One of the first things I learned about in film studies, after Eadweard Muybridge’s The Horse in Motion, and the works of the Lumiere brothers, was the Hollywood Studio System. While it was technically the creation of Jewish immigrants, which sounds progressive, it was, in fact, a very toxic empire and way of conducting business. The demands placed on actors were brutal, especially concerning body image. Despite the toxicity, my fascination with the era remains, and I was delighted this week to see a 1941 menu for the Warner Brothers Studio cafe circulating on Twitter.
The menu was shared by @wyattduncan, who asked their followers what they’d order from the cafe’s expansive menu. The mammoth selection includes a whopping 24 sections, from hors d’oeuvres to ice cream sundaes. The menu is fascinating, and not only because it’s a peek into the very unique (and often gross) tastes of the era – it’s also fascinating because every single item is priced in cents. According to DollarTimes, that .95 cent imported caviar should run us about 18.78 today. At my favorite appetizing shop here in New York City, 50 grams of Osetra caviar will run a person $260.
Despite the sobering statistics regarding money, I did have fun perusing the menu and the responses from Twitter. So we’re here to share them with you.
Oh, and here’s my order: