The Douglas Bay Hotel was situated at Onchan Head with a wonderful view of the Bay. It was a first class establishment with dancing and cabaret six nights a week. The hotel catered for residents, visitors and locals alike. That year was 1956 and the winner was Ken Kavanagh riding a Moto Guzzi. Also staying there that year was the Italian Cycling Team who also were the winners for that year.
The hotel was a rendezvous for riders, fans, people associated with the races, and the racing industry who regularly congregated there.
The TEXAS BAR also situated in the Douglas Bay Hotel was the "in place". The hotel was extremely well run and although the patrons could enjoy themselves the very nature of the bar meant it was lively. The stage was quite high and underneath the stage was a room called the "Caboose" which was usually occupied by couples.
One night things were getting a bit too lively and the doorman asked a couple to leave which they did without too much ado. However the top button of the ladies blouse was undone and somehow the "News of the World" got a hold of the story and on the following Sunday they published a story headed "Half naked woman dragged from the Texas Bar Caboose". Things never looked back, it was full houses from them on.
Two first class entertainers, dressed up in cowboy outfits had the place jumping every night. Jimmy played guitar and sang, and Gordon Hayward from Somerset played accordion. On stage Jimmy always wore an immaculate real lamé cowboy suit, stetson, texas boots and a couple of six shooters in holsters.
One night after the show I met Jimmy in the bar, he looked a bit pale and where his trouser pocket used to be was a big hole and a black mark. It transpired he was on stage playing and singing when a young lady reached out of the Caboose, grabbed one of the six shooters whilst it was still in the holster, and let fly. Luckily his vital organs remained intact - just!
Photos P.Chaplin, 84 Bucks Road, Douglas, Isle of Man.
The Isle of Man is known worldwide for the Tourist Trophy (TT) Races. However many top entertainers worked on the Island during the season including Ronnie Aldridge and the Squadronaires, Ken Mackintosh and his Orchestra and The Ivy Benson All Girls Band to name but just a few.
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