There was a time…..Key West bars provided companionship for customers. In some places, the company consisted of a pretty scantily clad young lady hustling drinks. No sex. Known as B-girls.
At other establishments, the ladies might be described as bi. They doubled as B-girls and prostitutes. They liquored up the men and then took them to a back room or upstairs.
Whore houses also existed. Strictly for sex.
I have written about the whore houses in the past and how the Navy dealt with them. Today’s dissertation is limited to bars with B-girls. Sex immaterial.
The U.S. Navy considered bars with B-bars and whore houses an abomination. From the 1930’s thru the early 1960’s, the Navy exerted every effort to get them closed. Bad for a sailor’s pocket book and health. Syphilis difficult to deal with through World War II.
The Navy constantly imposed itself on the City of Key West. Beat upon Commission members till they relented and did something about the establishments. Sometimes one, other times all.
In 1953, the Mardi Gras Night Club was located at 92 Duval Street. Primarily a B-girl operation. The Mardi Gras had operated before 1960 and after. Closed down several times by authorities for one reason or another. The closings again always pressured by the Navy.
The City passed an ordinance baring B-girls. Mardi Gras was a repeat offender of the ordinance and frequently closed. Only to reopen another time.
The B-girls were young lovelies. Few clothes. Tassels part of their meager clothing. The ladies referred to as burlesque girls who spun their tassels.
The bar was a popular place. Part of the 1955 movie The Rose Tattoo was filmed there. The movie starred Burt Lancaster and Anna Mangani. Tennessee Williams had written the Broadway play.
Most of the filming was done at a home on Duncan Street. 1431 to be exact. A block and a half from my daughter Lisa’s home.
Next door to 1431 was Tennessee Williams’ home. Williams permitted his home to be used for change of costume, rest, etc.
During the Mardi Gras scenes, Tennessee Williams, his lover Frank Merlo, and producer Hal Wallis can be seen as extras.
Several years following the making of the movie, Williams had an enormous mosaic of a rose tattoo embedded in the floor of the pool behind his house. It is still there.
The Mardi Gras Night Club was still operating in 1960. I discovered some photos of the place. The ladies were standing on the bar. Scantily clad, beautiful. I could see why sailors would blow their pay to sit and chat with them.
My blog talk radio show Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou held last night. Excellent topics. The topics are everything.
Two especially stood out.
This saturday will be the 50th anniversary of man landing on the moon. Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin.
Blew my mind! Man able to fly to the moon and then walk on it!
The other special topic involved President Jimmy Carter and the late 1970’s oil shortage. A for real shortage. Wait in line 3 hours to get gas. Then be limited as to number of gallons. Cars running out of gas. Fuel for heating homes in poor supply.
Carter did a special telecast on February 2, 1977. The purpose to advise the American people how things were going and what to do.
Carter appeared on TV wearing a sweater. No jacket. His advice was to lower thermostats to 60 degrees and wear a sweater.
Did not go over well. Wonder why Carter was defeated in the next election by Reagan.
This week and next big times in Key West. Today, the beginning of Hemingway Days. Next week, the 2 day Mini Lobster Season.
Thousands will visit Key West to participate.
Joe DiMaggio. One of the greats in the history of baseball.
DiMaggio had a batting streak going. He had hit in 56 consecutive games. On this day in 1941, DiMaggio was looking for hit 57. It was not to be. His 56 game record however remains to this day.
To appreciate the man’s quality as a baseball player, DiMaggio played 13 seasons. In that time, the New York Yankees won 11 pennants and 10 World Series.
Difficult to beat a record like that!
A touch of Trump. Can’t be avoided.
Around 7 last night, the House of Representatives voted a condemnation of the President for his racist comments. The comments wherein he told the young female Congresswomen who were on his back to return from where they came.
All women of color. Three born in the U.S. One in Somalia and became a naturalized citizen at 14.
In bad taste. The President exhibited his racist edge once again. To the wrong group, however. These are 4 tough young ladies.
The condemnation does not hurt Trump as a practical matter. It is a bad mark on his Presidential report card, however. The mark will be there for all history. Every one will know the type of man he was when it came to persons of color.
A racist and bigot are pretty much the same. In my years, I have met many. We all do.
I learned that a racist/bigot does not know he is one. Completely oblivious to it. Thinks he is good to everyone and treats everyone properly.
Does not work that way.
Trump proves my point. He said regarding the racist charge: “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.”
Trump is not going to change. He is what he is. He also has around 50 percent of Americans who agree with him. The 50 percent consisting in significant part of older white males.
The Republicans disappoint me. They have to know how bad their man is. Yet they stand quiet. Stoic is the word. Their silence has become an heroic public act of defiance.
Enjoy your day!