Saturday, May 14, 2005


(Run originally 11/1/03 on the old site)

Tom Pry

There is some evidence to support the idea that the Missouri Pacific Bus Line was operated for the railroad by Trailways Bus System. None of us knew that – or cared. It got us where we wanted to go, even if you had to leave here at 8 in the morning in order to get to Springfield, MO, by 6:15 that evening. I know, because I did it.

(It only FELT like 24 hours in the same seat. It was good training for my new, temporary job at KICK Radio not too long after graduation: Saturday was 3:30 p.m. till 1:00 a.m. – on the air by myself. The last hour was sponsored by a restaurant, and all I had to use for the commercials was one of their menus.

(Any questions about where I and my 17-year-old appetite went when my shift was over?)

The ticket was about a mile long, since there was a fresh stub to be collected by the driver after every “major” stop: i.e., anyplace you could get off the bus to use the restroom.


The Rendezvous Café was built in 1940. Photo at looks a great deal like an artist’s rendering rather than a photo, but it’s still the Rendezvous as we remember it.


That “small flagstone building” on the north side of the square was generally called “The Legion Hut.”


In 1976, as part of the national Bi-Centennial celebration, Harding University’s Harding Press published a book titled, simply, “Searcy, Arkansas,” subtitled, “A Frontier Town Grows Up With America.”

The book was written by the late Dr. Raymond Lee Muncy who, at the time, was Chairman of the University’s History Department.

This book is exhaustive to the point of being, well, exhausting. It is jam-packed with names, dates, and photos. It is also extremely well-indexed.

While it definitely doesn’t qualify as light reading, if you, like me, frequently need to check facts and/or be reminded of something very, very fuzzy in your memory, then you should have this book. The book has been reprinted, and is on sale at The Searcy Gallery.

Other books about our hometown and county are like this site, basically memories. “Searcy, Arkansas” is scholarship and research, and was a definite legacy to our Hometown.

Not bad for a West Virginia boy who got here by way of Indiana. See, there IS a place for damn y**k**s (I was 15 before I found out that was actually two words) in this southern world. (Well, okay, Dr. Muncy was also a graduate of the University of Mississippi).

By the way, lest you think I’m practicing reverse jingoism, the cover art on the attached dust jacket was done by Linda Hare, a Searcy native who, in 1976, was a senior Art major at Harding.


William E. “Bill” Laas (of whom both Ernie and I have written, with warmth), I was surprised to learn from Dr. Muncy’s excellent book, had been the Band Director for four years at Harding (then-)College, plus played in the Arkansas Symphony, prior to the outbreak of WWII. When war broke out, he joined the Navy, and was a band director in Pennsylvania and Texas.

He became the Band Director at Searcy High School following the war, and served in that post until the end of the 53/54 school year.

April 1, 1949, was declared “Bill Laas Day” in Searcy. It is not known if there was a hidden message in the selection of April Fools’ Day for his honor.

I don’t think so.


The old Plaza Theatre Posted by Hello

Does anyone remember the Plaza Theatre? It was born one month after me, in November, 1938, to quite a bit of hoopla, the first Searcy adventure of K. K. “Deac” King, who ended up with a lock on theatres in Searcy. Located on the northeast corner of Spring and Center streets, it seems to have disappeared from everyone’s memory, including mine, because I don’t remember ever seeing it, let alone setting foot in it. It DID exist, though, at least long enough to pose for a picture. But I sure don’t remember it.


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