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, November 23, 2005

Texas Takes to the Fifth

The year was 1909. In May, Texas Guinan was appearing in her own act, engaged as a "Lone Star Novelty" at Keith and Proctor's Fifth Avenue Theatre [27-31 West 28th Street, between Fifth Avenue and Broadway].

Nightly, the 25-year-old performer floated above the audience, inside an airship. Her songs included "To the End of the World with You," "Pansies Mean Thoughts," and "Shine on, Harvest Moon." Jack Mason did the staging for Guinan's first attempt as a soloist.
Variety applauded her "good soprano voice."
An anonymous theatre critic advised his readers to "keep your eyes on that girl. She has zip and fizz, and that's what the public wants. . . ."

Illustration: Fifth Avenue Theatre: 27-31 West 28th Street [1891-1939]

Texas Guinan.