Prince Mongo

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 and claims to be 333 years old.

Hodges is famous in Memphis, where he has owned several large nightclubs. For many years he met the public via Prince Mongo's Pizza in midtown Memphis before moving on to such endeavors as the giant Prince Mongo's Planet — three stories and 30,000 square feet of partying — and another called the Castle, which was housed in a century-old stone mansion, Ashlar Hall. He has also run for and been defeated as a Mayoral candidate on several occasions. When Willie Herenton beat Dick Hackett, by less than 200 votes, Mongo got 2000, perhaps spoiling Hackett's chances.
He never wears shoes and refers to everyone as "spirit"
When he was planning the 3-story Planet he is rumored to have asked a topless dancer if she would like to work there, on the third floor, and offer "more than lap dances." He told her this would serve to thumb his nose at city authorities. (She declined.)
Hodges is apparently financially secure, rumored to have family money, but nobody has been able to verify the source of his wealth. Before assuming his current nom de guerre, Robert Hodges owned a clothier that sold the finest imported men's clothing on Union Avenue. One legend has it that he was insured against mental illness and keeps his money by continuing to act crazy. Prince Mongo's mother was an immigrant from Lebanon. He is rumored to own a $2 million Fort Lauderdale home near Las Olas Boulevard. He is also rumored to own homes in Virginia Beach. His primary (verifyable) residence is in Memphis.
In the 1970s, when he lived in Central Gardens on Eastmoreland, he asked permission to bulldoze his front yard to park a cabin cruiser. This was strenuously defeated by his neighbors. In apparent revenge, he piled sand, dirt, toilets etc. in his yard and declared it "yard art." This seems to have been his start.
Once, he was jailed for dumping trash in the yard of one of his enemies. He was also dogged by lawsuits over the drunk-driving deaths of two teenagers who died after they were served beer at the Castle in 1992.

He is also 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 East Memphis 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.

His stunts have made him a household name in Memphis, and got him featured on the 1980s television show Real People.

Recently, an elderly stand-up comic purporting to be Prince Mongo's brother has begun making the open-mic rounds in Memphis. However, Prince Mongo's actual brother is Warner “Rusty” Hodges III, former mayor of nearby Germantown, TN.

