Nudine The Quiver Queen
By Bob Tennison
“Texas is the Bible belt and Dallas is the Buckle.” This stupid song was sung by the gospel choir that came on the radio just before the noon news. TV had not as yet taken over our lives. Luckily I never heard the song again, so I surmised that one of their five or six listeners wrote them that it was really too dumb even for them.
Many of my classmates, including my closest friend, were Baptist and, as a Catholic, I was looked upon as different. One of the most outlandish things my friend’s mother told me was that the reason our priests wore long black cassocks was to hide the forked devil’s tails underneath. Sadly, she believed this. When I told her I could hardly wait to be a priest and grow one, she avoided me forevermore.
The parents of many of these friends did not believe in movies, so when my friends went with me, which they did very often, they never had to worry about being seen by anybody they knew.
Downtown Dallas offered about three blocks of theatres, from the elegant Majestic, the Palace (where an organ rose from the pit and was played for fifteen minutes before the show began) to the lesser exotic Melba, Rialto and, lastly, the Queen, before hitting the bottom of the barrel, the Fox. It was truly a fleabag left over from any glory days it may have had, and catered to those who didn‘t mind paying a quarter to enter and being swept away by the smell. Those not wishing to be seen could turn up their collar, don dark glasses and hurry in, mostly at night.
The real shocker came when The Dallas Morning News began advertising in the Entertainment Section the forthcoming appearance at the Fox of a stripper going by the name of Nudine, the Quiver Queen. Never before did I remember ads like this one. There were even trucks going up and down the city streets with signs advertising her. Even soft porn had never hit our screens before, so this was also a first.
Needless to say, many members of our little group were hot to trot to the Fox. Supposedly limited to only persons twenty-one and over, the spooky lady in the box office was not remotely interested in all of us being under age. She just wanted to sell tickets.
Of course we had to crash a picket line to reach the box office and, as luck would have it, the gossip bag who lived across the street from me put her picket sign down long enough to give me the “shame on you” sign with her fingers, and I well knew that my mother would have a lecture waiting for me.
The movie deserved an Academy Award for being the worst ever made and about as risqué as one called Don‘t Take Your Shoes and Socks Off in Public. It was only a miserable hour long, and then came Nudine. GASP! She was wearing a small black G-string and matching brassiere with silver tassels. She was not a bad looking old doll. A tad tired around the edges, but she could still move.
After a few bumps and grinds, she had those tassels spinning around like a top, and the next thing we knew they were spinning in the opposite direction. We had never seen anything like this and we were impressed. We were not the only ones, as the old fellow across the aisle from me was playing with himself.
A few more bumps and grinds, and then came The Quiver. Unreal. It was like somebody standing naked on an iceberg with a light snow falling on them—amazing, to say the least.
After the dim lights came on, we made a quick exit and headed for our favorite hot spot, La Villa Roma, where the friendly waitress led us to a back booth in order to serve us an illegal beer. The only bar drink allowed in Texas was 3.2 beer, as grim as it sounds, but we were ready to feel grown up.
One of our buddies had promised to help his parents entertain their visitor from Albuquerque who had come to Dallas to attend the Texas Centennial. She was our version of an old maid schoolteacher, almost thirty, never married wearing horn-rimmed glasses.
His parents had to attend a business conference that evening, so she was invited to go with us. She declined Nudine but took in a movie and would join us later at La Villa. We were watching the front door and, when Clarice came in and stood looking around, I stood and called out, “Back here, Nudine.“ Every head in the place swiveled toward the front door, and the poor fellow at the end of the bar jazzed around so fast his elbow sent his bottle of beer sailing across the room. Poor Clarice, red face and all, headed in our direction.
If looks could kill, I would have been dead immediately. We did try to make it up the next day by taking her to the Expo and taking pictures of her getting an autographed photo of Hollywood’s current new star, Linda Darnell. We knew her from high school as Monetta. She was in the middle of an extremely successful career when she died in a hotel fire at forty-two. She was in Dallas to promote her first movie Daytime Wife at the Majestic. Yes, we took Clarice.
Years later, in this ever shrinking world, I ran into Clarice when I was on a business trip to Albuquerque, having dinner at a downtown restaurant. The greeting given me was so cold I had to brush the icicles off my sleeve before taking a table near the rear and ordering a Martini (legal in New Mexico). I watched her pay her check, take her broom from under the table and fly out the front door.