MAME Glossary and Notes
Act I, Scene 1 : Somewhere in New York, 1928
- Beekman Place is a short street
running north to south from 51st to 49th streets, on the east
side of Manhattan; it is just north of the UN headquarters and
near the Trump Tower. Beekman was originally spelled Beeckman
from the name of a Dutch settler; one of his descendants built
his mansion there.
- There is a drink called a Beekman Place Cooler: combine
1½ ounce gin, 1 ounce sloe gin, 3 ounces grapefruit juice,
and ½ ounce sugar syrup in a shaker or blender with cracked
ice; shake or blend; pour into a chilled Collins or highball
glass; fill with club soda.
- There is also a Beekman Place Cocktail: in
an old fashioned glass, layer 1 ounce sloe gin, then ½ ounce
gin, then finally 1 ounce grenadine.
- St Bridget—The details of the
life of Brigid of Ireland are somewhat obscure. She probably
lived in the late 5th and early 6th centuries. She is patroness
of Ireland and also of travelers. Her feast day is February 1. Presbyterians
do not pray to saints.
- Agnes Gooch is probably named for St Agnes of Rome, virgin and martyr, patroness of
chastity (!), and also gardeners, girls, engaged couples, rape
victims, and virgins. The details of her life are also somewhat
obscure. At the time of the persecution under the emperor
Diocletian, when Christianity was outlawed and actively
suppressed, she was a nobleman’s daughter who was sought in
marriage by various young men, but she refused them all. For
that she was humiliated, accused of being a Christian, and
martyred. (Her name in Spanish is Ines or Inez. The name Agnes
is derived from Greek meaning "pure" or "chaste"; it is similar
to the Latin word agnus, meaning "lamb", and she is
often depicted in art with a lamb.) Her feast day is January 21,
on which day two lambs are blessed. There is also a St Agnes of
Assisi, St Agnes of Bohemia (referred to in the song "Good
King Wenceslas"), and St Agnes of Montepulciano.
- Dixieland, or more properly, "hot jazz", is the
earliest style of jazz that was known outside of New Orleans. A
hot jazz combo usually consists of a "front line" of cornet or
trumpet, clarinet or saxophone, and trombone, with a rhythm
section of piano, tuba or string bass, banjo or guitar, and
drums. There are now three distinct styles of dixieland. The
original form developed in New Orleans around the turn of the
20th century, and was revived beginning in the 1940s. Chicago
style began around 1910 when New Orleans musicians began
migrating there. It features faster rhythms, string bass instead
of tuba, trumpet instead of cornet, guitar for banjo, and more
featured solos rather than an emphasis on ensemble. West coast
Dixieland began in San Francisco in the late 1930s and was a
partial return to the original New Orleans style.
Act I, Scene 2 : Mame's apartment
- The people named in the script as Mame’s guest at her affair
include the following.
- A Lithuanian bishop would probably belong to the
Roman Catholic Church. However, Lithuania was part of the
Russian Empire from 1793-1918. (It was incorporated into the
Soviet Union from 1940-1990.) So it is possible that the
bishop is from the Russian Orthodox Church.
Gibbons (1887-1939) was the war correspondent for the Chicago Tribune during World War I, and later a radio
commentator and narrator of newsreels. He was known for his style
of fast talking. He lost an eye at the Battle of Belleau Wood
in France: while trying to rescue an American soldier he was
hit by German gunfire.
Anderson (1897-1993) was an American contralto
and one of the most celebrated singers of the 20th century.
Although recruited by many European opera companies, she
preferred to perform in recitals in the United States. In
1939, she was refused permission to sing in Constitution
Hall before an integrated audience by the Daughters of
the American Revolution (DAR), so President and Mrs
Roosevelt arranged for her to sing to an open-air audience
at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to a crowd
of more than 75,000 people and to a radio audience of
millions. Later she became the first black person (male or
female, American or foreign) to to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1955.
Hall (born Marguerite Radclyffe-Hall:
1880-1943) was an English poet
and author, best known for the lesbian classic The Well of Loneliness.
