It is a rare and blasé tourist, bowling through sun-baked Taos, N. Mex., on U.S. 64, who does not do a double-take when he passes the adobe store front above. Carol ("Doughbelly") Price, Prop. hardly bothers to look up any more when the tourists screech to a stop, back up, snap a picture of his "clip-joint" and drive happily onward. Doughbelly, a reformed cowhand, bootlegger, rodeo star and crap-table dealer, is perhaps the lowest-pressure real estate salesman in the business. His want ads in the weekly Taos Star let the buyer beware: "I would like to sell this as I have had it so long I think I own it (but I don't)," his copy says. Or, "Better have a look at this house quick. Someone else might want it. But I don't think so." Despite his habit of damning his properties with such faint praise--or becuase of it--Doughbelly, abetted by an assistant improbably named Jimmy Valentine, does a $300,000 annual business, in and around tiny Taos (pop. 965)--more than his three competitors together. His own explanation: "People hear the truth so little that when they do they think it's comical. I just don't like to get their hopes raised and then get 'em chilled off." After paying to get his wry humor into print, he is now getting some of it published free. The Taos Star has started running short stories by Doughbelly Price.
At his desk Doughbelly Price reminds some of his real-estate clients of the late Will Rogers.
No Sale results when Doughbelly displays this adobe house listed in want ad [following], to Harold Coxes of Cambridge, Mass.; they have too much gray matter.
IF FOUND. A man running loose with Fifteen thousand
Dollars. With no gray Matter at all and wants to pay three times what
something is worth. I have what he wants. Some land. MOdern home four
rooms. Butane gas. It does have water. And a good view. And the owners
Amagination. If such a person be found. Bring him to me. Dont send him he
will get lost on the way.
No buyer fitting Doughbelly's zany specifications has yet shown up to purchase house shown above, but Doughbelly says he still has high hopes.
WANTED: Oil and gas man. (Oil on his hair and gas on his
stomach). Long on money. I have a real Country Estate. 82 acres of
irrigated land. All irrigated. And a big house, all modern. And this is
a beauty. Trees and all. Something that you have dreamed about. But
seldom see. Cool country. Close to fishing. In fact, this is an ideal
place. To get and let the evening sun go down, but have money.
I am grateful to Lauris Olson of Van Pelt Library (U. Penn.) for assistance in locating this item.