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GGGGerald

50's Lifestyle

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I don't recall any pinball "parlors" per se 'round my neck, but there WERE a few in a place called SPEARS, which was a combination "Malt Sop/juvenile delinquent" hang out in LP.  In the mid to late '50's, it was a place of legend.  By the '60's, I was still too little and too scared anyway to venture IN there.  ;)

 

How 'bout COFFEEHOUSES?  You know, those dim lit smoky dives where you'd find all the  beatniks languishing all about?  Sipping espresso and listening to incoherent "beat" fre-form poetry to the erratic slapping on bongos?  There were a few in Detroit on PLUM ST.  which by the mid '60's became the big "art colony" permeated by "hippies"  and was Detroit's answer to HAIGHT-ASHBURY.  There was a place that was also "legend" called "The Hungry I"   where was the place all the beatniks went, and since I never saw the place, but only heard the name, I thought it was "The Hungry EYE"!  and always wondered what it meant.  It wasn't until the '70's while reading some newspaper(remember THEM?) article about Detroit history that I learned it was "I" and not "EYE"

 

 

Sepiatone

i daeted beatniks they read 2 much poerty

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From 1960-65 I worked in a drug store while in high school.  We still had the soda fountain, but only sold Coke, Pepsi, milk shakes and "home made" hand dipped ice cream.  One of the pharmacists/owners made the ice cream each week in metal containers about 2 feet deep.  We had to reach in all the way to bottom to get the last of it and got in on our arms and/or shirts.  Probably got hair in the ice cream also.  It sold for a nickle a dip.

Also sold sandwiches which were made by one of the pharmacist's wives - probably her maid in fact.

Town had four drug stores and three were independent and one was a chain - Walgreen's.  It had a full service counter and was new and clean and nice.

One I worked in was technically a Rexall store, but all that meant was a little tab hanging on the bottom of the sign in front and about 5% of the products were Rexall branded.

 

There was a pool hall in town, but never went into it.  Town I currently live in has an ordinance prohibiting pool halls.  I'm sure it goes back to the 50's or 60's and would probably be considered illegal now.

 

Pinball machines were everywhere and most places permitted gambling on them.  Not sure who paid off - the establishment owner or somebody else or just had gambling between people.  Do recall at one drive-in restaurant where the owner handed a bunch of money to a winner.  Sure this was illegal, but we also had a nationally famous house of ill repute that everybody in the state knew about.

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On our main street we had a hierarchy of dime stores. Being in Woolworth's was like being in the King's Castle-- hot dogs, snow cones, and 45 records for $0.90.

 

Did I forget to mention hot peanuts and every kind of knick-knack you could possibly want at a decent price.

 

What used to fascinate me the most were the picture frames because they had pictures of the movie stars inside. I used to buy the ones with Robert Stack and Ava Gardner.

 

Kresge's was nearby and it was on a lower level but it had some okay things you could get.

 

WT Grant was in the basement of the dime store business. Not only did it smell bad, but everything in it was made in Japan-- when things that were made in Japan we're not really what we would call all that great.

 

If you live long enough Everything Changes. LOL

Yes, W.T. Grant was a pretty cheap jack place, though this particular

store was in a small shopping center and was fairly large. I worked

there a few summers as a teenager. One summer I worked in the

Bradford Room, which was Grant's version of a restaurant. One night

after the store had closed the manager of the restaurant got a few

shopping carts, went into the record section, which was right next to

the restaurant, and loaded up those carts with LPs and took them

out to his car. The employees were so shocked we just stood there.

 

I wouldn't be too hard on today's kids. Even back in the 1960s and

1970s kids wore the same "uniform" with minor variations and were

interested in the same kind of things.

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Yes, W.T. Grant was a pretty cheap jack place, though this particular

store was in a small shopping center and was fairly large. I worked

there a few summers as a teenager. One summer I worked in the

Bradford Room, which was Grant's version of a restaurant. One night

after the store had closed the manager of the restaurant got a few

shopping carts, went into the record section, which was right next to

the restaurant, and loaded up those carts with LPs and took them

out to his car. The employees were so shocked we just stood there.

 

I wouldn't be too hard on today's kids. Even back in the 1960s and

1970s kids wore the same "uniform" with minor variations and were

interested in the same kind of things.

I am reminded of when I was in the National Guard, we were sent to Wilkes Barre to clean up Hurricane Agnes damage. Many of the guys, including top officers, were looting damaged department stores, TVS, stereos, etc. A whistleblower reported them, and many officers had their heads roll.

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...There was a pool hall in town, but never went into it.  Town I currently live in has an ordinance prohibiting pool halls.  I'm sure it goes back to the 50's or 60's and would probably be considered illegal now.

 

 

Well, ya know Cid, this kind'a thing just always brings in trouble to a town.

