If you wanted a night out on the town in New York City there were plenty of supper clubs restaurants, bars and burlesque theaters. In 1944, there might not have been anything better than Cafe Zanzibar.
I found this postcard program mailer in a White Plains, NY home not long ago. The treasures from that sale keep on coming. For me, I like the coincidence of digging through these sales. The fact that I found this in White Plains becomes more interesting when you open the program and see the headliner:
Cab Calloway was an established star at this point having already enjoyed the immense success of “Minnie The Moocher” and enjoying regular residence at the Zanzibar’s predecessor - The Cotton Club. Cab Calloway lived in White Plains (Greenburg, actually)
In 1940, the Cotton club had suffered a Tax audit and was closed. In it’s place the Zanzibar was born. This club was unique in that it featured mainly black performers and even its dancers, The Zanzibeauts, were listed as “Sepia.”
Most historic accounts I have read relate that though there seemed to be less of a segregation issue on the stage, there still existed plenty of favoritism toward white customers when it came to seating.
The Cafe called itself “The Home of The Stars” and one look through the program and it was true. Sitting above the Winter Garden Theatre, Zanzibar held a special place on the Great White Way. The artists were paid well and the food was an inexpensive $2.00 (Something like $20 today).
This program cloud be mailed to your friends! Just address it and hand it to the waiter. They'll take care of the stage.
Cab Calloway enjoyed a good long career. He died in 1994. He will be best known by those who remember him performing in The Blues Brothers. His daughter was trying to turn the White Plains home into a museum for her father. A lot of famous people visited there, but I don't know if she was successful in her goal.
If you would like to read more about the Cafe and Cab Calloway. Click here