Paul Cummins’ Roaring 20s was an active nightclub in the early sixties and yet, there is little information online of its success run. Luckily, I know a woman who worked for 5 years at the original nightclub in Beverly Hills, CA. She was known as a Flapper Girl and this is her incredible story:
It was a multi-room facility which included; a Crystal Room, a Speakeasy, a Penny Arcade, The Last Chance Saloon and most importantly, a Flapper Room which contained a group of beautiful women who were all dressed up in roaring 20’s garb with fringes, feathers and fish net stockings (typical of that era). One of these Flapper Girls was a woman named Scherry Staiger and during the early 60’s, it was her job was to entertain the elite customers of this club which meant a lot of dancing, dangling from a ceiling swing and successfully sliding down a brass fire pole, each night, into the main room. This place even had Silent Movies, Sing-alongs and its own Shooting Gallery. It was truly one of the most ambitious nightclub projects that one could image and it was a huge success!
The Roaring 20s club that Scherry Staiger worked at:
Despite the many rooms and elaborate decorations that this place had, the success of the club really depended upon the Flapper Girls that Paul Cummins employed and his most popular lady was a tall and beautiful blonde named Scherry Staiger. In recent years, I have had the unique pleasure of knowing this fancy lady who is still living a long and full life in Southern California with her daughter and grandchildren. During our conversations, she revealed to me her story as a young woman, mother, model and actress all of which included these 5 remarkable years that she spent as a Flapper Girl at Paul Cummins’ Roaring 20s Club:
She had a tall and stunning figure!
As Paul Cummins’ most popular Flapper Girl, she often headlined the entertainment which always included a Dixieland band and lots of dancing! According to her, she got along great with everybody and really enjoyed the time that she spent there. Apparently, a lot of skills were required in order to be a Flapper Girl and Scherry clearly possessed them all – beginning with a magnetic personality! She also had a knack for being fearless:
Scherry Staiger is the blonde swinging from the ceiling!
Photos of Scherry were often used in the advertising of this club in newspapers and flyers everywhere (and even in the postcard above). She says that she was one of the club’s first Flapper Girls and tells me that her time spent there was never dull and it hardly ever felt like work. This is easy to believe because swinging, sliding and dancing all night sounds like a pretty fun job to me and must have been especially so for a young lady who was a successful Flapper Girl at one of these clubs in the early ’60s. . . In fact, she was so good at her job that she was in charge of training each new Flapper Girl who joined Paul Cummins’ team and was even sent to other “Roaring ’20s” Clubs to teach the new girls how to use the velvet swings and also how to slide down the brass fire pole as part of their grand entrance to the main floor each night.
She would even pause halfway down the pole for added showmanship!
The crowds loved watching her descent and when I asked how she learned to stop in the middle of the pole like that on the way down, she replied, “I had a fireman teach me!” Now, it is really no surprise to me that she would take advice from a professional on the subject because she is the kind of woman who strives to be the best at whatever she does. Therefore, if it was her job to slide down a brass fire pole, then she was sure to do this in the most magnificent way possible! For that reason, she became the ONE entrance that everyone had to see because she was capable of impressing the crowd EVERY SINGLE TIME!
Her descent was even used for another promotional ad:
Scherry also shared with me that she was responsible for her own costumes. So, she began by purchasing several one-piece bathing suits that she said “held her in place perfectly.” Then, she added rhinestones to begin designing them before passing them off to her fashion designer friend. He finished them off by adding lots of fringes and other flashy elements in order to achieve the overall style of the 20’s. In fact, due to her popularity and her one-of-a-kind costumes, she was able to help her fashion friend garnish lots of work from the other ladies at the club as well!
Scherry Staiger dancing in front of the Dixieland band in one of her original, stylish costumes:
You can see here that her fringes were in full swing while she danced in front of the Dixieland band because her job was to keep up the spirits of the customers by twisting her way into their hearts which was something that she did in a seemingly effortless fashion. She was even invited to attend the opening of the newest Paul Cummins’ Roaring 20’s club in 1962 which took place in Seattle, Washington during Seattle’s first World’s Fair.
Scherry Staiger was featured in the advertising for the new Seattle Club:
According to one article written by John J. Reddin about the grand opening of this new club, “the bandstand featured Mac MacReynolds and his Shaky City Seven,” playing songs such as “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Muskrat Ramble” and that’s when Scherry, “a striking blonde in a black sheath,” led the ladies down the runway, while doing a “fast twist”, before constructing a 30-flapper chorus line following the Dixieland band. He says, “The overall effect was terrific!”