Robeson (in full: Paul LeRoy Bustill Robeson;
pronounced ROBE-son, 1898–1976) was an internationally
renowned American bass-baritone concert singer,
scholar, actor of film and stage, All-American
and professional athlete, writer, multi-lingual orator and
lawyer who was also noted for his wide-ranging social justice activism. In 1930, Robeson starred in
the title role in William Shakespeare’s Othello in England, when no U.S.
company would employ him for the part. He reprised the role
in New York in 1943, and toured the U.S. with it until 1945.
His Broadway run of Othello is still the longest of
any Shakespeare play. He won the Spingarn Medal in 1945 for his
portrayal of Othello. Robeson also played the role of Joe,
which was written for him, in the 1928 London production of
Show Boat, and repeated his
performance in the 1932 Broadway revival of the show, the
1936 film version, and a 1940 Los Angeles stage production.
His rendition of "Ol’ Man River" is widely
considered the definitive version of the song. Robeson sang
the song as written whenever he appeared in a production of
Show Boat, but in later recitals he made alterations
to the lyrics to transform it from a song of black lament to
one of defiance and perseverance
- Elsie de Wolfe (also known as Lady
Mendl: 1865?–1950) was an American interior
decorator, nominal author of the influential 1913 book
The House in Good Taste, and a prominent figure in
New York, Paris, and London society.
Arbuckle (March 24, 1887 – June 29, 1933) was
an American illustrated song slide
"model," silent film actor,
comedian, director, and screenwriter. Starting at the Selig Polyscope Company he
eventually moved to Keystone Studios where he
worked with Mabel Normand and Harold Lloyd. He mentored Charlie Chaplin and discovered
Buster Keaton and Bob Hope. He was one of the most popular stars
of the 1910s, and soon became one of the highest paid,
signing a contract to make $1 million a year in 1918.
Charles "Bob" Benchley (1889–1945) was an
American humorist best known for his work as a newspaper columnist and film
actor. From his beginnings at the Harvard Lampoon while
attending Harvard University, through
his many years writing essays and articles for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, and his
acclaimed short films, Benchley's style of humor brought him
respect and success during his life, from New York City and his peers at
the Algonquin Round Table to
contemporaries in the burgeoning film industry.
Louise Cecilia "Texas" Guinan (1884–1933) was a
saloon keeper, actress,
and entrepreneur. The bartender in
10-Forward in the TV series Star Trek: The
Next Generation, played by Whoopi Goldberg, was named for
- Alexander Woollcott
(1887-1943) was a wit, drama critic for the New
York Times, columnist for the The
New Yorker, and a member of the Algonquin Round Table. He was the
inspiration for the character of Sheridan Whiteside in the
Man Who Came to Dinner by George S.
Kaufman and Moss Hart. The
character of Waldo Lydecker in the 1944 film noir Laura is also based on
him. One of his best-known quotes is "All the things I
really like to do are either immoral, illegal, or
fattening." Also: "Many of us spend half
our time wishing for things we could have if we didn’t
spend half our time wishing." And, "There is no
such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day."
- Bathtub gin was made in the
United States during the era of Prohibition, 1920-1933. The 18th
Amendment to the Constitution and the Volstead Act banned the
sale, manufacture, and transportation, but not the consumption
of, intoxicating drinks.
- A canapé is a kind of open-faced sandwich: a cracker,
or thin piece of bread or toast, topped with cheese, caviar,
anchovies, or some other savory food.
- The Algonquin Round Table was a group
of New York writers, critics, actors, and others that met for
lunch at the Algonquin Hotel daily from 1919 to 1929. Eventually
they were assigned a waiter named Luigi, and started calling
themselves "Luigi Board". Later they met at a round table, and
called themselves "The Vicious Circle". Eventually the name "The
Round Table" stuck.
- St Patrick’s Day is March 17;
the scene takes place on December 1, 1929. St Patrick was born
somewhere in Roman Britain, and was kidnapped around age 16 and
forced to work as a shepherd in Ireland. He escaped, and return
home, but he had a religious conversion. He felt called to
return to Ireland He was consecrated a bishop, and
preached all over the island. He dedicated springs and hills and
other places that the Irish people had already regarded as
sacred and gave them Christian meaning.
Act I, Scene 4 : Mame's bedroom
- The Spirit of St Louis is the name of the plane Charles
Lindbergh flew solo nonstop from New York to Paris May
20–21, 1927 to win a $25,000 prize. He was then nicknamed "Lucky
Lindy", and the Lindy dance was named for
him. His fame was so great that he could not write checks:
recipients considered his autograph too valuable to cash them!
