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January 3, 2022

Dizzy Dali Dinner: A Surrealistic Night in an Enchanted Forest at Hotel Del Monte in Monterey, California, 1941

A 1941 newsreel of the famous/notorious dizzy dinner given by Salvador Dali in the Bali Room of the Hotel Del Monte, Monterey, California. The event was titled A Surrealistic Night in a Surrealist Forest and it was a fund raiser to help European artists displaced by the Second World War.

Transcript: Mr. Salvador Dali gives a party. The Spanish painter of surrealism dresses Mrs. Dali in a unicorn’s head – just to start things off. As hostess, she presides from a red velvet bed. The party is a benefit for refugee artists, and costumes are supposed to represent the guests’ bad dreams. Artist Dali wears ear flaps, representing anatomy. A puzzled guest, Bob Hope, sees the fish course served in satin slippers… presumably the fish is sole. Soldier Jackie Coogan and Mr. Hope see the main course – the party is surrealism, but them frogs is real! [Frogs begin to jump off Bob Hope’s dinner plate...]
It’s also noteworthy that his wife Gala was dressed as a unicorn, lounging on a velvet bed, and that guests – including celebrities like Bob Hope, Alfred Hitchcock, Bing Crosby, and Ginger Rogers – were asked to wear costumes representing their dreams. Details and photographs of the planning and preparations for the party can be found in the short book, “A Surrealistic Night in an Enchanted Forest” by Barbara Briggs-Anderson and Julian P. Graham (2012).


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