Dorothy Lamour & Rita Hayworth at the Brown Derby in 1944
After a long day of shooting during Hollywood's golden age, the most popular venue to unwind was the Brown Derby, a relaxed restaurant on Wiltshire Boulevard shaped like a man's hat. Here names like Fred Astaire, Mae West, Hedy Lamarr, Constance Bennett, Gary Cooper, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow and Ronald Colman rubbed shoulders while downing dishes like roasted stuffed turkey with giblet gravy or an old-fashioned pot roast (Betty Grable's favourite dish). Clark Gable proposed to Carole Lombard here. Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper flashed each other evil glares from neighbouring tables. The walls were covered with amusing caricatures of the stars. In the 1940s when silent screen star Mae Murray found her caricature had been moved from a prominent place near the door to a shadowy alcove off the kitchen, she flew into a rage until it was moved back.
The Brown Derby spawned many Hollywood legends and here are a selection of images of the stars at play here during the restaurant's heyday.
The interior of the Brown Derby - with the famous caricatures of the stars along the walls
Susan Hayward, Joy Hodges, Rita Hayworth & Robert Stack, 1939 - all so young!
Jean Harlow at the Derby, 1934. When she died in 1937, her caricature hung next to that of fiance
William Powell until he married Diana Lewis in the 1940s
David O'Selznick dining with Myrna Loy, 1946
Carole Lombard & Clark Gable
Charlie Chaplin & Paulette Goddard
Fay Wray & Dolores Del Rio
Gilbert Roland, Constance Bennett & Fredric March
Buddy Rogers & Mary Pickford
Joan Crawford, Clark Gable & Louella Parsons
Errol Flynn with friend Buddy Ernst
Marlene Dietrich & then-lover Erich Maria Remarque
Mayo Methot & Humphrey Bogart - the press labeled them the "Battling Bogarts" due to their frequent
booze-soaked brawls. Bogart nicknamed her "Sluggy"
Robert Taylor, Irene Hervey, Carole Lombard & Cesar Romero
PART II COMING SOON!