SHARE BUT CREDIT

SHARE BUT CREDIT

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sirena Gets Dunked! Sirena the Underwater Stripper and Harry Swank and his Tank True Burlesque

True or not, Sirena's hype claimed she performed her "aqua-tease" in a thousand gallon tank.  I know the famous "ten gallon hat" which won the west wasn't really ten gallons, but I'm not sure about Sirena's aquarium.  Or fish tank, though that sounds a bit rude.   In 1951, another source claims the tank was a mere 500 gallons…but that was on a bill with "Princess LaHoma, a full blodded (sic) Cherokee Indian" so maybe she had to downsize to accommodate the headdress.  Or the Carny route, as the act played them too.

Of course, fake journalist Walter Winchell loved her act, calling it "The Biggest Excitement in Show Business" but he never saw Wayne Newton in Vegas.  (Wait a minute...maybe he DID.  Let's say Celine Dion at Caesars.)

At the time of the ad here, 1951, Sirena was "per-foaming" with the Jim Wong Troupe "four Oriental sensations" and one comic called "Loony Lewis" and "Charni" playing popular tunes on the harmonica.  It was a package deal.  Other strippers on the bill included Margo, Ruth Swank and Jan Carter.  Sirena also performed with "She-Devil and her daring dance of the underworld" the same year, but not on all the bills.

The standard phrase describing Sirena in her primitive press-releases was "shapely miss"  and the former is certainly true, but I haven't been able to tell if she was married.  In fact, I can't even verify how many Sirenas there were!  In 1953, Burlesque pimp Harry Swank (there's that Swank name again…) took out an ad in Billboard which read "WANTED: Girls for Sirena, the Underwater Ballerina Water Act" in order to put the show on the summer state fairs route, but it isn't clear if Harry was looking for a replacement or for girls to carry the tank.  At the time, Harry was on the road in Calumet, Michigan, then on his way to the big show in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.  By the way?  Harry owned the tank.  Not Sirena.  If you say "Sirena and her tank" you are wrong.
Ebooks by Jim Linderman available HERE ($5.99 each)