Performance Venues

The following is a list of Ray’s public appearances, verified from Ray’s autobiography, newspaper ads, reviews, and other sources.  In the case of Ray’s autobiography, the performances have mostly been verified through secondary sources, such as newspaper listings, or are likely based on documents such as ship’s manifests and other material concerning Ray’s travels and individuals Ray mentions.

The information has been assembled primarily from over 400 newspaper and magazine articles and ads referencing Ray I’ve assembled over the years.  My thanks go to Charles C. Cage, J.D. Doyle, Don Romesburg and other researchers for several of these references.

This list is not comprehensive – Ray appeared in many locations that have yet to be discovered and likely performed in nightclubs and theaters where no publicity for the show survives.  Particularly during Ray’s vaudeville and early nightclub days, he may have appeared under other stage names or may not have been mentioned specifically in advertising for the performances.

This list is an ongoing project and will be updated when new information is found.

At the end of the list is a quote from one of Ray’s record albums used in his publicity materials in the 1960s that includes some performances that have not yet been verified.

c 1906 – 1915

  • Ray appears in English music halls (autobiography)
  • In 1914, appears in Folies Bergère in Paris (Camera! The Digest of the Motion Picture Industry)

1920

  • Ray signs with the William Morris Agency after break-in of his vaudeville act in Atlantic City and New York (autobiography)
  • Empress Theatre, East Street, Kansas City (Ray’s trial testimony)

1923

  • as “Ramon Icarez”, fire dance at the opening of the Los Angeles Coliseum with Theodore Kosloff Dancers, May McAvoy & Dick Strange, Los Angeles, California (Avery Willard, “Female Impersonators”, Variety)

1927

  • “Whizbang Review”, with Marshall Walker and Bob Hope, various US cities (Ray’s trial testimony, other sources)

1929

  • “Scotch and Bourbon”, with Bert Scott,, One American Theatre, Chicago (Variety)

1931

  • Models Spring fashions at Weill’s Department Store, Bakersfield, California (Bakersfield Californian)
  • Little Club, Bubbling Well Road, Shanghai, China (autobiography)
  • 100 Club, Chicago, Illinois (autobiography)
  • Appears as “Birmingham Bertha, Blues Singer”, Hugo’s in Juarez (El Paso Herald Post)

1932

  • Jimmy’s Back Yard, Hollywood, California (Variety)

1933

  • “Topsy Turvey Revue”, with Buddy Fisher’s Orchestra, Hollywood Barn Cafe, Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California (Los Angeles Times)
  • “Boys Will Be Girls”, Tait’s Cafe, San Francisco (shows are raided by police and were carried live on KFWI radio) (Variety)
  • “Boys Will Be Girls”, Coon Chicken Inn, Salt Lake City, Utah (Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake Telegram)
  • “Boys Will Be Girls”, Roman Gardens, Ogden, Utah (Ogden Standard Examiner)
  • Hugo’s, Juarez, Mexico (El Paso Herald-Post)

1934

  • “Tuneful Dynamite”, with Bert Sherry, Coon Chicken Inn, Salt Lake City, Utah (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • “Peacock Alley”, Garrick, St. Louis, Missouri (St Louis Globe and Democrat)
  • Laurence Harbor Inn, Keyport, New Jersey (Keyport Weekly and Matawan Journal)
  • Auby’s Lagoon, with Chet Forrest, Miami Beach, Florida (Miami Herald)
  • Café Angele’, location unknown (autobiography)
  • Rendezvous, Los Angeles (various sources)

1935

  • Rendezvous, Los Angeles (various sources) (Harry Hay claimed to have worked as an audience “shill” for Ray at this time)
  • Auby’s Lagoon, with Chet Forrest, Miami Beach, Florida (Miami Herald)
  • Melody Club, with Chest Forrest, Baltimore (interview with Chet Forrest)
  • “Hotsy Totsy Revue”, Garrick Theater, St. Louis, Missouri (Edwardsville Illinois Intelligencer)
  • Rex Club, with Chet Forrest, New York (interview with Chet Forrest))
  • Chateau, with Chet Forrest, Cleveland, Ohio (interview with Chet Forrest)
  • Dante’s Inferno, with Chet Forrest, Kansas City, Missouri (interview with Chet Forrest)

1936

  • Rendezvous, Los Angeles (various sources)
  • Finocchio’s, San Francisco (interview with Chet Forrest)
  • New Yorker, Hollywood, California (show is raided by police on obscenity charge) (LA Times, Variety, other sources)
  • London Palladium, with the Crazy Gang, London, England (autobiography)
  • Command Performance for King Edward at Fort Belvedere, Surrey, England (autobiography)
  • Folies Bergère, with Josephine Baker, Paris, France (autobiography)
  • Teatro Lírico, Command Performance for Franco, Madrid, Spain (autobiography)

1937

  • Club New Yorker, Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California (Los Angeles Times)
  • Radio Station KMTR, Los Angeles (series of 15 minute broadcast in November and December in various newspaper listings)

1939

  • Rendezvous, Hollywood, California (The Coast, Los Angeles Times)

