Friday, January 10, 2014

Ruby Pearl

This is from a Gay Talese article written for the March 1970 issue of Esquire magazine.

The article talks about George Spahn and the ranch saying......

"Spahn bought it. [the ranch]  Spahn and his wife parted company about this time, but there soon appeared at Spahn's side a new leading lady of the ranch, a onetime dog trainer and circus performer named Ruby Pearl.

She was a perky redhead of about thirty with lively blue eyes, a petite figure, and lots of nerve.  She had been born on a farm in Sandstone Minnesota, and had a desire to get into show business somehow, an ambition that was a confusing as it was shocking to her mother, a Christian preacher's daughter, and her father, a conscientious routine-oriented railroad man.  After graduating from high school, where she had acted in school plays and won first prize in the girls' hundred-yard dash and broad-jumping competition in a county-wide track meet, she traveled to Minneapolis on her father's railroad pass, presumably to attend secretarial school and embark on a respectable career in that city.  But one day scanning the classified ads in The Minneapolis Tribune, she saw a job opportunity that appealed to her.  She applied and got the job, that of being a cocktail waitress at Lindy's, a local club patronized by, among other distinguished figures, Al Capone.

When Capone and his men were in town they were invariably accompanied by very attractive girls in ermine or mink, and were always given the large table at Lindy's in the back room where drinks were served all night.  Ruby Pearl liked serving the big table, not only because of the generous tips she received but because of the sense of excitement she felt in the Capone party's presence.  But she had neither the desire nor the time to become further involved, devoting all her free hours and earnings to the dancing school she attended every day, learning ballet and adagio, tap dancing, the rumba and the tango.  After Lindy's was raided by the police and closed down, Ruby Pearl supported herself as a bus girl in a cafeteria, pouring coffee and clearing dishes.  Soon she caught the eye of the assistant manager, an engineering student at the University of Minnesota.  He became her first lover and husband, and after his graduation he was hired by Lockheed in Burbank, California, and the newly married couple set up housekeeping in a motor court on the fringe of Hollywood.

On certain evenings, together with other young engineers from Lockheed and their wives, Ruby and her husband would go to The Brown Derby and Ciro's and various night spots where there was live entertainment and dancing.  Ruby invariably became restless and tense on these occasions, seated around the table with the others, sipping her drink, and wishing she was not with the dull wives of engineers but rather that she was in the spotlight on the stage, and kicking up her heels.

Her marriage did not produce children, nor did she want any.  She wanted to resume with her dancing, and she did, attending classes conducted by a sleek French-Indian adagio dancer who later gave Ruby a part in his touring trio that featured himself and his jealous girlfriend.  Ruby also danced in a chorus at a Hollywood club for a while, as her marriage deteriorated and finally ended in divorce.

About this time, approaching an age when she could no longer maintain a dancer's pace, she was introduced, by a man she had met, to a new career of training dogs to dance, sit, jump through hoops, and ride atop ponies. She had a facility for animal training, and within a few years had perfected an act with three dogs and a pony that was booked at several community fairs in Southern California, in addition to a number of schools, circuses, and local television shows.  At one community fair, in Thousand Oaks, she met a man, a wrestler, who would become her next husband.  He was a burly, strong, and tender man, who had done quite well financially, and he also owned a restaurant on the side, a subject of interest to Ruby because of her days as a waitress.  Not long afterward, Ruby met another man with whom she had much in common, a proprietor of a pony riding ring for children and a movie ranch--- George Spahn.

This just ad from the Van Nuys News December 19, 1954.