The front page of Brochure with a photo of Inesita
Around the mid 1950’s, I was contacted by an old acquaintance, Rita Lupino. She was the sister of the prominent film star, Ida Lupino. Our paths crossed years before when we were on the same bill at Grace Hayes Lodge back in 1941. In addition to her career as an actress, (she was from the illustrious family of actors) she was a dancer and did some form of exotic performance. With an out size personality and a devil may care attitude towards life, I liked her and found her interesting. She seemed so impressed with my work that she took up Spanish dance and became quite good enough to have a career out of it. She teamed up with another dancer friend of mine, one Enrique Valadez, who was versed in some of the Spanish dance forms and Mexican folkloric material. During their partnership they were very successful in their act. They married and as very savvy professionals, made money in their bookings.
This is not the point of my story. Several years later I found Lupino preparing a new group and she asked me to choreograph some dances for them. During the rehearsals I met her sister, Ida Lupino who sat in one evening to observe the sessions. In the interim, Rita had separated from Valadez and formed a new partnership with another male dancer and a romantic element in her life. Rita was extremely pleased with what I did with the dances and she gifted me with a small gold charm bracelet engraved with my name and a tribute to me on the reverse side.
Another individual in the picture was a man who seemed to be involved in a business way with Lupino. He was Spanish speaking from Mexico. He became interested in my dancing and offered me some work in Managua, Nicaragua. I think his name was Garcia, but I am not sure.
This offer seemed attractive at first; the money was acceptable and was to feature myself as the headliner and three other acts from the United States. There was talk of a night club of comparable quality to the Las Vegas Hotel Casinos. Finally, travel plans materialized and it was decided to gamble on this offer.
The other performers and I were given airplane tickets to fly to Managua and we took off on this ambiguous adventure. It turned out to be one of the most bizarre incidents that I can recall. We were given no accommodations other than an apartment with this man and his partner and then found that the nightclub casino had not even been finished! A brochure was printed with our photographs. We rehearsed and actually did a show.This series of events were so confusing that all of us, a singer, a tap dancer and another acrobatic act in addition to me decided to demand a cancellation of the contract and go back to the states. Efforts to dissuade us resulted in some meetings with officials of the city and an offer of better conditions. Regardless, we all decided it was a probably illegitimate and suspected the whole business of some illegal matters. We returned to Los Angeles after a week. The entire experience remains a mystery and went into limbo. Considering that the connection was a strong one through Lupino, it is doubly weird that this episode turned out as it did. I considered myself lucky to have survived what could have resulted in real trouble.
Just in the last several days I became aware that the lovely and gifted Rita Lupino passed away last year (2016) at the age of 95. I remember her with fondness and great respect.