At the peak of her burlesque career Margie Hart was the highest paid stripper
in the world. And when she took me in her arms... well, actually, I was
only a few months old.
Margie Hart and Gypsy Rose Lee were probably about equal in fame, although
at the time Margie usually was higher paid and she pushed the limits far
more than Ms. Lee. (She is often cited as being the first to toss aside
even her g-string -- an action resulting in more than one arrest.) In 1942
she married her press agent, Seaman Jacobs (an aspiring writer). The connection
to me? His parents lived next door to us in Kingston, NY.
One day in 1943, she and her husband were visiting his parents and they
got to socializing with the couple next door. (My father was born in 1906,
my mother in 1909, Seaman in 1912, and Margie in 1913 -- essentially a
collection of thirty-somethings). Margie (as recounted to me by my father)
just had to hold that cute little baby boy. I always pictured this as being
summer because by winter my father would be drafted -- and picture summer
weather (or mild autumn weather) and people standing around outside, socializing.
And then Margie got a surprised look on her face as I leaked through my
diaper and her dress.
Margie and Seaman divorced in 1955. In the 1970s she married John Ferraro,
a key Los Angeles politician who served a record 35 years as a Los Angeles
City Councilman and who was an instrumental figure in putting together
the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Margie became a political wife, hosting
galas for her husband, while also being a shrewd businesswoman dealing
in real estate. She died in 2000.
Seaman Jacobs became a key comedy writer of Bob Hope's standup material
and a very successful writer of television programs (including more than
two dozen Bob Hope television specials). His writing career ran from the
1940s into the 1990s. He died in 2008 at age 96. He specialized in comedy,
writing multiple episodes for The Ed Wynn Show, The Red Skelton Show,
Bachelor Father, Petticoat Junction, Diff'rent Strokes, My
Three Sons, F-Troop, Love Boat, The Andy Griffith Show, and
The Jeffersons (to name just a few). He also wrote the screenplays for It
Happened at the World's Fair and for Oh God Book II.
(His IMDB listing.)
For a long time I had thought that I should share that anecdote with you... and then
today, on a Facebook Group I belong to (for people who grew up in Kingston, NY) some
one mentioned having met Howard Koch once in Woodstock -- Koch, who had grown up in
Kingston, was co-author of the radio script for the Orson Welles' War of the Worlds
broadcast on Halloween in 1938 that scared a number of people who thought it was real.
This led to mention of other writers who had lived in Kingston, including Seaman Jacobs....
which inspired me to share with you my story of how I peed on a famous burlesque star.