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!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Texas Guinan: Lost - Found

TEXAS GUINAN stars in "Broadway Through a Keyhole" which can be found onscreen this month at Film Forum [in Manhattan].
• • Meanwhile, here is a "lost film" that few can boast about seeing: "Queen of the Night Clubs" [1929].
• • To sophisticated filmgoers of 1929, the designation "queen of the nightclubs" could mean only one person: Colorful Manhattan speakeasy proprietress Texas Guinan, of "Hello, Sucker!" fame. More or less playing herself, the brash, blowsy Guinan is cast as Tex Malone, a New York nightery owner who hires innocent young songstress Bee Wallace (Lila Lee) to perform in Tex's club. This effectively breaks up Bee's vaudeville act with hoofer Eddie Parr (Eddie Foy Jr., the brother of director Bryan Foy). Feeling put-upon, Eddie is the most likely suspect when Tex's close friend Don Holland (John Davidson) is murdered. In the course of the trial, Tex discovers that Eddie is actually her own son. Without ever revealing her relationship with Eddie to the world, Tex manages to prove that the actual killer was rival club owner Andy Quindland (played by veteran movie "drunk" Arthur Housman, in a rare sober characterization).
• • George Raft makes his film debut by re-creating the "hot" Charleston dance solo that first brought him Broadway fame (the details of Raft's move to Hollywood, and his friendships with such gangsters as Owney Madden and Bugsy Siegel, would later be fictionalized in Francis Ford Coppola's 1984 production The Cotton Club). ...
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• • Photo: Texas Guinan • • 1929 • •

Texas Guinan.