Sande Marlowe Sizzles, but did she Suffer a Heart Attack on Stage? A Vintage Sleaze Investigative Report
Did Sande Marlowe, also known as "The Venus of Stageland" suffer a heart attack while dancing at the President Follies club? The story was reported by Walter Hale, puffed-up buffoon of burlesque, so don't believe it. Not that I want to make light of Sande (if she DID dance herself into the hospital) but she looks pretty fit to me.
Walter got the city wrong after all…the President club was in the city on the bay, San Francisco, not LA, so can we trust him on anything? No. Neither did Hugh Hefner, who sued Big Walter once, but that's not the story here.
The President (in San Francisco) was owned by Eddie Skolak. In 1943, robbers cut through a wire- screened window and lugged out the safe of the President Follies. Eddie said It contained over two thousand dollars, the receipts of the previous evening. They drove the safe away in a truck. Eddie's club had over a thousand seats and hot routines, but that is still a good chunk of dough for 1943.
Sadly, twenty years later, the Associated Press reported the end of an era…The President was closed by Skolak's wife, Cathie Carver Skolak, who inherited it when Eddie passed on in 1960. She had decided to go to Nashville and pursue a career as a country and western singer. Well, I don't know how that went, but I hope so, and maybe someone will find out. A lovely history of the club is provided by Eddie's daughter on the Cinema Treasures website HERE, the kind of first person comment you don't find often when looking up the history of burlesque.
But back to Sande.
Sande Marlowe was from California and was dancing across the country in 1957 with the "Hollywood Scandals" when a local reporter caught up with her in Pittsburgh, but she had previously danced on her own in L.A. and Mexico City. She worked under a few names, of course. Eve Marlowe, Sandi (with an i instead of an e) Marlowe, Maureen Marlowe. Sometimes she put an accent mark over the E on her last name. But no mention of a heart attack.
Sande WAS really something. I would call her a mother hen, but she's way too hot. Reportedly, thirty other dancers owed their start to her nurturing. She not only trained new strippers, but she was known to announce the show, work the curtains and even sell tickets in the theater! Her act was rock and roll when rock and roll was new…her drum beat wasn't tired, lame, horrible trad jazz like most peelers…she rocked back in 1959.
Maybe she did work herself into a stroke, but if so it was probably her stress from running the whole show instead of the dancing.
She also owned her own home, and in 1959 had a new car. Oh…and she had green eyes and weighed 110.
However, I can't verify her on-stage heart attack. I hope it didn't happen.
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