Sunday, May 30, 2010

Brother Dave Gardner The Haunted House And The Motorcycle Story

Click on these to enlarge them.

Brother Dave Gardner got his start at the Gus Stevens supper club in Biloxi,Miss. He started as a drummer then became a singer and then a comedian.
As I remember in the 1960s there was a large picture of Brother Dave Gardner hanging on a wall in Gus Stevens. Brother Dave was very young in the picture with lots of wavy hair.
See my post below about the Gus Stevens nightclub in Biloxi. Of course, it closed long ago.

Gus Stevens Restaurant in Biloxi,Mississippi And The Death of Jayne Mansfield

Click on the above picture to enlarge it.
Here is a fine website about Jayne Mansfield. Included in this are some good information on her final performance at Gus Stevens in Biloxi. Also links to some of the crash scene photos.
I read somewhere once that she was filling in for someone else who could not make it that weekend.
Many years later I saw the car she died in on exhibit in a carnival. Along with the car itself was a copy of the police report. These death cars used to be a popular attraction at fairs and carnivals,etc.
In Mobile at the Alabama State Fair I saw a limo that was billed as belonging to Hitler and Eva Braun. It always helped if there were bullet holes in the car like the Bonnie and Clyde car that was put on exhibit after they were gunned down in an ambush.
Many of us have fond memories of Gus Stevens Restaurant in Biloxi,Miss. Without a doubt the finest supper club on the Mississippi Gulf Coast when it was open.
I saw Brother Dave Gardner there. In fact he got his start there as a drummer and then a singer before he became a full time comedian.
We talked with him once out in the parking lot. He was a really friendly and funny guy.
Mose Allison got his start in some jazz clubs in Biloxi.
Dr. Hook and the Medicine show in an earlier formation was the house band there under the name The Chocolate Papers.
Here is a link to some information on The Chocolate Papers and George Cummings.
Lavern Baker performed at Gus Stevens around that time in the late 1960s. The Chocolate Papers was the house band at Gus Stevens in Biloxi at that time.
Here is a link to Dr. In the picture at the top of the page you will see the Chocolate Papers. All the other pictures at the top of the page are of Dr. Hook.
Here is the link about Jayne Mansfield. Some of the crash photos are quite graphic. Be warned.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Goodbye Natalie Goodbye Spendour

Below is a link to the author's blog.
Here is a link to the page about this book.

This Property Is Condemned Natalie Wood Robert Redford New Orleans and Bay Saint Louis Mississippi 1966

These photographs were made by Rachel in 1966 in New Orleans on the set of THIS PROPERTY IS CONDEMNED. The man in the top photo is cinematographer James Wong Howe.
Click on the pictures to enlarge them. Photos copyright Rachel Stewart.

Click on the photos to enlarge them.
More clips like the one at the top are on YouTube. In the one above you can see the railcar named MISS ALVA. More on this railcar is below.
Here is a link to good information on this film.

Here is information about this railroad car used in the film. It is called Miss Alva.