- St Boniface (c. 680-754) was
an Englishman with the original name of Winfrid. He preached the
Gospel throughout the Frankish domains and became the first
archbishop of Mainz, the primatial see for Germany. He is called
the Apostle to the Germans.
- St Frances Xavier Cabrini, also known as Mother Cabrini, was the first
American citizen canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. Born in
Italy in 1850, she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred
Heart of Jesus, of which she became the superior general. Her
good work came to the attention of Pope Leo XIII. The pope urged
her to go to America to work among Italian immigrants there. She
founded 67 institutions to care for the poor, sick, and orphans
in the United States, Europe, South America, and China. She died
in 1917 and was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1948. Vera must be
a good actress to play someone so completely different from herself!
- A recipe for a sidecar is: 2½ fl. oz brandy, 1 tbsp
fresh lemon juice, 1 tbsp Cointreau (or Grand Marnier or other
triple sec), shaken with ice, and strained into a chilled
cocktail glass, the rim coated with sugar. (Some recipes use
equal parts brandy and triple sec.) Brandy is the traditional
base of a sidecar, but whisky or some other spirit can
be used. The Ritz Hotel in Paris claims to
have originated the drink. The Classic Cocktail, Olympic
Cocktail, Jack Rose, and Margarita are considered variations on
the sidecar. Other variations include: Chelsea sidecar (gin
instead of brandy), rum sidecar, and Pesco sidecar.
Act I, Scene 5 : Mame's living room (and all around New York)
- Knickerbocker was the adopted name of Herman Jansen van
Wyhe, a Dutch settler of New Amsterdam. (In contemporary Dutch
it would be spelled Knikkerbakker.) Washington Irving
used the pen name Diedrich Knickerbocker. Then Knickerbocker
came to mean a New Yorker. One of the first baseball teams was
the New York Knickerbockers. That is now the name of the New
York NBA team. It also means a kind of boy’s or men’s baggy
knee-length trousers, usually called Knickers. By extension it
has come to mean women’s undergarments.
- Bully, as used by such as Theodore Roosevelt, means
"excellent" or "splendid". The word chap is used in
England much as guy is used in the United States. I
assume Babcock is so aristocratic that he would use such words
as bully little chap.
- Darien is a town in southwestern
Connecticut. It is one of the richest places in the United
States, with a median home price of around $1 million. The
locals pronounce the name of the town Dairy-ENN, with accent on
the last syllable. It is part of Fairfield County, the
Connecticut county closest to New York City. There is a Darien,
Georgia, which is pronounced DAIRY-un with accent on the first
syllable. They were both (probably) named for Darién, Panamá,
where it is pronounced (something like) dah-ree-AIN.
- A typical recipe for a Martini
is 3 fl. oz gin and 1 tbsp dry vermouth, mixed with ice,
strained into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnished with an
olive or lemon twist. Despite James Bond, most mixologists
prefer clear drinks such as Martinis stirred, never shaken.
(Shaking adds air bubbles to the liquid and clouds it.) This
recipe uses a 6:1 gin to vermouth ratio. Some drinkers prefer a
dryer version, 12:1, 20:1, or as Patrick makes it, merely
coating the glass with vermouth before adding the gin. Winston
Churchill is said to make it by pouring the gin while merely
glancing at an unopened bottle of vermouth; this is called a
- Mr Woollcott says somewhere
the sun is just below the yard-arm: a yardarm is
long piece of timber tapering slightly toward the ends, hung by
the centre to the top of a mast (upon which the square sails are
traditionally hung). The suggestion that one can have a drink as
soon as the sun is over the yardarm is thought to have its
origins in the custom aboard ship whereby once the sun had sunk
enough over the horizon and no longer struck the yardarm
officers could retire below for their first tot of spirits for
the day. The expression is now used to mean around 5:00 p.m. or
the end of the working day; i.e., time to mix the drinks!
(Whether this quote was actually by Woollcott, I cannot verify!)
