‘The Hypnotic Private Eye’
Captain Von Victor liked Eric Nord the first time they lay eyes on each other. He could tell he was of the Teutonic race, and more than likely he was a Prussian, like himself. For this reason he gave him his best Evil Eye when he opened the old green door of ‘Green Bros & Co. on Davis street.
“Who are you? Where’s Meze? What happened to his produce?”Captain Vic growled. There was nothing more in the world he hated more, than a produce guy who doesn’t have his stuff out by 5:00 A.M.
Spotting what looked like dead bodies laying about on the sofas and floor, Von Victor brushed Big Daddy aside. Strutting about like he owned the place, Captain Vic counted the empty bottles of booze tossed helter-skelter. He inspected the living-dead who had just crashed from their wild night of partying. Von Victor grumbled half approvingly. Some of these guys had money, and were slumming it. He recognized a couple of stiffs he had personally drunk under the table. Now, they are someone’s sucker.
Victor had crossed the Bay Bridge in his 1948 Flatbed Ford truck to pick up some South American Guavas for Trader’s Vic’s restaurant in Oakland, that just changed its name from Hinky Dinks, thanks to Von Victor who told Victor Jules Bergerson;
“Hinky Dink sounds real queer, like Dinky Pinky. You don’t want the queer crowd in here, do ya!”.
“What do you got goin on here?” Captain Vic asked Nord as he picked up a piece of cardboard with these infamous words on it.
“SUGGESTED DONATION – ONE DOLLAR FOR MEN & FIFTY CENTS FOR WOMEN”
“I run an after hours club. Now if you don’t mind, I got to get some shut-eye. Come back tonight. Bring some friends.”
“You allow Negroes in here?” Captain Vic shot, as he lifted his black eye patch and relieved a phantom itch. After Dirty Dee-Dee knocked his eye out with a five-pound green glass ashtray, he was after as much sympathy as he could get. Scratching his dead eyeball always gave him the upper hand as it un-nerved most folks to see him do it.
“What I don’t allow in here, is racists. If you got a problem with the Black Race, don’t come back.”
“Hold your horses, ass-bite. I am thinking of bringing my good friends here, Viola and Vivian ‘The Voom-Voom Sisters. You allow music? They play a mean Macumba, and have known to make Betsy Smith, blush!
“Of course! They are more than welcome!” Eric answered, contritely, because he and other club owners had been trying to book the Voom-Voom sisters who only play the clubs on 7th. Street, and, will do private parties at the Ritz Hotel in Emeryville (owned by Big Bone’s Remmer) if the price is right.
Eris watched Von Victor put the red truck in reverse, then in first, and drive away. Deep inside he knew his life was going to change, forever. Captain Vic was tight with Jack Londons’ daughter, and was running Acme Produce out of a Victorian warehouse on Webster and 4th, in Jack London Square. As he headed to San Jose, because that was the only other place you can get the Guavas Victor and his bartenders, liked, his mind and heart took in his old flame, Sarah Churchill, who he had to have the minute he lay his eye on her. He took her in the back of Hinky Dinks, thew her on some crates of oranges, and forced her to submit to his real Bohemian lust. He never fucked an actress before. Nine months later, Sarah thrust lil Oakland Jonny in his arms.
“I believe this lil sack of spuds…….belongs to you!”
When Vic walked in the door of his home on Berlin Way, that was built b his German grandfather, the Captain thrust Oakland Jonny in the arms of his wife, Rosemary,.
“Here. You have another son. If you give me any guff, I will twist your arm behind your back and force you to your knees. Now , take these kidney and cook them up the away I like them!”
When Oakland Jonny was thirteen, he was known as ‘The Artist That Makes Women Cry’. Victor Bergeron commissioned Jonny to render some drawings of his new place. He rendered the beautiful Polynisian maiden on the cover of the menu. After that, The Captain introduced his a son as his ‘Art Whore’.
“He’ll draw or paint anything for a buck!
This is when Lil Jonny began to paint and draw in a closet with a flashlight. When his father opened ‘Lucky Victor’s’ he was forced to render these incredible murals of the adventures of Jack London for a dollar a day. Lucky Victor’s opened the same day Chessman hired Bill Linhart.
