Fun At the Muni – Long Beach Municipal Auditorium Pt. 2

Posted: February 9, 2011 in Theaters

The biggest dance crowd in the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium’s history  — 11,072 strong — gathered there to hear Harry James and his hand. Second biggest dance crowd — more than 10,000 — assembled to hear the Glenn Miller band.

Both of those dances were in 1942, the first full year of World War II.

Harry James’ big number in those days was “I Don’t Want to Walk Without You, Baby,” and Miller went strong for “One o’clock Jump,” “Tuxedo Junction” and “String of Pearls.”

Judy Garland sang her “comeback, on to Broadway” concert in Municipal Auditorium in July 1955.

The place was packed. Judy sang to what she said was the most appreciative audience of her life. She sung six extra numbers, running the concert 45 minutes overtime,

Frank Sinatra chartered a bus and brought to Judy’s concert Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Dean Martin, Van Johnson, Eddie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Betty Hutton, Leslie Caron, Danny Davis Jr., Dick Powell, June Allyson, David Wayne, Edgar Bergen, Prince Mike Romanoff and composer Johnny Green — to name a few.  Then Sinatra took the stage in impromptu fashion and sang a duet with Judy.

Next:  rhythm and blues at the Muni

  1. Bob King says:

    My office was in the Mvnicipal Avditorium (if you recall, the “v” was vsed rather than the “u”) when I worked for the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau.

    Have a number of stories about same if one is interested.

    Contact me via this site or

  2. Bob King says:

    The Order of the Eastern Star was a B-I-G deal. These ladies (and some gentlemen) spent a lot of money in Long Beach. A very good booking. If one looks closely at a photograph of the entrance to the auditorium, one will see The Order of the Eastern Star and the logo in trimmed flowers. Man! That was there a long time. As was the tiled mural…..which I understand was removed tile-by-tile and relocated on Wardlow…..or close to Wardlow.

    I personally booked the Gold Star Mothers on more than one occasion. If you’re not aware of what a Gold Star Mother is, suggest you Google it. They didn’t spend as much money, but they were all very nice ladies.

    I saw Gorgeous George at the Municipal Auditorium and Primo Carnera. Also, the Reverend “Ike” Eickenberger (“I don’t wanna hear no clinks, I just wanna hear the rustle of green in the collection buckets.”) and a host of other celebs and semi-celebs.

    The Auditorium was the venue for the Miss Universe Pageant……as earlier stated, my office was at the Auditorium, so I was privy to seeing a bevy of beauties every time the Pageant came to town. Those young ladies had so many security people around them, one couldn’t even get close….usually.

    Boxing matches, wrestling matches, stamp and coin shows, car shows, televised championship fights, concerts, theater….great venue. I shed a lot of tears when that puppy was torn down.

    Progress? Yeah, right!

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