Born on 12 January 1884 in Waco, Mary Louise Cecilia "Texas" Guinan played a gun-slinger and rode bareback in silent films, took New York by storm in 1906, and earned a salary of $700,000 as a speakeasy hostess. Here are highlights from a life led at full speed until 5 November 1933. Meet TEXAS GUINAN!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Texas Guinan: Belle Livingston

Oh those days when TEXAS GUINAN offered world-class whoopee along with her rival hostess, Belle Livingston, who ran a four-story speak at 158-160 East Fifty-Eighth Street.
• • "Men are nicer to the women they don't marry." — Belle Livingston
• • "I looked always outside of myself to see what I could make the world give me, instead of looking within myself to see what was there."  — Belle Livingston
• • "Belle Out of Order" by Belle Livingston [NY: Holt, 341  pages]
• • Reviewed by William Leonard
• • Belle Livingston was a showgirl in the 199Os, an international courtesan in the Edwardian era, proprietress of a gilded and exclusive speakeasy in the 1920s, a jailbird for 30 days in the 1930s, and a penniless "has been" for many years before her death in 1957.
• • All those stages in her career except the final one glitter entertainingly in her autobiography, written in 1948 but unpublished until now because she wasn't satisfied with it.
• • Belle knew the magnetism of mystery, and seldom fretted too much about the facts. She claimed to have started life as a foundling discovered under a sunflower, and liked to call herself the "sunflower girl." She consorted with kings and millionaires, statesmen, and bartenders, but no one ever knew whether she was fabulously wealthy or flat broke. The element of uncertainty that pervaded her life pervades her book.
From: TexasGuinan.blogspot.com
• •  It's a lighthearted, singing life story, full of color as well as fibs. As a member of the champagne and lobster set in the days before World War I, Belle seems to recall that she was an intimate buddy of every important male from Kitchener to Theodore Roosevelt, from Edward VII of England to King Leopold of Belgium. She went through four husbands and spent many years intimating that if the right man came along he might be the lucky fifth.
• • From 1927 to 1931, the period in her life when she won most fame, Belle was a friendly rival of Texas Guinan in the operation of fancy illegal saloons. But, whereas Tex greeted the patrons with "Hello, sucker!" Belle described her joints as salons of literature and the arts.
• • "Texas had the masses while I had the classes," Belle writes. "There was enough for both of us in New York.  Texas and l were two women who passed vigorously rather than happily through prohibition. Although temporary figures, we were clearly visible."
• • When Belle's fanciest Manhattan speakeasy was raided in January 1931, she fled across the rooftops in flashy red pajamas but was captured and given 30 days. Strangely, her description of that month in the old Harlem jail is sympathetic. And that was just about the end of Belle's career [sic], for she outlived her time.
• • She was a hell raiser in a genteel fashion, and her book manages to be scandalous without being vulgar.
• • [Ed.: No, that was not the end of her career. After she served time in NYC, Belle went to Reno, Nevada and opened a speakeasy there.]  
• • Source: "Belle Out of Order" reviewed by  Chicago Tribune; published on 2  August 1959 
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • The legal battles fought by Mae West and Jim Timony are dramatized in the play "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets," set during the Prohibition Era. Texas Guinan is in some scenes, too.
Watch a scene on YouTube.

• • Website for all things Mae West http://MaeWest.blogspot.com 

• • Exciting Texas Guinan news is on the horizon. More anon.
_________________________________________________________
Source:http://texasguinan.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google

• • Photo: Texas Guinan
• • rival hostess • •

Texas Guinan.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Texas Guinan: Wilda Bennett