Hidden below a crusty warehouse in the city’s old produce district, the Party Pad was a beatnik hangout run by Eric “Big Daddy” Nord. Subject of then-mayor George Christopher’s crack down on North Beach, it was raided in June 1958.
Eric “Big Daddy” Nord was referred to as the “King of the Beat Generation,” and the 6’7″ man ran a lively scene in the 1950s. He started the original hungry i nightclub back in 1950, and later opened his Party Pad club. Located in an old produce warehouse, the Party Pad operated as a continuous “bring your own bottle party,” asking for donations ($1 for men, 50 cents for women)> instead of a charge. It wasdescribed by a newspaper at the time
Eric “Big Daddy” Nord, 1968 [Photo: Moe’s Books]
Nord kept a policeman on duty at the parties to help keep order, but on June 21, 1958 it was raided on orders from Mayor Christopher and Nord was arrested for operating a public dance hall without a license. Earlier that month a man had died after falling off the roof during one of the parties. Later that summer, Nord was charged with helping two teenage girls run away from their homes. The highly-publicized trial was technically for “contributing to the delinquency of minors.” He and another man were accused oftaking two 16 and 17 year old runaway girls “on a Beat Generation weekend” including trips to Mill Valley and Big Sur. In the end, he was fined $300 and given three years’ probation.
The Party Pad was ordered to close in August 1958, and Nord relocated to Venice, California to operate the legendary Gas House.
· DEATH AT BEATNIK “PARTY PAD”, SF [Eureka Humbolt Standard]
· beatnik! [Tom Christopher]
· Head Beatnik Held for Aid To Runaways [San Mateo Times]
It was known as the ‘Party Pad’, a clandestine bring-your-own-bottle establishment occupying the upper floor of a deserted produce warehouse on Davis Street, downtown San Francisco. The underground hipster hub was run without a license by a beatnik generation actor and poet known as Eric “Big Daddy” Nord, a well-known figure of the bohemian scene in California at the time. These photographs of the speakeasy-style joint were discovered by a digital archive for the city, Found, SF.
Unfortunately, this party was shut down pretty quickly after a 31 year old man died in June 1958 when he fell from the Party Pad’s roof, which guests would often use to get a breathe of fresh air. “Police found 13 empty whiskey bottles, 10 empty beer cans, as well as chairs and mattresses on the roof,” reported the local paper, “It was found that the roof was a most unsafe place.” Today, the old food warehouse has long since been demolished.
Despite it’s tragic end, this secret club must have once had an electric atmosphere behind its shabby exterior, and I can certainly see the story of a place like this inspiring some modern-day hipsters to open their next ‘speakeasy’ cocktail hotspot– complete with a decaying facade salvaged from an abandoned green grocer’s. Any bar entrepreneurs out there interested in immortalising the story of The Party Pad?
Trader Vic’s is a restaurant chain headquartered in Emeryville, California, United States. Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr. (December 10, 1902, San Francisco – October 11, 1984, Hillsborough, California) founded a chain of Polynesian-themed restaurants that bore his nickname, “Trader Vic”. He was one of two people who claimed to have invented the Mai Tai. The other was his amicable competitor for many years, Don the Beachcomber.
Bergeron attended Heald College in San Francisco. On November 17, 1934, using $500 in borrowed money, Bergeron opened a small bar/restaurant across from his parents’ grocery store at San Pablo Avenue and 65th Street in the Golden Gate District of Oakland. He named it Hinky Dink’s. As its popularity spread, the menu and decor developed an increasingly tropical flair, and Hinky Dink’s soon became Trader Vic’s. In 1940 the first franchised Trader Vic’s opened in Seattle,Washington. In 1950, Bergeron opened a Trader Vic’s location in Hawaii and in 1951 at 20 Cosmo Place in San Francisco.
