Errol Hanging at the LaMaze

22 Jul

Hi Everyone,

Here’s a current interior photo of the Café LaMaze, one of Errol’s legendary stops on his way by car to Mexico in the ’40s.  In fact, he attended its opening night, and gambled in its secret upstairs casino.   Clark Gable, John Wayne, Rita Hayworth (who lived nearby when she danced at Caliente), Lana Turner,  Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante, Johnny Weismuller, and many other celebs, all frequented here.  Marcel Lamaze was a renowned Hollywood chef.

Errol Hanging at the LaMaze

— Tim


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  1. Robzak

    July 22, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    The Café LaMaze that Flynn most frequented was at 9039 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.

    • Tim

      July 24, 2013 at 1:46 am

      Thanks for adding that, Robert. Right on the Sunset Strip – along with some of Errol’s other haunts – Trocadero, Ciro & Mocambo, et al. Would have loved to seen all those in their heydeys.

      I should have more completely described Marcel Lamaze as a “chef extraordinaire”, restaurateur, and maître d’. Indeed, I’ve read he was the most popular maître d’ among celebrities in Golden Age Hollywood.

  2. Inga

    July 23, 2013 at 5:34 am

    Tim, thanks for sharing the picture! I’m somehow not aware of that journey to Mexico – was it to meet Nora and her baby?

    • Tim

      July 24, 2013 at 2:13 am

      Traveling across the border into Mexico became quite popular for Americans, including Hollywood Celebs, during Prohibition, Inga. Most notably, they would travel to Tijuana’s premier Caliente Casino & Racetrack. That popularity subsided with the repeal of Prohibition in the early ’30’s, but again resurged when the U.S. clamped down on gambling during the war. As a result, nightclubs, dance halls,, horseracing, bullfighting, jai lai. etc., drew great crowds down to Tijuana. This is the timeframe Café Lamaze’s was built, on the old road to Mexico, just south of San Diego. Errol, as you can imagine, loved these adventures to Mexico, which could be done within relatively easy driving distance of his home & work in Hollywood – and/or from where he docked Sirocco & later Zaca, when in San Diego.

      I’ve been researching & visiting (when possible) some of Errol’s favorite places in San Diego & Baja, with the hope of posting them here on EFB in the very near future. I think you’ll enjoy them very much. During the next two weeks, I plan to dine at Café Lamaze, Caesar’s (home of the Caesar Salad), and Chiki Jai (famous Basque restaurant – favorite haunt of Ava, Rita, also!!).

      Thank you, Inga.

      • Tim

        July 24, 2013 at 7:52 am

        Below is a link to some great images of the old Agua Caliente Racetrack, Inga. The resort was featured in the movie “In Caliente”, starring Errol’s glamorous friend, Dolores Del Rio.

        Much more recently, the historic racetrack was depicted the movie great movie, “Seabiscuit”. (In fact – on a personal note – my second cousin Joey Rocco Jr., a notable jockey here in the States, is a one the primary jockeys in the movie, including “at” old Caliente – which was actually filmed at Pomona, I believe.)

        Errol stayed at Caliente when in Tijuana. It’s long-rumored he mayhave even owned a piece of the resort, before Bugsy Siegel “strong-armed” his way in. Indeed, Caliente was Seigel’s inspiration for Las Vegas:….

        Errol also stayed at the Hotel Rosarito and Hotel Playa Ensenada, down the Baja coast about 20 and 70 miles or so, something I plan to expound upon in future posts.

        • Inga

          July 25, 2013 at 6:20 pm

          Thank you for all the information, Tim, really great stuff and lots to read!!!!! Please share your future findings, I look forward to them very much! I thought you had a special journey in mind, but now I understand that you meant just one of the many journeys down to Mexico. I never thought about this… In any case, thanks very very much!!

          • Tim

            July 26, 2013 at 1:50 am

            My great pleasure, Inga. I’m extremely honored & fortunate to have such wonderful fans & researchers like yourself interested in these posts. Hopefully, they will help further evidence and commemorate Errol’s uniquely amazing adventures! Thank you.

            • Inga

              July 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm

              I’m sure they will. I really think you should put this all together in a book. Maybe get in contact with Robert Florczak – a then&now kind of book on these issues?

        • Inga

          July 25, 2013 at 6:21 pm

          Hm… I just noticed that the gambling link does not work?

  3. Tina

    July 23, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Hi Tim;
    Haven’t been on the blog for quite a while, so I thought I check in today and found your post.
    Thanks for posting this interesting find which prompted me to do a little searching and found That the Cafe LaMaze is in San Diego – National City at the border of Mexico and you can make your reservation and have a nice meal there still today. Here is the link and for your info click on all the tabs.…
    Under history you will find that the Hollywood location also still exists and is called “The Key Club”.

