Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gillian's Found Photo #14

This week's found photo comes from Hot Springs, Arkansas and is a shot of a fellow named Little Buddy. I love Hot Springs, if you ever get there check in to the Arlington Hotel (built by Al Capone) one of the most luxurious and beautiful monuments to Art Deco in America. Getting back to our photo, I'm not sure what Little Buddy is holding (a racing form?), but what I find odd about this picture is, well, check out Little Buddy's shadow. This man is obviously some sort of sent from hell satyr, or perhaps an alien from a previously unknown galaxy. A person's shadow, like their handwriting can tell you a lot about them, and this shadow scares me.

7 comments:

ArkyMark said...

I'm from H.S. - born here in 1963 and still remain. I'd say the photo is from around at least that time (early 60's) but probably earlier. A Racing Form is more the size of a newspaper, but it could be a "program" from the track, which is a schedule of the day's races about that size - though Oaklawn Park is several miles away from this downtown scene. It's more likely a menu or schedule from some of the downtown merchants. There used to be several auction houses along this stretch too, and handing out these little flyers and brochures was common. Everyone's wearing long coats so it's cold - the live racing season is late winter/early spring - and the car you see behind Little Buddy is waiting at the intersection of Exchange and Central Ave. Lauray's is still there and looks much the same...

I'm afraid his shadow doesn't scare me half as much as the sign in the background which reads "MASSAGE COLONICS"!

The Hound said...

"MASSAGE COLONICS"!

At least the water's warm.
I had a great steam/maassage in the basement spa at the Arlington (no colonic though). It really is a beautiful town, and Oaklawn is a beautiful track.
Was the bar-b-q joint there called Stubbs? I can't remember the name, but it was one of the best I've ever had.

Devil Dick said...

don't know why but this photo makes me want a beer...

ArkyMark said...

I'm glad you like Hot Springs - on behalf of the whole place I'll say "Thanks for the compliments!" I've always considered myself lucky to have been born in a place that millions of folks travel to every year just to visit...

Looking at the photo closer I'd guess it was taken in the early-to-mid-fifties. The car would be a clue if you can identify what year it was made, because of course it could not have appeared in the photo before whatever model-year it is. The garments and styles are probably a better clue - but I can tell you that while downtown HS has changed tremendously, it tends to change kinda slow... The sign for the beauty salon, for instance, could have hung there over the sidewalk years after the business itself closed. I'm 100% sure of where the photographer was standing though - if he were to turn 90-degrees to his left, he'd be looking across Central Ave. to the north-end of Bathhouse Row ... and turning slightly more to his left he could see the Arlington about 1-block up.

The BBQ place you're thinking of is "Stubby's" - from the original owner's name "Stubblefield" (sp?) It traded hands in the 80's (if I have my dates right) and the new owners kept the name. I worked for them for a couple of years in the early 90's myself. There were two locations : on south Central Ave, across from Oaklawn Park's south parking lot; and in the first block of Park Ave, which was right up-around-the-corner from the Arlington. Depending on when you were last here, you could have eaten at either or both of them, but the one on Park Ave. has been closed for a few years now...

When you mention Hot Springs and BBQ in the same breath, most people assume you're going to say "McClards" - which has been in the same little place on Albert Pike for over 75 years. My folks owned two different restaurants here in HS, and one was a 50's drive-in place just a few blocks from McClards. They were good friends and we used to trade food with them all the time. It tickles me to think that I grew up eating BBQ that is now considered world-famous! When I was a kid the walls of McClards was covered in those winners-circle photos of horses, jockeys, trainers and owners after winning some race at Oaklawn - but now they're covered with an eclectic mix of autographed photos of celebrities who've been there - from Willard Scott to Bill Clinton to Joe Perry (guitar player for Aerosmith - who had an Aerosmith show in Little Rock catered from there, then the whole band raved about it onstage during the show.) It's been featured in every food and travel production and publication there is - and while Stubby's sauce is sweeter and McClard's hotter - McClards makes hand-made tamales that are some of the best I've ever had in my life. (And that includes eating in the Tex-Mex havens of Texas and Southern California!)

And as for the beer Devil Dick mentioned? Right down the road from where Little Buddy is walking there used to be a little bar called "Wendys", and the sign that hung over their door for ages read "Wendys - Free Beer Tomorrow". Prehaps L.B. is going back to his room at the Arlington after having (to pay) for a couple at Wendys, and he's picked up a rate-schedule for the Bathhouses on the way.

But it does look like he has a bit of a spring in his step ... perhaps he's just returning from an invigorating "Message Colonic"...

The Hound said...

"McClards"

Okay, I remember I did eat at both Stubby's and McClard's, one place had a weird system where you had to stake out a table and hover over it and wait for the folks there to leave since nobody seemed able to adhere to a line system, I think that was the place with the better grub but both were quite excellent. The other thing I remember was in the lobby of the Arlington was a great guitar jazz trio, which turned out to be Calvin Newborn Jr.! I was there I think in '92 (Roscoe got married just outside of Hot Springs, I drove down from NYC) and have been meaning to get back ever since. I also remember meeting some "growers" at the bar and buying some amazing sample buds, then just hanging out at the running hot springs pool on the 7th floor of the hotel, getting stoned and drinking a lot. We had stayed at the Peabody in Memphis a few days before and the Arlington was ten times better (and half the price). Even found some good records at a local flea market (Al Barkle's Sputnik on Vita was one). Except for Capri I can't think of a better place to retire to.....

ron kellum said...

Yeah Hot Springs is an overlooked gem a real hideaway. Growing up in No. Little Rock in the 50's and 60's my family went there often. Back then The Mob still ran things and the town was alive and raging with open gambling, strip clubs and bars, my parents liked to party there. There was even a nightclub called "The Vapors" that booked performers like Tony Bennett and Peggy Lee. It was a mini Vegas smack in the middle of a spring laden National Park. That all came to an end in the early 60's when Winthrop Rockefeller (Nelson's black sheep brother) became governor and cleaned up the town on behalf of the Bible Belters and wrecked the economy there. Dozens of great places folded.

Ditto to ArkyMark on McClards and their world class BBQ and tamales. I still love to get down there and rang in the New Year many times in the 90's with my Little Rock pals. We always booked a block of rooms at (of course) the Arlington and let the good times roll.

Donna Lethal said...

I like to think he somehow combined a visit to the massage colonics with the jewelry store ... and perhaps is holding a AAA trip-tik for his next exotic vacation.

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