Right amount of naughty?
Heat torches up scandal? Then adding salt water brings it to a boil.
Before there was Vegas, there was Galveston.
There was the “International Pageant of Pulchritude”
Lock up the wives and daughters!
After the 1900 Storm, Galveston needed tourist money.
Splash Day celebrations lured the rich, the famous, and the rowdy.
Galveston became the place to be and be seen.
Proper ladies swooned in public. In private, they made reservations.
The island’s population swarmed to more than three times normal size.
International bathing beauties flaunted convention and strutted in the predecessor to the Miss Universe Pageant.
Just the right amount of naughty?
Everyone blamed the gambling, the booze, or the Balinese Room in the 40’s.
Plenty of performers wanted to play the Balinese Room. Ellington, Sinatra, Dorsey, Marx Brothers, Burns,Tormé…
Plenty of celebrities. Marilyn Monroe, Jane Mansfield with their entourages in tow. Hope, Benny, Astaire…
Plenty of high rollers. Diamond Jim Walker, Glen McCarthy, mob bosses….
Plenty of pushing the social boundaries.
The risk of getting busted for gambling – or anything else – was slim and none.
Legend says law enforcement raided the Balinese on 64 consecutive nights and never made one arrest.
It was a long way down that 600 foot pier to the back rooms. Buzzers signaled the guests and dealers.
Trap doors in the floor dumped incriminating evidence in a flash. Gaming tables folded like Murphy Beds into the walls. Suitcases of chips went into the ovens.
And patrons rose to sing “The eyes of Texas” as the Texas Rangers finally arrived.
Relive those exciting days of yesteryear this weekend at the“Galveston Island Beach Revue”
A family affair now. Info for all the frivolities here.
Might get a glimpse of Ester William type pin-ups during the vintage beauty pageant.
Catch a glimpse of Elvis. Really. “Girl Happy”, the 1965 classic beach film with Annette, a freebie showing at Beach Central. (Movie promo Video)
Beach blanket bingo! (Just a bit naughty – it’s Annette!)
Bring your parasol.
And patience. The traffic…well, you’d be better off on a horse.
Nothing like a tropical climate to heat things up.
Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge
Read a bit more?
“Remembering the Balinese Room”. By one of the Maceo family. 2008.Texas Monthly.
“Group behind Balinese Room revival gets a boost from Galveston” Plans in the works.