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Charles 'Buddy' Rogers
Hollywood's famous Cocoanut Grove nightclub stages a Star Night-only musical revue in which many Hollywood actors attend. Staged is the operative word. Entertainers include Ted Fio Roit and his orchestra, Eduardo Durant's Tango Band, and the Fancho & Marco Sunkist Beauties. Leo Carrillo acted as the Master of Ceremonies, and introduces a galaxy of stars from their tables. Those higher on the 1935 pecking order, Mary Pickford, Jack Oakie, Arline Judge, Bing Crosby and Gary Cooper, come to the microphone and do a bit...mostly chit-chatting bits. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Star Night At The Cocoanut Grove is a sumptuous look at the most posh nightclub in Los Angeles, the Cocoanut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. You could see more stars on a given day at the Grove than on a studio tour if you could afford the cover charge.
Even after swing came in the Cocoanut Grove was a hallowed place for sweet music. I'm sure Ted Fio Rito appeared there many times as he does here with a variety of specialty acts as you see here. Fio Rito was a leader of one of the best of the bands with the sweet sound.
Doing the honors as master of ceremonies is that suave Californio, Leo Carrillo and he points out several movie names in attendance, among them Gary Cooper, Richard Cromwell, Arleen Judge, El Brendel. Any and all of them and more could be found at the Grove on any given night.
But what got me and I'm sure it must have been some kind of deal that Adolph Zukor had with Louis B. Mayer had Paramount's number one star not only appearing in the audience, but taking the microphone and doing a song from his latest film from Paramount. Bing Crosby engaged in a little banter with guests Mary Pickford and Johnny Mack Brown with Pickford and Brown talking about doing a radio version of their film Coquette and then Bing doing With Every Breath I Take from his Here Is My Heart. This was a real treat because as it happens Bing's Decca recording of it is one of my favorite movie songs of his.
This was like a homecoming for Bing Crosby. In 1930-31 first with the Rhythm Boys and later as a solo act, he headlined and broadcast from the Grove and it was a broadcast from there that prompted William Paley to sign him with CBS for his own radio show.
Other studios just did not give publicity to rival studio's product so there must have been a deal somewhere there. But we the audience are definitely the better for it.
The Ambassador Hotel where the Cocoanut Grove was located was the premier spot in Los Angeles for travelers. Sadly it's most noted now for being the sight of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. During the late seventies it finally closed its doors and the Cocoanut Grove closed along with it.
This short is a wonderful opportunity to see old Hollywood decked out in her finest. And in early color as well.
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