“Baby Snooks” Never Saw Snook Haven!

There’s a good chance that many of you never heard of “Baby Snooks” and many more of you, probably, never heard the radio program, “The Baby Snooks Show.”  And, have you heard the name, Fanny Brice? She was the actress that played the part of “Baby

Fanny Brice as she appeared in the Follies.

Fanny Brice as she appeared in the Follies.

Snooks.” Fanny was a Ziegfeld Follies alumna, and while in the Follies she sometimes wore a baby costume on the Broadway stage. Ten years later, in 1944,  the character was given her own show, and during the 1940’s, it became one of  the nation’s favorite radio situation comedies. The series began on CBS with a variety of sponsors, Post Cereals, Sanka, Spic-n-Span, and Jell-O.

Fanny portrayed “Baby Snooks” as a mischievous child who drove her father crazy. This middle-aged woman would dress in a baby-doll dress for the studio audiences. “Baby Snooks”  wasn’t a mean child, however, some of her impish pranks were planting a bees ‘nest at her mother’s club meeting, cutting her father’s fishing lines into little pieces, ripping the fur off her mother’s coat, inserting marbles into her father’s piano and smearing glue on

Here Fanny portrays Baby Snooks.

Here Fanny portrays Baby Snooks.

her baby brother. Fanny Brice died May 29,1951 with her memoirs unfinished and with “Baby Snooks” due on the air that same night. She was 59, That’s why I say Baby Snooks never saw Snook Haven, which has nothing to do with heaven itself. It’s because of my visit to this place that “Baby Snooks” came to mind.

Going south on I 75 near Venice, Florida, at exit 191, and situated along the shore of the Myakka River is the Snook Haven Restaurant. Spanish moss hangs from huge Florida pine trees that surround the place. It has stood here for 50 years but that’s not long enough ago for “Baby Snooks” to have been there. I was unable to learn why or how it is

At the dock built over the Myakka river.

At the dock built over the Myakka river.

named Snook Haven. It recently came under new management. Those not familiar with Snook Haven are likely to have heard of, or been to, Sharky’s. The same management has now taken over Snook Haven. The park, however, is owned by Sarasota County and the ground’s buildings and cottages stand as reminders of its popularity as a fishing camp in years gone by.

To reach Snook Haven, it’s about a one mile drive on a dirt road where one catches glimpses of Old Florida with its dense under brush lining both

The banjo players love to entertain.

The banjo players love to entertain.

sides the road. The allure of the wild and scenic Myakka River draws hundreds of visitors, but our visit had to be on a Thursday, between the hours of 11:00 a. m. and 1:30 p. m. The attraction then is The Gulf Coast Banjo Society which rehearses on the grounds during those hours. Although the group boasts of over 50 members, approximately 25 were in attendance on this day. Many of the band’s

The players were talented singers, too.

The players are talented singers, too.

members are renown banjo musicians. All of them are retirement age and older. There is no admission charge for this event, although a hat was passed among the 500-plus in attendance. The band uses these

funds to encourage music among youths. Chinked in here and there were three accordions, a saxaphone and clarinet player. Many of the banjo players were called upon to sing the lyrics to the tunes which range from the 1920’s to 40’s.

We know of no other free attractions in the area, especially in Sarasota, known for being rather upscale. Under Florida’s blue skies, and quiet breezes, the Banjo Band played for two and a half hours and left the visitors still wanting more. It fit perfectly my husband’s and my idea of a good time and, besides, the price was right.

 When you get to Sarasota, look for Snook Haven. Enjoy the ambiance of Old Florida and the great toe tapping, hand clapping music of the Gulf 2 sign aligator 72 DPI DSCN1085 - CopyCoast Banjo Society. You may also like to learn more about “Baby Snooks.” You can actually see her perform on YouTube. I’d love to hear from you.

 

5 thoughts on ““Baby Snooks” Never Saw Snook Haven!

  1. Thanks for the great blog. I heard my mother speak of Baby Snook and if I remember correctly she did a pretty good job of immitating her voice. Marty and i have enjoyed the banjo band on numerous occasions and we agree it is a very enjoyable way to send an afternoon. The lunch was very good also. I was under the impression that Snook Haven was named for the ability to catch Snook from the stream that runs behind the restaurant. This was probably just an assumption on my part as I know nothing about fishing. Connie

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    • Hi Connie: I think you are right about Snook Haven being named for a fish. Your comment sent me doing a little more research and I found that a Snook is found in the coastal waters and often into fresh water lagoons. Glad you and Marty know lots about the Sarasota area. You’ll also be interested to know that three Navy submarines are named “Snook” Thanks for the memories on Baby Snooks.

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  2. She died years before I was born…but it reminds me of listening to Judy Canova’s Old Time Radio Show. Also Edith Ann sitting in her huge rocking chair. And your one mile drive on a dirt road brings memories of Sky Lake Church Camp…that’s where I was introduced to a Mandolin. Sounds like a great time had by All at the Snook Haven Restaurant.

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