GIBRALTAR OF THE SOUTH

There was a time and a man who viewed Key West as the Gibraltar of the South. It was the mid 1930s. The man, Julius Stone.

The 1930s was depression time across the United States. Key West especially hard hit. It was the end of the world. Hard to get to. Little business. No work. Monroe County had filed for bankruptcy.

Julius Stone was the WPA administrator for the State of Florida. He considered things so bad in Key West, that he opened a WPA office there. Only the second in the State.

Stone saw tourism as the way for Key West to improve its economy. He was a precursor. He saw what men like David Wolkowsky would envision in later years.

One of his efforts to improve quality of life in Key West was to have a play locally produced. The Pirates of Penzance.

The historical goodies I share with you I did not find. Credit belongs to snowbird Diana Millikan. Diana is writing a play about Julius Stone and The Pirates of Penzance endeavor. She keeps me informed.

Diana has discovered a rich source of information. The Kennedy Cafe mornings. Elderly conchs meet every morning for coffee and talk. A breakfast club of sorts.

Diana says it is like pulling teeth to get information out of them. She is succeeding, however. A step at a time.

She met Jesse. A woman in her 90s. Her married name she was not able to get. However, her maiden name was forthcoming. Watkins.

Jesse was in attendance at the play on February 19, 1935. She recalled the event vividly. She said George Wills was the leading man. Handsome.

She attended the play with her two older sisters. Diana reported one of the sisters became President of a local bank. Sounds strange for the times. It might have been the woman’s husband.

The write up in the newspaper the next day listed a Mrs. Joseph Cates as seamstress. Diana is trying to find out if the 1935 Cates is a relative of today’s Mayor Cates.

Burt Lancaster was one of America’s great actors. He died at 80 this date in 1994. Lancaster and Key West touched two times.

Lancaster’s first movie was The Killers. The movie was based on Ernest Hemingway’s short story of the same name.

He actually filmed a movie in Key West. The Rose Tattoo. The movie was based on Tennessee William’s play of the same name. The movie was filmed in a house on Duncan Street. Williams lived on one corner of the block and The Rose Tattoo house was on the other.

The Cannonball Run is coming through Key West saturday. Will be on Duval and Front Streets around 3.

The Cannonball is composed of a group of men who own special cars. They like to drive them on strange roads in strange places. Duval not one of those places. However Key West not the destination. The group is headed for Havana, Cuba.

I have a neighbor down the street who participates. He is on in years. The Run is one of the more important events in his live. He has a 1906 or 1914 Rolls Royce. In tip top shape. When last I spoke with him, he had just returned from a run in New Zealand. The cars at some point are shipped to the final destination.

Screwworms on the move. No longer just on Big Pine and No Name Key. Have expanded into Big Torch Key, Middle Torch Key, Little Torch Key, Cudjoe, Ramrod and Summerland Keys. Flies have been found in each place.

The last time there was a screwworm infestation was 30 years ago. Things have become sufficiently bad that the State of Florida has declared a State of Emergency exists.

Tammy for a manicure/pedicure yesterday. Ran into Kate Miano who was getting a pedicure.

Kate is one of Key West’s most dynamic women. Owner of The Gardens. Note that Sunday at the Gardens has opened. Sundays from 5-7. Great music. Good drinks. Excellent company. Mostly locals.

The Judy Wood memorial celebration this evening from 5-7 at Tavern ‘n Town. Sad. Her death continues to bother me. And I did not know her well. Only from the bar.

Afterwards, I shall be off to bocce to watch Don’s Place play. Numero Uno!

Goombay tomorrow night!

The third and final Presidential debate was last night. Trump consistent. An ass. Hillary handled herself well.

Enjoy your day!

 

ROSE TATTOO / TENNESSEE WILLIAMS / DUNCAN ST.

The time is this week 1954. The place Duncan Street in Key West. The filming of the movie The Rose Tattoo began.

A great movie. Loved it! Starred Burt Lancaster and Anna Mangani. Mangani won the Academy Award for her performance.

The movie was an adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play. Tennessee Williams lived on Duncan St. He wrote the play while living on Duncan St. The house where the movie was filmed was on Duncan Street. Two doors up from Tennessee Williams’ home. Both Williams and the Rose Tattoo houses still stand on Duncan.

Lisa lives on Duncan. Her home is 1 1/2 blocks from the Williams home.

Key West loves Harry Truman. Harry Truman loved Key West.

On November 2, 1948, Truman was elected President. He defeated New York Governor Tom Dewey. Truman was not favored to win. A big underdog. No one gave him a chance. Except Truman himself.

Congress at the time was Republican. They blocked him at every move. Some what like today’s Congress and Obama. Only worse. Truman campaigned against the worst Congress ever, as he put it.

Corporate America disliked Truman. Vehemently.

An example is what occurred while Truman was campaigning. Campaigning was done from the back platform of the last car on a train in those days. The train traveled all over the country.

Truman was short on funds. Again, he was not expected to win. Few were contributing to him. The train and crew were leased. The bill was overdue.

The train was stopped by the railroad somewhere in the middle of nowhere between two towns. Truman was told the bill had to be paid in full. If not, Truman and his entourage had to get off.

Truman threw in what he had in his pocket. His supporters did likewise. They had just enough to pay the bill. Truman proceeded on his way.

The distaste the railroad owners had for Truman obvious. Doing this to a President of the United States! Disrespectful!

Politics played the same all the time. Hard ball.

Did my blog talk radio show last night. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Love dong the show!

One of the topics clearly reflects government waste.

The Department of Defense built a gas station in Afghanistan. Nothing special. A run of the mill gas station. The contracted cost for construction $3 million. A lot for a gas station. Especially since a similar one had been built the previous year in Pakistan for $500,000.

The final cost of construction was $43 million. Wow! $3 million for the construction. $40 million for overhead.

The gas station built was a compressed natural gas automobile station. So built because of the great supply of natural gas in Afghanistan.

The only problem was the people had cars that were petroleum operated. They had no use for the new station. Making the necessary adjustments to change over to a natural gas operated vehicle was not financially feasible. The cost was more than the average Afghanistani made in a year.

The Defense Department had a task force in charge of spending with regard to the closed gas station. When the Department was asked why the increase, they said they did not know/ could not tell because the task force had closed down in March.

And they want to cut Social Security! Cut waste!

I would like to know who made out on this Afghanistan gas station.

Last week, I reported on my radio show that the Muslim immigrants in Germany were overloading the hospitals. One problem was they refused to be treated by female personnel. Doctor, nurse, or otherwise.

Yesterday, it was announced that Muslims presently in camps in Germany would not accept food from women.

Beggars can’t be choosers. They should be grateful they are receiving free medical and food.

European banks are beginning to hurt. Good! May their American counterparts do likewise.

European banks are cutting costs. A large Spanish bank with 2,300 branches     now cleans windows only six times a year instead of twelve. Another Spanish bank with many branches kills the electricity at 7 pm. Another bank requires staff to clean their desks every wednesday. Called Wet Wipe Wednesday. Office space is being reduced.

One hundred thousand banking jobs in the Eurounion have been cut since 2012.

My left chest which I injured in a fall last week started hurting big time again last night. I don’t know why. Kept me up all night. Not one moments sleep. A pain pill did not help. Feels better at the moment.

I am going to skip the treadmill this morning. Will keep a noon manicure appointment with Tammy, however.

Enjoy your day!