Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.
She was born Mildred Strange in Oklahoma in 1910. Raised by her uncle, a Methodist minister, she taught Sunday school in Shawnee, east of Oklahoma City. For a while, she ran a bookstore in a small town.
And then she joined Minsky’s burlesque as Peaches Strange. On her first trip west, she and co-star Myrna Dean broke 20-year box office records at the Follies Burlesque, 337 S. Main St., a theater that is a story in itself.
Asked how she behaved offstage by Times writer Jean Bosquet, Strange said: “Just like your sister or your wife, mister. Her act stops on stage.”
“She’s probably even more modest than the average woman, Peaches?”
“Sounds like a paradox, but she sure is. I didn’t say ‘Come in’ right away when you knocked on my dressing room door, did I?”
“No, you didn’t. Why was that?”
“Because I didn’t have enough clothes on.”
“What does a stripper think about when she’s doing her act?”
“I don’t think of anything any more. I used to, when I began doing the act five years ago. It’s just a job of work now as far as I’m concerned.”
“You see, some strip acts are ‘grind’ acts, some are ‘bumpers’ and some are artistic. Mine is artistic. I seek only to appeal to an audience’s appreciation of beauty. My thrill comes from knowing that I bring out only the finer reactions of my audience.”
Feeling curious as to whether I possessed such “finer reactions” myself, I went out front to see the young lady’s act. When she had finished shedding garments she was left with a pair of sheer silk stockings, a garter and brassiere adorning her figure.
Mildred “Peaches” Strange died in San Bernardino in 1991. She was 81.