Skip to comments.An Interview with The Mongo (and you wondered about Memphis politics and The Ford Family)
Posted on 12/17/2005 11:48:33 PM PST by mcg2000
"Mannequins continuously bring me information from my planet."
An Interview with the Mongo
He may claim to be from another planet, but Memphis' most visible alien has stirred up plenty of trouble here on Earth.
After a series of staccato raps on the wrought-iron front door of the Castle, Robert Hodges (a.k.a. Prince Mongo) finally appears, yawning from the early morning hour. Describing his appearance as disheveled would be too generous. Half-opened, sleepy eyes peer out of his thickly lined face. His thinning, dark brown curly hair is tousled in a style that only a pillow can achieve. This is a decidedly different Mongo from the one who usually appears publicly. He is a short man, probably 5'7", with a middle-aged paunch gathering around his midsection -- likely due to his 333 years spent on this planet eating Earthling food.
Prince Mongo is an institution (though many would say he belongs in one), known for his flamboyant personality and eccentric leanings. In years past he has thrust himself into the public eye with flamboyant unsuccessful bids for political office and unappreciated antics -- like standing on the roof of his Central Gardens home and howling at the moon. Planet Zambodia's most famous Memphis resident claims that he was sent to Earth to offer atonement, redemption, and enlightenment to Earthlings and to save us from various natural disasters.
"I'm from another planet, there's no doubt about that," Mongo explains. "I'm here on a mission to save Earthlings, and I will in due time. The Earth is self-destructing and when the time comes I will save a few people and take them with me. People don't realize how much I've already saved them from. I saved them from the earthquake, tornadoes, hurricanes. I've used my energies to divert those things."
But just as quickly as he dons the "Mongo" persona, he sheds it, shifting seamlessly back into the shrewd businessman that he, in fact, is. Despite his obvious predilection for things bizarre, Mongo appears anything but crazy.
For years he has been the name behind -- and the face in front of -- several Memphis bars, though he denies ever having owned any of them. For each establishment, Prince Mongo has owned the property and then "given" the business to an employee. He claims that he is only interested in collecting the rent as an absentee landlord and occasionally being on hand to host a wet T-shirt contest and to greet guests. Nevertheless, Mongo's name has long been associated with the allegations of underage drinking that have plagued all the bars that have borne his name. He, of course, claims he is innocent of these charges.
"I have never been charged with a beer board violation," he insists. "I have never even held a liquor license in my name."
Mongo's ability to skirt the letter of the law was in evidence again recently when he added a "beach" to the front of The Castle. When the use and occupancy number at The Castle -- the number that regulates how many patrons are allowed in the building at a time -- was reduced from 451 to 88, Mongo found a way to sidestep the regulation.
"When the fire marshall came and said they had to shut us down because we had more than 88 people in here, it infuriated me," he says. "So that next Monday morning I started bringing in 800 tons of sand to put on this property. If they will only let me have 88 people inside, then I decided to give everyone a reason to stay outside. They can restrict me to having only eight people inside, I don't care, I'll just take everybody outside."
In recent weeks his current venue, The Castle, has played host to controversy, mostly stemming from allegations that the club serves alcohol to underage drinkers and that swimmers in the club's pool take dips sans clothes. Police claim that their frequent visits to the club are in response to noise complaints from The Castle's neighbors, many of whom live in the two adjacent high-rise apartment buildings. Mongo claims that he is being targeted by a group of Central Gardens residents, led by the apartment manager of one of the buildings, intent on destroying any restaurant or nightclub that attempts to set up shop in Ashlar Hall, as The Castle was originally named.
"If you are dried up and on the shelf," says Mongo, referring to his detractors, "don't put the rest of us up there with you." He continues: "I've got better things to do than listen to these dumbbells and these Hitlers who run up and down this street trying to destroy me. These people will be the first ones to be destroyed."
Mongo's current foes, however, are simply the most recent in a long line of critics. Over the years he has received waves of scorn from those who insist that Mongo's interplanetary motives are less than pure. He bristles at the suggestion that his alien talk enables him to continue to collect insurance disability checks for being insane. He is visibly offended when told that some people think he surrounds himself with young people because of sexual motives.
