Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mae West: Lone Star Queen

MAE WEST enjoyed the friendship of Texas Guinan, queen of the night clubs, who also backed her Broadway plays. A woman of restless energy, Texas Guinan was born in Waco, Texas during the month of January — — on 12 January 1884.
• • The famous speakeasy hostess Texas Guinan had entertained Mae, Owney Madden, and others at Club Abbey [203 — 205 West 54th], the 300 Club and Argonaut [151 West 54th], along with other night spots.
• • In "A Night with the Padlock Queen," Allen Churchill describes the atmosphere.
• • Until La Guinan arrives, the Three Hundred Club remains sedate and dignified. Four guitarists stroll from table to table plucking out melodies on request. Their specialty is the recently successful "Valencia," but they are equally adept at such dissimilar numbers as "Sleepy Time Gal" and "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby." Also on hand is Ethel the cute cigarette girl.
• • Midnight comes and goes, and a sense of expectancy fills the Three Hundred Club [151 West 54th]. Eyes dart to the entrance door. Those in the know confide importantly that Tex must be stopping at her brother Tommy's Club Plantation or at this point in history was it Texas Tommy's? . . .
• • At a quarter to one comes a stir at the entrance door and the feeling that a supercharged personality is there. An excited whisper runs through the room, Texas, Texas! Everything stops as Tex greets friends at the door and tosses a brisk word of greeting to the hatcheck girl and maitre'd. Here is royalty entering its domain.
• • One who witnesses her splendid entrance is Stephen Graham: "There she is like a queen, like the sun, like a big firework, like a gorgeous tamer who has just let herself into a large cage of pet tigers. A kiss here, a stroke of the hand there, an uttered Darling! there, she goes from table to table closing the company into a unit around her personality." . . .
— — Excerpt: — —
• • Chapter: "A Night with the Padlock Queen"
• • The Year the World Went Mad [Thomas Y. Crowell, I960]
• • BYLINE: Allen Churchill
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1931 • •
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Mae West.


  1. Is it true Mae West was a hermaphrodite?

  2. Lorraine, it is not true. Thanks for coming up to see Mae.