Read First Chapter Of Thorson’s “Behind The Candelabra”


You can probably find this book at any used bookstore for a buck or two, but in the meantime – check out the first chapter. Besides, how are you gonna keep them down on the farm once they’ve seen Liberace’s house!

On November 11, 1918, headlines around, the globe trumpeted: PEACE! World War I, the war to end all wars, had come to an end. American doughboys were headed home and with them came a new sophistication, a new worldview. A popular song posed the question, “How’re you gonna keep them down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree?”

There would be no keeping the boys who fought their way across Europe “down on the farm.” America was poised on the brink of an urban explosion that would be fueled by a technical revolution. Women abandoned their hobble skirts, became flappers, and emerged as a new social force. A booming economy and increased leisure time helped popularize new diversions like movies and radio. Flickering figures on a theater screen and electronically amplified voices coming from crystal tubes right in the living room pushed vaudeville to the brink of extinction. The entertainment industry would never be the same. All these events would have an effect on Liberace’s future.

His birthplace, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was a quiet backwater which didn’t respond quickly to the great events a home and abroad. Local farmers and men who worked the Great Lakes shipping trade still counted the weather more important than events overseas. The majority of the people descended from German immigrants; God-fearing, churchgoing, hardworking Lutherans who relaxed on weekends drinking the beer for which their city was famous. In the early years of the twentieth century, Milwaukee was a quiet, conservative community, an unlikely birthplace for the man who would call himself “Mr. Show Business.” Lee would never feel he belonged there.

Read more

Advertisements