Bruz Fletcher Livened Up the 1930’s

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There’s nothing so gay as a stinking café
A club where the night lights rally
There’s nothing so vicious or costly pernicious
As the life we all lead in the alley

For birthdays and weddings and airing our beddings
The home is no longer a boon
A private pleasure or vex we now make public as sex
The salon of today’s the saloon
—Bruz Fletcher, “Hello Darling,” 1940

MOST PEOPLE today don’t know the name of Bruz Fletcher. In the 1930’s, however, all the right people knew his name. Humphrey Bogart, Louise Brooks, Howard Hughes, and Ronald Reagan are just some of the luminaries who laughed, drank, and blushed over the outrageous entertainment Fletcher delivered in his Sunset Strip nightclub. A modern saloon singer before Frank Sinatra or Bobby Short, Fletcher had as clear a voice as either of them, and a lyric wit that tossed off acrobatic rhymes and lavender-tinged triple entendres. This year marks the centenary of the birth of the gay wit known as “The Singing Satirist.”

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