Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The Muckenthaler Cultural Center celebrates the 100th anniversary of Prohibition

In the1920s people would go to speakeasies in order to listen to music, drink alcohol and gamble. The Muckenthaler of Fullerton brought the roaring ’20s to life Wednesday night.

The Muckenthaler was initially an 18-room home that was donated to the city of Fullerton in 1965 by Harold Muckenthaler. He had dreams for his childhood home to become a public cultural center and inspire the imagination through the arts.

“The reason specifically for a speakeasy is because, historically the speakeasies were from a very specific era during prohibition and that’s the same era this mansion was built, which is 1925. It just fits thematically with the history of this home,” said Farrell Hirsch, CEO of The Muckenthaler.

Live performance
A live performance of '20s music was put on for the guests to enjoy. Photo credit: Holly Hulion

As guests arrived, they needed a secret password to get in which was “orange juice.”

Upon entering, there were armed guards also known as treasury agents who were part of the United States Treasury Department. Behind them were bottles of alcohol that had been confiscated along with multiple riffles and endless ammunition.

In the main parlor, guests were able to help themselves to a variety of delicious hors d’oeuvres while the sweet sound of ’20s music played in the background. Posters were hung on the walls that read “Closed for violation of the National Prohibition Act” as well as “Drunk women deserve jail.”

There was a game of chance room in the back occupied by a Vingt-Un table known today as blackjack as well as a Faro table. Faro was one of the most popular games at the time due to its promotional payout.

Faro Table
Banker Warren Yeager deals cards as the guests sip alcohol and anticipate their next move. Photo credit: Holly Hulion

Next to the gambling room was a bar that sold a variety of alcoholic beverages for the guests to enjoy without having to worry about getting in trouble.

A duo performed live music, one delightfully played the piano as his partner sung songs, which kept the guests locked in and entertained throughout the night.

The men were suited up looking sharp, some added brim hats accompanied by a feather. The women wore outfits and dresses of lace and sequins while many draped beautiful pearls around their necks.

When asked how this event was heard about golden ticket holder of the Muck, Loretta Donaldson explained, “I am a member and we come to this every year, it is excellent and very traditional for the era. The costuming and makeup is great especially the way people are participating and the food is super.”

Later in the night during the live performance, there was a raid. Armed treasury agents barged into the speakeasy. The guests were frightened because they were drinking and gambling which was illegal.

Treasury Agents
Two Prohibition agents stand in front of confiscated bottles of alcohol. John Olinger is seen to the left and Bruce Willis is on the right. Photo credit: Holly Hulion

Luckily, the treasury agents were able to be paid off and they allowed the guests to enjoy the rest of their Gatsby-themed night, worry-free.

The speakeasy started as one of three or four fundraisers does in the course of the year. They also run many different programs in Fullerton and throughout the region such as bringing art classes to prisons, homeless shelters and facilities for victims of domestic violence. They also have a day camp for kids on the autism spectrum, which are where many of the proceeds go and just a few of the things they do that no one knows about.

The Muck holds weekly events which may be found online or in their brochure.

The public hours are Tuesday through Sunday noon to 4 p.m. The address is 1201 West Malvern Ave. in Fullerton.

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    bruce willisFeb 23, 2020 at 2:04 pm


    I was the agent you interviewed. This is a very nice article and thank you!

    Bruce Willis aka Special Agent Mickey Cohen