 

Uh-huh, TROUBLE, with a capital "T", and that rhymes with "P", and that stands for...well, you know. ;)

 

(...fwiw, there was a combination pizza joint/pool hall just a few blocks from my home called appropriately enough "The Pizza-Cue", and that's where I honed my game as a teenager in the late-'60s...the only "trouble" I ever got into there was that one time I was makin' eyes at the girlfriend of a high school classmate...man, was she ever hot)

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I am reminded of when I was in the National Guard, we were sent to Wilkes Barre to clean up Hurricane Agnes damage. Many of the guys, including top officers, were looting damaged department stores, TVS, stereos, etc. A whistleblower reported them, and many officers had their heads roll.

Who will guard the guardians? You can't trust

anybody these days or those days either.

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Getting back to "dime stores" a bit:

 

That NEISNER'S I mentioned also had a wooden floor.  I fondly remember the "creak" you'd hear when walking in certain spots.

 

I suppose the closest thing we have today would be "The Dollar Store".  But, both the WOOLWORTH and NEISNER store also sold clothing and too, the latest 45rpm records of the day.  Plus some albums as well.

 

Neither of them had a soda fountain/grill in them though.  The KRESGE store had one however.  And the only "carry-over" from Kresge to K-Mart was those DEE-licious apple dumplings they both were famous for 'round here.  They had that vanilla pudding sauce they'd pour over it if you wished.  When I worked at a K-Mart while in high school, I cracked the counter lady once when ordering one by saying, "Put some of that CHICKEN GRAVY y'all have on it!"

 

In response to DGF and Vautrin:

 

Heh!  National Guard  doing the looting!  How many times in some movie have we heard the order given  to "Shoot all looters on sight!"  ?   Good thing those guardsmen did that before all the current day "open carry" laws got passed.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Getting back to "dime stores" a bit:

 

That NEISNER'S I mentioned also had a wooden floor.  I fondly remember the "creak" you'd hear when walking in certain spots.

 

I suppose the closest thing we have today would be "The Dollar Store".  But, both the WOOLWORTH and NEISNER store also sold clothing and too, the latest 45rpm records of the day.  Plus some albums as well.

 

Neither of them had a soda fountain/grill in them though.  The KRESGE store had one however.  And the only "carry-over" from Kresge to K-Mart was those DEE-licious apple dumplings they both were famous for 'round here.  They had that vanilla pudding sauce they'd pour over it if you wished.  When I worked at a K-Mart while in high school, I cracked the counter lady once when ordering one by saying, "Put some of that CHICKEN GRAVY y'all have on it!"

 

In response to DGF and Vautrin:

 

Heh!  National Guard  doing the looting!  How many times in some movie have we heard the order given  to "Shoot all looters on sight!"  ?   Good thing those guardsmen did that before all the current day "open carry" laws got passed.

 

 

Sepiatone

Years ago, when I was living in NYC, I went out with a girl from Detroit whose father owned a department store there. I don't remember the name of the store. Does the name "Kroll" mean anything to you?

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Years ago, when I was living in NYC, I went out with a girl from Detroit whose father owned a department store there. I don't remember the name of the store. Does the name "Croll" mean anything to you?

 

Well, it does to ME anyway!

 

Wasn't that those things Walter Pidgeon said in that '50's scfi-fi flick once inhabited that eerie planet that he and that foxy babe Anne Francis were livin' on?

 

(...oh...wait...never mind) 

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Years ago, when I was living in NYC, I went out with a girl from Detroit whose father owned a department store there. I don't remember the name of the store. Does the name "Kroll" mean anything to you?

 

There's a KROLL CONSTUCTION CO. that put up a lot of siding over the years 'round here.  It would help to know how MANY "years ago".  Maybe the name CROWLEY'S might ring a bell?

 

You may also be thinking of KOHL'S, but they didn't open any stores in Michigan until the later '80's.  Is THAT the "years ago" to which you allude?

 

 

Sepiatone 

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Many moons ago, Mama would take me to downtown Worcester and into Grant's for an Orange Crush. There was a lunch counter and a machine with a glass top and like a fountain, the Orange Crush would pump up and down the sides. I bet somebody will know what this thing is called. I was awful little at the time. It might not even have been Orange Crush.

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There's a KROLL CONSTUCTION CO. that put up a lot of siding over the years 'round here.  It would help to know how MANY "years ago".  Maybe the name CROWLEY'S might ring a bell?

 

You may also be thinking of KOHL'S, but they didn't open any stores in Michigan until the later '80's.  Is THAT the "years ago" to which you allude?

 

 

Sepiatone 

No. Her name was Susan Kroll, and this was in 1978. She had been working in the fashion area of her father's department store before she came to NYC.

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I'm guessing that her Father must have been the owner/manager of a franchise of some other department store as I can't find ANY information of there ever having BEEN any KROLL department store ever existing.  The closest I got was a site named KROLL INTERNATIONAL that deals in law enforcement gear.  I'm not calling you a liar, just that there's been some wires crossed somewhere.

 

Like, I have an old friend whose Father was the top guy in charge at some publishing company's warehouse here in MI.  And HE always referred to IT as, "My Dad's publishing company".