In 1927  Wilda Bennett and Pepy de Albreau were assisting Brooke Johns and his banjo at TEXAS GUINAN'S 300 Club, 151 West 54th Street.
• • They had celebrated their wedding reception in January 1926 at Texas Guinan's as well. Curfew shall not ring tonight.
• • "Wilda Bennett Weds a Cabaret Dancer; Broadway Surprised" • •
• • NEW YORK. Jan. 20 (A. P.) The New York Herald Tribune today says that Wilda Bennett, actress, has been married to Pepy De Albreau, cabaret dancer, and will star with him in professional engagements. 
• • News of the marriage was a surprise to Broadway inasmuch as a verdict of $37,500 has been obtained against Miss Bennett for alienating the affections of Charles C. Frey, turfman, formerly of Louisville, Ky.   Mrs. Katherine Frey, socially prominent, won the verdict recently after charging the actress with pursuing her husband.
• • The Herald Tribune says that Miss Bennett and De Albreau Pere married In Greenwich, Conn., Monday. Confirmation was obtained through Miss Bennett's sister, Kay, who said: "I don't know many of the details of the marriage, but I do know that Wilda and Pepy were married."
• • Source:  Item on page 2 of The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania); published on 21 January 1926
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • The legal battles fought by Mae West and Jim Timony are dramatized in the play "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets," set during the Prohibition Era. Texas Guinan is in some scenes, too.
Watch a scene on YouTube.

• • Website for all things Mae West http://MaeWest.blogspot.com 

• • Exciting Texas Guinan news is on the horizon. More anon.
_________________________________________________________
Source:http://texasguinan.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google

• • Photo: Texas Guinan
• • at the 300 Club in January 1926 • •

Texas Guinan.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Texas Guinan: Bernard Sobel

The Manhattan press agent Bernard Sobel recalled his relationship with TEXAS GUINAN in his memoir.
• • Bernard Sobel wrote: Texas Guinan was another of Earl Carroll's friends. She was an outstanding figure during the Prohibition era, a night club queen who addressed her patrons as "suckers" and exploited her entertainers with the words, "Give this little girl a hand."
• • Texas grew to know me so well that when my father and mother came to New York, she entertained them at her club. Characteristically, Texas directed all the attention toward mother. Every time that anything would happen, Texas would cry, "How did you like that, mother? How was that, mother? Did that please you, mother?"
• • The attention, though very flattering, was to have its repercussions.  A week after, when mother and I went to see "Carmen" at the Metropolitan Opera House, we made the customary lobby promenade, during the first intermission.  All of a sudden we saw a woman rush up to a man, grab him by the arm and cry, "Look, Charlie, there's mother from Texas Guinan's."
• • The incident struck me as so funny that I wrote it up and sent it  to the old Life Magazine, which straightway published it and sent me a five-dollar check.
• • The story of Texas Guinan has been told, I believe, in songs and films, but my own delight on her career partakes of the incongruous. Though she spent practically most of her time in the denatured atmosphere of a night club, when her work was over, I have heard that she sank into a bed covered with multiple pillows, amid heavy hangings, perfumed dolls and bric-a-brac. Doubtless, too, the windows were closed for fear that a gust of fresh air would contaminate the odor of greasepaint.
• • Fresh air was what Earl Carroll and I sought when the day's work was over.  . . .
• • Belle Livingston, idol of the noctambulists • •
• • Among the queens of this almost forgotten time was Belle Livingston, once the idol of the noctambulists. She is, now in her eighties, a large woman, self-assured, with red hair and a flushed skin. She indicated that her past was distinguished and went in for literature. Her night club introduced the informal idea of having guests sit on the floor, a floor made comfortable with voluptuous pillows which flanked the walls, walls made equally comfortable with satin upholstery. Outside the police hovered regularly about the place and created that illicit atmosphere which made those days continuously exciting.
• • Belle was the first woman in New York to run a speakeasy. She was dubbed the Belle of Prohibition. She once remarked to Texas Guinan:  "My place won't seem like home if I'm not raided." She was jailed at one time for four weeks in a Harlem prison.  . . .
• • Source:  Book: "Broadway Heartbeat: Memoirs of a Press Agent" by Bernard Sobel (NY: Hermitage House, 1953] 
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • The legal battles fought by Mae West and Jim Timony are dramatized in the play "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets," set during the Prohibition Era. Texas Guinan is in some scenes, too.
Watch a scene on YouTube.