"That really bothers me," says Mongo. "I have never heard anyone accuse me of such a thing. I've done work with St. Jude, given them money. If that was true, then after all these years some evidence would have surfaced. I take all of that with a grain of salt. These people are always going to talk about something."
When it comes to The Castle, though, there's little doubt that Mongo does his part to fuel the controversy. And he doesn't appear to be letting up. In an ad in this week's Flyer, he "thanks" the Memphis police for protecting his patrons and promotes 25-cent beers and a trip to Jamaica.
Shifting effortlessly back into the Prince Mongo-alien-import-from-Zambodia role, he tosses out word of his next venture: "I'm about to start a Zambodian Planetology Church. It will be a very interesting church," he says with a smile.
Undoubtedly, his neighbors can hardly wait.
Church of Planetology?
I am going to start the Church og GivMeMoney
A few past plantform issues while he ran for mayor (against Herenton and Jerry Lawler - yes, the wrestler).
The Ambassador to Earth of -Zambodia- is a huge, socially progressive nation, renowned for its complete lack of prisons. Its hard-nosed, hard-working, intelligent population of 679 million enjoy some of the most opulent lifestyles in the region, unless they are unemployed or working-class, in which case they are variously starving to death or crippled by easily preventable diseases.
The small, liberal, pro-business government concentrates mainly on Defence, although Commerce and Education are on the agenda. Income tax is unheard of. A powerhouse of a private sector is led by the Soda Sales, Woodchip Exports, and Information Technology industries.
Citizens are expected to be proficient in at least five languages, university graduates and new home-owners toil in labour camps to work off their debts, zambodian narwals are becoming popular in pet stores nationwide, and elevator music has been replaced by thrash metal played at maximum volume. Crime -- especially youth-related -- is a major problem, probably because of the country's utter lack of prisons. -Zambodia-'s national animal is the zambodian narwal, which teeters on the brink of extinction due to widespread deforestation, and its currency is the mongo.
* each Monday is a Zambodian Holiday
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Robert Hodges, better known by his self-styled moniker Prince Mongo, is a Memphis eccentric and minor political personality. He claims to be the ambassador of the planet of Zambodia.
He is most notable for a September 2002 run-in with the Shelby County General Sessions Court, which had ordered him to remove a collection of patio furniture, beach umbrellas, mannequin heads, toilet seats, and other items from his front yard. He challenged the order in court, appearing in a green cape and goggles, green body paint, and festooned with a rubber chicken. He was charged with contempt of court, sent to prison for ten days, and was fined $13,875.
He vowed to fight the case, but on June 10, 2004, pled guilty and paid a $500 penalty.
Does anyone remember Mongo's dog's name? The dog wears some kinda goofy outfit and is referred to as a "general" or something like that?
This place brings back not so great memories for me. It was off-limits to the local Marines (in training at NAS Memphis) due to too many underage girls allowed on the premises. My then husband and his friends went there at least once or twice regardless of the ban (the one time I am aware of was a week before I moved down there), and I later found a girl's phone number in ex's phone book from that night. I am surprised it is still around. The Navy and Marine guys used to call it the "Peach Pit."
And I'd still vote for Prince Mongo over ANY Ford.
Enjoyed your post.
Mongo seems a "perfomance artist".
Excellent site encyclopedic on the subject:
That's Prince Mongo's Planet, which was downtown. I've never been there and thought it had been shutdown.
Ashlar Hall is on Central Ave. right before it runs into Lamar Ave. It's an old midtown style house with three floors. It was called The House in late 1973 and early 1974. The new "in" place to be, off of Overton Square and a totally different ambiance. Each of the three floors, counting the one underground, had a different theme. Downstairs had low lights with a live band. Main floor was the standard early '70s meat-market style, with a bar and tables. Upstairs was mainly a game room with Pong, Air Hockey, Foose Ball, and Shuffleboards with and without side bumper rails. It was a hot nightclub for a few months and then faded and closed. Later it was redecorated and opened as The Castle. Closed again. Then Mongo bought it.
Mongo only pawn, in game of life.
Mongol!!? Santa Maria!!!
mongo's dog's name was stussy (at least that was the dog that he had in Ft. Lauderdale in 2000). Can you believe that we went to spring break adn stayed in his house for a week?! It was a crazy time!!! My friends sent me this link...we haven't seen or heard from Mongo since that spring break. I'm glad to hear that he's still around and kicking!