Cocktails, Shuffleboard, and Cheesecake

Matchbook Cover for Mamie’s – 1948-1951

Today’s post answers the musical question, “what do The Beatles, the Memphis Belle B-17 Flying Fortress, and Clancy’s Saloon have in common?”

Since last Friday, we’ve posted two images of the Seal Beach Pharmacy that once occupied the current storefront of Clancy’s Saloon at 111 Main Street.    While preparing a future post, I stumbled across a matchbook cover for another business that once ran at the same location.  If you were in the mood for better bar-b-q, cocktails, and shuffleboard, Mamie’s was the place to go in the late forties and early fifties.

What is interesting about this matchbook cover is the illustration of the buxom babe preparing to go fishing by charmingly asking us if we’ll bait her hook.  The signature reads “PETTY,” who was George Petty, a well-known cheesecake artist working in the Albert Vargas style.  He did a series of pin-ups called “The Petty Girls” for Esquire magazine from 1933-1956.  His glamorous gals were reproduced extensively as nose art on American World War II airplanes, including the famous “Memphis Belle” that was featured in a wartime documentary and feature film.  You can find an image of a Petty Girl in the crowd on the album cover for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  And between 1948 and 1951, George Petty drew five sets of girlie matchbook covers for the Monarch Match Company in San Jose to be used on business matchbooks across the country, including Seal Beach’s very own Mamie’s.

One of the fascinating things about local history is how even minor ephemera like a matchbook cover can lead you far away from your original subject.

To learn more about George Petty, visit The Pin-Up Files or view more samples of his artwork at the American Art Archives.

Be sure to check back each week for more historical photos and stories of Seal Beach.

– Michael Dobkins

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