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South Seas, Anaheim, CA (restaurant)

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Name:South Seas


Here is another one of many Pre-Tiki South Seas restaurants and bars that were located in the greater Los Angeles area in the 1940's.

I recently picked up a menu from The South Seas in Anaheim that featured a rendering of a lovely Hawaiian maiden on the cover.

Inside the menu are the New Rum Drinks

The food had not caught up to the exotic nature of the drinks however.

The back cover looks familiar...

Same image that is on the menu from the Hurricane located in San Francisco. Either an early form of TTT or the two restaurants were related.

I have also seen this matchbook from the South Seas in Anaheim. I am assuming this is the same place.


The South Seas was owned at one point by Vivian Laird

Vivian Laird also owned several other restaurants including the Bohemia in Long Beach and the Garden of Allah in Seal Beach.



has any new info regarding Vivian Laird been uncovered? there's so little to find!

Otto posted on Mon, Oct 2, 2017 6:30 PM

Often these images were generic clip art sort of images that the printer or the menu company
would provide for free. you see this on business cards and generic matchbook art. This also happens with Tiki mugs and swizzle stick sculpts

On 2011-05-26 12:44, Dustycajun wrote:

Same image that is on the menu from the Hurricane located in San Francisco. Either an early form of TTT or the two restaurants were related.

Is it possible there was more than one "South Seas" in Anaheim?

I came across some information about a 1957-58 gang-related robbery and murder connected to a "South Seas" in Anaheim, described by the Orange County Register as "Orange County’s most famous nightclub": https://www.ocregister.com/2009/11/09/day-eight-a-murder-contract-on-a-nightclub-owner/. The article indicates the owner as of 1958 was Leslie Simpson. Apparently the place was robbed in 1957, and Simpson was able to identify one of the robbers. Simpson was murdered to prevent him from testifying. The case wound up being the subject of at least three reported court opinions (see https://scocal.stanford.edu/opinion/people-v-rosoto-24327, http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-supreme-court/1817563.html, and http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-supreme-court/1821644.html).

Simpson's slaying is considered by a local journalist to be one of the 50 most notorious criminal cases in Orange County history: https://anaheimpd.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/legendary-oc-register-reporter-profiles-most-notorious-oc-cases/. The case was reported on at least as far away as Oregon and Pittsburgh.

I cross-referenced to an article in the Long Beach Independent from October 23, 1959, which indicated that the South Seas (aka the South Seas Café) owned by Leslie Simpson was located at 10879 South Highway 101. Although the matchbooks for the South Seas owned by Vivian Laird reference a location on the 101 "between Santa Ana and Anaheim", the 10879 South 101 address isn't valid any more, since the I-5 replaced that section of the 101 no later than 1968 and likely earlier.

Edit: The more I look into this the more I am convinced these are the same place - here's why. There are a couple of advertisements for Vivian Laird's South Seas that give a little more specificity on the address besides just "between Santa Ana and Anaheim". Examples include this ad taken from the Santa Ana Register in 1938, indicating it was located at the intersection of MANCHESTER and the 101:

Another example is this undated menu indicating it was located at the intersection of FIRESTONE and the 101:

Detail here for visibility:

Manchester and Firestone were the same road at the time, and they follow the old State Road 42, which is now the I-5 Freeway: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_State_Route_42.

Traveling south on Highway 101 through the area during this time period seems to have taken you along Spadra Road (now Harbor Boulevard) southward to Los Angeles Street (currently Anaheim Boulevard), intersecting with Manchester/Firestone around what is currently Disney Way. See description here: https://www.cahighways.org/097-104.html#101. That definitely qualifies as "between Santa Ana and Anaheim", and it seems pretty unlikely there would have been two locations both named "South Seas" in such close proximity during a time when there was little other commercial development in the area.

Also, someone asked earlier about more information on Vivian Laird, and I came across this interesting article on her from the Long Beach Independent from July 9, 1961:

And the story of the South Seas has other odd twists and turns besides just murder and robbery. A bizarre kidnapping hoax by a prospective buyer allegedly carried out to drum up publicity made the front page of the Long Beach Independent on October 23, 1959:

And in the November 7, 1964, Daily Pilot, a story ran regarding the third trial against John Simpson, son of Leslie Simpson, alleging he had embezzled money from his father's estate:

[ Edited by: HotelCharlieEcho 2018-03-30 16:53 ]

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