Category Archives: Sylvester Lewis

Pretty Polly Preshus, Her Rise and Fall

Polly Preshus was born backstage at Pinsky’s Burlesque house in downtown Kansas City. It was during intermission on a Friday, the 13th, I think.  Her mother, Ayn Tai Preshus, a buxom Eurasian half-caste, had just finished her bump and grind dancing-with-balloon strip routine and immediately went into labor which lasted less than ten minutes. The show must go on, don’t you know. The baby just seemed to plop out crying at the top of her little not-completely-formed lungs. “That’s my baby,” Ayn Tai bragged. “Isn’t she pretty? Listen to that voice. Mark my words! She’s gonna be another Streisand.” (Streisand – not the singer – was the show closer who gave imitations of steam engines in full steam ahead mode and who always brought down the house.) The proud mama decided then and there to name her Polly, after her best friend Polly Wannacracker.
+++++Little Polly made her stage debut at age 2 when Ayn Tai Precshus, unable to find a baby sitter, was forced to carry her onstage. She incorporated her into the act by using Polly as she would have used her balloon – cover a breast here, a buttock there. Even though Polly felt a little dizzy, poor thing, the child seemed to enjoy all the rhythmic moving about, the music and particularly the applause which was like manna to her ears. And though she wasn’t aware of it at the time, her forming mind decided this was the life for her.
+++++Using the stage name Pretty Polly, she trampled on anyone who stood in her way, and was a headlining stripper by 14, married at 16, divorced at 17, quit burlesque at 18, took Broadway by storm at 19 and, on her 21st birthday, it was bye-bye Broadway, hello Hollywood, with Ayn Tai in tow.
+++++Her reputation preceded her. No auditions for this gal. MGM, Paramount, Warner Brothers and all the others circled around like sharks in a feeding frenzy, fighting tooth and nail to get her to sign a contract. But she just sat around sipping champagne and buffing her nails as the offers rose higher and higher.
+++++Eventually, a bored Polly cha-chad south of the border to Tijuana for a wee vacation where she met and had a torrid fling with the hypersexual bull fighter, Getta Loadahme Gonzales.
+++++Shortly after her return, Polly learned she had contracted a particularly virulent communicable disease. The news spread quickly throughout Hollywood causing a stampede of leading men, sailors and busboys clamoring for immediate hush-hush appointments with their doctors. The tabloids soon began referring to her as “Typhoid Polly.” All the studio gates were closed to her. It was as though she never existed. Her health deteriorated rapidly, leaving her scarred and almost bald.
+++++Ayn Tai Preshus took her ravaged daughter back to Kansas City and, after years of nursing her to health with the help of Polly Wannacracker, not so pretty Polly ended up back at Pinsky’s Burlesque house cleaning toilets and mopping floors. Most of the people she demolished on her way to the top were surprised, indeed delighted, to learn that what goes around really does come around.
+++++So, dreaming of her glorious days with Getta Loadahme, and with nothing else to do in her spare time, with paper and pencil, poor loopy Polly wolly doodled all the day.