Texas Guinan, Queen of the Night Clubs

Front Cover
University of Texas Press, 1993 - Biography & Autobiography - 221 pages
"Hello, Suckers!" Every night she flung that greeting at the Jazz Age flappers and gents who crowded in to see the "Queen of the Nightclubs" work her magic. They came to laugh and drink and forget the world outside - and Texas Guinan kept the party going. She was the wittiest nightclub hostess in New York, and her clubs had the best floor shows, the most elegant decor, and all the bootleg liquor that furtively exchanged dollars could buy. Here is the story of Texas Guinan - nightclub hostess, theater and vaudeville actress, and star of silent westerns. Louise Berliner, a granddaughter of the lawyer who defended Guinan at her notorious "public nuisance" trial in 1929, follows the whole course of Guinan's life (1884-1933), from her childhood in a devout Catholic home in Waco, Texas, to her celebrity funeral and burial with diamonds in one hand and a rosary in the other. Like a female Gatsby, Texas Guinan invented a past appropriate for the character she became. Berliner explores this fascinating process of self-creation, separating fact from the fictions that Guinan wove about her life. In so doing, she illuminates the era of early musical comedies in New York and on the vaudeville circuit, the two-reeler silent westerns in which Guinan starred as a lady gunslinger, and the New York club life that Guinan promoted as "an essential and basic industry". Texas Guinan seemed to know everyone in the Roaring Twenties - the Prince of Wales, Ruby Keeler, George Raft, Rudolph Valentino, Walter Winchell, Mae West, Aimee Semple MacPherson, and even President Harding - and Berliner offers intriguing views of Guinan's relationship with many of these varied personalities. This timely book, the firstfully documented study of Guinan's life, will be important for everyone interested in popular culture, the Jazz Age, and women's studies. It brings to life a woman of amazing vitality and surprising contradictions, as captivating as any character imagined by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Hello SuckersA Glimpse
She or Didnt She? An Authors Aside
Theres a Sucker Born Every Minute

14 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information