The Luau in Beverly Hills. Steven Crane's Tiki oasis on Rodeo Drive



























The Luau, opened in 1953 on Rodeo Dr. in Beverly Hills. It was owned by Lana Turner's husband, Steven Crane and it was a popular celebrity hangout. throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70s. They had big Tiki Gods, Polynesian Chairs, drinks on fire and a moat around the joint with a bridge leading to the entrance. My parents were regulars and went there for years until they closed.

I celebrated my first birthday at the infamous Luau. Now I need to build my time machine and go have a double with Lana Turner!































































                                   The Luau, 427 North Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills



This 1959 Magazine "Movie Screen Year Book" featured a celebrity section called Hollywood Teens shown below. Caption read: "Judy Harriet does the Hulu, While Annette Funicello and Roberta Shore sip pineapple punch at the Luau in Beverly Hills. To judge by the expressions there may have been more then just pineapple in the punch. Roberta Shore, who is a Mormon, keeps the straw away from her lips." Yea sure!

Comments

  1. It's about time! The blog world has been waiting for you! I will run and link to you immediately!

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    Replies
    1. JM's post is not entirely correct. The Luau Property, restaurant and parking, consisted of several lots, all owned by the Weatherby Family Trust. They acquired the property in 1938, and sold for the building of the Rodeo Collection, when the last Weatherby daughter passed away. I am a member of the Weatherby famiIy. Steve was their tenant, and a true gentleman. I have many memories of he and daughter Cheryl not letting me spend a cent in the Luau.

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  2. Stephen Crane was a VERY close family friend and one of the people,as an Italian kid, you HAVE to call Uncle. Lana Turner became our upstairs neighbour at the Edgewater Water Towers in the Palisades at Sunset and PCH.(we called her Stomach Turner) Steven divorced Lana but stuck with her(Legally) thru the "Johnnie Stampanatto" affair and murder..perhaps for poor Cheryl who took the big hit for Lana's philandering...but it was a Robert Blake dealy all the way..Stephen went on the marry Helen DeMari..and they adopted a boy and named him Derick! (Derrick Crane???..lol) Helen divorced Stephan and he started "Stephaninos" where my dad and my Uncle Frank used to call each other from table to table with these plug in phones...great steaks and Italian food..a premier Hollywood experience as a kid....Helen went on to marry my other "Uncle" Doug McClure..and I fell in love with her at age 11...
    By the age of 15 Doug left and one day she invited me to the Encino House (Gable) and that was it the next thing i knew I was in Memphis Tennesse with her and Alana Hamilton..if it were today Helen would have been brought up on charges as I was 15...but I loved it! Rona Barrett used to report on our travels and Helen was as beautiful as the word beauty can be! so thats my Luaua story..except for the fact that Uncle Stephen sold that entire block to the people who built that mini mall and shopping plaza across from the Armani and Polo store on Rodeo.. those were the days..even if you were just a kid...thanks for this site where we can share our personal connections to these places..i still have my Luau salt and pepper shakers! LOVE YOU ALLISON M. and thanks

    we havent even started on Sneaky petes yet :))


    JM

    JM MUSIC INC.2009

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  3. In my search for information about Steve Crane, I ended up on this very interesting blog. I am a Reference Librarian in Steve's hometown seeking information from people who knew him. I am looking for personal thoughts, stories, or photos of Crane. If you are interested in sharing your connection with Steve for my research, please contact me at librarianesg@gmail.com. Please include your name, relationship to Steve, and a contact email address along with your story. Thanks!

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  4. George Vreeland HillJune 2, 2012 at 3:27 AM

    The Luau gave gave Rodeo Drive a distinctive touch.

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  5. My father was the main bartendar when the restaurant opened. The majority of the original drinks on the menu he originated. He worked with Steve Crane at his other restaurants Scams (later 9000) on Sunset. He trained the bartendars for Crane's Port's O'Call in various cities

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    1. was his name frank adradico..he trained me.I worked at the luau for many years starting in 1972

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    2. then you knew our Beverly HIlls Rat Pack~ronnie Burns~Bruce Kessler~dick Dohner~david Shane~Lance Reventlow~

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  6. I grew up going to the Luau..My older brother actually had all the dreamie friends and I loved being a pretend legal age. Jim Luckman made me my fake ID when I was `17..lolol..those days were magnificent!

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  7. I would kill to have their Bombay curry again. Oh! My! Gosh!

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. I have very happy memories of the Luau back in the late 60's. I was only 18 at the time and a trans-plan from NJ. I worked around the corner at a company called Daylin on little Santa Monica. We got paid twice a month and generally we girls headed to the Luau for lunch. I so loved the decor. I spent a lot of time looking up at the beautifully decorated ceiling. The food was fun and the service top notch. I recall the hostess as being very sweet and pretty. I had no idea at the time that she was Cheryl Crane. The way she conducted herself is what you noticed about her. I had no idea that any fame was attached to her. Some of us were not yet 21, but we were will dress working young ladies and I guess we acted and looked the part. I wish I still had all the little umbrellas that came with those generous cocktails that I collected. A few of us girls took my mother there for lunch on Saturday and she said, "How do you girls afford to eat here so often." We told her it was a major high-light twice a month.

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  12. All time favorite LA restaurant, bar none! Pictures really don't due it justice. Outside looked kind of bland; inside looked like a Hope-Crosby 1940's Road Picture Polynesian hut. Ceiling was bamboo and palm fronds pitched A-Frame covered with lit multi colored glass fishing balls & who knows what other antique fishing memorabilia. Due to it's very unique location, over the meeting point of three underground rivers, half the main dining room was a fresh water lake with small concrete bridges to dining table "islands" and even featured rain over a tin roofed bar area.

    As the Polynesian restaurant fad faded, The Luau remained popular with both locals and tourists. Unfortunately, after 26 years, on increasingly famous Rodeo Drive, the land became too valuable to support a single business. In 1978 the restaurant was sold and in 1979 the building was torn down and the underground rivers sealed off. The replacement was an Iranian developers idea of luxury with a marble faced strip mall called "The Rodeo Collection" containing 45 stores.

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