Friday, October 22, 2010

Bowling Green, Ky., Home of Pauline's, Hillbilly Jim and John Carpenter

When I first moved to Bowling Green, Ky., 65,000) in 1988 there were several famous or infamous people from this town that I quickly heard about.

It was not long before I found out that Bowling Green once had a famous (or infamous, however you want to look at it) brothel called, "Pauline's. The madam of the brothel was a woman named Pauline Tabor who had a red brick house on Clay Street in Bowling Green and she kept a group of women to service clients who entered the home. The house was later torn down and now a feed mill is located there. Once Pauline retired she wrote a book and did a book signing tour. She even appeared on the Johnny Carson show to talk about her book and career as a Madam. By the time I had moved to Bowling Green, Ms. Tabor had already moved to Texas to live with her son where she later died in the early 1990's. Unfortunately, I never did get to meet the well-known madam. However, I was able to purchase a copy of her book a couple years ago.

I also found out that the WWF Wrestling great, Hillbilly Jim (Jim Morris) was from Bowling Green. I had met and been to his mother's house when I did some service work on it back in the early 1990's. I remember she was a super nice lady. At that point, I had never met Hillbilly Jim either. However, I saw him at Sears in Bowling Green once when I was working part-time in the hardware department. Later on, when Hillbilly Jim moved back to Bowling Green and got involved with the Kentucky Blues Society and I saw him play with his band in Downtown Fountain Square in our town. Finally, I got to meet him in front of a Bowling Green Minit-Mart store. Hillbilly Jim is a really cool and an incredibly nice guy. He's very friendly and down to earth to say the least.

Finally, I also heard that the famous movie director and producer, John Carpenter (Halloween) is from Bowling Green. His father was a music professor at Western Kentucky University after he and his family had moved from New York in 1953. John had moved to Bowling Green when he was age five. Growing up here, he went to high school at College High which is at Western Kentucky University where he also attended before he headed out to California to begin his film career. I finally got to meet him at the first annual Southern Kentucky Book Festival at the Sloan Convention Center here in 1998. He gave a great talk about the movie business and shared some of his experiences in the industry. I was able to get an autograph photo of him that he was giving away on a first come basis. John was very friendly to his hometown crowd that day. The Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau has even produced a brochure called, "John Carpenter's Reel Sites, Real Scary" which is a driving tour where you can find the streets and locations that are mentioned in John's films as well as his childhood home and other sites associated with him.

On the back of the brochure, there's a quote from him talking about Western Kentucky University where he grew up. "I suppose that most of who I am and what I believe in was figured out walking around the grounds of the Kentucky Building after dinner when the sun's going down... I don't think I've been in a more beautiful spot in all my life. And the thoughts of life death, people, beauty, cruelty, fear...whatever I was thinking about. I thought about walking by myself there. I was a loner but I grew up in a paradise. I kind of became who I am now." (John Carpenter Western Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumni Video.)