the Official Website of The Historic Masquers Club
"A social sanctuary for actors and the theatrically inclined."
In 1925, eight actors were dedicated to a dream. Expatriated from their Broadway haunts by constant film commitments, they wanted to form a club here in Hollywood; a private place of rendezvous, where they could fraternize at any time.
Their first organizational powwow was held at the home of Robert Edeson on April 19th.
"This shall be a theatrical club of love, loyalty, and laughter!" finalized Edeson. Then, proposing a toast, he declared, "To the Masquers! We Laugh to Win!"
The first general meeting and election of officers was held on May 25th, and that date became the official birthday of The Masquers.
The club, in a converted house at Yucca and McCadden Streets, was formally opened on June lst of the same year - and the rest is Hollywood history.
...from the 1979 Ginger Rogers Dinner program
by Joe Pasternak, Harlequin 1970-1979
Fast forward to the year 2002..... The Masquers was on the verge of being hit by the virtual wrecking ball. The few remaining die-hard members from the club's glory days had finally grown weary of trying to keep the old club alive. Their committment was of a classic Masquers variety, and, ultimately, their weariness earned and justified. Under the direction of the late actor Anthony Caruso (Harlequin 1979-2002), this squad of men and women had insisted that the club not become a distant memory of Hollywood lore, but that it remain a thriving entity of Hollywood-present, a continued place of refuge and fraternity for actors and the theatrically inclined.
But the times had changed since the club's salad days, and the very people that it once served (and served like no other!) had changed too.
No longer was it culturally compelling to gather in-person to support one another. No longer was it popular to nurture a sense of community among the acting population as once had been the exquisite norm. But the Masquers, as only the Masquers would, said a collective "No!" to the cold facts of this new time, and continued to meet and support one another for more than 20 years after its own Ice Age had begun. The club met even when there was no longer a clubhouse at which to gather. It met even when membership numbered under 20, then under 15, then..... The spirit of the Masquers continued to manifest itself as "a club founded on love", focusing on all-matters-Masquers (which you will learn about as you delve more into this Website). We continued to "Laugh To Win."
But a time came when even the most ardent, never-say-die members had to ask, "Does anyone care anymore?" And a time came when the answer seemed to be inescapably "no." However, the Masquers spirit is bigger than the sum of its parts, and, only moments before its seemingly timely death, it was rescued from that fate in order to be transformed into primarily a historical society cut from the same cloth as the old club.
Now, in its new incarnation, I am deeply honored to be the custodian of this historic Hollywood organization, and will see to it that the club is equipped to serve the needs of generations --- of actors and film historians --- to come, whatever those needs may be, while always remaining, as our co-founder Robert Edeson said so plainly, "a Club of love and loyalty and laughter."
William Malin, Harlequin 2002-