Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sophie Tucker

Good to be back with Sepia Saturday, especially with the wonderful Sophie Tucker--The Last of the Red Hot Mamas. Tucker had an exceptionally long career, starting in vaudeville, but extending into the 1960s. I remember seeing her on the old Ed Sullivan show. And her memoir, "Some of These Days," based on the title of one of her most famous songs, is one of my favorites. This card from the 1970s reproduced the cover of sheet music (I'd guess the 1940s) celebrating the anniversary of her most famous hit. From the picture, you can see Tucker (born in 1886) must have been in her 50s or 60s in this photo.

Tucker in her early days was not exactly family fare. The Sepia Saturday post of her in her youth tells the story: leaning over a chair, with a slightly come hither look. "I can't get enough of it" indeed.

I laughed out loud when I saw that pose -- the last music star I saw do that was the late, great Etta James, using a stool, leering over her shoulder on stage at the Bottom Line. That was part of her nightclub act sometime in the late 1970s. Bette Midler adapted a Tucker persona called "Soph" to recite the racier jokes in her act, too, using an old boyfriend "Ernie" as a straight man. WARNING: dirty joke below, avert your eyes if you're a sensitive soul

Ernie: Soph, you got no tits and a tight box
Soph: Ernie, get  off  my  back

Drum roll. Thank you.  Read more about Sophie Tucker here.

Click below for more takes on the this week's theme:


  1. Phew! I nearly decorated my computer screen with coffee then! That was unexpected (but funny)!

    BTW Did you know you still have word verification switched on? Most of us have switched it off now as it is proving quite off putting when we want to comment. There were no ill effects.

  2. I remember seeing Sophie Tucker on Ed Sullivan too. Interesting look at similar Sophie-esque performers.

  3. I don't think Alan knew what he started by picking Sophie this week. Glad he and you did.

  4. I don't recall her, but I do remember the Ed Sullivan show! My highlight of all time shows, I was too young really for them, but my sister who was 7 years older was crazy about the Beatles!

  5. I agree Bette Midler had the same style as these earlier performers. It's surprising to think they were so risque back in the early 1900s. It seems like such an innocent time.

  6. Hilarious joke. Wow she was ahead of her time, wasn't she?
    She sure had a long and succesful career. I can't imagine that someone like Brittany spears could last that long.

  7. Drum roll indeed!!!
    Me luv Bette!!
    Tucker performed in a venue with a willing clientele. Nowadays, everything is seen on the web, but back then, much could be kept more "private", so to speak... and sensitive souls could go on with their lives, unaware of what happened on stage somewhere, after sunset.

  8. I bet her memoir would be fun to read.

  9. Bette Midler does indeed seem to be a worthy successor to Sophie Tucker and her ilk.

    What's with the daisies?

  10. Fun post. Sophie Tucker was way before my time, but it would have been fun to be at one of her shows.

  11. Fun post, Linda. I didn't avert my eyes...and I did laugh!
    In answer to your comment on my post- No, I don't have any of my cousin's paper dolls. It probably wouldn't have occurred to me at that age to save them. What a shame.

  12. I just love these bawdy women of yesteryear -tThey give us something to aspire to! And I most certainly did not avert my eyes! :-)