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Opened no later than March of 1953, when it briefly became famous as the place where a witness claimed to have been watching singer Anita O'Day through the bathroom window and saw her using heroin. She was arrested, and later served time. The story made the Long Beach Press Telegram several times in the summer of '53, and O'Day told her side of the story in her autobiography "High Times, Hard Times". She described the Samoa as a "jazz club run by the Ashley family" and claimed it was located at 4th and Orange, which is several blocks from the parking lot which would be 2727 East 4th today.
The Samoa was closed no later than May 5, 1967 (see below).
Here's a menu from Pinterest:
And here's an image that was used in Tiki Road Trip (maybe a newspaper ad? or maybe just clipped from the above menu?):
Apparently there was a fire at the location in May 1967, as evidenced by these two images dated May 5, 1967 from the Long Beach Fireman's Historical Museum collection.
Exterior (note the "For Sale or Rent" sign): https://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/LBFiremen/id/4074
Interior (post-fire, obviously, so not much to see):
Other than that, I haven't been able to find many details about the place. Hoping someone else might have something to contribute?
[ Edited by: HotelCharlieEcho 2018-03-02 16:56 ]
I used to live around the corner from there. Never knew it was sacred ground...
A little more on this one:
We can push the opening date back to no later than December of 1943, when it was referred to as "The Tops Samoa" in a Christmas advertisement in the Long Beach Independent:
It was also referred to as "Tops Samoa" in this war bonds advertisement in the Long Beach Independent for January 16, 1944:
Advertisements for the Samoa don't appear to have had the same Tiki style or artistic flair as the menu from my original post. See this example from the Independent for June 6, 1953:
According to later advertisements, the same address was the “Twin Flame” (aka Twin Flame Room, aka Twin Flame Supper Club) by no later than November 20, 1954. The address was “Turk’s” in ads in 1965, but was being called the “new” Samoa no later than May 27, 1966:
As you can see from the pictures of the aftermath of the fire, the “Samoa” entrance was still in place until at least May 1967, although it was already advertised for sale or rent at that time.
The "new" Samoa seems to have closed no later than January 14, 1971, by which time it had become the new location of The Drift Room, formerly located at 3225 E. Broadway.
Fun non-Tiki trivia: According an article on Page 26 of the Long Beach Independent from July 9, 1953, the prosecution of Anita O'Day I referenced in my prior post was handled by a relatively new L.A. Deputy District Attorney by the name of Lynn Compton, who was already a legendary two-sport athlete and teammate of Jackie Robinson at UCLA even before he served in Normandy and Europe as 1st Lt. "Buck" Compton with the "Band of Brothers" of Easy Company.
[ Edited by: HotelCharlieEcho 2018-03-13 16:49 ]
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