Wayland Flowers

Posted: February 1, 2012 in book, My History
Tags: , , ,

Wayland Flowers was best known for the puppet act he created with his puppet Madame. His performances as “Wayland Flowers and Madame” were a major national success on stage and on screen in the 1970s and 1980s. Wayland was a ‘blue comic’ and Madame’s opening line – “Wayland is no ventriloquist and I’m no f—ing dummy” – set the tone for the raucous humor to follow. I thought of him the other day when someone sent me a you YouTube of their performance. I met him on the side of US 81 rear Roanoke Virginia in the early 1980’s. He and his friend (I recall he did porn) were next to a van that had broken down on the side of the interstate. I stopped because of the pretty boy in the daisy dukes and then sort of recognized Wayland. After I stopped I saw the famous madam! I ended up giving them a ride (all three) to the bar in Roanoke so they would be there for their performance. To thank me they got me drunk and I ended up crashing with them for the night. The next day I took them back to the van where they were meeting a tow driver. It was a fun night from what I remember. Madame made many jokes at my expense. As I recall, she was a screamer in bed! (And she was not even in the bed with us.) When he died in 1988, the New York Times obituary did not use the word “gay” or “AIDS”. on cancer.
A couple of years later I met Margo. Margo was the manager of Trio’s restaurant near DuPont Circle in Washington DC. It was a regular haunt of the gay community for years in the 70s- today even. Cheep food served with a foul attitude. When I was there it was as if people actually came to see how abusive they could get the waiter to act. Margo herself was an institution. She was the inspiration for Madame. Wayland I was told, had gone to school in DC and frequented Trio. Her hair, always in a bun sat elegantly on her head like a crown. She had that very square jaw with the beauty make. She was also a chain smoker with cigarette holder always in use.
Publicly she hated people recognizing her but it always made her smile. Don’t know why I thought of her. She was a tower of a woman. I wish I had stayed in touch. So often people come into a life for short periods and we let them go. Always assuming that we would meet them again. Sometimes you just got to make the effort to keep it alive. In a computer age I have taken to sending a handwritten note to people out of the blue just to say hi.

  1. Jerry B says:

    When we were renovating a house in DC and were without a kitchen for a couple of month’s we ate at the Trio every night. Margo made sure she was waitress, she kept her eye on the door and had our ready and soup sitting there waiting for us. Even if we didn’t really feel like the full dinner we went ahead and ordered it anyway. The last time I saw her she was retired from the Trio and “working” at a designer eyeglass shop that had opened a few doors down from the Trio. Essentially she sat and received visitors all day long and also generated some business for them. I never knew that Madame was based on her but now that you’ve brought it up I see the resemblance.

    We met Wayland Flowers in P-town. He (with Madame )and Paule Lynde were drinking on the deck at tea dance and trading barbs. It was hilarious.

    • Gerry Panzica says:

      I was fold that Madame was modeled after Louise, the manager of DRAKES, a restaurant in West Hollywood! I worked at Drakes, and believe me, if you would have seen Louise, there would have been NO QUESTION about that!! She WAS MADAME!!!

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