Room 115

Ray Rennahan's Star Nights at the Cocoanut Grove

In 1934 Ray Rennahan, a principal cameraman at Technicolor, filmed the feature short Star Night at the Cocoanut Grove which immortalized the Ambassador's nightclub—and the era—in its vivid yet naturalistic descriptions of handsome stars, exotically dressed starlets, perfectly choreographed dancers and crooner Bing Crosby amidst an artificial cocoanut grove.

In 1940, Rennahan returned to the Grove for the 12th annual Academy Awards. 1939 had been a landmark year for Hollywood: Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Goodbye, Mr. Chips and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington were among the films in the Best Picture category. David O. Selznick's epic Gone with the Wind swept with 8 awards including Rennahan's Oscar for best color cinematography. Rennahan's odds were excellent that night as he received a second nomination for Drums Along the Mohawk.

Read more about Ray Rennahan, the Cocoanut Grove, and the Ambassador's Hollywood History at the Vancouver Art Gallery's Grand Hotel.