S. S. Tango Christmas and New Year's Dinner Menu [with] Complimentary Invitation Card
[Long Beach, California]: Circa 1930s. Menu: 6-1/2 x 4-1/2 inches. Invitation: 3-1/2 x 4-3/4 inches. Menu printed in red and green on white paper, recto only; invitation printed in blue on white paper and light blue paper, a bifolium that houses a separate, wallet-sized invitation card (unused) inserted into slots. Fold line and minor soiling to verso of menu; light toning and corner bump to invitation. Very Good.
Scarce ephemera from the SS Tango, the smaller of two gambling ships operated by Anthony Cornero, aka "Tony the Hat", a Prohibition-era bootlegger turned casino magnate. Along with his SS Rex, the Tango was anchored just over three miles off the coast of Long Beach in international waters, allowing it to operate legally as a casino -- for a time. From their inception in 1938, local authorities tried numerous times to shut the ships down. Finally, in 1946, with the whole-hearted approval of then-governor Earl Warren, authorities successfully argued in court that the ships weren't actually in international waters, but in fact were anchored within the limit of California waters. Police and members of the US Coast Guard attempted to raid the ships, but were kept at bay for eight days with water hoses while Cornero refused to let them board. Finally, claiming he "needed a haircut", Cornero gave himself up, and all of the gambling machines and paraphernalia on board were dumped into the ocean. The ships officially closed down not long afterward.
The menu offered here is particularly scarce, with no others like it found in online resources. The dinner includes reliches, choice of appetizer, salad, fried filet of sole in egg batter, prime ribs, veal scolopini, baked Puritan ham, plum pudding, pineapple sundae, and more. The invitation, which is more commonly found, is unusual for including the wallet card.