Bambi Lane (Estrella) Interview
(James E. Strates Stripper)

On August 27 th 1986, just after interviewing Donny Osmond at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, I headed down the Midway and managed to arrange an interview with Stripper Bambi Lane (Estrella).

And, it’s a good thing I decided to do that because 1986 was the last year strippers were a part of the Midway.

The following year, 1987, Family Values came into being.

Anyway, this is the very first time this interview has been published anywhere.

I don’t know whatever happened to Bambi Lane.

I know her real last name was Estrella and she lived in Miami, Florida.

Bambi, if you’re reading this-----Sorry, it took so long to get to print!! It sometimes happens.

Q – Bambi, when did you start dancing?
A – When I was 16.

Q – Was it difficult to get onstage and take your clothes off? It doesn’t seem like a natural thing to do.
A – It was sort of hard. That first time I got up there I was quite nervous. (Laughs). It was something I more or less had to do. I just got out there and did my best. I gave it my best shot and I ended up loving it, you know. I got in them lights and now they can’t get me out of ‘em. (Laughs).

Q – When did you join the Strates Shows?
A – 1979. All girl show.

Q – When you’re not doing the Strates Shows, what do you do?
A – I’m in Florida and I work clubs. I do things for the Senior citizens. I do theatres. I do flea markets.

Q – What do you mean you do flea markets?
A – I work in flea markets.

Q – You have a booth and sell things?
A – Yeah. I took up a little bit of workshop and went into ‘Extras’, you know, doing ‘extras’ in movies.

Q – Are there quite a few projects being shot in Miami?
A – Yeah-----‘ Miami Vice’. We had a movie with Peter Falk.

Q – Have you been on “Miami Vice”?
A – I’ve tried. I’ve never succeeded yet.

Q – Do you have an agent in Florida?
A – I work for Universal Casting.

Q – You did an interview last year and said you were going to retire from dancing and go into commercials. What type of commercials were you talking about?
A – Well, I was wanting to go into, like just any type of a commercial. I like character parts. I wanted to go into workshop and take up character acting.

Q – But, did you want to get into commercials where you sold a product?
A – Yes. Car commercials.

Q – So-----what happened?
A – I got all started up and I had several deaths in the family. I had my brother who was an entertainer just pass away. One month after that my step-mother passed away, his mother. And then 2 weeks after that my son-in-law passed away. So, it was like bing, bing, bing. Here I am and I didn’t do nothing. I’ve just been in another universe somewhere, you know. That’s why mostly I came back out this year, ‘cause I wanted to try and get my head together. Not too long ago I lost my daughter, my husband and grandson in a car accident. When I’m out here and I see people like you and the people out there and the nice welcome they give me, it kind of eases things for me. Like God gives-----but he takes. Every time I sit back here I read this-----the Showman’s Prayer.

Q – Are you surprised that people still come out to a show like this? You can see more in a magazine or a video. You really don’t take off all that much.
A – I think I’m surprised in a way but, then in another way the younger people don’t really know what the burlesque is. I think it’s ‘Oh, gee. What are we gonna see here’? It’s ‘live’ people, not something they see in a movie. They’re seeing it for real. Out here they’re not going to see anything anyway. With the experience of having a son of my own, I think they’re just curious and they’re going to get out there and masturbate. When they stop lookin’, even at the age of 90, there’s something wrong.

Q – Do you ever hear what’s being shouted up to you onstage?
A – Sometimes I hear, and sometimes I don’t. I’m just in another world. I think by now I’m more of a robot than anything else. I know what I have to do and when to do it, and how to do it. I think a lot of times I don’t hear it. Like, I was getting kind of heavy there last year. I was kind of on the heavy side. I’d have people say, ‘Hey, grandma’ and all that bologna! When you hear the people like this last audience, or the audience stand up cheering with lighters, this makes me feel as big as this fairground. Even though I’m 53, and I have young people I’m working with, I still feel I’m accepted.

Q – Ten years ago this show used to have comedians.
A – Yes. Right and some of the girls would go out there and do the skits with ‘em.

Q – The show isn’t like that today.
A – The show has changed I would say in the last 8 years. You can actually say it’s really changed. Even in the theatres or the clubs it’s certainly not the same. That’s why I don’t go into the clubs. It’s not Burlesque.

Q – Where do the people at Strates get their dancers?
A – Well, we used to get ‘em from the agents and stuff like that. To get people to travel with the cost of living is very hard. So, we usually try to pick people up where we go. They’ll come wandering in, ‘Hey, we want a job’. Sometimes we hit it good, and sometimes we hit it bad.

Q – And so the dancers we see here today won’t go on with the show?
A – Yeah. They just quit. But then we’ve got some that are really traveling with us now, ‘Shelly Pepper’ and ‘Little PeeWee’.

Q – After your appearances end with the Strates Shows you go on to try and get commercial work?
A – Right.

Q – And next year you won’t be sitting here?
A – No. This is it.

Q – Do you travel on the Strates train?
A – I have a van and my own house trailer. I take all my own wardrobe. I don’t take a lot out here, ‘cause it’s needless.

Q – You’re on the road for how long with the Strates people?
A – From June until October.

Q – Takes you all over the East Coast doesn’t it?
A – Yeah. New York. Delaware. Down to South Carolina. North Carolina. Georgia.

Q – I imagine some people would say what a glamorous life you lead Bambi. But, you actually only see the trailer and the stage.
A – That’s it. (Laughs).

© Gary James All Rights Reserved