Sunset Strip 1940’s and 1950’s Timeline

  • 1940’s: The Melody Room, an intimate jazz bar, is rumored to be serving as an illicit gambling den for notorious gangsters Mickey Cohen and Bugsy Siegel. Many years later, the same space will eventually become the infamous Viper Room.


  • 1940: Billy Wilkerson of the Hollywood Reporter opens Ciros, where The Comedy Store currently stands. This hot night club is a      frequent favorite of high profile guests like Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, George Burns, and Jack Benny.


  • 1945: Vincente Minelli, Liza’s father, proposes to Judy Garland at the famous Villa Nova restaurant.


  • 1948: Mickey Cohen, known once as mobster Bugsy Siegel’s right-hand man, is shot in the shoulder at Sherry’s Restaurant, where the Key Club stands today.


  • 1950: Billy Wilder’s film Sunset Boulevard spreads interest in the Strip and brings in visitors from all over the world. This classic comedy/drama is a behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood, as well as a reflection on the price of fame, greed, narcissism, and ambition. It will be honored with eleven Academy Award nominations and then receive three Oscars.


  • 1950: Hamburger Hamlet is opened by fashion designer Marilyn Lewis and her husband Harry Lewis. The restaurant is a revolution in Los Angeles dining, combining elegant meals with casual attire and cheap prices, becoming a frequent favorite of Ronald Reagan, Sammy Davis Jr., Bobby Short and Dorothy Malone.


  • 1953: Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe have their first blind date at the Rainbow Bar and Grill, back when it was still called the Villa Nova.
  • 1959: The television series 77 Sunset Strip debuts, featuring      Stu Bailey and Jeff Spencer as funny, womanizing private detectives. Their      office is located at the fictitious address, 77 Sunset Strip, next to a      flashy restaurant where the immensely popular Kookie works as a valet.