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Minsky, Harold, 1915-1977


Harold Minsky (1915-1977) began producing the burlesque shows he called "follies" at New York City's Gaiety Theatre in 1934. While popular with European immigrants more familiar with risqué performances, The New York Times criticized the shows as being "dirtier" than burlesque. In 1943, Mayor La Guardia ordered all burlesque theaters closed in New York. Minsky, through his attorney Morris Ernst, demanded a "just cause" hearing to reopen his theatre, but after months of litigation the ban was upheld by the Supreme Court and Minsky was forced to declare bankruptcy. Undaunted by this setback, he moved his shows to such places as Chicago, Illinois; Hollywood, California; Miami, Florida; Newark, New Jersey; and Cincinnati, Ohio, introducing "family style" burlesque and "ladies day" to entice women to attend.

After introducing burlesque to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1957 at the Dunes Hotel and Casino, Minsky produced shows at the Thunderbird Hotel, the Aladdin Hotel and Casino, the Silver Slipper Hotel and Casino, the Fremont Hotel and Casino, and the Frontier Hotel. A book based on the stage productions, entitled The Night They Raided Minsky's was published in 1960 and followed by a motion picture of the same name in 1967.

Successful in the 1950s and 1960s, the popularity of burlesque declined in the 1970s. Harold Minsky died on December 25, 1977, shortly after his last show at the Fremont Hotel in Las Vegas closed. His wife, Patricia, kept the show alive in other American cities until 1978, when the last Minsky's Burlesque was performed for the public.


Joanne Goodwin, "Minsky's Burlesque," Online Nevada Encyclopedia. Accessed October 2010.

Goodwin, Joanne. "Minsky's Burlesque." Online Nevada Encyclopedia. October 4, 2010. Accessed July 22, 2016.