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, October 04, 2006

Texas Guinan: Snakes & Sam

Enjoy a glimpse of Texas Guinan from someone who knew her.
• • Samuel Marx had a long career in the entertainment industry.

When he was in his 20s, while he was covering the nightlife scene for newspapers, Marx frequented several clubs run by Texas Guinan and her brother Tommy. He used this insider's knowledge to pen a sweet little tell-all: Texas Guinan: The Ace of (Night) Clubs [released 1 January 1929, 30 pages].
• • Here is an excerpt from Little Blue Book No. 1446 [Publisher: Haldeman-Julius Publications].
• • • • • • Headlining at the club, at present, is a girl {Nerida} who does a dance while entwined with a live six-foot cobra. It is weird and ghastly.

This same girl had been dismissed from the Frivolity Club. Waiters complained that people ordered less food when the snake was on. Texas doesn't care. She likes the act.
• • Heywood Broun, noted writer, once devoted his entire "It Seems to Me" column in the Scripps-Howard newspapers to that snake dance. At the bottom, Broun wittily closed with the line that "if there isn't any snake at the Guinan Club, I'm on the water wagon from now on!"
• • Jeanne Williams - - who was later to fool Hollywood with a Russian accent and the name of Sonia Karlov - - was a dancer at the old El Fey Club. Ruby Keeler, who later married Al Jolson [in 1928], was a fixture with Texas as a tap-dancer for many seasons. Dottie Wilson, a beautiful little blonde dancer, left Texas to wed a millionaire Clevelander. Among old standbys of Texas - - who started with her and are still be her side - - are Drina [sic] Beach, who dances an exotic routine clad in a leopard skin, and Kitty O'Riley, a "tough" Irish girl entertainer.
• • The show at Texas Guinan's is not like the ordinary revue in any other Broadway cabaret. . . .
[Note: Drena Beach danced in the Broadway revue Padlocks of 1927 [Shubert Theatre, July - September 1927.]
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• • photo: Texas Guinan • • 1928 • •

Texas Guinan.

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