Boston: circa 1940. Various. This lot consists of: A 7” x 5” b/w photograph of an 18-member, primarily male, dinner party enclosed in a colorfully tropical Cocoanut Grove Melody Lounge souvenir folder that measures 8.5” x 6.5” (cover artist was Marty Sherman). A Cocoanut Grove “feature” matchbook complete with all 15 illustrated matches featuring illustrations of nightclub dancers. The matchbook cover features monkeys climbing cocoanut trees; the reverse shows the band, a performer, diners, balloons and the monkeys in the coconut trees. A miniature Cocoanut Grove song book, die-cut in the shape of a violin and advertising Bard’s Town Bond bourbon. The songbook contains the lyrics for 7 Stephen Foster songs: My Old Kentucky Home, Old Folks at Home, Masa’s in de Cold, Cold Ground, Old Black Joe, Beautiful Dreamer, Oh Susanna, and Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair. A 8.5” x 2” wood and spring metal ‘clapper’ noisemaker advertising both the nightclub and two Vaudeville performers, Gilda Gray (the dancer who popularized the “Shimmy,” and Joe Frisco. All of the items are in very nice shape. Very good. Item #009351
The souvenir photograph and matchbook are especially evocative of the disastrous fire that consumed the Cocoanut Grove on November 28, 1942 when a busboy in the downstairs melody lounge struck a match in order to have some illumination while replacing a burned-out light bulb. Authorities concluded that the match accidentally set fire to some paper palm fronds decorating the lounge. The fire spread rapidly throughout the club killing 492 patrons who were unable to escape, in part due to locked or hidden exits. A terrific grouping of scarce nightclub relics that occasionally find their way to ebay or other auction venues.