During the Tiki culture fad of the 1950s and 1960s, as many as 25 Trader Vic’s restaurants were in operation worldwide. They all featured the popular mix of Polynesianartifacts, unique cocktails, and exotic cuisine. In the 1980s and 1990s, the chain began to shrink as a new generation of people had little or no connection to the chain’s tiki theme. The chain of restaurants grew and is credited as one of the first successful themed chains, a marketing model that many other restaurants followed. Poor locations or less trendy addresses took a toll on the chain’s popularity. In 1972 the original location in Oakland was closed and replaced by a bayfront restaurant in nearby Emeryville, now considered the chain’s flagship restaurant. While many of the original locations have closed, Trader Vic’s once again has grown to 19 locations around the globe. As of 2012 there are four Trader Vic’s restaurants in the United States, three in Europe, eight in the Middle East, and three in East Asia. The Trader Vic’s Corporation also franchises restaurants and bars under the names the Mai Tai Lounge, Trader Vic’s Island Bar & Grill (which opened in 2010 in Sarasota, FL and shuttered in 2013 – where the company experimented with a Hooters-like concept but not a true Hooters knockoff), and Señor Pico, which take the total restaurant count up to 27.
Sarah Millicent Hermione Touchet-Jesson, Baroness Audley, born Sarah Churchill (7 October 1914 – 24 September 1982), was a British actress and dancer.
Sarah Churchill was born in London, the second daughter of Winston Churchill, later Prime Minister of the UK during the Second World War, and Clementine Churchill, later Baroness Spencer-Churchill; she was the third of the couple’s five children and was named after Sir Winston’s ancestor, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough. She was educated atNotting Hill High School as a day girl and later at North Foreland Lodge as a boarder.
Thomas Touchet-Jesson, 23rd Baron Audley MBE (15 September 1913 – 3 July 1963) was born in Herefordshire, England, to Thomas Touchet Tuchet-Jesson and Annie Rosina Hammacott-Osler and educated at Lancing College. He married twice, initially to June Isabel de Trafford née Chaplin, daughter of Lt.-Col Reginald Chaplin, whom he divorced in 1957. His second marriage, on 26 April 1962, was to Sarah Churchill, daughter of former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine.
He inherited the title of 23rd Baron Audley on 27 May 1942 by writ, succeeding his second cousin Mary Thicknesse-Touchet, 22nd Baroness Audley on her death. As he died childless on 3 July 1963, the title passed to his sister Rosina (1911-1973).
Churchill is best known for her role in the film Royal Wedding (1951) as Anne Ashmond, romantic interest of Fred Astaire as Tom Bowen. In the same year, she had her own television show. She also appeared in He Found a Star (1941), All Over the Town (1949), Fabian of the Yard (1954) and Serious Charge (1959).
During the war, the German clothing factory that eventually became the international menswear powerhouse Hugo Boss produced thousands of SS and other uniforms; with the black SS uniform having been designed by Karl Diebitsch and Walter Heck.
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Kaufman was one of fourteen children. He claimed to be the son of a German-Jewish father and a Roman Catholic Black mother from Martinique, and that his grandmother practiced voodoo. At age eighteen, Kaufman joined the United States Merchant Marine, which he left in the early 1940s to briefly study literature at New York‘s The New School. There, he met William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. In 1944 Bob Kaufman married Ida Berrocal. They had one daughter, Antoinette Victoria Marie (Nagle), born in New York City in 1945 (died 2008). Kaufman moved to San Francisco’s North Beach in 1958 and remained there for most of the rest of his life. He married Eileen Singe (1922–2015). in 1958; they had one child, Parker, named for Charlie Parker.
Kaufman, a poet in the oral tradition, usually didn’t write down his poems, and much of his published work survives by way of his wife Eileen, who wrote his poems down as he conceived them. Like many beat writers, Kaufman became a Buddhist. In 1959, along with poets Allen Ginsberg, John Kelly, A. D. Winans, and William Margolis, he was one of the founders of Beatitude magazine.
According to the writer Raymond Foye, Kaufman is the person who coined the term “beatnik”, and his life was filled with a great deal of suffering: In San Francisco, he was the target of beatings and harassment by the city police, and his years living in New York were filled with poverty, addiction and imprisonment.
In 1959, Kaufman had a small role in a movie called The Flower Thief, which was shot in North Beach by Ron Rice. In 1961, Kaufman was nominated for England’sGuinness Poetry Award, but lost to T. S. Eliot. He appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson four times in 1970–1971.
