I was too young for this part of the Houston Buffs after game experience back in the Post World War II era, but I grew up seeing this same photo of the goofy-looking guy they called Bozo St. Clair in every Buffs scorecard I can still remember. Bozo was always billed as the host or master of ceremonies at the Ringside Club on 510 Milby – and they did a lot of advertising via the the Buffs, trying to hustle some after-the-game business to their nearby joint from Buff Stadium on home game nights. The story I did from that 1950 scorecard a couple of days ago simply triggered the memory again. Oh, yeah! Of course, I wanted to go there as I aged into my high school years, but these places that served beer and set-ups for mixed drinks (mixed drinks were illegal in Houston until some time in the early 1960s, but some bars were allowed to charge you the full price of a mixed drink, in a set-up glass. as long s you brought the alcohol to put in it with you in a covered brown bag. – And, of course, you had to be identified at 21 minimum to even be admitted to one of these “swell” places. By the time they got all this stuff straightened out in Houston, I already had achieved my experiential rookie bar season in New Orleans as a graduate student at Tulane.
It’s always made me wonder. – Is this what I missed at the Ringside Club in Houston? Then Bozo St. Clair’s face, the same one that appears in this blue-tinted scorecard ad for the Houston Buffs and takes over as blue-tint animated hologram MC – complete with a standup shtick routine and a style that I imagine as similar to the looks and form of that old movie comic actor, Red Buttons. In the imagery here, a small group of us have just driven over the few blocks west on Leeland it would have taken to reach 510 Milby as a cross street in 1950 from Buff Stadium. It was a Wednesday night. We got lucky. We received a front row table, facing Blue Bozo at the dance floor mike – and the drummer who showed up for rim-shot support. The place is about 60% full.
Here’s the opening shtick:
“Good evening, Ladies and Gentleman and welcome – WELCOME to the fabulous Ringside Club in Houston – where fun is fun – and the fun’s never done! …. (RIM SHOT)
“We wuz hoping’ to have a couple of pole dancers for you here this evening, but the Buffs wouldn’t help us with a deal for Repulski and Kurowski!” …. (RIM SHOT)
“Look! We know you Buff fans are sick about finishing in last place this year, but look on the bright side. – Your misery’s got a closing day – but not mine. My misery comes from my marriage. – And marriage ain’t got no closing day! ” – (RIM SHOT)
“And as long as there is no closing day on marriage – my wife will make sure that it stays open season on my misery!” .… (RIM SHOT)
“What’s my wife’s problem, you ask! – I say she’s fickle.
“She asks me why I have to keep doing all these nice things for the girls who work here at the Ringside. You know, little things like taking a girl to lunch – or buying a girl a little jewelry for all the work the girls do for me here at the show. Hey, I’m a sentimental guy – and I like to show my appreciation.”
“My wife says: ‘C’mon, Bozo! – Don’t insult my intelligence. You show these girls way too much appreciation.’ You don’t show me that kind of appreciation – and I’m your stupid wife!’
“Then, if she finds out I’ve taken a certain girl to lunch, or just given one of the girls a pair of nice earrings, or something, she’s been known to drop in here at the Club and just ruin everybody’s day with her suspicious ways of screaming at everybody in earshot. She’s even told a couple of the girls that they ought to feel like two cents for going out with me – or accepting little gifts ever now and then! – Can you imagine that?”
Take my wife, please! ….. (MAJOR RIM SHOT)
“That’s why I say that my wife is fickle. – Which is it? – Do I boost a girl’s value – or do I tear it down by just being a nice guy? – Does me going out with a girl out of kindness amount to showing her too much appreciation? – My wife says it does! – In fact, that’s usually when she tells the girls that they each ought to feel like two cents for ever accepting a gift – or going out – with me?”
Suddenly, the rim shot drummer jumps in with some bluesy song lyrics of his own:
“Which is it, honey? – I just wish – you’d make up – your fickle mind. – Oh yeah!
I just wish – you’d make up – your fickle little – female – mind!” …. (RIM SHOT)
And Bozo takes the cue to segue out of his misery talk:
“Oh well, at least we are protected in marriage by our community property laws. – That means we each own everything we have acquired during our marriage on a 50-50 basis, but if we get divorced, it means that the ex-wife now gets to live off the property while the ex-husband gets to start learning how to live off the community!” – (RIM SHOT)
“OK, Everybody! Let the great show finally begin. – Our opening act is Miss Sally Stupentaket from Galena Park – and she’s about to show you some moves on the dance floor that you probably didn’t know were humanly possible!”
“Ladies and Gentlemen ….. ALL THE WAY FROM ‘GLEENA’ – AND WE DON’T MEAN PASADENA – LET’S GET GOING WITH A BIG TEXAS LEAGUE HAND FOR MISS ….. SALLY …. STUPEN …. TAKE – ITTTTTTTTTTT!”