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WELCOME

THE VAPORS HISTORY

The Vapors was founded in the summer of 1959 by Dane Harris and Vincent “Owney” Madden. The unlikely pair, Harris, a WWII pilot, and Madden, a New York gangster, created Hot Springs Arkansas’ newest and most beautiful theater restaurant. Legends like Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Mickey Rooney, Liberace, Rosemary Clooney, and scores of other Hollywood stars graced our stage in the 1960s and 70s. Along came disco and live performances gave way to recorded music and the coffee shop became a bar called the Cockeyed Cowboy before the whole became a church in the 1990s.

True to Hot Springs’ gangster persona, Vapors has its fair share of colorful characters and happenings.  On January 4th, 1963, a bomb ripped through what is now the dining room exposing an underground casino.  11 people were injured in the blast but all survived, fortunately.  While no charges were ever brought, speculations swirled as to who was responsible.  Was it a rival gang or an insurance job?  We’ll probably never know but the newspaper was there to take pictures of the exposed casino and published them the following day on the front page.

Johnny Carson was a regular and often booked acts that performed here for the Tonight Show.  Check out the slideshow of past performers and the video below for a complete history of the Vapors.

Mitzi Gaynor

Mitzi Gaynor

Decastro Sisters

Decastro Sisters

Ricky Nelson

Ricky Nelson

Captain and Tennille

Captain and Tennille

The Browns

The Browns

Oak Ridge Boys

Oak Ridge Boys

Edgar Bergan

Edgar Bergan

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra

Jerry Van Dyke

Jerry Van Dyke

Mickey Rooney

Mickey Rooney

Andrews Sisters

Andrews Sisters

Beverly Hillbillies

Beverly Hillbillies

Tiny Tim

Tiny Tim

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett

Smother Brothers

Smother Brothers

Liberace Best

Liberace Best

Bonanza Stars

Bonanza Stars

Patsy Cline

Patsy Cline

Rosemary Clooney

Rosemary Clooney

Patti Page

Patti Page

Craps Table

Craps Table

Rendering

Rendering

Exterior

Exterior

Mitzi Gaynor Decastro Sisters Ricky Nelson Captain and Tennille The Browns Oak Ridge Boys Edgar Bergan Frank Sinatra Jerry Van Dyke Mickey Rooney Andrews Sisters Beverly Hillbillies Tiny Tim Tony Bennett Smother Brothers Liberace Best Bonanza Stars Patsy Cline Rosemary Clooney Patti Page Craps Table Rendering Exterior