On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff
WIFE DOTTIE LED an adventurous lile. Japan to Brazil to the Arctic Circle to La Cienega near 3rd Street in Los Angeles. In sifting through her treasures, I have proof positive of all of these adventures, including a folded oversize (13 7/8 x 21 1/2-in.) menu from The Captain’s Table.
A Unique Menu. Like most menus, this one is sans date. Unlike most others, it has an autographed caricature labeled “Groucho” together with a mathematical derivation of the volume of a sphere.
Was Groucho Marx a closet mathematician? Was an earlier mathematician in Wife Dottie’s life a caricature artist?
It’s a wonderful calculus application of integration, of summing up a bunch of thin slices to determine a volume.
The Caricature. The Groucho attribution is sketchier. Googling Groucho’s autograph shows a general resemblance of the G and maybe the r, but no caricatures. Even sketchy ones.
On the other hand, maybe he was experiencing a mathematical high after having derived the sphere volume. I got that way with dynamical systems theory.
What About the Date? This is the easy part. Vintage Menu Mania has a listing for “1950’s Menu THE CAPTAIN’S TABLE,” marked down to $67.99 from $97.00, albeit also noted “SOLD OUT.”
“Check out the prices!” says Vintage Menu Mania: Among them, $2.95 for Broiled California Lobster, Broiled Filet Mignon Mushroom Sauce $4.25.
Perusing this menu, one can see that Broiled California Lobster, Drawn Butter had risen to $3.85. Filet Mignon, French Trimmed, $5.50.
I’m guessing Wife Dottie’s visit to The Captain’s Table was in the mid-1960s, about the time she started at R&T. Celebrating her new job? With a mathematician and Groucho??
This sorta fits with information from the Old Los Angeles Restaurants website, which wrote about “The Captain’s Table” on February 5, 2012. This website reported, “Located at the end of Restaurant Row—on La Cienega near 3rd Street—The Captain’s Table had a glorious history as one of the city’s best places to eat fish. Alas, by the time I dined there in the early seventies, it had become a rather mediocre and overpriced establishment that sold you a lobster with the same grandeur and price tag of Tiffany’s delivering your new diamond tiara. The decor had that ‘men’s club’ feel with a maritime flavor and chairs that had uneven legs so they made you seasick. I don’t think that was deliberate.”
The website also shares a funny story about Star Trek fans attempting, unsuccessfully, to invite William Shatner to dine with them at The Captain’s Table. Captain Kirk, get it?
The website learned that Shatner didn’t like the place and, “Two days after I heard this, I noticed The Captain’s Table was out of business and the building was being sprayed with psychedelic colors, long after they were fashionable, and transformed into a discotheque, long after anyone was going to them. It was like the place was so ashamed at being rejected by William Shatner that it had turned to drugs.”
Based on this, and knowing Wife Dottie’s proper upbringing, I’m confident her adventure was prior to this degradation of The Captain’s Table. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays, 2021