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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Seven Seas, Los Angeles, CA (bar)
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Seven Seas, Los Angeles, CA (bar)
Tattoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 24, 2005
Posts: 235
From: Los Angeles
Posted: 2008-11-24 6:24 pm   Permalink

Name:Seven Seas
Type:bar
Street:6904 Hollywood Blvd.
City:Los Angeles
State:CA
Zip:
country:USA
Phone:
Status:defunct

Description:
The Seven Seas in Hollywood is one of the original 'pre-Tiki' Polynesian nightclubs located just blocks away from the original Don the Beachcomber. Following hot on the heels of Don the Beachcomber, Ray Haller started the Seven Seas just blocks away in the mid 30's as a Polynesian bar and soon became a hot spot for Hollywood celebrities as well as the soldiers and sailors stationed in Los Angeles during WWII.

The inside was decorated with tropical plants, nautical souvenirs, lava rocks and a faux corrugated metal roof above allowing for it's probably most unique and original feature - a nightly tropical rainstorm inside the bar complete with authentic thunder sounds played from a record!




"Ray Haller was inspired when his customers thought the building's leaky roof during rainstorms was cute. Haller installed sprinklers to create the effect nightly. (Don the Beachcomber borrowed the idea.) The next Seven Seas owner, Bob Brooks, added a full Hawaiian show headlined by Jennie "Na Pua" (Little Flower) Wood, the hula comic. Jennie remained here for twenty-five years."
From "The Story of Hollywood"


Bob Brooks took over in the late 30's and went head to head with Don the Beachcomber. He improved his drinks by stealing Don the Beachcombers bartenders (including Tiki-Ti's legendary Ray Buhen) and most importantly the Seven Seas had stage acts as well as a true Polynesian floor show differentiating itself form the other tropical bars of that time.





Freddie Letuli

"One evening in Hollywood, I paid a visit to the Seven Seas, a popular nightclub owned by Robert Brooks. There I met Harry Baty, a guitar player who also served as the club's emcee. Always on the lookout for new Polynesian talent, Harry asked me if I could sing. "No," I told him, "but if you play Hano Hano, I'll show you what I can do." I took off my shirt and did my slap dance for the audience. I was hired as a slap dancer and knife dancer that very night. It was late 1945, and my salary was a cool $75 a week!"
From "Flaming Sword of Samoa," by Freddie Letuli, as told to Patricia Letuli



One other unique feature was that Bob Brooks was a frequent visitor to Tahiti and became enamored with the black velvet paintings of Leeteg and eventually had his whole bar decorated with them.

"The club was decorated in Polynesian style with lava rock and a thatched roof. They featured three floorshows a night. The show as great, with Hilo Hattie, Chief Santini, a powerful Samoan, plus five beautiful Hawaiian hula girls and knife dancer. The walls were covered with 97 original oil paintings on black velvet. Bob Brooks made many trips to Tahiti and purchased them from Edward Leeteg, the famous artist. Many of them were obtained in exchange for a bottle of whiskey. When Leeteg died in the early fifties, the value of his paintings climbed to $20,000 each, so Bob removed them from the club and placed them in vaults. He then hired Leeteg's protege to make copies of each to hang in the club."
From "My Nine Lives by Roy Sannella



As the years progressed, the nightclub became "The Seven Seas Supper Club" and by the late 70's it had become a seedy Hollywood bar used as a cover for drug dealings. Cocaine had replaced Rum as the libation of choice. It's lowest point was in the early 80's when owner Eddie Nash was tried with porn star John Holmes for the 'Wonderland' killings and for drug trafficking through his nightclubs including the 7 Seas.



FROM THE NY TIMES:
AROUND THE NATION; Pornography Film Actor Charged in Coast Deaths
December 10, 1981
A pornography film actor, John C. Holmes, was charged today with murdering four persons by bludgeoning them last July at a house in Laurel Canyon, but he won a two-week delay in his arraignment without entering a plea. Judge Samuel Mayerson of Municipal Court continued the arraigment to Dec. 22 at the request of defense attorneys. Mr. Holmes, 37 years old, was held without bail. No charges were filed against Gregory Diles, 33, a bodyguard at a Hollywood nightclub owned by Adel Nasrallah. Mr. Diles was arrested Tuesday night at the Seven Seas Supper Club in Hollywood and booked for investigation of murder in the July 1 slayings. According to published reports, investigators believed the slayings discovered July 1 might have been in retaliation for a robbery two days earlier at the home of Mr. Diles and his employer, Adel Nasrallah, owner of the Starwood Nightclub.


Sadly one of the original homes of the birth of the Polynesian pop movements faded away and now stands filled with tacky souvenir stands without any hint of its glorious past.


Also see:
http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=34799&forum=2&0

[ This Message was edited by: Tattoo 2009-12-03 11:07 ]


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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11265
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-11-25 10:56 am   Permalink

Very nice post! For some reason I always thought Bob Brooks was first, and then Ray Haller, thanks for clearing that up. For years there used to be a ghost sign from the Seven Seas in the back of the building, I regret never having photographed it. If I would be home right now, I would post the matchbook I have, and the quote from the Leeteg bio that mentions Bob Brooks buying his art for the club. Wonder what happened to all the originals!

