It Happened Here is a documentary series on the US Reelz channel, charting key locations in the lives of legendary icons. The most recent episode focuses on Marilyn, visiting Zuma Beach, California (where she posed for some of her earliest photo shoots); The Rainbow Bar and Grill in Hollywood (formerly the Villa Nova Restaurant, where she and Joe DiMaggio first dated); and the subway grate on Lexington and 52nd, NYC, where she filmed The Seven Year Itch. Guests include authors Lois Banner, Elizabeth Winder, and reality TV star Trisha Paytas. While it’s an interesting premise, fans tell me the show is marred by sensationalism and unfounded insinuations (which is unfortunately no big surprise, as Reelz previously aired a National Enquirer documentary on Marilyn.)
Charlotte Dale, former owner of the Villa Nova restaurant on the Sunset Strip, has died aged 93, reports the Los Angeles Times.
“Born on June 24, 1924, in Duluth, Minn., Charlotte Dale’s family moved to Beverly Hills in the 1930s. Graduating from UCLA in 1946, Dale worked for a time at the William Morris Talent Agency and was a personal assistant to ‘F Troop’ star Forrest Tucker..
In 1948 she married Allen Dale, who had changed his name from Carlo Alfredo Di-Lisio when he came from Italy to Hollywood in the 1920s, finding work as an actor and stuntman. He opened the Villa Nova Trattoria on Hollywood and Vine in 1933 with financial backers Charlie Chaplin and Vincente Minnelli.
According to Alison Martino’s Vintage Los Angeles website, that’s where the couple met. After marrying, they ran the restaurant together, which moved several times before settling on the Sunset Strip in 1944. The site is now the location of the Rainbow Bar and Grill, a rock star hangout. The site has an interesting article about Dale’s visit to the Rainbow when she was 90.
Villa Nova was frequented by Hollywood’s elite on the Sunset Strip. Legend has it, it’s where Marilyn Monroe had her first date with Joe DiMaggio and Minnelli proposed to Judy Garland.”
An article for WeHoVille looks back at the history of the former Villa Nova restaurant on Sunset Strip (once a hangout for Old Hollywood’s elite, now the Rainbow Bar and Grill.)
“Countercultural hippies. Rock ’n’ roll. Hollywood’s Golden Age. Over the years, the Sunset Strip has evolved. One era saw Marilyn Monroe falling for Joe DiMaggio, another Jim Morrison dangling over the boulevard out of a tenth-story window.
Ninety-year-old Charlotte Dale’s memory glimmers bright with the glitz and glamour of old Hollywood. During that bygone era, Dale ran Villa Nova alongside her late husband, Allen. The eatery’s celebrity connections go back to its beginnings. Allen Dale opened the original Villa Nova, located on Vine, with $100 in backing from silent film icon Charlie Chaplin. It later moved to the Sunset Strip, where for years the Dales catered to a diverse clientele that included movie stars, advertising and radio professionals and gangsters.
When Dale recently visited the former Villa Nova site at 9015 Sunset Blvd. at Wetherly, now the Rainbow Bar & Grill, she was struck by how much of the venue seemed frozen in time. The skylight and stained glass were still there. The staff still uses the same system for numbering the tables. Dale even spotted a cash register that’s apparently been there since the days when Dean Martin and Judy Garland were familiar faces.”