Friday, January 15, 2010


I love books you can dip in and out of, finding fresh treasure every time. Such a tome is Some of These Days, the refreshingly direct and unpretentious memoirs of the one and only Sophie Tucker. If you only know Sophie from Bette Midler's affectionate takeoff, you owe it to yourself to check out the real thing; the Last of the Red Hot Mommas was also the epitome of a special and vanished kind of show business.

She was a woman who worked hard all her life and enjoyed every moment of her considerable success (just look at her there, in her ermine and orchids at a Hollywood premiere - you don't get that far just sitting on your tuchus, kids). Turn one page and she's making her first break in Vaudeville; skip forward, and she's fighting MGM's attempts to turn her into the next Marie Dressler; back a little and she recounts the time a baby was born in her drawing room on a train heading to Chicago (it wasn't hers, but they kept in touch - she seems to have never lost track of anyone, ever).

The legend about this book is that its author flogged it herself so indefatigably that it's actually worth more if it's not autographed. Mine was signed over with Love to Elaine and Ernie Maxfield in January of 1960, and I'm sure they were glad to have it. I know I am.


  1. How wonderful, I will start hunting the book immediately.

  2. a 78 disc i had a a child was sophie tucker singing, "i'm living alone and i like it".

    sharon mcknight did an okay job with sophie's songbook.

  3. Sharon McKnight! There's a name that roars out of the past.

    Sometime I'll have to write up the singular experience of encountering her on the closing night of Starmites...