With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sad City Family Reunion

Ed. Note: Still really, really busy. This was a fun post from way back. 

Living in Hartford we all co-exist as one big family for better or worse. As happens in families, fights sometimes occur. Today we take a look back at an entertaining fight between some of our family members, but first for context, a walk down memory lane. Two weeks ago we discussed The Seven Visible From The Highway Wonders of Hartford.

As some surely remember, up until the late 1990's one of the more fascinating visions from I-91 for a young man in his teen years was Uncle Al's, Cousin Vinny's, and Danny's Adult World. Danny's had a sign atop the building proudly boasted of being "Open 24 Hours." A young sports fan would recognize Uncle Al's and Cousin Vinny's from the advertisements that ran in the Hartford Courant's sports page. All of this just acted to fuel a young imagination about what might be going on in those forbidden worlds.

Today a younger Hartford resident would know Danny's Adult World, Uncle Al's and Cousin Vinny's as Luv Boutique and The Gold Club; both still located on West Service Road and both still offering adult novelties and videos (and booths!) and strip dancing respectively.

Our story starts in September 1993 when the owners of Uncle Al's and Cousin Vinny's notified Daniel Quinn, the owner of Danny's, and the Hartford Police, that customers of Danny's were engaging in drug use and sexual acts behind the property.

Daniel Quinn was not unfamiliar with with legal troubles and the adult entertainment business. At the time he owned the property hosting Mustang Sally's, a lingerie store that closed in 1994 after coming under fire for employing a sales technique in which models danced naked.

In response to Uncle Al's concerns, Danny's Adult World did the logical thing; they installed security cameras. Oddly enough, they didn't aim these cameras at the areas of the suspected drug use and sexual activity. Instead Danny's Adult World decided to aim the security cameras at the entrances of Uncle Al's and Cousin Vinny's where they could be seen by patrons entering the clubs and who would believe they were being filmed.

Apparently rabid over "drug use and sexual activity" in a public area being reported to the police, Quinn was still not satisfied with training his cameras on the entrances of Uncle Al's and Cousin Vinny's. Quinn also owned Kahoots, a strip bar located in sister (and even Sadder) city East Hartford, a direct competitor of Uncle Al's and Cousin Vinny's.

The manager of Kahoots, (and a former employee of Uncle Al's) one Gordon Debigare, phoned patrons of Uncle Al's and Cousin Vinny's to inform them that they had been seen on camera going into the nightclubs and also handed patrons of Uncle Al's and Cousin Vinny's free drink tickets redeemable at Kahoots.

It was at this point, that the Service Road Corporation, (sweet double entendre!) owner of Uncle Al's and Cousin Vinny's filed suit against Quinn. Quinn's defense against the charges was that the cameras were installed for security on his building. A security expert testified in court that the camera configuration was "absurd" for the purposes of monitoring Danny's Adult World. The Court agreed with with the security expert and stipulated that the cameras had to be moved and also that Quinn had to pay the Service Road Corporations attorney costs of almost $15,000.

The Court of Sad City would agree with this decision. Though we support video taping in public of almost all kinds; video taping someone going into a strip club is just not cool. (An exception does exist if you hold a public position and espouse "family values" or otherwise hold yourself out as morally superior to others). Furthermore Quinn and Debigare were taking Hartford business patrons and openly trying to drive them to businesses outside the city limits, which Sad City also does not support.

Both Danny's Adult World and Uncle Al's and Cousin Vinny's lasted until somewhere around the late 1990's when they became Luv Boutique and The Gold Club. They both function the same as their predecessors and we don't have any knowledge of how the relationships between the owners are. Daniel Quinn still owns Kahoots in East Hartford and Gordon Debigare was still the manager as recently as summer 2009. Kahoots has been cited through the years for violations of their liquor license and inappropriate dancer/customer contact.

And whatever became of Mickey Mounds? Well Mickey Mounds fleeting celebrity occurred just before the internet became the all consuming world wide phenomenon that it is today. Instead of being digitally archived for all of time, Mickey Mounds is nowhere to be found. A google search turns up nothing except a man that weighs 900 lbs. So if you are Mickey or if you know anything about Mickey and where those 50EE's are we'd love to hear from you. 


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