Hamburger Hamlet, Los Angeles 1960s Menu Art
Hamburger Hamlet, Los Angeles 1960s Menu
Hamburger Hamlet, Los Angeles 1960s Menu
Hamburger Hamlet, Los Angeles 1960s Menu
Hamburger Hamlet, Los Angeles 1960s Hamlet to the Chef

Hamburger Hamlet, Los Angeles 1960s

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Product Description

In 1940s Hollywood, Harry Lewis was an actor under contract to Warner Bros. He played a member of Edward G Robinson’s gang in the classic film noir Key Largo, also starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, and went on to have supporting roles in films such as Gun Crazy and Blonde Dynamite. He also had guest appearances on the Six Million Dollar Man, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Adventures of Superman. But it was his role as co-founder, along with his wife Marilyn, of a burger joint called Hamburger Hamlet that endeared him to generations of Los Angelenos. The couple opened their first location in 1950 on the Sunset Strip. Harry cooked and Marilyn, who designed costumes for films under the name Cardalini, was hostess and waitress. They hoped actors would use the place as a hangout and, knowing that every actor’s dream is to play Hamlet, the couple named their restaurant Hamburger Hamlet.

Soon, there was another Hamlet and another and another. In all, the chain expanded to 24 locations including Palm Springs, Beverly Hills and Brentwood. Among their customers; Alfred Hitchcock, Lana Turner, Debbie Reynolds, Rosemary Clooney, Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis and jazz singer Peggy Lee. It was reported that Lucille Ball would apply clouds of hairspray to her famous red hair in the ladies room and Bette Davis chain-smoked at her table. The revered agent Swifty Lazar, who represented clients such as Cary Grant and Gene Kelly, ate at the Sunset Strip location so frequently that he had his own booth reserved for him at all times. Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jnr patronized the Hamlet and Dean Martin, who lived on Mountain and Sunset, ate there or hung out at the bar many evenings after he separated from his wife Jeanne. Other customers were Al Pacino and Shirley Jones with members of her Partridge Family, including pop star David Cassidy.

The atmosphere was welcoming – staff had to undergo three weeks of training - and the menu was extensive and witty. Customers were encouraged to ‘Eat The Sides, I Pray You’ and actors watching their weight could order from the Hamlet’s New Five Day Crash Diet. Best of all, Marilyn created a droll and entertaining soliloquy entitled Hamlet to the Chef. In part it reads: ‘’It offends me to the soul to see a balloon-pated chef o’er cook a burger to tatters, to very rags, leaving to offend the palate of the epicure, nothing but the charred groundling.” She signed it:  Marilyn Lewis, with a little bit of help from Shakespeare.

The Lewises sold their chain of 24 locations in 1987 and continued to run their other restaurant called Kate Mandilini in Beverly Hills for some time.

The Hamlets continued to be hangouts for actors for years. The Sunset Strip location closed in 2011 and the other locations followed. 

Gallery quality Giclée print on natural white, matte, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson archival inks. Custom printed with border for matting and framing.

Each order includes a print of the interior menu.

All printed in USA.

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