Golden Horseshoe Revue Mirror Bit – Origins

The Golden Horseshoe Revue was the first show at Slue Foot Sue’s Golden Horseshoe Saloon at Disneyland. It was a 45 minute show which ran over 50,000 times and so is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest-running musical of all time.

Betty Taylor and Wally Boag are two of the most famous players from the show. But it is Ms. Taylor I am going to focus on with this little piece of origin trivia:

Betty Taylor with Mirror

What will she do with that mirror?

The writers of the Golden Horseshoe Revue tried very hard to make the show a good representation of what this kind of entertainment would have looked like back in the day. And they succeeded! Especially with the little gimmick above.

At some point in the show, Ms. Taylor would bring out a hand-held mirror and use it to reflect the footlights into the face of a man in the audience. You can see her play this way with the men in the audience in the Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color TV special (1962) that featured the 10,000th performance of the show. The always gracious Ms. Taylor would feature mostly bald men, to their delight!

Now to the origin part of this post. In 1937, Laurel and Hardy released a movie entitled Way Out West, which opened with an authentic dance hall performance by a lady (Lola) bearing a pretty fair resemblance to Ms. Taylor:

Dance Hall Girls 009

The mirror is smaller, but the bit is the same

Dance Hall Girls 008

A bald man is put in the spotlight!

The fact that Laurel and Hardy included this bit in this scene shows that it must have been an authentic piece of dance hall schtick. Of course, in the movie we see a jealous dance hall floozie upset that her mark is being distracted by her onstage rival. This authentic piece of dance hall behavior was not replicated in the Golden Horseshoe Revue!

Dance Hall Girls 004

Poster for Lola Marcel from Way Out West

I love that the Disney creative teams always do their research to make sure that even the little details are correct to the period and the times being depicted!

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