There’s a hilarious story in Gypsy Rose Lee’s memoir about what happened when she and the troupe of girls that her mother put together, following her sister June’s defection from their old vaudeville act, and played at a Spanish-speaking theater in Texas.
Gypsy fans know this one, but for anyone who doesn’t, they decided to translate their act into Spanish for the sake of this audience. Gypsy had been singing a song since childhood called, “I’m a Hard-Boiled Rose.” Finding a Spanish equivalent of the idiom – which referred to a girl who was a “toughie” – wasn’t easy, however. The translation she presented was at the theater was, “Yo soy una gancha.”
It meant the very last thing she, let alone her mother, would have wanted to present to an audience in any language – “I am a Hooker!”
Here’s Gypsy Rose Lee with the girls in the act:
Here’s the song – in English! Fair warning, it may stick in your head for hours: