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A Flashback Trip to the Era of Prohibition and Speakeasies

| Apr 2, 2012
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I have had a long fascination with the era of prohibition in the United States. It was a time when otherwise upstanding citizens flaunted the law of the land, where men like Elliot Ness fought a battle against criminal elements to uphold a law that many of his political bosses chose to quietly and not-so-quietly circumvent. That flaunting of one law plus the extra infusion of money in the economy led to a devil-may-care attitude among the general public. In few areas was that attitude better expressed than in women’s fashion. Women must have really loved it when they had the chance to discard corsets and hoop skirts for flapper and chemise dresses. They seemed to universally embrace the new lighter, freer fashions. Many of them adopted lighter, freer outlooks on life to go with their new fashions.

I never lived it but I remain fascinated by those Roaring ’20s. So when I was in Orlando and had the chance to go to a dinner show setting people in a facsimile Al Capone speakeasy I was interested. When the chance came to attend the show as Linda I jumped at it.

Running daily since 1992 the Capone show is one of the more popular dinner show events in the competitive Orlando/ Kissimmee market. The show is upbeat and funny. The crowd loves to get involved whether they are the butt of Don Rickles type humor or being asked to repeat lines such as telling the gangster (don’t call me Bugsy) Moran about ‘Fingers’ Salvatorio “He’s Not Here!”

I’m getting ahead of myself. First I should tell you how I got there. For years while visiting the Orlando area I’d seen the show’s promotional material which prominently displays their showgirls in attire typical of the prohibition era. Naturally I focused more on the outfits than the show’s storyline but I determined that if I ever could I would attend the show as Linda and I would attend in period attire, as they say.

It took many years but finally this year I found a friend, Tom, who would be my date for the show. Most of the audience are groups, families and couples celebrating special occasions. Not a lot of single girls (or t-girls) show up. So having a man to complete the couple image was marvelous.

For a good part of the week before our date I scoured the malls looking for just the right dress, jewelry and of course a feathered boa! I also styled my hair to as close to a 1920s look as I could do.

Right on time Tom arrived at my hotel to pick me up. Well, he came early so that we could chat and do other things. After all we hadn’t seen each other in a month. We were still early enough for the show that we could attend the special pre-show cocktail party and get our photo taken in a mock police line-up. That was a deer in the headlights experience for both of us. Then we sat at a table in the upstairs lounge, watching other guests arrive. I was disappointed that not more females were in costume but there were enough interesting ladies and gents for us to ogle.

As dinner time approached we were escorted to our tables. I would have been satisfied with a quiet table in the back. No such luck: we were seated front and center. Probably half of the audience had to look through us to see the stage. Nevertheless it was an enjoyable evening for this girl. In my quasi flapper dress I felt a part of the show. The staff and other guests were very friendly to us. The couple seated next to us turned out to be from a small town about sixty miles from my home. They were interested in how this small-town Ontario girl came to be dating a man from the big city of Orlando. We were vague in our explanation.

The buffet meal was about as expected. I enjoyed the opportunity to get up and wiggle my derriere over to the buffet table. Eyes were on me. Who wouldn’t check out a six foot tall blonde with the white boa around her neck? Who knows: there may have been a few side bets as to my actual status.

The show proceeded as expected. It consisted of a series of skits and songs loosely following a story line where one of the characters, Fingers Salvatorio, was being pursued by a gangster, Bugsy (Don’t call me that!) Moran. The ladies in the cast carried the show with their song and dance routines. What wasn’t expected was how nice a date Tom was. Every once in a while he would reach across the table to take my hand in his. I gladly reciprocated this small but public show of affection.

During the show’s intermission we were presented with a package of souvenirs for sale — key chains, a ‘rap sheet’ and a copy of a mock newspaper with the headline “Jensen Crime Family Arrested.” all with our line-up photo. Tom bought the works.

There was a time during the second part of the show when I got a little nervous. Bugsy and Fingers were doing a dialogue “This suit is made of virgin wool. Do you know where the get virgin wool?”

“No.”

“From very ugly sheep.” Laughs and groans.

“That’s b-a-a-a-d,” I called out. It was dangerous to get involved because the two were picking on various members of the audience for minor infractions like being married 44 years, being from Pennsylvania, or whatever else they could mock. Not to worry. Neither of them said, “What’s your name sweetheart,”

“Linda”

“That means lovely in Spanish. What’s your real name?”

Mercifully I was left alone and when the show ended I was lucky enough to get my photo taken with the cast. What a great souvenir of a great evening!

Next time you are in Orlando try to attend the Capone’s Dinner and Show. Just remember to pack your best flapper dress and ‘tell them Linda sent you.’ The password is ‘Two Cherry Cokes.’


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Category: Transgender Fun & Entertainment

Linda Jensen

About the Author ()

Canadian writer Linda Jensen is a long time contributor to TGForum. Before the days of the Internet Linda started her writing with the Transvestian newspaper. Her writing ranges from factual accounts of her adventures to fiction although frankly sometimes her real life adventures are stranger than the fiction. Linda is married to a loving partner who upon learning about Linda said, "she was part of you before I met you. Although I didn't know it she was part of the package I fell in love with. I don't want to mess up that package." "Does it get any better than that?" asks Linda.

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