- Greenwich Village, or simply The
Village, is a neighborhood on the west side of lower
Manhattan. During the late 19th to the mid 20th centuries, it
was known as a Bohemian capital, and
was the center of the Beat movement. The name was originally
Dutch Groenwijck, but the name was close enough to the
name of the borough of East London. Because of its Bohemian
association, it has now undergone gentrification, and today is
mostly a middle-class residential area.
- Babbitt is the name of a novel by Sinclair Lewis
published in 1922. It is largely a satire of middle-class
American life and culture. The name Babbitt denotes one
slavishly conforming to middle-class stereotypes.
- Scarsdale, located in
Westchester County, just north of New York City, is
perhaps the richest suburb in the country.
- lamé—an ornamental fabric in which metallic threads, as
of gold or silver, are woven with silk, wool, rayon, or cotton.
- A paddy wagon (also called a patrol wagon) is a
vehicle for taking arrestees to jail. The name comes from the
use of Paddy as slang for policeman, because so there were
so many Irish policemen, Paddy being a diminutive of Patrick.
(Alternatively it might have been so named because many of those
being taken to jail were Irish, probably for drunkenness.).
Act I, Scene 6 : Mame's apartment
- Lindsay Woolsey—Lindsey-Woolsey is a kind of woven
fabric with a linen warp and woolen woof. The Bible specifically
forbids Jews from wearing garments made of both wool and linen:
Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen
and linen together. –Deuteronomy
- A Bohemian, is, technically a
Czech, Bohemia being the old name of the western part of the
Czech Republic. But gypsies were assumed to come from Bohemia,
so it has been used for a name for gypsy. The story of Samson
and Delilah is told in Judges
16:3-31. Samson marries the Philistine woman Delilah who
betrays him to the Philistines. So the name Delilah has come to
mean a dangerous temptress. John Milton personified her as the misguided and
foolish but sympathetic temptress, much like his view of Eve, in his 1671 work Samson Agonistes. By the
time of Camille
Saint-Saens’ Samson et
Dalila (1877) Delilah had become the eponym
of a "Delilah", a treacherous and cunning femme fatale. See the article on Delilah in Wikipedia.
was the queen of King Ahab of the (northern) kingdom of Israel,
as told in the biblical 1 and 2 Kings. She was the daughter of
the king of Sidon, and actively promoted the worship of Baal in
Israel. Her name has come to mean a wicked woman.
- Much has been made of stockbrokers jumping out of windows
after the stock market crash in 1929. It turns out that there
were actually fewer suicides in the Depression than in
the decade before.
Act I, Scene 7 : Shubert Theatre, New Haven
- New Haven is one of the cities
where shows would hold out-of-town try-outs before opening on
Broadway. The Shubert Theatre was named for the Shubert
brothers, Lee, Sam, and Jacob, from Syracuse, NY, who were
Broadway theatrical producers and theater owners. They
currently own or operate 16 Broadway theaters.
Act I, Scene 9 : Mame's apartment
- Tiffany & Company is known for diamonds. Located at
Fifth Avenue and 57th Street since 1940, from 1905 to 1940 they
were at 401 Fifth Avenue, at 38th Street. Their store at South
Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa was, in 2006, their most profitable.
- Walgreens is the largest drug store chain in the United
States. Founded in Chicago in 1901, they operate in all 50
states, D. C., and Puerto Rico. They really did not suffer
during the great depression.
- Patrick notes that "But Auntie Mame, It's one week from
Thanksgiving Day now." In those days, it was considered almost
sacrilegious to put up any kind of Christmas decorations before
Thanksgiving Day, which, in those days, was the last Thursday in
November, and most people did not put up Christmas decorations earlier
than about the week before.
Act I, Scene 10 : Peckerwood
- Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside—all names of Civil
- Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was the first
prominent Confederate general officer. He took command of
the army in Charleston and ordered the firing on Fort
Sumter, beginning the Civil War. He was the victor at 1st
Bull Run (1st Manassas). He was trained as an engineer at
West Point, and distinguished himself in the Mexican War. He
was instrumental in keeping the Union army from capturing
Petersburg in 1864. When Petersburg fell nine months later,
he helped persuade other Confederate leaders that the war
was lost. After the war he was one of the few Confederate
generals to become rich.
- Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson entered West
Point with a very poor education, and started at the bottom
of his class. But he studied very hard, and graduated 17th
of 59 in the class of 1846. He distinguished himself at the
battles of Vera Cruz and Chapultepec in the Mexican War. At
the start of the Civil War, he became Colonel of infantry in
Virginia of what became known as the Stonewall Brigade,
because of his policy of never retreating. In 1863 he was
killed by Confederate soldiers mistaking his party for
Northerners. Lee considered his death a great blow.
- George Edward Pickett graduated last in his class
from West Point in 1846, just after the Mexican War broke
out. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Chapultepec,
hoisting the U. S. flag over the fortress. He is best
remembered for Pickett’s charge at the Battle of
Gettysburg, for which he never forgave Lee.
- Ambrose Everett Burnside graduated from West Point
in 1847. In the Mexican War he arrived too late at Vera Cruz
to be involved in the battle, and ended up mostly in
garrison duty in Mexico City. As a Union Army general in the
Civil War, he conducted successful campaigns in North
Carolina and East Tennessee but was defeated in the
disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg and the Battle of the
Crater. His distinctive style of facial hair is now known as
sideburns, derived from his last name.
- Crinoline is a type of petticoat or structure to keep a
woman’ skirt in the desired shape. It was worn mostly in the
19th century, and today is worn only as very formal dress.
- A mint
julep — start with a julep cup filled with crushed
ice, add 2 tbsp sugar syrup, stir well, add 3 oz bourbon, stir
until ice forms on the outside of the cup. Garnish with three
large mint sprigs. Variations include a brandy julep, peach
brandy julep, Champagne julep, and Irish julep (use Irish
- A cakewalk is a style of dance developed among black
Americans in the South, probably in the time of slavery. The
style probably originated in slaves and later free blacks
strutting around in mock imitation of plantation society. It was
done in contests, and the winner received a cake.
- The black-eyed pea is a kind of bean of the species Vigna
unguiculata, brown with a prominent black spot. Originally
from India, it was introduced to the Caribbean, and from thence
to the American South.
- Grits is a food common to the South made from coarsely
ground corn, usually eaten as a porridge, hot or cold, and often
- The Ritz is a hotel founded by Swiss
hotelier César Ritz noted for its ostentatious display.
- Georgia is known as the Peach State, Alabama the Camellia
State, and Mississippi the Magnolia State. Bougainvillea,
pecan fries, and chicken fries are other symbols
of the South.
- The Robert
E. Lee was a Mississippi riverboat named for
the Confederate general and launched in 1866 for service between
Natchez and New Orleans. In 1870 it won a famous race with the
then speed record holder, the Natchez VI, from St Louis
to New Orleans. But in 1882 it caught fire.
- I came, I saw, I conquered is the English translation
of what Julius Caesar is reported to have written about a short
war in 47 bc.
Act II, Scene 1 : Prep School and College (and Singapore)
- Pago Pago (usually pronounced
"pahng-go pahng-go" [IPA: 'paŋgo 'paŋgo] by Americans, but
"pahng-o pahng-o" ['paŋo 'paŋo] by Samoans) is the capital of
American Samoa. Shanghai is the
largest city in China. Singapore
was established by the British East India Company in 1819, led
by Sir Stamford Raffles. It remained a British colony until 1963
(except for Japanese occupation 1941-45) and joined the
federation of Malaysia. It was kicked out of Malaysia in 1965,
and has since been an independent republic. The Raffles
Hotel was built in 1887 by four Armenian brothers in the
grand colonial style. It was closed for renovations 1989-91.
- Deb is short for débutante, from the feminine
French word meaning "beginner". It refers to a young lady who
has reached the age of maturity and is now introduced to society
in her début. Originally it announced that a girl was now ready
to marry, and she was introduced to eligible young men. This
might happen at a débutante ball, at which several young ladies
were introduced, or at a coming-out party for her only, or her
and her sister. Under Babcock’s trusteeship, Patrick would
probably be introduced to débutantes, and expected to seek one
in marriage. (It seems likely that Patrick met Gloria Upson
through their mutual acquaintance with Babcock.)
- Horn is slang for telephone. The earliest telephones
resembled horns, as do outdoor loudspeakers even today.
