Thursday, August 23, 2012
In the 50's black performers were usually not allowed to play in the larger clubs. They generally played in smaller clubs for what was presumed to be primarily black audiences. Well, they didn't plan on Miss Marilyn Monroe shaking up that system.
Marilyn loved to go to The Mocambo, a Latin-themed club in Los Angeles. It was a place where the stars loved to hang out: people like Frank Sinatra, Natalie Wood, Myrna Loy, Bob Hope, and many more. It was so popular that Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball replicated it to create The Tropicana (tell me you aren't saying "bobalooooooo" in your head right now. You know you are.) Well, there was plenty of entertainment at The Mocambo, but no black artists. They just were not allowed. Enter Marilyn, who was a great fan of Ella Fitzgerald.
Marilyn appealed to the owner to have Ella Fitzgerald sing at his club, promising that she would sit front and center every night if he did. Well, he did, and so did she. It was a group coup, because the club got plenty of publicity for Miss Marilyn Monroe being there, and Miss Ella reportedly never played a small club again. It was acts like this that changed civil rights as we knew them, bit by bit.
Marilyn was a deeper thinker than most people realized.