We started off with The Satin Doll herself Toni Elling currently living in Detroit, MI.
Show Director Bella- Miss Elling, It's an honor to take the time to talk to you today. Tell us, what do you remember about Cleveland?
Legend of Burlesque Toni Elling- "I worked at the Jewel Box Revue in Cleveland.
It was a show of female impersonators. They were beautiful... that was 50 years ago it seems,
they wore some beautiful costumes.. they sure do still wear them.
I remember the host most of all she was beautiful and full of energy.
I also came to Cleveland to meet Duke Ellington, you see i was helping him write a female drum beat. I came to the club directly after sending my bags to the hotel and I waited for him in the bar, I was there in 1954 ... I was shucks... 26 I think but am not sure" She did let out a big laugh. The song Toni Elling is referring to is "A Drum Is a Woman" that was released in 1954.
The club she is referring to is The Theatrical in The Old Short Vincent.
Toni has received the Legend Of The Year Award at
The Annual International Burlesque Hall of Fame Reunion and Competition in Las Vegas, 2014.
Miss Val Valentine - "Irma the Body and I were good friends.
I remember the first time I ever saw Joni was at The Roxy Theater in Cleveland, backstage, in the late '50s. She was making a costume. I remember Jesse Myers was the manager for the theater and it was owned by Fran Bryan and Frank Engle at the time. It had the narrowest walkway in all the business... if you fell in the orchestra pit they would never find you. It was small compared to the other theaters in the business. The stage manager was a woman. Her name was Maddie. Then there was Johnny, he was the stage hand. I have scrap books full of ads of The Roxy."
Val Valentine is going to be performing at The International
Burlesque Hall of Fame Reunion and Competition this year.
The first time i went on the road to be a feature is when i danced at The Roxy. It was in the late 60s and early 70s and Maddie was a sweet old lady she was the manager at the time, it was a big stage with a skinny walkway. They had a foyer and pictures handing up. They still had a live band when i played there as well. After The Roxy i went to Toledo with Rose La Rose to play up there these places were the Bryan and Engle circuit they called it.
Camille 2000 performed in multiple theaters in Cleveland after The Roxy closed it's doors. She has some ads shown below that she was kind to give us.
We really hope you join us for a great time.