Her job also allowed her to meet and greet with famous people, including actors like Ken Scott (left):
Again, many of her photos (including her meet and greets with famous guests) turned into more advertising for the club and they often revealed that she would be playing a part in an upcoming movie as well! For example, this newspaper clip tells us that Scherry Staiger has a part in this movie:
Frank Sinatra’s ‘Ocean’s 11’
Scherry’s job at the Roaring ’20s club provided her with many opportunities and also a steady income which she absolutely needed at the time. She was the mother of two girls and was recently divorced from their father which is never an easy road. Of course, he was still a big part of their lives and was eager to spend time with his daughters on the weekends and also provided them with any child support that they needed. However, it was Scherry’s mother who took care of her two daughters while she worked this steady job each night and when I asked her how she felt about having her mother’s help during those years, she had this to say: “We’re family, you know.” Obviously, this is where Scherry gets her strong commitment towards family from, even to this day!
This newspaper article talks about her divorce:
In many ways, Sherry was actively pursuing a life that took her in several directions which included small movie roles and modeling. Therefore, she told me that her and her former husband simply “outgrew” each other. This was when her job at Paul Cummins’ Roaring 20s club came along which really changed her life in many ways and even helped her find work in these other areas of interest as well.
Her shift started at 8pm and lasted until the night was over!
Scherry originally came from Harlingen, Texas and made her way to Hollywood with big dreams in her heart and even landed roles in three movies in only 6 short months. At the time, Scherry said this about it all in a newspaper publication about her, “I love the work. It’s a good way to start in the picture making business. As a stand-in and extra I’ve had the chance to be on the set during the entire production and study the many important details of movie making.”
An early photo of this beautiful lady:
She also managed to travel to San Francisco where she attended a modeling school and later became a swimsuit fashion model before making her way back to Hollywood again. Take a look at these beautiful, vintage pictures of her modeling the fashionable swimsuits of the day:
She was a perfect fit for this work!
Obviously, she looked great in a swimsuit but we can also see that she had a natural and lovely way about her as well. It was clear that she complimented any movie set that she was invited on and was easily captured by any lens that she posed for.
This was the life that she had always dreamed of!
However, despite her beautiful smile, pretty face and flawless figure, she never did land a leading role and was often told that it was because she was just too tall at 5 foot 11 inches. At this height, she did stand above most of the men in the industry and often times, this was not a good thing. In fact, movie producers preferred to offer such roles to petite and even frail women by comparison. That’s because her overall tall and strong body never gave her that “damsel in distress” look that Hollywood was so desperately seeking in the late 50s and early 60s.
She was taller than most of the men in the business and this held her back from landing a lead role:
However, this doesn’t mean that she ever felt rejected by Hollywood because she was always cast as an extra in these films and was immediately recognized by all of the people that she came into contact with. She just had a quality about her that was equally due to her personality as well as her stunning, good looks and for that reason, she was often the center of attention – no matter where she ended up.
This guy appears to be under her spell:
Scherry Staiger never allowed her beauty to compromise her sophisticated style. Therefore, she never failed to be the classiest woman in every photo that I have seen of her, whether she was twisting, sliding or even being hilariously “ogled” by these two men behind the scenes of a Hollywood set:
Scherry Staiger with Frankie and Don a.k.a. “The Dead End Boys”
To be clear, Scherry Staiger was 5’11” tall and her figure was 38″ 22″ 36″ from top to bottom. So, you can see why she was able to make such a unique impression and she says that she really enjoyed the time that she spent on the sets of these movies. She added that much of what she learned about life in this business happened there. Here are some never-before-seen pics of her time spent on these Hollywood sets with other, famous actors that she met, along with some more photos of her life as an actress, model and flapper girl:
Scherry Staiger – Actress – Model – Flapper Girl. . .
Currently, Scherry lives in a beautiful home in Southern California and is financially independent due to her time spent as the comptroller of her second husband’s business. There, she continues to live long and strong as she enters her 9th decade on this Earth. She is well taken care of by her daughter, Debbie Dean and is adored by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren who live near her as well. Her life at Paul Cummins’ Roaring 20’s Club was an experience that she will never forget and it is a unique look at a history that is off the beaten path. To this day, she continues to be a beautiful, smart, funny and caring woman who has taken roads in this life that most would have shied away from. At this time, it is my honor to share with you a photo of what my favorite, fancy lady looks like today:
Scherry Staiger with daughter Debbie and Grandchildren Aliijah and Makayla Sevick:
She’s still the prettiest and most fascinating lady that I know and she clearly enjoys spending time with her growing family for as long as this life graciously allows. She also enjoys giving back as an active member of several charities over the years! I am grateful for the time that I have been able to spend with her learning about her unique past as an actress, model and of course, as a Flapper Girl at Paul Cummins’ Roaring 20s Club!
Thank you for reading! – Constance Mae