Starting his life in Key West as a shrimper, later a charter boat captain, and even a gun runner for the Cuban mercenaries during the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. 1958 was the year that Tony Tarracino bought the rundown bar at 428 Greene Street from David Wolkowski and marked the beginning of Captain Tony's Saloon.
Captain Tony has touched my life from the first time that I walked through the door in the mid 90's and saw him sitting on his stool by the souvenir counter telling tales and signing the breasts of a long line of ladies. His immortal poster that bears the quote,"All you need in this life is a tremendous sex drive and a great ego. Brains don't mean shit". The poster hung in my bar in North Carolina until I moved to Key West to live my current life on the boat. The man, the legend, and the family man are all covered in the book"Life Lessons of a Legend" by Captain Tony Tarracino and Brad Manard. His spirit still flies over Key West daily in the form of his image on the side of the Cape Air plane that leaves Key West daily for Fort Myers and returns.
This week we celebrate Captain Tony's life and tales during Captain Tony Days here in Key West. Happy Birthday Captain Tony, where ever you may be today. He was quoted when asked about where he thought he would be going, "Truth is, when that angel finally does appear and says 'Hey Tony what'll it be - heaven or hell? I'm gonna ask, How 'bout Vegas instead?" I guess that really says a lot about the man and the legend, and how his mind worked. We truly miss him here in Key West since his passing on 1 November 2008, the day after the end of Fantasyfest. ;o)