Archive Photo of the Day: Oscar’s Steakhouse in Vancouver

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Academy Awards (Oscars) are taking place on Sunday, March 2, 2014 and when I was browsing the City of Vancouver Archives recently, I found the iconic statuette in a most unusual place: perched outside a building on Burrard and Georgia.

Zoomed in. May 1955: Photograph by Walter E. Frost. Archives# CVA 447-330

Oscar’s Steakhouse was located on this busy downtown corner, across from the Hotel Vancouver and the Christchurch Cathedral. Unfortunately the only information I have been able to find about Oscar’s in the Vancouver Sun archives. In April of 1954, a year before this photo was taken, owner Oscar A. Blank passed away in a plane crash in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan along with 36 others.

May 1955: Photograph by Walter E. Frost. Archives# CVA 447-330.

You can spot the Palomar, which has a rich entertainment history, on the left of Oscar’s in this photo (about where Tiffany’s is located today) on Burrard at Alberni.

Chuck Davis writes: “In its day the Palomar was the place in town for big-name entertainers: the Ink Spots appeared there frequently in the 1940s and ’50s, and for those of you younger folk who just said ‘Who?,’ here are a couple of other names you will recognize: Louis Armstrong (February 2, 1952) and Duke Ellington (April 11 to 15, 1952.)

Dal Richards joined the Sandy De Santis house orchestra at the Palomar in the fall of 1937, and was there in the fall of 1938 when it changed from a ballroom to a night club. A Vancouver girl named Peggy Middleton joined the chorus line, and Dal remembers that she pestered him and the club’s owner, Hymie Singer, to do a solo number. “It was Top Hat, White Tie and Tails,” Dal said, “And she’d gone out and bought the stuff she needed for the number.” They okayed the solo, and maybe that’s what persuaded 15-year-old Peggy Middleton that showbiz was for her. She changed her name to Yvonne De Carlo and went on to become a movie and TV star.

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