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Old Mar 30, 2008, 6:42 AM   #1
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Many of you of a certain age may remember a horrendously over-hyped TV special back in the 80's "The Secrets of Al Capone's Vault," in which Geraldo Rivera used an hour of prime-time TV to open an underground storage vault found underneath a street in Hot Springs. The vault was supposedly part of a tunnel complex connecting the illegal casinos of Bathouse Row. The only result was a wasted hour of prime-time TV.

The casinos, though, were real. Hot Springs was an agreed-upon "truce city," to which the Prohibition era mobsters could bring their families for vacations without fear. None was bigger than the Southern Club, shown here as it appeared in Capone's day.


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Old Mar 30, 2008, 6:45 AM   #2
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Today, the nefarious Southern Club still lures customers, but for a very different type of entertainment.

(Notice the ever-present "Duck" and the young man in the hoody hawking rides."
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Old Mar 30, 2008, 7:45 AM   #3
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This is great, and having the history behind it makes it even better!

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Old Mar 30, 2008, 1:14 PM   #4
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The kind of Then and Now Pics I just love. Thanks Paul.
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Old Mar 30, 2008, 8:12 PM   #5
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Nice shots. Not too much is changed. I see a small addition on the right of the building, but the neighboring structures seem to still be there. Somebody should be jailed for putting that purple awning and black tile on the front of an elegant old building.
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Old Mar 31, 2008, 6:55 AM   #6
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The Geraldo special was one of TVs most forgettable moments.

The first shot fascinates me, The auto with the guy just behind it in a pretty dapper outfit all make this a classic old shot.

Love the reconstructuion except for the garish purple. Well you can't have everything.

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Old Mar 31, 2008, 4:50 PM   #7
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I was very confused by the reference to "duck" and "hoody" in the second shot. I studied the shot for several minutes until I realized that the duck was the amphibious vehicle in the lower left... and the "hoody" referred to the guy selling tickets.

We don't have any of those ducks in Portland although I think they would be a lot of fun running on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. We have several paddlewheel boats and other dinner boats.

Cal

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Old Apr 2, 2008, 9:13 AM   #8
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I recently read a novel about the springs, the mob, gamblingand the tunnels. I didn't know that was actual history.

Great pictures and very informative.
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Old Apr 3, 2008, 12:24 AM   #9
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If it was Stephen Hunter's "Hot Springs," it was a great exaggeration, particularly in the level of violence, but Hot Springs was definitely a wide open city. Glad you're enjoying the photos.

Paul
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Old Apr 3, 2008, 11:33 AM   #10
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nice then & now photo. Always interesting to see something from a book or movie
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