• • Website for all things Mae West http://MaeWest.blogspot.com 

• • Exciting Texas Guinan news is on the horizon. More anon.
_________________________________________________________
Source:http://texasguinan.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google

• • Photo: Texas Guinan
• • in the 1920s • •

Texas Guinan.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, January 04, 2016

Texas Guinan: Feets Edson

Hyman Edson worked with TEXAS GUINAN at most of her nightspots.  When she opened a world-class whoopee rousing club in Valley Stream in 1932, it was arranged that Edson would guard the terrain by opening a roadhouse directly across Merrick Road. For entertainment, Edson engaged a talented impressionist who often dressed in an evening gown but who was skilled enough to do both female and male impersonations.
• • Jackie Maye Booked at Showplace • •
• • Hyman "Feets" Edson [1894 —1964] will reopen Long Island's Showplace, and will feature Jackie Maye, just to prove to the waiting hordes that there is still a market for female impersonators (flatterer! Ed.).
• • And just guess who'll open the La Casa, at Valley Stream? Give up? Texas Guinan! Surprise! Texas Guinan, who just tootled overseas long enough to Okay Paris, and who has been announced as opening everything but Grant's Tomb, to date, will settle down at La Casa, and make sleeping tough in Valley Stream.
• • Announced on Saturday, 28 May 1932:  Frank Winegar [1901 — 1988] booked at Texas Guinan's La Casa.
• • Source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, NY); published on Wednesday, 18 May 1932

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • The legal battles fought by Mae West and Jim Timony are dramatized in the play "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets," set during the Prohibition Era. Texas Guinan is in some scenes, too.
Watch a scene on YouTube.

• • Website for all things Mae West http://MaeWest.blogspot.com 

• • Exciting Texas Guinan news is on the horizon. More anon.
_________________________________________________________
Source:http://texasguinan.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google

• • Photo: Texas Guinan
• • news clip from 1965 • •

Texas Guinan.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, January 01, 2016

Texas Guinan: Passing Show of 1912

The live performance of TEXAS GUINAN and the rest of the cast of Broadway's musical "The Passing Show of 1912" was critiqued by various entertainment critics.  California journalist Josephine Hart Phelps wrote this review.
• • "The Passing Show of 1912" • •
• • Here's a short selection of what Josephine Hart Phelps wrote:   There is such an ample and diversified programme in "The Passing Show" and it is so rich with specialists that to select instances of particularly entertaining bits is like trying to pick out the biggest raisins in a plum pudding.
• • Trixie Friganza, of course, stands out preeminently among the women. Next to her comes Adelaide, an exceptionally graceful and spirited pantomimic dancer, who, with her male partner, Hughes, gives a brief play similar in conception and treatment to the pantomimic pieces presented by the Russian dancers, and, like them, is aesthetically beautiful and sensuously poetical. The other girls in the company do not count individually, being bunchable on the ground of looks, and legs, and raucous voices.
• • Perhaps Texas Guinan ought to be excepted • •
• • Perhaps Texas Guinan ought to be excepted, as she captains the fair choral company whenever it parades the runway, and gives a closer view of its charms to devotees in the audience. But Texas Guinan, tall and showy though she is, and standing out like a bright thread in the general glittering weave, has not risen to the dignity of praiseworthy individual achievement.  Her voice is too distressing to cue pleasure either in songs or dialogue, a fault that might be remedied by industry and practice. And when we fall back on her looks and her shape, she is one with the rest.   . . . 
• • Source:  Review written by Josephine Hart Phelps for The Argonaut; published on 12 July 1913.  
• • The Toronto Sunday World printed several images from "The Passing Show" on 15 December 1912. Here's one of cast member Texas Guinan.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • The legal battles fought by Mae West and Jim Timony are dramatized in the play "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets," set during the Prohibition Era. Texas Guinan is in some scenes, too.
Watch a scene on YouTube.