My wife Rachel took some pictures of the filming of the movie This Property Is Condemned in New Orleans in 1966. I went with her down to the set in the French Quarter and there sitting on a doorstep all alone was Natalie Wood. We smiled at her and she smiled at us. It was obvious she was killing time with nothing to do at that moment. She gave us a very inviting smile but for some reason I didn't go over to talk to her. Maybe because I was with my wife or maybe I was uncharacteristically shy that day. All I know is I often think of that and wish I(or we) had spoken to her. If nothing else I could have told her like so many others must have how much I liked Rebel Without A Cause and her role in it. We could have talked with her about James Dean and Sal Mineo.
While driving between Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans later that year or next I saw the old train car they had painted that was used in the movie sitting abandoned on a track in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi.
Now many years passed and lo and behold I see that train car is now in Meridian,Mississippi parked on the tracks near the new train station. Someone tried to use it as a restaurant but that idea failed. Now it is just a tourist curiosity.
Here is a link about the movie.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Emil Van Horn Hollywood's Most Famous Motion Picture Gorilla
When I moved to New Orleans in 1965 I met Emil Van Horn. He told me his gorilla suit had been taken by his landlady in Pensacola,Florida because he could not pay his back rent. She kept his trunk with all his possessions as well. So his movie days were over. And his nightclub acts of Beauty and The Beast were over. He had been in Miami though prior to New Orleans because he said he worked as an extra in the movie A Hole In The Head.
It was during the filming of The Cincinatti Kid in Jan. 1965 that he walked in the back patio of Preservation Hall.Even though he looked down and out someone said dont laugh at that guy he is a member of Screen Actor's Guild.
Later in 1965 and 1966 I got to know him. At first he was living in a small apt. on Gov. Nicholls Street with a couple of other men possibly merchant seamen. Then they left and he had no means of making a living so he became homeless.
He would often hang out around the French Market Bar. He could get a small glass of wine or beer there for a dime. He drank as much and as often as he could.
He was one of many characters in the French Quarter at that time. There was the famous Ruthie the Duck Girl who walked around followed by a female duck and her ducklings. People and traffic would stop and they would cross the street.
There was a poet named John Beecher a descendent of Harriet Beecher Stowe living in the Quarter at that time. Read about him here.
I used to see Emil Van Horn during the day and he would tell me stories of Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s. He told me of drinking with W.C. Fields. He said Fields would sneak off from his set and they would hide out and drink. The movie people would come looking for them calling for Fields but W.C. told Van Horn to be quiet and they kept on hiding out and drinking.
He told me of Clark Gable bringing his new car around to ask Van Horn how he liked it and whether he should paint a small stripe on each side.
One of the things Van Horn still had was a photograph of his own car from around the 1930s. He was very proud of that. It was a very impressive car.
He told me of being the guy in the gorilla suit in the W.C. Fields movie NEVER GIVE A SUCKER AN EVEN BREAK.
Here is a list of movies that Emil Van Horn was in. Click on the link.
Once Van Horn came by our apartment when I had somewhow locked myself out wearing only my underwear. I was sitting four flights up outside our door trying to figure out what to do. The doorbell rang. I went downstairs and it was Emil Van Horn standing there in his old overcoat. I told him my predicament. I borrowed his overcoat and told him to wait there for me as I went several blocks to our realty company Caruso Gall to get an extra key. It worked perfectly. Even though I had nothing on underneath the overcoat except my underwear that old battered overcoat did the trick. I guess I was barefoot also but stranger things than that are seen in the French Quarter every day.
The evening Van Horn walked in the back patio of Preservation Hall during the filming of The Cincinatti Kid in the scene with Sweet Emma The Belle Gal I was working as an extra in the film. They let me and some others sit in the back patio during the filming while they filmed in Preservation Hall itself. Also sitting back there were Al Rose and Bill Russell both big names in the music scene in New Orleans at that time.
Steve McQueen was using an apartment further back in the patio as his dressing room. He would walk by back and forth taking breaks from the shooting. He did not seem to speak to anyone.
Sweet Emma complained about the bright lights shining in her eyes. The movie people adjusted the lights. See my post on this blog about The Cincinatti Kid and the filming in New Orleans in Jan. 1965.
There was no part for Van Horn in that movie. Not even as an extra.
I found out some time later that Emil Van Horn died at Charity Hospital in New Orleans on Jan. 1, 1967.
He was a real gentleman. He was not a bum he was just down and out.
Here is a link to the flickr page with many photos of some the movies Emil Van Horn was in and other things.
I have two other posts about Emil Van Horn. Click on the name Emil Van Horn in the label box below to read them.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Really Good History of Gambling In Mississippi And The White House Hotel In Biloxi,Mississippi

This fountain was damaged by Hurricane Katrina and is now being restored. Here is an article about that:

Above is the old White House Hotel in Biloxi, Mississippi now closed awaiting renovation.
It is mentioned in the article linked below. My family used to stay in this hotel every summer in the 1940s and early 1950s. This hotel like many others on the Miss. coast at that time had a room with slot machines.
As a child of 10 or so I once hit a jackpot on one of these machines around 1950. It was a nickel machine and out came piles and piles of nickels. I stuffed all those nickels in the pockets of my short pants and ran to tell my family of my good luck. I told the desk clerk as I ran by his desk. He said "Hey you aren't supposed to play those machines". I kept on running to our room. At that time in the late 1940s and early 1950s the hotel was not air conditioned. But it had large high ceilings and large old style ceiling fans. And large windows to open to the outside.
Here is the link to the history of gambling in Mississippi which mentions the White House Hotel.
Here is a link to information about the history of The White House Hotel and the attempt to renovate it.

