Bette Davis visits Cuba, Missouri…
In 1948, traveling Route 66, Bette Davis pulled up to the Southern Hotel in her Packard station wagon, and the town has never forgotten it. The memory remains in large part because of the photo that then nineteen year-old Wilbur Vaughn took as the academy award winning actress was leaving the Southern Hotel where she had dined.
Wilbur Vaughn still lives in Cuba and often tells the story. He says it was a cold, rainy Monday night, and he waited outside the Southern Hotel until Miss Davis came out. He then snapped a photo which he had been forbidden to take earlier in the evening by Miss Davis’s male companion. The companion was so angered that he chased Wilbur down the street, cursing all the way. The fleet-footed young photographer dodged behind a gas station and heard a “thump” behind him. He turned to see the man face down in the mud. Wilbur escaped to the nearby local theater where Wilbur worked. He developed the photo in the darkroom there. It was then printed in the Cuba News & Review the next week.
Vaughn still owns the camera that he used.
For more on Cuba’s murals visit www.cubamomurals.com.