Act II, Scene 2 : Mame's apartment
- Dictaphone is a trademark, but has become generic, for
a device to record speech for later playback. The first such
device was built by Alexander Graham Bell in 1881. The
Dictaphone® was first marketed in 1907; it used wax cylinders to
record. In 1947, this technology was replaced by recording in a
mechanical groove on a plastic belt. Later, this was replaced by
magnetic tape, and eventually, a hard drive.
- Typewriters were used from around 1870 to 1990, until
being replaced by word-processing machines and personal
- Damon and Pythias were two friends in the ancient Greek
world. Pythias was sentenced to death by Dionysius, the tyrant
of Syracuse. He asked for permission to return home to settle
his affairs. Dionysius refused, until Damon volunteered to
remain as hostage for Pythias. When Pythias did not return at
the appointed time, Damon was about to be executed when Pythias
returned at the last moment. Dionysius, moved, pardoned Pythias,
and both men remained at his court as his trusted counselors.
The names Damon and Pythias have become proverbial for steadfast
friendship. MGM released a film of this story in 1962.
- Daphnis and Chloë is an erotic romance written by the
2nd century bc
Greek writer Longus. Daphnis and Chloë are two abandoned orphans
raised separately by two shepherds. When they are grown they
meet and fall in love, but do not understand what is happening.
After a number of adventures where they are almost separated
forever, they eventually get together. A modern story based
loosely on this is the film The
- Amos 'n' Andy was a radio sitcom and serial about two
black Southerners who move to Chicago and struggle to make a
living there. The show was so popular that movie theaters would
stop the film for 15 minutes and play the broadcast so that
viewers would not have to miss the program in order to see the
- Peg o’ My Heart is a popular song written by Alfred
Bryan and Fred Fisher for the Ziegfeld Follies of 1913.
- Alice Babette Toklas (1877-1967) and Gertrude
Stein (1874-1946) were life partners and hosted a salon in
Paris that attracted many American writers, including Ernest Hemingway and Thornton Wilder, and such avant-garde painters as Picasso and Matisse.
- Romulus and Remus are the twin mythical founders of
Rome. They were said to be orphaned, and were suckled by a
she-wolf. When Rome was built, they quarreled, and Romulus
killed Remus. Romulus then became the first of the seven kings
of Rome. In the Aeneid, Virgil adds that the twins were
descended from Aeneas after he had fled from the fall of Troy.
Act II, Scene 4 : Upson farm
- Blue Barron was the stage name of the band leader Harry
Freidman (1913-2005), in the 1940s and 50s. His music was
described as "sweet" rather than "swing", being more sedate.
- A daiquiri
is a cocktail made of rum, fresh lime juice, and sugar
syrup, stirred or shaken, often with fruit and ice, served in a
chilled cocktail glass. It is named for the town of Daiquirí
near the original Bacardí distillery near Santiago in eastern
Cuba. (Since the communists took over Cuba, Bacardí has moved to
Puerto Rico.) There is a legend that Theodore Roosevelt and the
Rough Riders first encountered the drink when they landed near
the town. But it was first popularized by Ernest Hemingway in
the 1920s in Havana. A frozen daiquiri is made in a blender with
the above ingredients and 8 oz ice and poured into a chilled
wine glass. Another variation is the banana daiquiri. A whisky
sour and its variations can be considered variations on the daiquiri.
- The bunny hug was an early 20th century style of dance
done to ragtime music mostly by young people. It probably
originated in San Francisco.
- Lindy hop and jitterbug are
variations of swing
- A rumble seat was an upholstered seat on some
automobiles before World War II, opened where the trunk is on
most modern autos. The passengers were outside the protection of
the car’s roof, and thus exposed to the elements. The name is
short for rumble-tumble seat, located on some (horse-drawn)
- Coonskin coats became popular as automobile coats in
the early 20th century, and were worn by fashionable college
- Rudy Vallee (1901–1986) was an American singer, actor,
bandleader, and entertainer. He was a
pop superstar for his time, and he is perhaps best known as a
"crooner", one who sings softly, as into a radio microphone, as
opposed to a "belter", a voice needed before microphones. (Other
well-known crooners include Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Perry Como.) He appeared as Mr Biggley in the
original Broadway cast of How to Succeed in
Business Without Really Trying, and reprised the
role in the 1967 film. He had a house on Pyramid Place in the
Hollywood Hills, and Mayor Yorty proposed renaming the part he
lived on Rue de Vallee.
