Satira the Burlesque Murderer True Burlesque by Jim Linderman
Above Illustrator Jay Watson envisions a chorus girl at the Silver Palm here in 1947 for a "true expose" which ran in the Milwaukee Sentinel in 1947. I don't think that the press used exploitation to sell papers will surprise you.
In the piece, Patricia Stone (as told to Jack Stone and Peter Levins) which was subtitled "A Gay Little Dancer Begins Her Bitter Trip to Disillusionment and Heartbreak" began with dancing lessons. For a time, our hero became " the most sought after model in one of the largest art schools in the world, The Art Institute of Chicago" while learning to dance spanish dances and the hindu. She was tagged a "$50 dollar a week girl" and stuck in the chorus.
Patricia Stone was from Toledo, Ohio. Chicago was the big town. She was 21.
On 1946, Ms. Stone runs into Bill Mathews, who booked the strip clubs in Chicago, and she took a one week stand at the Silver Palm which turned into 7 months. the Silver Palm was located under the L tracks. A dump which kept two books to avoid paying cabaret taxes.
She perfected a Chinese routine, for which she made her own costume, and added arched eyebrows to her almond shaped eyes. She danced under the name "Satira" while earning the rent…a ten dollar a week room in the Majestic Hotel.
In seven months, she had one night off. She was not allowed to have desserts.
And so it goes…one of hundreds of show girl exposes which fed the postwar need for titillation. The serialized article, provided by the press syndicate "American Weekly" really functioned as filler for the advertisements. The papers, then and now, made their money on ads for shoe stores and such. The content was there only to deliver the pitches. High journalistic standards are often ruled by money.
Of course, the news story proceeds as you might expect. A murder, and our 21 year old with almond eyes pulled the trigger. Satira did it, and she was put on trial in Havana. How the hell did a stripper from Toledo, Ohio end up on trial for murder in Cuba? You can look it up…suffice to say the fellow she shot, one John Mee, was a bad poet and former PT boat commander. Married (of course) who named his boat after her and took the dancer to the Caribbean. He tricked her out to the clubs in Cuba, which at the time, Pre-Castro, was a Mob-run cesspool of sordid sex and drink catering to American tourists. Where, according to the court, he practiced "unusual sex" on the dancer. It appears Mr. Mee, her victim, had left behind writings which indicated those perversions. That part we leave to your imagination. We will say he "manhandled" her and the dancer had the bruises to prove it. Of course, the lawyers for the other side suggested she beat herself to beat the rap.
Satira was convicted, and described by the judge as a "nymph" said the papers, but I suppose he called her a nymph in Spanish. Not only that, the ruling criticized her for walking around the victim's yacht nude.
Cuba, like most countries, had no death penalty and she was given 15 years. The president of Cuba pardoned her after 18 months and she returned to the stage in Chicago, but jumped up to a new tax bracket. $3000 a week.
Serialized version of THE YACHT is HERE
The Silver Palm avoids paying taxes HERE
Photograph of the Silver Palm HERE
Books and Ebooks by the author available HERE.