Waxing Nostalgic about 1920s Shanghai Nightlife--in the 1930s!

Do you ever get nostalgic about Shanghai nightlife in the 1990s? Well, ever wonder what would it be like for a guy in Shanghai in the 1930s to wax nostalgic about the good ol' 1920s? Here's your answer:

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Do you remember—when the old Plantation Café with Jack Carter’s band held forth on the present premises of the American Women’s Club on Bubbling Well Road?

When the former Palais de Dance, now the Majestic Café, was under the management of Al Israel, with “Handsome” Hanson as bouncer? And there was boxing every week under the direction of Fred Jobson?

When Browning’s Café was known as Eddy’s and was operated and owned by a Chinese who formerly was the No. 1 barboy at the Astor House Hotel?

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When the Savoy Hotel Ballroom was one of the gayest spots in town during the curfew nights of 1927? The cabaret ran full blast all through the night but patrons had to enter before curfew time and remain until 5 a.m. when the curfew was lifted.

Paramount Opens Tonight (1934)

What a night this must have been! --AF

 The front entrance and tower of the Paramount Ballroom from an architectural journal 中国建筑

The front entrance and tower of the Paramount Ballroom from an architectural journal 中国建筑

 Joe Farren, ballroom dance instructor and manager

Joe Farren, ballroom dance instructor and manager

The Paramount, probably one of the finest ballrooms outside the United States and Europe, will tonight reopen after a closure of several months necessitated by the summer season. The Paramount is out to make a bid for night club supremacy here and is firing its first shot in the battle for patrons by featuring the biggest floorshow on record. No fewer than 15 girls will appear in chorus numbers in addition to an American dancer, Gladys Glenning and an American master of ceremonies, Nick Burrel.

 Ermoll's Orchestra (1920s, Majestic Ballroom)

Ermoll's Orchestra (1920s, Majestic Ballroom)

The chorus girls have been trained and drilled to perfection by Joe Farren, reports the management and night club goers should see plenty of snappy numbers provided by the pretty and talented local girls, the majority of whom are Russians. Serge Ermoll’s well-known orchestra has been engaged to play all dance music. Ermoll’s band is not only an excellent one but is one of the most popular in the Far East. In Tsingtao, where it played at the Tsingtao Café, it was by far the biggest attraction in the summer resort’s night life. Serge Ermoll is a fine leader and his men have played together for a long time thus assuring perfect harmony. (Max Cheichek, China Press, Sept 28 1934)