• • Website for all things Mae West http://MaeWest.blogspot.com 

• • Exciting Texas Guinan news is on the horizon. More anon.
_________________________________________________________
Source:http://texasguinan.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google

• • Photo: Texas Guinan
• • in 1912 • •

Texas Guinan.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Texas Guinan: Belmont Theatre

Oh for those days when TEXAS GUINAN offered the hints of world-class whoopee at the Belmont Theatre.
• • "Tex May Make Club of Belmont Theatre" • •
• • Variety wrote: Texas Guinan may take over the Belmont, New York, under lease from Richard Herndon and establish it as a Continental night place.  Although the seats are to be ripped out, the little boxes at the rear would be retained. The balcony is also to be left, with stairways ending upward from the revamped floor. Texas Guinan is going over plans for remodeling the place with Herb Ward.
• • Variety wrote:  The Belmont is next door on West 48th Street to the upstairs club that was once Texas Guinan's, afterwards the Chez Florence Club [117 West 48th Street] and since then having various names and managements. House seats a little over 500.  Has not had a legit success for several seasons.
• • Belmont Theatre, 121-125 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036
• • Source: "Legitimate" column in Variety; published on Wednesday, 4 June 1930 
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • The legal battles fought by Mae West and Jim Timony are dramatized in the play "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets," set during the Prohibition Era. Texas Guinan is in some scenes, too.
Watch a scene on YouTube.

• • Website for all things Mae West http://MaeWest.blogspot.com 

• • Exciting Texas Guinan news is on the horizon. More anon.
_________________________________________________________
Source:http://texasguinan.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google

• • Photo: Texas Guinan
• • Belmont Theatre (razed) • •

Texas Guinan.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 28, 2015

Texas Guinan: Proctor's 5th Avenue

TEXAS GUINAN offered world-class whoopee during her days trouping in variety at Proctor's Fifth Avenue Theatre (27-31 West 28th Street), off Broadway.
• • Variety announced her rather odd specialty number in their section "New Acts of the Week" — —
singing from the basket of an airship. 
• • TEXAS GUINAN  Songs: 16 Mins.; Two  (13);  One (3). Fifth Avenue • •
• • Some one got orders to build an act around a good soprano voice and whoever undertook the task did fairly well. Half the opening song is sung off stage. When the singer appears, it Is in the basket of an airship, suspended about seven feet above the stage.  The balloon swings to and fro, giving rather a good effect. The selection might be of a lighter texture.
• • The second number is sung from an opening in the drop in "one," representing a garden, and furnishes something a little different.
• • a pickaninny appears with a good voice • •
• • As a finish a "moon" number is rendered with the singer in "one."  From the moon on the drop, the face of a pickaninny appears with a good voice back of it, and helps out with the final chorus. It isn't a new idea by any means, but it is so much better than the "plant-in-the- box" that is must be recommended.
• • Miss Guinan has looks and dresses well. Her well-trained soprano does the rest.  The act fared rather well on Wednesday night.   — —  Dash
• • Note:  The Dash reviewer for "Variety" in 1909 is now Charlie Freeman of the R-K-O booking office.
• • Source: "New Acts of the Week" (page 12) Variety; published on 29 May 1909
• • Situated right off Broadway, Proctor's Fifth Avenue on West 28th Street was demolished in 1939.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • The legal battles fought by Mae West and Jim Timony are dramatized in the play "Courting Mae West: Sex, Censorship, and Secrets," set during the Prohibition Era. Texas Guinan is in some scenes, too.
Watch a scene on YouTube.

• • Website for all things Mae West http://MaeWest.blogspot.com 

• • Exciting Texas Guinan news is on the horizon. More anon.
_________________________________________________________
Source:http://texasguinan.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Add to Google

• • Photo: Texas Guinan
• • interior, Proctor's Fifth Avenue Theatre (razed) • •

Texas Guinan.

Labels: , ,