Mississippi Bootlegger And The Mississippi Mud 1927

The bootlegger is now gone. But once upon a time going to the bootlegger in Mississippi was a time honored tradition. You drove somewhat out in the country to a shack back in the woods. You would drive up and tell the man(usually and old white man) what you wanted such as a fifth of whiskey.You would name the brand. Then you would pay him. He would tell you drive around back. You drove around to the back of the shack and a door would open and an old black man(usually)would step out and hand you a fifth of your choice of bonded liquor. This was not moonshine. That was a whole different operation out in the country. It came in large gallon jugs and was clear in color.
Read the link below to see how the churches(mostly Baptists)in Mississippi along with the bootleggers kept Mississippi "dry" for years.
As for the origin of the word bootlegger I would say it must have come from a man keeping a bottle of booze in his boot.
Seems that is true. Here is a good link to the defintions.
The Rules of Booze:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Legendary Big Joe Williams Of Crawford Mississippi


Click and double click on the pictures above to enlarge them.
The great Mississippi bluesman Big Joe Williams grew up on my grandfather's farm in Crawford,Mississippi. He had long left by the time I came along. However my father told me about him.
I tried to find him in Chicago in 1965 but didn't know then where to look.
In 1967 I wrote him a letter and he answered back. I suspect he got his cousin May Liza to write the letter. See the letter above.
It was not until 1975 when we went to Crawford for a funeral that I finally met him. See other posts on my blog for photos from that visit.
Then later I went with him and George Cummings of Dr. Hook and the Medicine show fame to Muscle Shoals where they did some recording together. See my blog for my recollection of that trip.
As you can see in his letter above he mentions The Jazz Record Mart in Chicago at 7 West Grand. He told me that often Bob Koester let him live in that place while he did recordings for Koester's Delmark Records. Or maybe he got his mail there and lived at the Delmark Records address.
I don't have a picture of it but I understand that one of Big Joe Williams' famous nine string guitars is kept now in a case under glass at The Jazz Record Mart in Chicago.
Type in the name Big Joe Williams in the search box at the top of the page to read all of my former posts about this great Mississippi Blues Man. He wrote the song Baby Please Don't Go.

Big Joe Williams, Delmark Records, Bob Koester And The Jazz Record Mart In Chicago

Click on the link below to read the liner notes of the above album.
In the above article Octippi Hall should read Oktibbeha County,Miss. and Knoxville Swamp is in reality Noxubee Swamp.

Click on the picture above to enlarge it and read about "stashing" records.
Click on the link below for a complete Big Joe Williams discography.
Click on the link below for a extensive history of Delmark Records,Bob Koester,and The Jazz Record Mart in Chicago.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Feb. 20 1955 New Orleans And The Colgate Comedy Hour

I could not find a video of the Feb.20,1955 Colgate Comedy Hour from The Court Of Two Sisters but the above video shows how the place looks now. On the other side of the brick wall where the women are sitting is the back patio of Pat O'Briens. The Court of Two Sisters runs all the way through from Bourbon Street to Royal Street.
The Colgate Comedy Hour Feb. 20, 1955 From New Orleans.
174 5-18 2/20/1955 Host: Gordon MacRae
Guests: Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee, Gene Sheldon, The New Orleans Jazz Saints, street dancers Skeets and Pete, Carmen Dragon and his Orchestra
Note: This episode originated from the French Quarter in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Locations seen are the Court of the Two Sisters, Absinthe House, the Court of the Maison de Ville, Antoine's restaurant, and a parade down Bourbon Street

My high school band marched in a Mardi Gras Parade on Feb. 20,1955. After the parade they let us loose in the French Quarter. I was 14 years old at the time. I think I had been there once before a year or two earlier with my parents. I remember being greatly impressed with Bourbon Street when I was around 13 years old. The large posters of the strippers certainly caught my attention. Some of them were Blaze Starr,Ready Flame,Temptest Storm, and Candy Barr.
On Feb.20,1955 as I walked in the French Quarter I wandered into The Court of Two Sisters. I and a few band members were told we could not stay as they were setting up for a TV show. I remember seeing large cables for the cameras running across the floors. Years later I figured out it was a broadcast of The Colgate Comedy Hour. Too bad we didn't get to stick around and see the show.(See the above list of performers).
Incidentally there is a brick wall on one side of The Court Of Two Sisters. On the other side of that brick wall is the back patio of the famous bar Pat O'Briens which has its entrance on St. Peters street.

The Treniers Were Born In Mobile Alabama
Click on the link above for bio information on The Treniers.
The video above is of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis and The Treniers on The Colgate Comedy Hour from May 1954.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Kolb's Restaurant In New Orleans R.I.P.

