Café Lamaze / Dave’s Blue Room / Sherry’s
This address had a long Sunset Strip history before Dave Kleckner of Dave’s Blue Room in New York, opened here in late 1943.
It had lately been an art & antiques studio when Marcel Lamaze opened “The Roxy” here in June 1935, changing the name to Café Lamaze the following month (1). On December 10, 1938 evidence of bookmaking was found during a raid by sheriff’s deputies. Lamaze, as leasee, was charged with allowing bookmaking on the premises. After several years as a popular “in” spot with the movie colony, Café Lamaze- shown in the top photo- closed in 1941. As of November it was operating as Biarritz, sold at bankruptcy auction in April 1942. By August 1942 it had become the 9039 Club, but as of the following summer it was the King’s Club, managed by Managed by George Distel and raided numerous times for selling liquor after the wartime-imposed midnight curfew (2).
Burlesque star Betty Rowland and her comedian husband Gus Schilling leased 9039 in January 1944 and briefly operated it as their own nightclub with themselves as headliners. Lou Costello, “Slapsie” Maxie Rosenbloom, and Bert Wheeler were among the celebs who attended the opening in February. The venture was not a success, however. Shortly thereafter, the couple had a streak of bad luck. Betty was suddenly stricken during her act on March 2 and had to be hospitalized. In May, the property’s asserted owner, Charlotte Prisler, served Rowland with a notice to vacate and successfully sued for back rent.
Dave’s Blue Room was the next to open here, running successfully for several years before being declared bankrupt in January 1948, In April the assets of Dave’s Blue Room were sold at auction.
In November 1948, 9039 reopened as Sherry’s, co-owned by Nathan Sherry and retired NYPD detective Barney Ruditsky now a private detective (3). It was here that gangster Mickey Cohen was fired upon while leaving Sherry’s in the wee hours of July 20, 1949. Cohen’s henchman Neddie Herbert was killed; Cohen himself and three others of his party were injured, including the bodyguard newly-assigned to Cohen by the State Attorney General the day before. Whether due to the notoriety or other factors, Sherry’s closed in the first half of September, and Nathan Sherry’s daughter announced that it was being placed in receivership.
In 1950-51, 9039 Sunset became Deauville French Restaurant run by John Walsh, formerly of Café Gala (4). From 1953 to 1957 it was the Plymouth House. On September 21, 1958 it opened as Jack Denison’s, later Jack Denison’s Golden Slipper. By 1962 it became the rock venue Gazzarri’s, which went on to become the longest lived of any previous club at this address. Much remodeled, the building is still extant.
(1) Lamaze was also affiliated with Ciro’s and the Clover Club.
(2) Distel, who had been in the slot machine business, previously ran a number of much-raided clubs in the Los Angeles area.
(3) Rudinsky had also operated the Angels Corner liquor store at 8863 Sunset. Sherry co-owned Lucey’s restaurant on Melrose Ave., as well as the Clover Club at 8477 Sunset.
(4) Walsh had also been manager of the Nevada Biltmore in Las Vegas in the 1940s.
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