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!

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Texas Guinan: Reuben's

TEXAS GUINAN was one of the regular customers at Reuben's, an over-priced round-the-clock delicatessen. Owner Arnold Reuben, noting the sables and minks tossed across the half-booths, added a perfume counter near the cash register. He also had the retail wisdom of christening bread and meat combinations the "Ruby Keeler sandwich" and the "Al Jolson sandwich." While plain-spoken liverwurst  might fetch 35 cents, Miss Keeler's star-dusted moniker tripled the price.
• • As Rian James explained in 1930: Now, the who's who of New York flocks there, pays its dollar and a half for scrambled eggs and Irish bacon, its dollar for an Al Jolson or a Ruby Keeler sandwich, partakes of the very best food-stuffs in America, and pays the price, and cheerfully too!
• • According to Mr. James: You can get anything to eat at Reuben's anything from the world's finest coffee to the world's most expensive caviar; from a dollar sandwich to a three-dollar broiled lobster. And sitting in the comfortable, leather-covered semi-booths, you can see all Broadway parade before you.
• • Rian James continued: At Arnold Reuben's, especially after the theater, you'll see Phil Baker, the Accordion Man, Fanny Brice and her producer-husband, Billy Rose, Mayor Jimmy Walker and Betty Compton, Kouznetzoff, the huge Russian Basso, and the bird-like Nicolina, the captious Ted Healy and the incomparably funny Dave Chasen, Sophie Tucker and Belle Baker, George White and Otto Kahn, Horace Liveright and Texas Guinan, Sylvia Sidney and Arthur Byron, Roger Pryor and Abner Rubien, Irving Strouse and Guy Lombardo, Violet Carlson and Heywood Broun, Georgie Jessel and Georgie Price — — and every other name you've ever heard of.
• • Dining in New York noted: And in the vast and celebrated assemblage every night, darting from table to table, shaking a hand here and passing a word there, you'll find Arnold Reuben himself, once a delicatessen counter-man, and proud of it now, the friend of all Broadway, and proud of that too! Reuben's is one of the landmarks of the town a landmark that you simply mustn't miss!
• • Reuben's American:  622 Madison Avenue (between 58th and 59th Streets).
• • The original Reuben's persists at 2270 Broadway a boon to uptowners.
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• • 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 

• • Exciting Texas Guinan news is on the horizon. More anon.
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• • Photo: Texas Guinan
• • matchbook  • •

Texas Guinan.

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