1940

  • Delicate Frank’s, with Joey Melbourne and Bert Sherry, Miami Beach, Florida (Miami Herald)

1941

  • Finnochio’s, San Francisco (Ogden Standard Examiner)
  • Murray Room, Hotel Sheraton, New York (Variety)
  • Tobacco Road, Miami, Florida (Miami Herald)
  • The Teepee, Miami, Florida (Miami Daily News, Billboard)

1942

  • The Teepee, with Jack Burke, Miami, Florida (Miami Daily News, Billboard)
  • Chez Boheme, with Jack Burke, Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, California (Billboard, Los Angeles Times)
  • “The Green Bay Tree”, Assistance League Playhouse, Los Angeles, California (Los Angeles Herald)
  • Club Trouville, with Jack Burke, Beverly Boulevard, Hollywood, California (Billboard)
  • BBB’s Cellar, Hollywood, California (Variety)
  • Drum Club, Miami, Florida (Miami Herald)

1943

  • Mayfair, Miami, Florida (Billboard)
  • La Boheme (Walter Winchell column)
  • Blue Angel, New York, New York (New York Times)
  • Melody Room, Sunset Strip, Hollywood, California (autobiography)

1944

  • “Insults of 1944”, with Jack Burke, Playtime, Hollywood, California (Los Angeles Times, other sources)
  • “Catherine Was Great”, with Mae West, Winter Garden Theatre, New York, New York (Billboard)
  • La Vie Parisienne, New York, New York (New York Post, New York Times)
  • “Catherine Was Great”, with Mae West, Forrest Theatre, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia Inquirier, other sources)
  • “Catherine Was Great”, with Mae West, Schubert Theatre, New York, New York (New York Times, New York Post)

1945

  • “Catherine Was Great”, with Mae West, Schubert Theatre, New York, New York (New York Times, New York Post)
  • “Catherine Was Great”, with Mae West, Nixon Theatre, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh Courier)
  • “Catherine Was Great”, with Mae West, National Theatre, Washington, DC (autobiography)
  • “Catherine Was Great”, with Mae West, White House Command Performance, Washington, DC (autobiography)
  • “Catherine Was Great”, with Mae West, Studebaker Theatre, Chicago, Illinois (Chicago Daily Tribune)
  • “Catherine Was Great”, with Mae West, American Theatre, Saint Louis, Missouri (St Louis Globe Democrat)
  • “This Is It” Revue, Playtime Theaer, Los Angeles, California (Los Angeles Examiner)

1946

  • Club Savoy, San Francisco (Variety)
  • Blackamoor Room, Miami, Florida (Miami Herald)
  • Starlit Room, Hollywood, California (Billboard)
  • Seven Seas, San Francisco, California (Billboard)

1948

  • “Diamond Lil”, with Mae West, Montclair, New Jersey (Variety)
  • “Diamond Lil”, with Mae West, New York, New York (New York Times)
  • “Diamond Lil”, Forrest Theatre, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Playbill)
  • “Diamond Lil”, with Mae West, Coronet Theatre, New York, New York (New York Post, New York Times, New York Daily News)
  • “Diamond Lil”, with Mae West, 14th Annual Central City Play Festival, Opera House, Central City, Colorado (New York Daily News)
  • “Diamond Lil”, with Mae West, Detroit, Michigan (New York Daily News)
  • “Diamond Lil”, with Mae West, Plymouth Theatre, New York, New York (New York Times, New York Daily News)
  • “Don’t Call Me Madam”, Carnegie Recital Hall, New York, New York (program from show, New York Post)

1950

  • Park Avenue Restaurant, 46E 52nd St., New York, New York (New York Post, Variety)
  • Marty Gallant’s Rose Room (Billboard)

1951

  • La Commedia, 59 West 52nd St. New York, New York (postcard from audience member)
  • Miami Club, 1614 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, California (Oakland Tribune ad)
  • Club Drift-In, 487 Broadway, San Franciso, California (San Francisco Examiner ad)
  • Gold Coast, San Francisco, California (San Francisco Examiner)

1952

  • Charley Foy’s Supper Club (Los Angeles Times)

1953

  • Samia’s, Cairo, Egypt (autobiography)
  • Coffee Dan’s, San Francisco, California (“Yes! It is Ray Bourbon” album lp recording of shows)

1954

  • Cafe Society, Chicago, Illinois (Chicago Tribune, Billboard)
  • “11:45 Revue”, Harout’s Ivar Theatre, Hollywood, California (Variety, Los Angeles Times)

1955

  •  Mexicana Room, Ranchito Escondito, Juarez, Mexico (El Paso Herald Post)

1956

  • Melody Room, Los Angeles, California (Ray arrested for impersonating a female) (Variety)
  • Brass Rail, Chicago, Illinois (Chicago Tribune)
  • “She Lost It in Juarez?”, Ivar Theatre, Los Angeles, California (Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Mirror News, Variety)
  • New Orleans, Louisiana (New Orleans Times-Picayune) (Ray is arrested at 544 Bourbon Street for impersonating a female)

