Blog

Did Ray Perform a Fire Dance at the Opening of the Los Angeles Coliseum?

One of the more unusual credits hawked by Ray that always seemed odd - and implausible - to me was included in photographer and filmmaker Avery Willard’s 1971 book, Female Impersonation.  According to Willard, Ray, billed as “Ramon Icarez”, performed a fire dance at the opening of the Los Angeles Coliseum. The four-age bio in … Continue reading Did Ray Perform a Fire Dance at the Opening of the Los Angeles Coliseum?

Have a Drink With Ray at Auby’s Lagoon and the Rendezvous

From late 1934 through the summer of 1935, Ray was a fixture at Auby’s Lagoon, a nightclub in Miami Beach, Florida.  In the Miami Tribune, I found dozens of ads and mentions in columns about area nightlife of Ray acting as an MC and performer at the club during that period. One column, from the … Continue reading Have a Drink With Ray at Auby’s Lagoon and the Rendezvous

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

I've just updated the Performance Venues on the site, listing all of the documented places Ray appeared, year by year, during his career. At least, these are the venues I've been able to document so far, based on newspaper and magazine ads, reviews, and articles.  The material has been drawn from my research library over … 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