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06 March 2013

The Big House – police raid

1932 was a peak year for pansy revues in Los Angeles with appearances by Karyl Norman and Jean Malin, and the next year Hollywood made a record number of films with pansy content.

However, from 1932 onwards, and especially after the end of Alcohol Prohibition in 1933, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) started busting the pansy clubs. BBB's Cellar and Jimmie's Back Yard were raided repeatedly.

The raid on The Big House on Hollywood Boulevard in the fall of 1932 is notable in that it met resistance: the patrons fought back and a female impersonator attempted to escape through a window. However he, the owner and two patrons were arrested.

The bar, renamed Buddy's Rendezvous, reopened, and the police returned eight months later. The waiter was arrested for selling liquor and beer without a proper licence, and five transvestites were arrested on vagrancy charges.
  • Daniel Hurewitz. Bohemian Los Angeles and the Making of Modern Politics. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007: 121-2.

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