View Single Post
Old Posted Dec 4, 2014, 12:00 AM
Martin Pal Martin Pal is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 2,334
Originally Posted by ethereal_reality View Post
I didn't realize the Vine st. Brown Derby jumped on the 'TIKI' bandwagon until I came across this highly scanned close-up.
Anyone familiar with the Bamboo Room? -it even had it's own entrance!


I've never noticed those planters with the derby painted on them either.

I have been looking for a LIFE magazine photo that I saw once (I remember it said LIFE in the corner) that was taken on the sidewalk outside of the Brown Derby at night, close, and showing from the sidewalk angle both the Brown Derby neon and the Bamboo Room neon. What was interesting to me that I did not know...if you look in the arch of the entrance in the above photo, you see white squares. Those are all lights that lit up the arch and are beautifully visible in that photo. Not sure why I can't find it.

You can see it in this 1944 night photo below, taken from across the street, though in a less remarkable fashion.


*UPDATE: On Dec. 17th, Martin Turnbull posted the photo I mentioned above that I was looking for. Here it is:

I do have some Bamboo Room info from the book The Brown Derby Restaurant: A Hollywood Legend, written by two authors, one of them being Sally Wright Cobb, the wife of the owner, Robert H. Cobb, and published in 1996.


The Bamboo Room was the Hollywood Brown Derby's first cocktail lounge. When the Brown Derby opened in 1929, Prohibition was the law and was not repealed for four more years. In 1933 a service bar was installed at the back of the dining room; waiters also wheeled a cocktail cart from booth to booth and prepared drinks for customers at their tables.

February 6, 1936: Carole Lombard was the host of a glamorous evening that officially opened the room. Tropical palms, bamboo chairs covered with zebra prints, and a sandlike floor gave the Bamboo Room the exotic feeling of the South Seas. Hollywood's tropical fantasies began with the opening of the Coconut Grove (decorated with hundreds of prop palm trees from The Sheik) at the Ambassador Hotel in 1921, and was played out in numerous restaurants and nightclubs, including the Seven Seas, the Tropics, Don the Beachcomber, and the Hawaiian Paradise, through the 1930's.

Despite describing the room, there is no photograph of it in the book, nor can I specifically find one online. (The book is a cornucopia of themes and they are not properly indexed, nor in any real semblance of order. There is, obviously, a great emphasis on celebrities, and some of those photos may have been taken in the Bamboo Room, though it's difficult to tell. The history of the Brown Derby restaurants themselves is not fully explored, either, leaving out certain changes and developments. Still entertaining, though.)

In the 1950's, owing to the recording industry and the new Capitol Records building up the street, the Bamboo Room was remodeled and became the Record Room. "Pastel framed portraits of million seller recording artists lined the walls, such as Frank Sinatra, Doris Day and Elvis Presley."

Martin Turnbull

I believe this to be the interior of The Record Room circa 1961:

Hollywood Photographs

The Brown Derby Book also has mention of a couple other things that might be nice to find photos of somewhere:

BROWN DERBY Catering Trucks

Apparently the Brown Derby catered parties and events and had their own "Brown Derby Catering Trucks." Sally Cobb said she'd find Brown Derby china at houses she'd visit over the years who had events catered by them and hadn't returned it.


To accommodate the demand for private parties, the Hollywood Brown Derby opened the American Room in 1938, the perfect place to give luncheon, cocktail or dinner parties. The room was warmly decorated with Early American antiques and the celebrities entertained in privacy, although some used it for publicity events and invited the press.

The book describes the private entrances to the American Room at the back of the Brown Derby. I believe they mean from the parking lot area and not the actual interior of the restaurant.

The American Room was actually two rooms, a living room and a dining room, with sliding doors between. When both rooms were reserved, they allowed for very gracious entertaining. After a cocktail party in the living room, the sliding doors would be opened and guests would be seated in the dining room. Many gatherings celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, various holidays and Academy Awards parties when they were held at the Pantages.


This was an extension of the Beverly Hills Brown Derby, decorated in Olde English style, and also opened in 1938, primarily used for private parties.

Since I couldn't locate some pictures I wanted to, here are some photos of other interesting Brown Derby related items:

Apparently in 1936, for reasons not explained, this lion celebrated it's 3rd birthday at the Brown Derby. Maybe it's the M-G-M lion?

Hollywood Photographs

Hollywood Photographs

In 1937, the waiters were on strike and walked the picket line.

Hollywood Photographs

Not sure what this is about, but it's parked outside the Brown Derby, 1964.

Hollywood Photographs

The day after a fire in 1987 pretty much sealed it's fate. It's also said that the 1994 earthquake was a contributing factor for any remodeling and that's why a new version of one was tried up at Hollywood and Vine.

Hollywood Photographs

Last edited by Martin Pal; Dec 17, 2014 at 9:16 PM. Reason: Martin Turnbull posted the photo I was lookin for Dec. 17th (link above)
Reply With Quote