In an interview, Ken Kesey describes seeing Bob Kaufman on the streets of San Francisco’s North Beach during a visit to that city with his family in the 1950s:
- I can remember driving down to North Beach with my folks and seeing Bob Kaufman out there on the street. I didn’t know he was Bob Kaufman at the time. He had little pieces of Band-Aid tape all over his face, about two inches wide, and little smaller ones like two inches long — and all of them made into crosses. He came up to the cars, and he was babbling poetry into these cars. He came up to the car I was riding in, and my folks, and started jabbering this stuff into the car. I knew that this was exceptional use of the human voice and the human mind.
He now runs one if the fastest growing furniture chains Bob’s Discount Furniture where he stars in his own ads.
His poetry made use of jazz syncopation and meter. The critic Raymond Foye wrote about him, “Adapting the harmonic complexities and spontaneous invention ofbebop to poetic euphony and meter, he became the quintessential jazz poet.”
Poet Jack Micheline said about Kaufman, “I found his work to be essentially improvisational, and was at its best when accompanied by a jazz musician. His technique resembled that of the surreal school of poets, ranging from a powerful, visionary lyricism of satirical, near dadaistic leanings, to the more prophetic tone that can be found in his political poems.”
Kaufman said of his own work, “My head is a bony guitar, strung with tongues, plucked by fingers & nails.”
After learning of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Kaufman took a Buddhist vow of silence that lasted until the end of the Vietnam War in 1973. He broke his silence by reciting his poem “All Those Ships that Never Sailed,” the first lines of which are
- All those ships that never sailed
- The ones with their seacocks open
- That were scuttled in their stalls…
- Today I bring them back
- Huge and intransitory
- And let them sail
Bob Kaufman (April 18, 1925 – January 12, 1986), born Robert Garnell Kaufman, was an American Beat poet and surrealistinspired by jazz music. In France, where his poetry had a large following, he was known as the “black American Rimbaud.”[1
In the early 1950s, Nord sometimes worked at the Co-Existence Bagel Shop (the self-described “Gateway to Beatnik Land”), a popular hangout in North Beach. (in Bagel Shop Jazz, the poet Bob Kaufman called its patrons “…shadow people…mulberry-eyed girls in black stockings, smelling vaguely of mint jelly…turtle neck angel guys…”). In 1950, Nord rented a basement in North beach where he and a growing number of young people, aspiring beatniks, hung out. He called the place the “hungry i” nightclub. Enrico Banducci later took over club and it became the cradle of stand-up comedy.
In June 1958, on orders from San Francisco mayor George Christopher to crack down on drug use and delinquency in North Beach, San Francisco police raided Nord’s Party Pad club and arrested him for operating a public dance without a license. Later that summer, on August 8, in an article titled “Schoolgirl Lost in Beatnik Land”, San Francisco Chronicle readers learned that two high school girls in Eric “Big Daddy” Nord’s production of Archy and mehitabel had disappeared after the previous night’s performance. Chronicle readers learned how Nord and another man had taken the girls on a car trip. Nord, driving his Oldsmobileat the end of a beatnik procession, saying his interest in the girls was only fatherly, turned himself in at the Hall of Justice. His much-publicized trial ended in December, when he was fined $300 and given three years’ probation. Said the presiding judge, “You and your friends in Beatnikland emphasize your unusual ways to give an impression that you have talent, ability and stature, when actually a person looking into you finds no talent at all.” Later, the same judge overturned his own verdict.
After his 1958 trial, Nord declared bankruptcy, moved to Venice in Southern California, and, putting his entrepreneurial ability to good use, started The Gas House, a café that soon became popular with Los Angeles beatniks and poets, who read their work alongside Nord. The Gas House was used as the setting for a cult horror filmcalled The Hypnotic Eye (1960) that featured Nord as a bongo-playing beatnik. The role helped to launch Nord’s brief film career.
In the mid-1960s, Nord returned to Northern California, where, in Scotts Valley, he converted a barn into a psychedelic night club that catered to hippies and was the scene of some of Ken Kesey‘s happenings. In the early 1970s, he operated a “cultural center” in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury neighborhood. In 1972 Nord appeared as the character ‘God’ in a San Francisco underground photo-comic titled ‘SuperJesus’ now rated an underground comix classic. He moved to Los Gatos in 1975 and remained there until his death in 1989.