because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mary Louise "Texas" Guinan

In 1917, "Texas" Guinan made her silent movie debut in a film entitled "The Wildcat," but as exciting as that was, it wasn't enough for Guinan. Fortunately, the U.S. Congress passed legislation prohibiting the use of alcohol shortly thereafter and Guinan took the opportunity to open a speakeasy in New York City she called The 300 Club.

Greeting her nightly customers -- who represented New York's wealthiest elite and most interesting and recognizable celebrities -- with the salutation, "Hel-lo, suckers!" Guinan earned $700,000 in only ten months in 1926 while the police were routinely raiding her clubs and arresting her. She always claimed the customers brought the liquor in with them and that the small size of the club was the reason her forty scantily clad dancers were so close to those that had come to be entertained. (*wink!*)

Even Europe, often more open to in-your-face women than the United States, closed every seaport to Guinan when she tried to take her show on the road during the Depression. Nevertheless, she was immortalized twelve years after her death in a Hollywood movie entitled, appropriately enough, "Incendiary Blonde." Which is probably why 7,500 people attended her funeral.

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