Tuesday, June 07, 2011
The Mocambo nightclub may have lasted only 18 years on the Sunset Strip, but the West Hollywood joint, which opened in 1941, attracted some of Hollywood's biggest stars, including Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall (above), Howard Hughes, Tyrone Power, Bob Hope, Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly. The Latin American-themed nightclub designed by Tony Duquette featured glass cages filled with exotic birds. After leaving the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Frank Sinatra made his L.A. debut as a solo act in 1943. Marilyn Monroe influenced the owners of the all-white club to book Ella Fitzgerald there in the mid-1950s — and the gig changed Fitzgerald's career. Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball paid homage to the Mocambo by replicating its main stage as the Tropicana in "I Love Lucy."