1958

  • Red Carpet, Miami, Florida (Miami Herald)

1959

  • Club at 800 Bourbon Street, New Orleans (New Orleans Times Picayune) (Ray is arrested for doing a lewd dance)
  • Vagabond Club, Miami, Florida (Miami Herald) (show is shut down, along with three others, after crusade by mayor to eliminate “lewd” stage acts)

1960

  • Nappy’s, Baltimore, Maryland (Ray Bourbon’s FBI File)
  • Night Life Cocktail Lounge, 933 North State Street, Chicago, Illinois (Ray Bourbon’s FBI file)
  • Club Michael’s, Kansas City, Missouri (Kansas City times)

1961

  • Tony’s Talk of the Town, Chicago, Illinois (show is recorded by Dirk Summers for his Rosalyn record label, but not released)

1963

  • Jewel Box, Kansas City, Missouri (Kansas City Times)

1964

  • Jewel Box, Kansas City, Missouri (Kansas City Times)

1965

  • Jewel Box, Kansas City, Missouri (Kansas City Times)
  • “Daddy Was a Lady”, Grubstake Theatre, Cripple Creek, Colorado (Colorado Springs-Gazette Telegraph and other sources)
  • Private party, 906 Royal Street, Apartment B, New Orleans, Louisiana (Ray’s last recording)

1966

  • Rehearsals for “Daddy Was a Lady”, New York, New York (Variety, other sources) (Show was disbanded before opening on Broadway)
  • Jewel Box, Kansas City, Missouri (Kansas City Times)

1967

  • Jewel Box, Kansas City, Missouri (Kansas City Times)
  • Frolic’s, El Paso, Texas (Charles C. Cage)
  • Follies, Juarez, Mexico (Charles C. Cage)

1960s Publicity List

The following was transcribed from the cover of Ray Bourbon’s album “A Trick Ain’t Always a Treat: – Recorded Live From the World Famous Jewel Box” (The New Jewel Records, Kansas City, Missouri).

This is The World of Rae Bourbon

as “Florian” in Catherine Was Great from 1945 to 1947
as “Bowery Rose” in Diamond Lil from 1948 to 1950 

Rae Bourbon enjoyed unique billing in the above Mae West Productions. You may have seen him in one of the following places … 

Albuquerque, New Mexico — The Silver Slipper
Atlanta, Georgia — The Imperial Lounge 

Boston, Massachusetts — The Mayfair, The Schubert Theatre

Baltimore, Maryland — Stacy’s Bar, Ford’s Theatre (sans Lincoln)

Buenos Aires, Argentina — La Cuaga 

Cairo, Egypt — Bishop’s Club 

Central City, Colorado — Emmy Wilson’s “Glory Hole”, The Central City Opera 

Chicago, Illinois — 100 Club, Cafe Society 

Cleveland, Ohio — Hanna Theatre 

Command Performance — for Edward, King of England at Belvedere Castle, England 

Deadwood City, South Dakota — Clara’s Place 

Denver, Colorado — The Zanzibar, The Rendezvous 

Havana, Cuba — Hotel Nacional 

Hollywood, California — Rendezvous, Rue Angel, Charlie Foy’s, Ivar Theatre

Hong Kong — L’Oriente Club 

Idaho Falls, Idaho — Cheerio Club 

Istanbul, Turkey — Semitar 

Juarez, Mexico — The Submarino, Molino Rojo

Kansas City, Kansas — Dante’s Inferno, Lusco’s Stork Club 

Key West, Florida — The Tropics, The Preview Lounge 

Las Vegas, Nevada — The Blue Heaven 

London, England — “Paradise Club” – 81 Regent Street 

Madrid, Spain — Command Performance at the “Teatro Lyrico”

Miami, Florida — Blackamoor Room, Cornet Lounge, Cork Club and Delicate Franks

Memphis, Tennessee — Silver Slipper

Mexico City, Mexico — Casanova, Magnola’s San Souci, Palace of Fine Arts 

New Orleans, Louisiana — Mardi Gras, Sugar Bowl, Dixie’s Bar of Music

New York, New York — Blue Angel, La Vie Parisienne, Park Avenue

Paris, France — Frolics 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — Forrest Theatre 

Phoenix, Arizona — Roy’s, Kay’s Happy Landing 

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Carnival Lounge, Nixon Theatre 

Portland, Oregon — Clover Club, Civic Theatre 

Reno, Nevada — Belle Livingston’s Cow Shed 

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — Del Sol 

Salt Lake City, Utah — Coon Chicken Inn 

San Diego, California — P.M. House 

San Francisco, California — Drift Inn, Chi Chi, La Parisienne, Finocchio’s 

Santa Barbara, California — Lober Theatre 

Seattle, Washington — Town Ranch, The Garden of Allah 

Shanghai, China — “Little Club” on Bubbling Well Road 

St. Louis, Missouri — Manger Roof, Gaiety Theatre, American Theatre

Tucson, Arizona — Cotillion Room, La Jolla 

Vancouver, BC — The Cave 

Washington, DC — The National Theatre”