That place with the fanciful awnings across the street is part of an iconic American Institution. In the 1950's and 60's - Enrico Banducci was the premier nightclub operator in San Francisco. Enrico was a short fellow with a round face, broad smile, trim mustache, and dancing eyes - who always wore a black beret.
His nightclub was The Hungry I - which he purchase for $800 in 1958 with money he borrowed. Enrico was a natural at discovering new talent and the place became a huge success. Among the entertainers who found their careers launched by Enrico were Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Bill Cosby, Jonathan Winters, The Smothers Brothers, and Woody Allen, who in 1961 - opened for a 19-year-old singer from New York City named Barbra Streisand.
Enrico Banducci had never heard Streisand sing - and hired her based solely on the moxie she showed in her agent's office, offering her, " 175 bucks a week - 200, if she can sing, too!" On opening night - Woody Allen was so nervous that the audience booed him off the stage - not allowing him to finish his routine.
Enrico Banducci also introduced countless folk singers and groups including The Limelighters and The Kingston Trio.
The cafe in this photograph was Enrico's last stand after the area's nightclubs evaporated. It is still in operation. Enrico past away two years ago at the age of 85. He was quite a character.
Larger view with map link: http://www.pbase.com/joyoflight/image/120089976/original
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