Thursday, September 17, 2009

CHINESE BOOKIE Filmed at Gazzarri's on Sunset

Key Club, former site of Gazzarri's and Sherry's Cafe

Gazzarri's was torn down to make way for the Key Club. An even older establishment rested on this spot called Sherry's Cafe. One night, L.A. gangster Mickey Cohen was shot and wounded at Sherry's. He lived. He eventually died. Sherry's closed and was demolished. The Gazzarri's building was erected. The cycle continues...

From a previous post about this property:

Both Sherry's Cafe and Gazzarri's are long gone. The Key Club now stands on this sacred Sunset Boulevard ground. Certainly the Key Club's new walls already have glamorous stories to tell. But when I think of Gazzarri's, I think of John Cassavetes film THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE. Cosmo Vitelli (Ben Gazzara) owns CRAZY HORSE WEST, a failing burlesque house on the Sunset Strip. Gazzarri's served as the location. (There is no relation between actor Ben Gazzara and "The Godfather of Rock and Roll" Bill Gazzarri.) I particularly remember, most vividly, the exterior night shot filmed on the boulevard when Flo the enforcer (Timothy Carey) pulls Ben Gazzara across the street, walking into authentic traffic, stopping cars as miraculously as Moses doing the Red Sea bit. Carey was a maniac. So, when I drive by that section of Sunset, I think of the movie, not Mickey.

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