Chapter 5 ~ John Barrymore & Company

The stories of the early days of Musso and Frank have become the stuff of legend and myth. Most of the tales can no longer be substantiated, but they sound good, nevertheless. Rudolph Valentino ate at Musso’s, where he could talk to the Italian waiters in their native language. There is the oft repeated, but unverified story of Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks racing each other on horseback down Hollywood Boulevard to Musso’s. Charlie Chaplin and John Barrymore were regulars, each having his own favorite booth in the Old Room. Booth number 1, which is in the corner next to the sidewalk, is known as the Chaplin booth, but it was also Rudolph Valentino’s booth before his death in 1926, according to Jean Rue, his friend. In more recent times, the front booths have been occupied by Martin Sheen, Millie Perkins and many other celebrities. Booth number 1 is the only booth or table with a window view.

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Only twice have telephones been installed in the booths at Musso and Frank. Radio and television legend, Ralph Edwards, creator of Truth or Consequences and host of This is Your Life, was provided a telephone hookup at his regular table in booth 24. The other telephone was installed for Mrs. Carissimi at booth 35. The telephones were connected when they occupied the booths, and removed afterwards. Ralph Edwards was a daily patron and held in high praise by the staff. In the 1950’s, his offices were directly across the Boulevard and Mr. Edwards was a regular customer at lunch time. He began the tradition of sending Poinsettias to the restaurant for the holiday season. Today, the management continues the custom of decorating the restaurant with Poinsettias.

Camera girls, or restaurant photographers, were never allowed at the restaurant, in deference to celebrities and diners who preferred privacy.

2 Responses to “Chapter 5 ~ John Barrymore & Company”

  1. syjere Says:

    I met Keith Richards at Musso and Frank’s and it was as comfortable as such a “meet” could be. Thanks Ruben! I’ll be seeing you tommorow..hopefully!

  2. The League of Gentlemen Adventurers » Blog Archive » The Best Damn Martini I Have Ever Had Says:

    [...] at Musso and Frank.  Chaplin’s favorite dish was the grilled lamb kidneys, and an “oft-repeated, but unverified story“1  has Douglas Fairbanks racing Rudolph Valentino down Hollywood Boulevard on horseback to [...]

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