The Cocky Cactus, San Bernadino late 1950s
The inventiveness of vintage menu artwork never fails to make us smile. This prickly fellow wearing a chef’s hat was created for the Cocky Cactus restaurant in San Bernardino, California. Hosts Audrey and Wally Poole ran this establishment for many decades –from the 1930s until the late 1950s. There was a cocktail lounge and a dining room where the menu noted: “sorry – not responsible for well done steaks.” Like most restaurateurs, the Pooles and their staff put in long hours – both venues stayed open till 1.30am at the weekends.
Hollywood stars of the era often pitched up, perhaps on their way to Palm Springs. Comedian Bob Hope and his wife Dolores were regulars as well as Clark Gable and his wife Carole Lombard. The beautiful young actress, famous for making screwball comedies, persuaded her older husband to take on the leading man role in the Southern epic Gone with The Wind, one of the most famous films of all time but died in a plane crash in 1942.
We believe this menu is from the late 1950s as the interior menu notes that the Cocky Cactus is a member of the Diner’s Club, which was founded in 1950, and American Express, which issued its first card in 1958.
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each print is accompanied by a copy of the interior menu or cover.