Thursday, December 4, 2008
Marie and I ended up in Galveston, a city on the Gulf with man-made beaches. I was a naive country boy and Galveston almost blew my mind. It never closed. Some places of business did not even have a front door. We went to work on the Galveston News, the oldest daily newspaper in Texas. One thing you could not write about was the gambling. It seems that Mr. Moody, who owned all the hotels and the Galveston News, had entered into a truce with the Maceos, Rose and Sam. The Maceos had once threatened to enter the hotel business and Mr. Moody hit the ceiling. A major law firm intervened and peace was restored. The Maceos would not enter the hotel business and the Moodys would not run any casinos. This decor even extended to the hotels. You could check into the beachfront hotel and obtain a visitor's pass to the Balinese Room, which was the most famous gambling club in Texas and most of the rest of the United States. People drove from Dallas and other places to stay in Galveston and visit the B-Room. Houston was full of new millionaires, wildcat oil operators who had brought in an oil well in places like Beaumont, and who had money to spend. Some of them, such as the Abercrombies, would brag about losing $10,000 at the B-Room. This was a post war (World War II) attitude. There were rumors about a payoff to the state government, one such story said cash money was sent to Austin in a bread truck. But to the majority of Texans the B-Room was a glamorous place To visit. I will never forget the first time Marie and I visited the B-Room. In the next installment I will tell more about the B-Room and the Maceos.