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!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Texas Talks

The year was 1927.

New York's reigning queen of nightlife Texas Guinan was taped by newsmen while waiting to board a ship. In this footage, Texas and a group of pretty young women sing "Hail, hail, the gang's all here!" Then Guinan, in close-up, talks about going to jail.
1927 news footage - -
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Illustration: Texas Guinan

Texas Guinan.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Texas: Fat or Fate?

Every human being has at least one regret. For Texas Guinan, her most embarrassing dilemma was this flim-flam diet scam. Here's a small portion of the sappy ad copy printed in the early 1900s:

Texas Guinan, Star of the "Passing Show" and N.Y. Winter Garden Company, Offers Her Own Marvelous New Treatment to Fat Folks

• • Eat All You Want & Grow Thin - Reduce Rapidly as Much as Desired - The World's Youngest and Most Beautiful Star shows All Womankind the Way to Slim Grace and Beauty
• • "Texas" Guinan, once a plain, stout girl who suddenly and mysteriously reduced herself to fawn-like, fascinating, fairy proportions, now idolized by the thrilled and dazzled audiences before whom she appeared in "The Passing Show of 1912," "The Kiss Waltz," and "The Kissing Girl," a peerless artist whose immaculate melody of voice and bewitching beauty of face and figure have taken American theatre goers by storm. It is said she was pronounced by New York's foremost theatrical manager as "The most perfectly formed woman alive."
• • As Texas Guinan had to perform at the matinee, it seemed the easiest thing in the world to arrange an interview without consulting her. The vigilant stage doorkeeper was easily passed. The dressing-room was hospitably turned open by a maid, and then, well, Miss Guinan [that is, what is left of her] appeared.
• • "So you have come to learn the story of my weight reduction, have you?" said Texas in her breezy style, with her glorious countenance beaming in smiles at her supreme gladness, realizing how appreciative the world was in bestowing admiration and applause upon her, all on account of the new glory of her form which she transformed almost as if by magic with her own marvelous new treatment. ...
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Illustration: Texas Guinan and her diet ad

Texas Guinan.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Texas Guinan: Party Hearty

Texas Guinan didn't confine herself to Manhattan when it came to doing business. Though Texas loved to be in midtown, during the 1920s she also hosted at several speakeasies on Merrick Road in Long Island [Nassau County, New York].

Since her presence spelled H-O-L-I-D-A-Y for so many of her guests, do join in the celebration.
Hello, suckers! Come in and leave your wallet on the bar!
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Illustration: Texas Guinan in her speakeasy on Merrick Road [circa 1928]

Texas Guinan.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Texas Lone Star Spirit

You're the spirit of Christmas
My star on the tree
. . .
[ - from the old song "Daddy's Little Girl"]
• • Though Texas Guinan will not be decorating her annual holiday tree this December, fans can still enjoy Texas Guinan's lone star on "The Walk of Fame" in Hollywood forever:

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Photo: Texas Guinan's lone star [Hollywood]
Texas Guinan.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Texas & The Gay Musician

The year was 1909.

On September 7th, The Gay Musician opened in Guelph, Ontario (Canada) with Texas Guinan. She stayed in the cast for several months as this "comic opera" played the circuit of theatres in the American West including Los Angeles.

Photo: The Gay Musician
Texas Guinan.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Texas: A Wilde Epitaph

Texas Guinan used lines from an Oscar Wilde poem for her epitaph.
And down the long and silent street,
The dawn, with silver-sandaled feet,
Crept like a frightened girl.

[- - excerpt from The Harlot's House by Oscar Wilde]

Belatedly, in honor of the November 30th death of the author:
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde [16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900]


Photo: Texas Guinan mausoleum, Calvary Cemetery, NYC
Texas Guinan.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Texas Guinan Elopes: Dec. 2, 1904

The year was 1904.
On December 2nd, 20-year-old "Marie" Guinan eloped with her fiance "Moy."

This year was 1908.
Texas Guinan, 24, newly separated from her husband, newspaper cartoonist John J. Moynahan (who was living and working in Chicago) had taken a room on the run-down rim of Washington Square South. Still in love with his wife, and worried about her, "Moy" was sending her a few dollars every week. Determined to break into show business, Texas Guinan would soon find out that roles were plentiful in New York. Unfortunately, rehearsals were payless and ran from 3 - 10 weeks. Many times she walked through Washington Square Park with an empty stomach and a dimly focused future in her head. This is what her eyes saw.

Photo: Washington Square Park [circa 1913]
Texas Guinan.