Vintage documents, ephemera and props from Hollywood’s Golden Age can offer glimpses into the studio system of a bygone era. These could be contracts, costumes or even menus, as is the case in one from Warner Bros., which is proving to be a viral favorite on social media.
The Warner Bros. menu, dated Monday, February 17, 1941, was posted on social media this week to much discussion and plenty of laughs:
Warner Bros. released more than 60 films that year, three of which were nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards–The Maltese Falcon, One Foot in Heaven and Sergeant York. (Fox’s How Green Was My Valley won that year.) So it’s not hard to imagine Humphrey Bogart taking off his Sam Spade fedora to enjoy a 15-cent bottle of beer or Frederic March gnawing on some imported sardines or Gary Cooper taking a fork and knife to a baked sugar-cured ham (one of that day’s specials). Who knows, with the upcoming release of The Strawberry Blonde, maybe James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland celebrated by splitting a chop suey ice cream sundae–whatever the hell that is.
It’s a diverse menu that covers just about everything a gaffer or director or actor could devour –except women, who were probably being forced to take diet pills and “pep pills” instead of southern fried chicken with corn fritters…
The items are a far cry from Warner Bros. current lot offerings (for studio tour guests, at least), which include a Starbucks and the Central Perk Café, where you can try to swallow Rachel’s Thanksgiving trifle.
According to Vintage Menu Art, “The Studio Cafe in Burbank was the place to go for everyone who was working on the Warner Bros. studio lot. Prices were good (the most expensive items being Imported Natural Gooseliver, Virginia Ham and Smoked Turkey at $1) and the location was convenient which kept the talent near the set. And what an amazing place to see the stars!” Of note, “Whoever brought this menu home recorded the names on the back of the menu of actors who were seen at lunch that day.”
So what’s your order at the Warner Bros. Studio Cafe? Let us know in the comments section below!