Italian food, partially nude girls, an emcee, dancers, a singer, and more--that's what patrons of the Florentine Gardens got for a buck-fifty. Typical acts on the Florentine Gardens' stage included Sally Rand, Ozzie Nelson, Mills Brothers, Yvonne DeCarlo, and Sophie Tucker.
That was a pretty good deal even back when this Hollywood supper club opened at 5951 Hollywood Boulevard in 1938, and that fact points to the biggest difference between Hollywood Boulevard clubs and the hot spots on the Sunset Strip. The Hollywood Boulevard clubs were less exclusive, lower-priced, and attracted a more working-class clientele. It was at the Florentine Gardens in 1942, for example, that a struggling young actress/model named Norma Jean Baker met a defense plant worker named Jim Dougherty. She became Marilyn Monroe and he became her ex-first husband.
The Florentine Gardens is still around in the same location it's occupied for more than seven decades. Instead of a supper club, however, the Gardens is now an 18+ dance club.
PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ
Performed by THE PICCADILLY DANCE ORCHESTRA