Steinberg’s Dairy Restaurant was one of the cheap kosher luncheonettes that used to be all over the Upper West Side, East Village and Lower East Side. The menu was packed with Jewish comfort food — potato latkes, cheese blintzes, kreplach and chopped herring.
Michael Todd’s Peep Show was a 1950 American musical revue produced by Mike Todd, with music by, among others, Jule Styne, Raymond Scott and Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand. The book was by comedian Bobby Clark, who did not perform. Peep Show, which opened at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre on June 28, 1950, was a success, closing on February 25, 1951 after 278 performances. After its opening, the New York City Commissioner of Licenses called a meeting with Todd, which led to changes in how the women were presented. Critic George Jean Nathan wrote that Peep Show emphasized “sex, ferociously.”
The Drake Hotel opened during the Roaring Twenties as a 21-floor complex with an unimaginable 495 rooms. By the 1960s, it featured one of the most popular disco halls, Shepheard’s at the Drake, where visitors danced the Jerk, Watusi, Frug and the Monkey until 3 a.m.
Martin Joseph Quigley Sr., 1890 to 1964, was an American publisher, editor and film magazine journalist. He founded Exhibitors Herald, which became an important national trade paper for the film industry, as well as Quigley Publishing. A devout Catholic, he began lobbying in the 1920s for a more extensive code that not only listed material s inappropriate for movies, but also contained a moral system that the movies could help to promote –- specifically a system based on Catholic theology. He was an active proponent and co-author of the Motion Picture Production Code, which governed the content of Hollywood movies from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Le Pavillon was, at its peak, the finest French restaurant in the United States. It opened in October 1941, just after the close of the World’s Fair, and became an overnight success. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, it was a training ground for dozens of waiters, captains, maitres d’hôtel and chefs.
Justus Baldwin “Jock” Lawrence, 1903 to 1987, was an author, motion pictures public relations expert and the US Army’s chief public relations officer in Europe in World War II. A native of Akron, Ohio, he graduated Yale in 1927 and moved to Hollywood. From 1933 to 1939 he was assistant to Samuel Goldwyn, and then, till 1941, directed public relations for the Motion Picture Producers Association. In 1942, he joined the US Army and was assigned to Dwight D. Eisenhower’s British headquarters, where he represented Eisenhower at the HQ of Lord Louis Mountbatten, who oversaw training of British commando teams. In 1943, when Mountbatten was sent to Burma, Lawrence was appointed chief public relations officer for the European Theatre of Operations. After the war, he became an executive at the J. Arthur Rank Corporation’s New York office. In 1951, he briefly returned to military service as public relations officer at Eisenhower’s NATO HQ. He later started his own public relations firm, J.B. Lawrence, Inc., at which he worked until he retired. He was married to Mary Peace, who died in the early 1960s.
Alan Eliot Freedman (left), 1889 to 1980, was a pioneer and long-time executive in the motion picture film processing industry. He founded DeLuxe Laboratories after serving as president of its predecessor, Fox Film Laboratories. His career lasted over 50 years.
Victor Harold Finney, 1897 to 1970, was an English film company executive and Liberal Party member.
With partner Harold Rosner, Louis Ellenberg created the Robert Hall company as an experiment. Wanting to see how far off the beaten track people would travel to save money, in 1940 they opened a clothing store in an abandoned loft in Waterbury, a factory town in central Connecticut. Customers had to climb three flights of stairs, but business was so brisk that they expanded, moving into lofts in Bridgeport and New York City. When they couldn’t keep up with demand they switched to new construction, building their first store and every store thereafter near — but never in — the heart of a commercial district so they could save on rent. Each store followed the same blueprint: one-storey, 15,000 square feet, brick or, later, cinder-block exterior, no display windows, plenty of parking. There was a single coat of dark green paint on the interior walls and no tables or shelves on the sales floor — just rows and rows of racks with over 20,000 suits, coats and dresses. Every item had a 20 percent mark-up, compared with 40 percent or more at the average full-service store. All alterations were free and anything could be returned at any time, no questions asked. Every penny the company saved in operating costs went into advertising. When they opened eight stores in Chicago in 1948 they ran 120 15-minute radio shows and 150 one-minute radio ads for the first two months.
Ethel Smith, 1910 to 1996, gained fame as an organist and performer through radio, film and records. Spotted by a talent agent while working as the house organist at the St. Regis Hotel in New York, she began appearing on radio in the late 1930s. In 1941 she took over from Eddie Duchin at the Copacabana Casino in Rio de Janeiro. She returned to the US and began playing for Your Hit Parade in 1943 where she arranged popular songs and performed with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, among others. In 1944 she appeared in the musical numbers for Bathing Beauty, her first MGM feature. She founded her own publishing company, Ethel Smith Music Corporation, produced over 20 albums, and developed a nightclub act in which she played the organ and other instruments, sang and told jokes.