Click on all these pictures to enlarge them.

Here is another great restaurant now closed.
Click on the link below to read about it.
Also in the pictures above is The Pearl Restaurant. The Pearl had great oysters and shrimp and a great menu. It stayed open late at night and was a good place to go for some oysters late in the evening. They also had a large plate glass front window in which they put large hams and other delicious looking food. If you were hungry you wanted to go in after seeing the food in the window. If it was cold outside the window would steam up making the food look even better. It is still open but I read some reviews on line that make it sound not good now.
Thanksgiving of 1965 my wife and I went to Kolb's Restaurant for our Thanksgiving meal around noon. The place was full. It was a really fine meal. As we were eating I looked up toward the front of the restaurant and saw Bill Haley and The Comets come in the door. There were four or five of them. I could see someone telling them they would have to wait as all the tables were full. They didn't seem to mind too much. I can't remember how long they had to wait or if they just left.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Weidmann's Restaurant Meridian Mississippi R.I.P.

Click on all these pictures to enlarge them. Double click for further enlargement if necessary. Further down is a brochure about Meridian and Weidmann's from around 1965. Included below is a menu from that time and also a few recipes.

Thanks for the memories. Weidmann's is now closed. It was in operation from 1870 until recently. Click below on the link to read an article about the closing from The Meridian Star newspaper. May 2, 2010.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Carrier Landings On A Pitching Deck

Click on these to enlarge them. Watch Part one first.

Just be glad you don't have to do this.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Looking For The Manneken Pis in Brussels, Belgium

In the above video of the Manneken Pis they rigged it to pour out beer.

This is a big tourist attraction in Brussels. Located near the Grand Place.

Monday, May 17, 2010

More On RAID The Award Winning TV Series From Finland

The above video from youtube is the only one I could find with English subtitles. But if you double click on it and go to the youtube page you will see many other videos from the tv series and the movie sequel made of it. You will get an idea of how special this 12 part tv series is and the sequel movie as well. It has a combination film noir and psychological western feeling about it. First off you can see right away the influence of the Italian westerns like the one with Charles Bronson playing the harmonica in Once Upon A Time In The West by Sergio Leone. But it has an old time film noir flavor like the old Humphrey Bogart movies also. I also think it reminds me a lot of the Mickey Spillane books of the 1950s.
Scroll down to see my other posts about RAID.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Brother Shamus at Westover Market Beer Garden on Sat. May 15th in Arlington, Virginia

Rachel made the above video. See more on Brother Shamus in my post below.Scroll down 2 posts to find out where they got their name. In the video above only 2 members of Brother Shamus are playing. The others had the night off.
Nice crowd yesterday. Good weather brought out many people to the Beer Garden. Mostly young couples and small children and babies.
Below is a link to their website.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Palestine Gardens Near Lucedale Mississippi

Rebecca at the Well at the Palestine Gardens near Lucedale,Mississippi. I always thought this was an interesting place. It has been there since 1960. It is deep in the backwoods on a rural highway that runs from Hattiesburg,Mississippi to Mobile,Alabama. It is near Lucedale,Mississippi.
Below is a link to read all about Palestine Gardens and see some pictures.
This is the Holy Land in miniature.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Brother Shamus A Really Good Band From Arlington,Virginia

Now Brother Shamus has an interesting name. It took me some time to figure it out. Well I knew that a shamus is a private detective. But why brother? Well after watching The Big Lebowski several times it finally hit me. First off The Big Lebowski is a take off on the old Bogart movie The Big Sleep in which Bogart is called a shamus.
In the Big Lebowski at some point someone is following The Dude and he gets out to ask the person who he is.
Here is the actual quote:
Da Fino, Private Snoop: I'm a brother shamus!
The Dude: Brother Seamus? Like an Irish monk?
Da Fino, Private Snoop: What the fuck are you talking about?

