“That great entertainer himself, our own Mr. Magoo!” announces Don Snyder from the piano as he welcomes the Master of Ceremony to the stage.
Don Snyder has been coming to the L.A. Breakfast Club since the 50s. As a young boy, he was an entertainer with the Mitchell Boys Club and came once a year with his own act. When the original pianist from 1925 retired after playing for 64 years, Snyder took over in 1989, and he hasn’t missed a breakfast since.
“We have a lot of historic entertainment segments about different people,” said Don Snyder. “For example, Carl Laemmle was a member, a very prominent member of this club. We look back at what happened in the industry, how the industry grew along with this club and how the entertainment industry is now become a part of this club yet again today.”
As the name implies, every gathering always starts with a hearty breakfast. Ham, bacon, fruit, and eggs are on the menu, but the main course is always conversation.
In between singing of songs, new members get initiated by swearing their allegiance on a plate of breakfast.
“I promise to dance with marionettes,” chants club President Lily Holleman.
“I promise to dance with marionettes,” repeats new member Sabrina Parke.
“And bring that spirit charm every Wednesday morning,” said Holleman.
“Everything about the Breakfast Club truly is about diminishing the bad of life and making fun of ourselves and not taking things too seriously,” said Snyder.
Started in 1925, the LA Breakfast Club almost stopped. Originally a men-only club, it was seen as old-fashioned, but recent changes such as implementing social media has attracted new members and it’s now enjoying a resurgence like the good ol’ days.
And yes, breakfast feeds the belly, but it’s L.A. history that feels the soul, so they invite guest speakers like Hadley Meares, author of L.A. Noir: Little Known Murder Mysteries of Los Angeles.
“It’s just really exciting to be a part of a club where people really care about the history of L.A.,” said Parke shortly after her initiation. “And the club has such an interesting history. Like I just sat on a sawhorse that Walt Disney sat on decades ago.”
And as long as new members like Parke are joining the fun, Snyder will be there to tickle the ivories.