    It states: The Lounge inside Cafe La Maze was originally called the Key Club. The Hollywood version is named The Key Club to this day.
    I googled the locations and found the Club/Cafes in San Diego, 1441 Highland Ave., National City and on 9039 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.
    As always one thing leads to another.

    • Tim

      July 24, 2013 at 2:25 am

      Thank you, Tina. Good research!

      As with all things Errol, there’s some mystery surrounding whether Marcel Lamaze ever actually “built” and “owned” the Café Lamaze in National City. He was most likely a name and front for others. In any case, he was definitely was involved in its promotion, and in helping to bring in the many famous guests who frequented the club. And the menu featured his highly regarded dishes. So the name is certainly apropos.

      I’m hoping to get the current club to name a drink after Errol. Maybe an “Errol Flynn”, or an “In Like Flynn”. Not yet sure what mix would best tribute his visits to Café LaMaze.

    • Tina

      July 24, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      The Key Club!


      I just found out that the Key Club has closed its doors in March of this year – maybe until further notice. The Key Club as stated in the Cafe La Maze’s history has still been to this day on 9039 Sunset Blvd.
      I wonder how the consecutive ownership from the time of Marcel La Maze progressed over all those years.

      • Tina

        July 24, 2013 at 5:57 pm

        Here is the link of the article of the closure of the Key Club!…

        • Tim

          July 25, 2013 at 2:53 am

          Thank you, Tina. Drove by there a few times over the last year, but didn’t then realize the history, nor that it was closing!

    • Tina

      July 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      The Cafe La Maze as it stands today National City – San Diego!…………
      If traveling to San Diego in Errol’s footsteps give us a report of your experience!
      Would be nice to know. Thanks to Tim we found more good footsteps!

      • Tim

        July 25, 2013 at 2:51 am

        Thanks so much, Tina. I hope to be visiting a number of sites in both the U.S. and Baja Mexico during the next month. Before my actual visits, I will conduct preliminary research and perhaps may post some basic info before each visit. Over the next couple of days, for example, I may post some info on Errol’s travels to Coronado, where he stayed at the Hotel Del, docked at the CYC, dined at the La Avenida Café (as did Marilyn Monroe, a favorite of Marilyn Monroe’s also), and famously filmed “Dive Bomber”.

  4. Tina

    July 23, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    • Tina

      July 23, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      Hi David;
      Things are not working for me with this post.
      The pictures don’t show and I am unable to edit it.
      I have on my post only a “Reply button” – not an Edit one.
      Also to insert a picture URL is there not an easier way?
      It is very hard to find a picture URL.
      Your help would be appreciated.

      • David DeWitt

        July 24, 2013 at 12:37 pm

        Tina, it looks like you have used the url of the images from your computer which will not show up on the blog – to add an image to your comment, you can use the url of any image you find on the internet or you can upload an image to our Media Library section by going to your dashboard, clicking Media, and then clicking Add Media. Upload the image from your computer. Then you will see its name in a list of images. Click edit under the image when you mouse over it. On the next page on the right hand side you will see the image url you need. Copy this url, and then go to the comment on the blog you want to add an image to. Click reply. On the right of the Leave a Reply window, you will see “Add images to your comment click here” paste in the url of the image you want to show with your comment, and click “ok” – the image will appear with your comment. I am not sure why you don’t see an edit button as well as the reply button to comments? It may be because you have not added anything to edit yet? We can discuss this via email if you still have trouble! :)

        • Tina

          July 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm

          Thank you David for your help! I forgot the drill not having been active for a long time.
          BUT my EDIT BUTTON is still absent!

  5. frangipanni

    August 3, 2013 at 10:54 pm


    • Tim

      August 9, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      Errol & Marlene at the original Cafe LaMaze – in the Spring of ’36:


      • Inga

        August 9, 2013 at 5:40 pm

        Cool find! I think there’re not many pix of EF and MD? I can only think of one, with Lili and without moustache…

        • Tim

          August 9, 2013 at 6:19 pm

          So surprised there aren’t more photographs of Marlene and her “Satan’s Angel”. This one apparently belonged to Photoplay, where they’re identified as being “with a party of friends at the Cafe Lamaze”. Wonder who those friends were!?

      • twinarchers

        October 30, 2016 at 4:39 pm

        I love the details in photos and it looks like they used to serve veggies like celery in a bowl with ice. Great idea back when times were different.