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Robert Mitchum Wrote for Ray Bourbon

One of the odd little things that pops up in lore about Ray is that Hollywood legend Robert Mitchum wrote songs and perhaps routines for him.  Turns out that little legend is true. Mitchum discussed his work for Ray and other “blue” nightclubs acts on page 94 of “Man With the Immortal Face - Bob Mitchum” … Continue reading Robert Mitchum Wrote for Ray Bourbon

Did Ray Bourbon Appear on “Ed Sullivan”? Maybe …

In the summer of 1965, Ray Bourbon was appearing in a mystery-comedy play, Daddy Was a Lady, in Cripple Creek, Colorado at the Grubstake Theatre.  The show would almost open on Broadway a year later.  I’ll post a blog entry about the show at a later time, but want to explore one small tidbit that … Continue reading Did Ray Bourbon Appear on “Ed Sullivan”? Maybe …

Performance Venues Page Updated

In the Researc Materials section of the Rae Bourbon website, I have a page listing the various venues where Ray performed. I've just updated the page listing all of the performances, year by year, by Ray that I've been able to document so far, based on newspaper and magazine ads, reviews, and articles.  The material … Continue reading Performance Venues Page Updated

100th Anniversary of Ray’s First Film Appearances

The year 1919 marked the first year that Ray appeared in movies.  During his trial testimony and from other sources, Ray mentioned specific titles he appeared in at Paramount. Ray said he was signed at Paramount after entering a Photoplay contest and while we haven't found evidence of Ray's contest entry and hiring at the … Continue reading 100th Anniversary of Ray’s First Film Appearances

The Story of Ray’s “Sex Change”

Despite a career on stage that spanned fifty years (and thirty years of recordings), Ray is probably most infamous for his 1950s "sex change" hoax.  The main artifact of it today is his outrageously titled album, Let Me Tell You About My Operation and the funny title track where Ray sings, "There's been a change in … Continue reading The Story of Ray’s “Sex Change”

The Mystery of Ray’s Son and Possible Wife

One of the most frustrating aspects of researching Ray’s life has been establishing some identity for his wife and son and tracking down what might have happened to them. As an icon of gay nightclubs, you might not think that Ray was married.  However, Ray’s friends, and even Ray himself, said that he was bisexual, … Continue reading The Mystery of Ray’s Son and Possible Wife

70th Anniversary of Ray’s Carnegie Hall Revue, “Don’t Call Me Madam”

This year, 2019, is the 70th anniversary of Ray Bourbon’s appearance at Carnegie Hall. We’re still not sure about several aspects of this show.  In the 1950’s, Ray released an lp record, Don’t Call Me Madam, that included most of the routines performed during the revue and quoting some people who saw the show. I … Continue reading 70th Anniversary of Ray’s Carnegie Hall Revue, “Don’t Call Me Madam”

Seeking 1957 WFAA “Transvestite” TV Program

I’m looking for a local tv program from 1957 and would appreciate any leads on where it might be located and some contacts.  While not containing an appearance by Ray, it is significant for looking at public perceptions of gender identity and cross-dressing in Ray's home state around the time that Ray was getting arrested … Continue reading Seeking 1957 WFAA “Transvestite” TV Program

Restoring Ray Bourbon’s Recorded Legacy: An Update

In the 1990s, when I first began researching Ray’s life and work, I got copies of most of his recordings from various collectors, mostly on cassette tape.  I also dubbed all of his lp recordings to digital.  These were briefly released on cd through a “print on demand” service.  When that service folded, I offered … Continue reading Restoring Ray Bourbon’s Recorded Legacy: An Update

Pansy Craze Artist Gene Malin on Film

While researching some background on the early 1930s Pansy Craze as part of my research on Ray Bourbon, I stumbled on an obscure film appearance by one of Ray's contemporaries, Gene (aka Jean) Malin. Malin performed as openly gay starting around 1930 and donned drag, impersonating popular personalities like Theda Barr, in his act.  He … Continue reading Pansy Craze Artist Gene Malin on Film