Mae West's sister and hot dog king square off in drink contest

Mae West with her sister Beverly are seen in a 1930 file photo.
Mae West with her sister Beverly are seen in a 1930 file photo.

CHICAGO, Dec. 5, 1933 (UP) - Beverly West, Mae West's little sister, entered the lists Tuesday as the representative of American womanhood in the first-person-to-take-a-drink-after-repeal contest.

"There's only one person in the world that might have the edge on me in taking the first drink after repeal," snapped Beverly, who is a small-sized edition of the glamorous Mae. "That's my sister, Mae, and she's taught me everything she knows."


The entrance of a woman in the race for the honor of being the first person to take a legal drink after Utah's repeal vote is flashed eastward gave pause to Oscar Mayer, who first challenged Benjamin Descasseres, New York bon vivant, for the drinking honor.

"In my day," said Mayer, noted for his invention of the skinless hot dog, "women didn't drink in bar-rooms. I felt confident my experience as the first man to take a legal drink of 3.2 beer gave me the edge over Decasseres, but, frankly, Miss West has me a little worried."

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"And well he may be worried," responded Beverly, "we Wests take second place to no man and we know our men. A lot has happened since Mr. Mayer and Mr. Decasseres had their last legal drink. If they heard me sing 'Frankie and Johnnie' some time, they'd know it was no amateur they're going up against."


Miss West's sudden challenge for repeal honors caused a stir in the partisan camps rapidly forming both in New York and Chicago in support of their favored candidates. Betting odds which had been about even quickly swung to favor the dynamic Miss West.

The brand-new bar of the Palmer House, successor to the famed Silver Dollar drinking place, was chosen as the scene of rivalry. A telegraph wire to carry the flash of Utah's repeal vote direct from the United Press office to the bar was installed. Trained bartenders, mustaches waxed, and muscles taut, were prepared to whip the drinks on the bar the moment news form Utah arrived.

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Mayer was philosophical despite his disturbance at Miss West's threat to his ambition.

"May the best one win," he said. "I can imagine nothing more fitting than that the honor should go to Miss West if my hand falters when the time comes."

"Thank you," said Miss West. "Why don't you come up and see me some time?"

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