Comments (26)
1. 27-02-2009 17:00
I grew up in Memphis and although I have no proof to back it up, I'm sure that my facts are correct. Prince Mongo comes from a wealthy family (from what I don't know) that pays for him to basically stay away from them. They consider him an embarrassment.  
Although he acts crazy at times, you will notice that his actions are always financially motivated and he never does anything to get himself in any real trouble (i.e. no violent crimes). He also seems to have a great knowledge of the legal system and how to maneuver within it. You be the judge.
2. 23-06-2009 07:37
I live next door to The Castle and saw some young kids about to explore it at night.I was going to mess with their heads but discovered that they were just like me at that age so I told them all of the history that I could think of about Mongo.I swear I totally thought about exploring with them but I decided against it.Age tends to make me less courages for fear that the law would be more likely to hold me responsable.I have been intrigued by Prince Mongo since I was their age,my age being 40 now.What the hell is happening to me?
3. 14-08-2009 15:04
4. 16-03-2010 08:11
Mongo is awesome! I have lived in Memphis my entire life and have seen his house with his yard art! I think he should be mayor! Maybe Memphis would be a better place! LONG LIVE PRINCE MONGO!!!
5. 29-03-2010 05:27
I took my now wife of 23 years to PM's pizza for our first date back in the late 80's. We saw him come in from the upper deck while playing pool. It was some of the best pizza we've ever had. He knows how to run a restaraunt for damn sure.
6. 07-05-2010 16:17
Prince Mongo went to Tulane University and he was a Law Major. That is why he knows the legal system so well. His doctorate is in Law also. Crazy but very true... He is far from stupid or crazy.
7. 25-01-2011 07:39
mongo took care of me and now that i'm very,,,very wealthy i'd like to contact him and repay a great debt get me in touch mark roehrig
8. 29-06-2011 14:45
I was a Millington sailor in 1994 and a week before I left NAS Memphis Mongos Planet was added to the "off-limits" list. Anyone could buy booze in there. ANYONE. Across the street was a parking garage, I can guarantee alot of babies were made in that place. It was alot of fun going to that club.
9. 11-07-2011 01:06
Prince Mongo is the heir to the Catalina Swimwear Fortune. Crazy like a fox. 
A Belle from Memphis
10. 16-08-2013 18:56
The most generous guy you'll ever meet.
11. 15-01-2014 20:52
Prince Mongo and Rusty Hodges are NOT related.
12. 31-07-2014 05:27
in the late 70s or early 80s didn't he predict that a meteor or whatever it was would land on his pizza place??
13. 31-07-2014 23:25
Actually, he predicted Skylab would land on his restaurant (you can google what year it came out of orbit). Had a big party, I was there; under-aged, not carded, got drunk.
14. 16-08-2014 15:40
I went to High School with "Bobby" he and I have the same name and we were friends who ate lunch in my old 1948 ford at the local drive-in "Doumars". He's a pistol, but crazy? not too sure about that. He's a trip alright. He'd get in trouble at school or with his Mom and blame it on me. 
Bobby Hodges 
va. beach, va.
15. 28-08-2014 13:56
I am doing research to write a book on Mongo. Anyone who is willing to share stories or information on his background can contact me at this email, or can call me at 901-289-0738. Thank you for any help you can give.
16. 20-09-2014 06:11
My first clubbing experience was at Mongo's 3 story club in Memphis in 1991. It was the first place I'd heard "James Brown Is Dead" by LA Style--which is ironic since I'm a Los Angeles native. I was in the Navy and stationed at NATTC Milington. I loved Mongo's club. The ID checks were a joke. Military guys always showed just the front of their IDs--the birth dates were on the back. I saw teenage girls getting in the club and getting served alcohol using only baby pictures as IDs. Memphis Vice also seemed to be there every weekend, but I don't remember anyone getting arrested. That club was one of my fondest memories and if I could go back in time to 18, I'd go there.
17. 25-09-2014 23:01
He's crazy, alright... But he is far from stupid.
Guest 78293
18. 27-10-2014 03:49
Mongo's was also my first clubbing experience in 94. Is that place still open? Does anyone have pics of the inside? I rember it being 3 stories with a basement and they played different styles of music on each floor. ANYONE could drink there. That place was awesome. Had some great times there.
19. 11-11-2014 20:34
He had a bartender named Shoney who would serve anyone beer at the Mongo's Pizza location on Highland. That place was my introduction to the party scene back in the 80's. It would get so crowded in that small place every Friday/Saturday night that hanging out in the parking lot and partying was just as much fun as being inside. Great memories!
20. 01-10-2015 21:01
In the mid-70s I was a psyc student at MSU. My senior year I was allowed to do a special projects class, teaching sign language to a Chimp that had been raised from 2 days old by a local woman. 
I don't remember what caused the problem but the Chimp, then 2 years old, needed her front teeth capped. The human mother could not find a dentist who would do the work, or afford the cost. 
Mongo heard, somehow, found a willing dentist, and paid the bill. Of course, there was a photographer there to get pictures for the Commercial Appeal.
21. 08-10-2015 05:49
Wow! I'm from San Diego Cali, and I just saw this guy on American Pickers. Is he really this weird all the time?
22. 16-02-2016 15:14
Just saw him on the history channel show "American Pickers" and ended up on this website. I got curious on how he lived and acquired all that money. Turns out no one really knows, which makes it even more amazing.
23. 23-03-2016 19:40
Just seen PM on American Pickers here in the UK. I love eccentric folk, they should all be well preserved.
24. 31-03-2016 12:45
I know this guy from tv in the late 60s and 70s. I think he use to do the talk show circuit, Mike Doughlas show and Johnny Carson. Always dressed to the nines and a bit nuts. He called him self something then not Mongo. Any one recall? How I can tell is his voice. He\\\'s changed but not the voice.
25. 28-04-2016 05:20
I wonder if Chris might be thinking about Monti Rock lll.
26. 05-06-2016 23:13
I had the pleasure of meeting Prince Mongo any Prince Mongos Planet while stationed in Millington Tn in 1987. He was a wonderful guy the club was the best I have ever been to and I remember there was a coffin in the hall as you came into the club and i remember the drinks had crazy names like purple bat blue fly and such. He is a Memphis icon imo !!

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