 
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GatorRob
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1772
From: 3 hrs 33 mins to paradise
Posted: 2008-11-25 3:03 pm   Permalink

Excellent post! You've done some great research.

"97 original oil paintings on black velvet"

Now that I would love to see.


 
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Tattoo
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 24, 2005
Posts: 235
From: Los Angeles
Posted: 2008-11-25 3:28 pm   Permalink

The hardest part has been trying to figure out when the 7 Seas opened (and closed). The dateline I have come up looking at postcards and writings is

1936 - a post card that refers to a visit in 1936
1937 - Ray Haller postcard
1941 - Bob Brooks postcard
1981 - Wonderland Murder article in NY Times

So it's save to say the 7 Seas was open from at least 1936 through 1981. Another question I've had is the whole Ray Haller and Bob Brooks relation. If you ask me, they're the same person!



Although Brooks has a few pounds on Ray, they look like the same person (look at the nose). I think it was quite common to change names back then (especially in Hollywood). The former owner of my house here in Echo Park had a total of 6 different names over a period of 40 years.


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4427
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2008-11-25 6:34 pm   Permalink

Tattoo, great Post

There is another Seven Seas thread on General Tiki that has some additional information.

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=7510&forum=1&hilite=seven%20seas

Here is a Seven Seas Matchbook



DC


[ This Message was edited by: Dustycajun 2008-11-25 18:36 ]


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Tiki-Kate
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 21, 2003
Posts: 1700
From: Yucaipa, CA
Posted: 2008-11-26 7:36 pm   Permalink

Looks like there was a little tiki devolution happening on the Seven Seas matchbooks.

Here's an earlier version with a larger, clearer tiki and pig. (Please pardon the scribbles.)


Another early matchbook.


There was a lot going on at the Seven Seas.



 
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Tiki Shaker
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 28, 2008
Posts: 706
From: Menifee, CA
Posted: 2009-05-17 3:26 pm   Permalink

Jumbo postcard for Bob Brooks' 7 Seas.









 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4427
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2009-05-18 6:44 pm   Permalink

TikiShaker,

Nice card

DC


 
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TabooDan
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 18, 2004
Posts: 641
From: BC, Canada
Posted: 2009-05-22 4:14 pm   Permalink

This place was really something! What a cool place this would have been to visit for dinner after a movie and check out the crowds and entertainment. Maybe even see a star or two!

Here is a glass that I came across which I hadn't seen before. I thought I would throw a picture of it here to add to this cool post.



Mahalo, TabooDan


 
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TikiG
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 17, 2008
Posts: 1549
From: Riverside, California
Posted: 2009-05-22 5:02 pm   Permalink

I remember going to the Seven Seas a few times with my buddies and our girlfriends. It was a great place to go get a drink and maybe dancing..when we were still teenagers

I can remember at that time the place was pretty run-down, smelled funny, the drinks were pretty rank and loads of unsavory characters with missing teeth, missing fingers and some older guy there wore an eye patch. Anyone else remember that? The place was pretty loose. I remember the same environment inside the lounge (can't remember the name right now) just down the street at the Roosevelt Hotel run by Skippy Lowe
(God, I have tons of stories about that place.)

My experiences would have been during the late 1970s before all the renovations and destruction.

Ah! GREAT MEMORIES! I kinda miss it. I kinda don't.


 
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tikibob
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2002
Posts: 268
From: Charleston, South Carolina
Posted: 2009-05-28 8:45 pm   Permalink

I was just talking with someone about The 7 Seas a couple of days ago.

So many in the tiki world have never heard of it. Donn's and Vic's get all the thunder. Of course those reading this thread, or familiar with the 7 Seas, know that Bob Brooks started the rain and thunder. I think of him every time I am at the Tonga Room in SF.

OK, so the real reason I am so captivated by the 7 Seas? I have always been fond of the history of this place because real name IS Bob Brooks.

Oh, and I just love that Leetag painting of Brooks.

Can you imagine having a portrait of yourself done by Leetag???

Tiki Bob
_________________
Balmy regards,



 
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Tiki Shaker
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 28, 2008
Posts: 706
From: Menifee, CA
Posted: 2009-11-14 4:03 pm   Permalink

This is a photo of the inside of Bob Brooks' 7 Seas. It is in a photo folder like the one Tattoo posted. It's dated Nov. 12, 1944.






 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4427
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2010-02-21 4:20 pm   Permalink

A nice ashtray from ebay.




DC


 
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Bay Park Buzzy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 07, 2006
Posts: 2857
From: West Bay Park, San Diego, CA
Posted: 2010-03-15 11:53 am   Permalink

Couple matchcovers I just found:


Buzzy Out!
_________________


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TikiG
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 17, 2008
Posts: 1549
From: Riverside, California
Posted: 2010-03-16 08:04 am   Permalink

Variation of Dustycajun's ashtray. Purchased at a Riverside, CA thrift store.




_________________
TikiG

tiki since '67!


 
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