Door Raid

Read more: Wrong Door Raid: The Celebrity Scandal That Irked Sinatra, Made a Fool of DiMaggio – All at Marilyn Monroe’s Expense

Then & Now: 8300 Block of the Sunset Strip Looking West in the 1930s & Today

Top: Looking west down the 8300 block of Sunset Boulevard on the Strip in the late 1930s; bottom: the same view in 2014

Both these photos were taken around Sweetzer Avenue and Sunset on the Strip looking west map]. The Art Deco tower to the left in both shots is the Sunset Tower, which was completed in 1931.

Continue reading

Countess di Frasso, the American Heiress Dorothy Taylor, in Her Youth

This is American heiress Dorothy Taylor in a series of photographs likely taken in 1912, around the time of her marriage to British aviator Claude Grahame-White. The couple divorced in 1916, the same year she inherited about $12 million, a fortune worth $250 million today.

In 1923, she married the Count Carlo Dentice di Frasso. The couple rarely spent time together and by the 1930s, as Countess di Frasso, Dorothy was living in Hollywood, including a brief stay at the Garden of Allah, where she conducted a romance with Gary Cooper. A few years later, she had a lengthy affair with Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, the East Coast Syndicate’s boss in Southern California.

Source: The Esoterica Curiousa.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Dorothy Parker Book Events in West Hollywood This Week

Dorothy Parker (Photo by George Platt Lynes).

Dorothy Parker (Photo by George Platt Lynes).


[Dorothy] Parker’s WeHo history will be celebrated this weekend with a series of events, beginning with a reception at Tags, the clothing store on 8570 W. Sunset Blvd. near Alta Loma, for Kevin Fitzpatrick, author of “Under the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide.” Fitzpatrick is president of the Dorothy Parker Society in New York. The LA chapter is headed by Adrienne Crew. The reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. and includes cocktails and discounts on shopping.

On Saturday there are two events: A bus tour of Parker’s West Hollywood and Beverly Hills residences, including the former location of Alla Nazimova’s Garden of Allah and mansions and cottages where Parker lived. The bus boards at 1 p.m. across from Book Soup at 8818 Sunset Blvd. west of Palm. Tickets, $49, are available online.

At 4 p.m. on Saturday, Book Soup will host a discussion of Parker’s Hollywood years, speakeasy drinks and Prohibition recipes. It will be the only place in Los Angeles where one can buy a signed copy of Fitzpatrick’s book.

“I like to have a martini,
“Two at the very most.
“After three I’m under the table,
“After four I’m under my host”
– Dorothy Parker

Cross-posted from the Alla Nazimova Society website.