- A mountebank is someone who sells quack medicines or
other such things, as from a platform in a public place; by
extension, any charlatan. I suspect the authors of Mame
are making a pun on bank for the seat of Gloria’s
- The Schlitz brewing company was
the largest brewery in the world, beginning around 1902. They
used the mottos "The beer that made Milwaukee famous", "When
you’re out of Schlitz, you’re out of beer", and "Go for the
gusto." During Prohibition they made soft drinks and used a
modified motto "The drink that made Milwaukee famous."
But in the 1970s the company attempted to increase production
while cutting costs by changing to a high-temperature (and hence
high speed) brewing process. (Lager beer is traditionally slow
fermented from the bottom, around 45º F for 6-10 days, and then
matured over a few weeks.) The new formula beer was unpopular,
and sales declined. Schlitz was acquired by the Stroh Brewing
Company of Detroit in 1982, which was itself acquired by Pabst
in 1999. A reformulated 1960s style beer was reintroduced in
2008 in select markets.
Act II, Scene 5 : Mame's apartment
- The name Pegeen is an Irish variant of Peggy, or
Margaret, and means "pearl". The name is not common in the
United States, according to the census bureau.
- The film title Reflected Glory does not appear in the
Internet Movie Database. The
title may be a pun on Gloria’s name.
Bankhead (1902-1968) was a controversial American
actress and bon-vivant. Roles included Constance Porter in
Hitchcock’s film Lifeboat and as the Black Widow in the
Batman television series. The character Cruella de Vil in
101 Dalmatians was partly based on her.
- Upjohn was a pharmaceutical company in Kalamazoo,
Michigan. It was acquired by Monsanto and today is part of
Pfizer. Upjohn’s best-known drugs before acquisition by Pfizer
were Xanax, Motrin IB, and Rogaine.
Act II, Scene 6 : Mame's apartment, 1946
- Sahib is originally an Arabic word meaning "master" or
"proprietor" that passed into Farsi and the major languages of
India. It was often translated "your grace."
- Salaam is the Arabic word for "peace". It is used as a
greeting and is frequently heard in India.
- Literally, the term antediluvian
means "before the Flood", i.e. the Flood of Noah’s time,
mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 6-8. Figuratively, then, it
means "archaic", or very much out of date.
- India in 1946 was on the verge of independence, which
happened in the summer of 1947. Unfortunately, independence
resulted in the partition
of the country into India and Pakistan, with much communal
violence, leading to an estimated 500,000 deaths. Over 7,000,000
Muslims migrated from India to Pakistan, and another more than
7,000,000 Hindus and Sikhs left Pakistan for India. It would not
have been a good plan for Mame and Peter to go there in 1947!
airport (LGA), located in the Flushing area of
the borough of Queens, used to be
the main airport for New York City, but in the jet age was
superseded by JFK,
which was formerly known as Idlewild (IDL). JFK airport is
located in the
Jamaica area of Queens. Today LaGuardia still is a major
passenger traffic on short- and midrange flights. The
airport was named
La Guardia (1882-1947),
mayor of New York from 1933 to 1945; his life and loves are the
subject of the
musical show Fiorello!
- TWA was Trans World Airlines. 1946 was a big year for
TWA. They began flying the fast new elegant Lockheed
Constellation, and also began flying internationally, breaking
into what had been Pan Am’s "turf" as the United States’ sole
international airline. Howard Hughes controlled TWA in those
days, from 1941 to 1956. Unfortunately TWA did not react well to
deregulation in the 1980s, and went bankrupt in 1992. Their
assets were acquired by American Airlines in 2001. Since the flight
to India in 1946 was before the introduction of commercial
jetliniers (1958), it would take over 50 hours, with more than
Events of 1929
- May 14: Charlie Stowe was born
- October 29 was known as Black Tuesday, because of the large
number of shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange that day
(16 million) and the loss in value ($14 billion).
- Thanksgiving Day fell on November 28.
- Christmas Day was a Wednesday.
- The "sixteen shopping days till Christmas" would be December
- Updated 04/19/2010; revised
- More on cocktails
- McQ’s theater home page
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to tf_mcq <at> yahoo.com.