Brother Shamus the band plays in and around Washington, D.C.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

RAID TV Series From Finland Plus the RAID Movie

The above is a trailer someone made of the RAID TV series from Finland. Click on it to go to YouTube to see many more videos of RAID the tv series and movie. Unfortunatley the are all in Finnish with no translation.
Still you can enjoy the beautiful theme music from RAID even without translation as seen and heard in the top video. That is the closing credits of one episode.
This is frustrating. There are plenty of RAID clips on YouTube but they are all in Finnish with no English translation. DVDs of both the TV Series and the movie with English subtitles are available for sale on Ebay sometimes and through but you must have a new compatible DVD player in order to play them. Be sure to check your player for region. A new computer will play them fine also. I have a new Phillips DVD player that plays them fine.
This series is so good it is worth the trouble to find it and buy it. And the movie also.
They both played in the Washington DC area on MHZ Networks. But nowhere else in the USA. Then the Finnish embassy had the director and the star come for a showing of the movie at the Silver Theater in Silver Spring, Maryland some years ago. A large crowd turned out to meet the director and star. RAID has been the most popular of all the International Mysteries the MHZ Networks has aired. Though the others are first rate also.
Click on the link below to read about RAID.
Below is a link to the International Movie Database entry on RAID the movie from 2003

Above is a link to the trailer of the movie RAID from 2003. It is a sequel to the 12 part tv series in Finland of the same name. You can buy both of these with English subtitles if you look on Ebay(sometimes)or
Below this is the link to the IMDB entry on the 12 part Finnish TV Series RAID. Take note of the 8.9 out of 10 viewer rating for excellence.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Eudora Welty 1926 Mississippi State College For Women Yearbook Photos

These picture are from the 1926 MEH LADY the yearbook for Mississippi State College For Women(also known then as MSCW)in Columbus, Mississippi.
Click and double click on the above pictures to enlarge them. One is Eudora's Class picture. The other is a play she was in. She was the tallest in the picture. She is the person third from the right in the group play picture.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Caedmon Records LP of Tennessee Williams Reading Hart Crane

Click and double click on these pictures to enlarge them. The picture below is from the back of the LP and has some short liner notes written by Tennessee Williams for this album

This is the LP mentioned in the post below.
The video shown below is from an interview in which Tennessee Williams reads some Hart Crane. But nothing from this LP.

Tennessee Williams Reads Hart Crane

I have an LP Record on Caedmon Records of Tennessee Williams reading Hart Crane. It is a very rare record and I believe it is now out of print. The reading above is not from that Caedmon LP. The poems on the LP are Brooklyn Bridge, O Carib Isle,Cutty Sark, and others.
Here is something about a favorite Hart Crane poem of mine called The Wine Menagerie.
Marianne Moore, Hart Crane, and The Wine Menagerie
By christopherwatkins

This past Sunday was the birthday of Marianne Moore, a poet of some great stature in American letters. She was born in 1887, and she passed in 1972. In thinking on Marianne Moore, I of course went looking for a wine connection, in order to give myself an excuse to write a post on her. Unfortunately, she has seemingly contributed little to the poetry of wine — as far as I can tell, the only arguably relevant (and this is a stretch, believe me!) work would be a poem entitled “It Makes No Difference To Balbus Whether He Drinks Water Or Wine,” which actually doesn’t appear to be about wine at all, and in fact, in garishly modernistic fashion, it doesn’t even mention wine. It does, however, contain the following rather excellent line:

“…if you are not interested in art,
it is not necessary to say so…”


Anyhow, in continuing to think on Ms. Moore, I eventually recalled a story which occurred during her four-year tenure as editor of the very influential literary publication The Dial. While there, she was approached by the poet Hart Crane with a poem entitled “The Wine Menagerie.” She famously (or perhaps infamously, depending on your feelings for Mr. Crane’s poetry) accepted the poem, with the stipulation that she be able to edit it. And edit it she did! Crane in fact reportedly wept for hours when he read the nearly unrecognizable work that Moore had retitled as “Again.” The poem in its original form only finally appeared in the Crane collection “White Buildings.”

Anyhow, here is an excerpt from Crane’s (pardon the pun!) “heady” work:

Invariably when wine redeems the sight,
Narrowing the mustard scansions of the eyes,
A leopard ranging always in the brow
Asserts a vision in the slumbering gaze.

Then glozening decanters that reflect the street
Wear me in crescents on their bellies. Slow
Applause flows into liquid synosures:
—I am conscripted to the shadows’ glow.

I include this excerpt (and in fact, this is probably the true rationale for my post) because of the language, and specifically, the glozening decanters. I just want everyone out there to know that in our tasting room, our decanters most definitely glozen. Just in case you were worried. We’re glozening

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ole Miss Airplane Smithsonian Air And Space Museum Washington D.C. Key Brothers Meridian Mississippi Endurance Record Flight

Click on the link below for the best telling of this amazing feat of endurance.

More information on Ole Miss airplane at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Washington D.C. click on the link below.