Adam’s Rib Cabaret

Update!

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This business card was purchased recently from Vancouver ephemera collector, Rein Stamm. MDM Collection.

I love the scantily-clad, outrageous word play on this card!

Adam’s Rib (1047 Granville) was located on the west side of Granville Street, midway between Helmcken and Nelson. Specifically, it was between where “The Mexican” restaurant and the “Vietnamese Supermarket” are today, in a space that seems currently vacant. And for good reason — from the outside, it looks like a realtor’s nightmare.

It wasn’t the first or last cabaret to be at this location. It was preceded by the Italian Paradise Cabaret (1966-68) and (lasting just a few months) The Lantern Cabaret. Adam’s Rib endured from late in 1968 until sometime in 1974. It was succeeded by The Fox’s Den (1974-75) and The Windmill cabarets (1975-82; one of their early acts was the Asparagus Band!).

Dec 11 1968 V Sun

Vancouver Sun. 11 Dec 1968.

The ad at left was one of Adam’s Rib’s first.  It strikes me as odd. They chose to play on their name, which derived from the biblical Book of Genesis, Chapter 2, in which the story of Eve’s creation from Adam’s rib is told (verses 21-23).¹ But I must say that the illustrated Adam and Eve look like they’ve seen better days (and after the ‘serpent’ was finished with them, I imagine they had). But I’m not convinced that showing Adam and Eve in this unattractive fashion, looking as though they’d just come off some ’60s bender, was the best way to persuade customers to venture into a new Cabaret.

It isn’t clear from the business card what the opening and closing times were. The card only shows when the Businessmen’s Luncheon ran: from Noon (presumably, although they used the less-than-conventional time form of ’12:00 a.m.’) until 4 p.m. To find out the general open hours I had to rely on another ad: “Dine and dance nightly 5pm to 2am.”

Screen Shot 2019-05-10 at 7.18.10 AM-2

Sun. 22 Aug 1969.

What would have been the nature of the live entertainment at lunch and other times? It seems almost certain (judging from the none-too-veiled puns on the card) that there would have been women dancing, probably topless, although it isn’t clear to me from the little information available whether they would typically have peeled anything besides their tops.²

As far as I can tell, Adam’s Rib did not re-locate in Vancouver after closing at 1047 Granville.

CVA 1184-3471 - [Board of Trade members watching a woman on stage at a Christmas in June luncheon at the Cave cabaret] 1948 Jack Lindsay

CVA 1184-3471 – Board of Trade members watching a woman on stage at a Christmas in June luncheon at The Cave cabaret. 1948. Jack Lindsay photo.

Notes

¹”Adam’s Rib” was also the name of a hugely popular motion picture starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn (1949). There were other Adam’s Ribs both before and after this cabaret: the biblical story lent the name to a ’50s line of perfume by Lentheric; and in the mid-’70s, Woodward’s marketing department must have decided that there was money in the creation story: they flogged ‘Adam’s Rib’ towels and blouses.

²Stripping was part of the entertainment at several other night spots around the same period (notably, Isy’s Strip City and The Penthouse — the names say it all; and the State on Hastings in the ’50s with acts including Yvette Dare ‘and her sarong-stealing parrot’!) Oddly, whether a cabaret planned to include strippers as part of their entertainment seems to have had little impact on whether a cabaret was granted a license. Licensing was mainly about the booze.

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