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!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Texas: A Birthday Toast

Janus the Roman god of doorways - - taking the place (temporarily) of Old Jeff, who is away visiting the Jeffersons - - will use this opp to reminisce in January about a fearless female who knew Jefferson Market Court, the Federal Court House, judges, and Dry Agents intimately during the Roaring 20s.

• • Greenwich Village resident Texas Guinan always insisted that she didn't have to sell the hard stuff because she got as much for sparkling water as people paid for Scotch before Prohibition. She said her clients brought their own hooch on their very own hips, and what could she do except provide set-ups? Of course, you could buy a "booster" in her gin-joints if you knew the headwaiter, or if you looked as if you knew him, or if you knew somebody who was pretty sure he knew him, or maybe if you were good and thirsty and didn't have the seedy look of the Dry Agent.
• • Often in a tight spot due to her night spots, Texas had more than her share of arrests and padlocks and paddy wagons.
• • Returning to her speak after winning an acquittal at court once, Texas sang this ditty:
Judge Thomas said, "Tex, do you sell booze?"
I said, "Please, don't be silly.
I swear to you my cellar's filled
With chocolate and vanilly!"

• • A woman of courage and charm if not convictions, her birthday is 12 January 1884.
• • Let's give the little lady a nice big hand!
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• • Photo: 1929 Texas Guinan in a nightspot
• • Photo: 17 West 8th Street [near Jefferson Market Court] is where Texas made her home. Unfortunately, West 8th Street is the most hideous looking thoroughfare in Greenwich Village nowadays.

Jefferson Market.