The Death of Ted Healy — Part 7

Sept. 20, 1934, Cafe Trocadero

Sept. 20, 1934: The Cafe Trocadero opens at “8610 Boulevard de la Sunset.”

Sept. 20, 1934, Club Trocadero

Before going further into the death of Ted Healy, I thought it would be interesting to look at the club where the incident occurred,  The Trocadero, which opened in 1934 and closed in 1940. Previously the Colonial Tea and Gift Shop (1925) and briefly the Chateau Trianon (mid-1934), the club was popular with Hollywood celebrities from the opening and was featured regularly in The Times in Kendall Read’s Around and About Hollywood and the Chatterbox society column.

And then there’s the Thelma Todd connection.

The Death of Ted Healy: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

The exterior of the Cafe Trocadero in a photo from Security Pacific National Bank collection, now at the Los Angeles Public Library.

The vicinity of the Cafe Trocadero, via Google Street View.

An Oct. 14, 1934, feature on the pastimes of the the movie stars (midget auto races, roller skating and drive-in movies were also popular) noted:

Oct. 14, 1934, Trocadero


This is the “main dining and dancing salon,” according to a full-page ad.

Phil Ohman and the Trocadero Orchestra on the cover of “Lost,” from the Los Angeles Public Library’s sheet music collection.

Jan. 27, 1935: It was the spot where Greta Garbo either did or did not snub Marlene Dietrich:

Jan. 27, 1935, Trocadero

Cafe Trocadero

A private banquet room.

And it was the site of an occasional fracas:

April 26, 1935, Trocadero
April 26, 1935: Who threw the glass on New Year’s Eve that knocked out film writer Lon Young?

Cafe Trocadero
The stairs to the French Grill…

Dec. 17, 1935, Thelma Todd
Dec. 17, 1935: Thelma Todd is seen at a party at the Trocadero shortly before her death.

Cafe Trocadero

The French grill….
Cafe Trocadero

The only image I can find of the bar is this line drawing from a 1934 ad in The Times.

And then it was over.

May 12, 1940, Trocadero
May 12, 1940: Contents of the Trocadero are auctioned off.

May 14, 1940, The Trocadero Closes

May 14, 1940: The Trocadero closes.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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9 Responses to The Death of Ted Healy — Part 7

  1. Homer says:

    whats at the location now? Was the building torn down?


  2. Cal and Lulu says:

    On May 12th 1940 The Cafe Trocadero exited L.A. and I was born at 1:00PM in a “log cabin” that I built with my very own hands” at 10338 Lousiana Ave. WLA Small world!


  3. aryedirect says:

    Why the club’s quick demise?


  4. Jon Ponder says:

    Great stuff. Thanks for all the digging into the Healy matter. I’ve been researching the Sunset Strip for a few years and thought I’d share some info on the Trocadero that expands a bit on what you’ve posted here.

    Cafe Trocadero was out of business, as you have shown, by the spring of 1940. The building was shuttered for the next several years — later in 1940 it was briefly slated to be repurposed as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum, which has now, 73 years later, finally found a home in the old May Co. building on Wilshire. A little later, the Trocadero building was vandalized. But in 1943, it was leased by Venezuelan bandleader Eddie LeBaron and his brother Albert Gastine who opened it as the Trocadero (no “Cafe”) that April. It remained open through World War II — for example, the revelries that resulted in the infamous Battle of the Balcony, when action star Jon Hall was cut about the head and face on Tommy Dorsey’s balcony so badly that he required nearly 50 stitches, began at the Trocadero on the evening of Friday, Aug. 5, 1944.

    LeBaron and Gastine sold the Trocadero in late 1944, and it seems to have gone through several owner/operators, including George Goldie, formerly of the Sphinx Club and the Vernon Country Club.The Trocadero apparently closed permanently early in 1947. A deal in which mob-associated promoter Monte Prosser was going to lease it for 15 years fell through in 1948, according to a report in the Times. (There was an item in a story titled “When the Sun Set on the Strip” in the Times archives from 1981 that said that Chuck Landis, who ran Largo/the Roxy, owned the Trocadero from 1943 to 1949, but I haven’t been able to confirm it.) The building was later demolished — I think in the 1970s. There was a gaping empty space there for decades, but the folks at Sunset Plaza recently built a new storefront building there.

    Fun fact: One of the Troc’s last managers was Glenn Billingsley, future owner of Billingsley’s on Pico and husband of Barbara, the future mom on “Leave It to Beaver.”

    Finally, the location for 8610 Sunset is out of synch in Google Maps. It’s actually about a block west of Google’s marker, directly south of Sunset Plaza Drive. I walked up there a few days ago, took a couple of photos and put together these two “then and now” shots:


  5. Bryan Beery says:

    I read through all your posts on Beery/Healy/Wikipedia last night. I was searching for an old Wallace Beery movie to watch when a link surfaced of a documentary clip re-telling “the story of Ted Healy’s death”. Kinda bothered me to be reminded.

    So I’d had enough. I wanted to see if there was any better info on the subject, Anyone who had really dug down deep for the truth or at least something new. And you have, most impressively so. What you did was not just detailed, well vetted, fascinating and a great kick in the pants for Wikipedia…it provided a window into my own family history and removed a rather nasty and untruthful stain from it.

    Sincere thanks!

    -Bryan Beery


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