Bobby Kennedy - THE AMBASSADOR HOTEL

The California Democratic primary was in early June of 1968. Kennedy really needed a victory since McCarthy had defeated him in Oregon.

With his wins in Indiana and Nebraska, Bobby could effectively eliminate McCarthy from the Democratic race if he prevailed in America's largest state. The nominating convention, in Chicago, would then be a two-man contest between Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey, the sitting Vice President (from Minnesota).

At that time of his life, Bobby and Ethel had ten children with an eleventh on the way. The family was often with him when he spoke. Ethel was at his side during the

California campaign.

Bobby was scheduled to speak at the Embassy Ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel after the primary results were known. Everything except a small portion of this once-famous Los Angeles landmark was demolished in late 2005. How did the hotel appear during its heyday and at the time when Bobby gave his speech there (shortly after midnight, on June 5, 1968)?

  • Bellmen at the Ambassador show off their new "admiral" uniforms on January 12, 1961. Pictured, from left, are: Bud Johnson, Eldon Smith (the bell captain), Penny Clissold, and Paul Persie.
  • The Academy-Awards banquet was held in the Coconut Grove ballroom on March 5, 1943. Many of the men attending that year were in uniform because America was still in the midst of World War II.
  • The Ambassador was closed, and its contents auctioned, before the building was demolished.

Primary results were finally known late in the evening of June 4th. The Senator from New York had won.

Bobby, Ethel and their supporters celebrated RFK's victory in the Embassy Ballroom. The Senator was tired but happy. He concluded his victory speech with the words:

Now it's on to Chicago and let's win there.

Bobby was guided off the podium to meet with the waiting press corps. En route, the entourage would pass through a small food-preparation area.

At the time, presidential candidates were not given Secret-Service protection.

 

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