 

Anyway, an addendum to the topic, which seems to mention not only how people's lives and lifestyles were conducted in the '50's, but also some of those  things prevalent in that decade that were carry-overs from previous decades, some meandering into the '60's and beyond.  For instance-----

 

411

 

I've heard this referrence a lot in recent years.  Not too long ago by a grandnephew of mine(age 20)  who said something like, "...So I told him to get back to me with the 4-1-1 on that"  So I asked him just what did he  mean  by that, and he told me, "You know, the information."   So I then asked if he knew WHERE the use of 411 for information CAME from and all he could tell me was, "Probably some slang somebody made up somewhere."  So I proceeded to bore him with a history lesson.

 

For many years, people would DIAL the numbers 4-1-1 on their telephones and some nasal ERNESTINE sounding lady would come on saying, "Infor-MAY-shun.  NUM-ber puh-lee-uz".

 

It was really quite remarkable.  You'd give a name and the city and/or street they lived and within a minute, they'd provide it.  And THIS was WAY before the use of computer technology.  This service continued into the very early '80's( at least here in MI) using the same 4-1-1 number until Ma Bell here changed the number to 555-1212, and started calling it "directory assistance".  I also told him there were seperate numbers you could "dial" to get the weather report for the day, and another that provided the accurate TIME( when you hear the tone, the TIME will be...").  All gone now.  My EX would anally call the weather servce each morning before the kids would go to school to determine how they would dress for the day.  I'd ask her, "Why don't you just STICK YOUR FACE out the door?"  If it rained later on in the day, she KNEW I'd pick them up after school as my shift at the plant ended earlier and I had ample time to get to their school before IT let out.

 

For a short time, there WAS a sort of "information" number one could call and ask anything of a TRIVIA nature and get an answer.  Lasted only a short time and disappeared with the others.

 

And remember in the '50's, you COULD pick up the phone reciever, dial "0" for the operator and yell, "Get me the POLICE!" and they'd actually DO so?  Try that now, and you'll get patched over to "directory assistance".  Phone service, despite the enormous advances of technology, really isn't as GOOD as it was in the '50's, IMHO.

 

 

Sepiatone

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I'm guessing that her Father must have been the owner/manager of a franchise of some other department store as I can't find ANY information of there ever having BEEN any KROLL department store ever existing.  The closest I got was a site named KROLL INTERNATIONAL that deals in law enforcement gear.  I'm not calling you a liar, just that there's been some wires crossed somewhere.

 

Like, I have an old friend whose Father was the top guy in charge at some publishing company's warehouse here in MI.  And HE always referred to IT as, "My Dad's publishing company".

 

Anyway, an addendum to the topic, which seems to mention not only how people's lives and lifestyles were conducted in the '50's, but also some of those  things prevalent in that decade that were carry-overs from previous decades, some meandering into the '60's and beyond.  For instance-----

 

411

 

I've heard this referrence a lot in recent years.  Not too long ago by a grandnephew of mine(age 20)  who said something like, "...So I told him to get back to me with the 4-1-1 on that"  So I asked him just what did he  mean  by that, and he told me, "You know, the information."   So I then asked if he knew WHERE the use of 411 for information CAME from and all he could tell me was, "Probably some slang somebody made up somewhere."  So I proceeded to bore him with a history lesson.

 

For many years, people would DIAL the numbers 4-1-1 on their telephones and some nasal ERNESTINE sounding lady would come on saying, "Infor-MAY-shun.  NUM-ber puh-lee-uz".

 

It was really quite remarkable.  You'd give a name and the city and/or street they lived and within a minute, they'd provide it.  And THIS was WAY before the use of computer technology.  This service continued into the very early '80's( at least here in MI) using the same 4-1-1 number until Ma Bell here changed the number to 555-1212, and started calling it "directory assistance".  I also told him there were seperate numbers you could "dial" to get the weather report for the day, and another that provided the accurate TIME( when you hear the tone, the TIME will be...").  All gone now.  My EX would anally call the weather servce each morning before the kids would go to school to determine how they would dress for the day.  I'd ask her, "Why don't you just STICK YOUR FACE out the door?"  If it rained later on in the day, she KNEW I'd pick them up after school as my shift at the plant ended earlier and I had ample time to get to their school before IT let out.

 

For a short time, there WAS a sort of "information" number one could call and ask anything of a TRIVIA nature and get an answer.  Lasted only a short time and disappeared with the others.

 

And remember in the '50's, you COULD pick up the phone reciever, dial "0" for the operator and yell, "Get me the POLICE!" and they'd actually DO so?  Try that now, and you'll get patched over to "directory assistance".  Phone service, despite the enormous advances of technology, really isn't as GOOD as it was in the '50's, IMHO.

 

 

Sepiatone

Maybe she was just trying to impress me. Her father may have been a manservant.

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I worked at the phone company for 30 years and the first five I spent working in directory assistance. Talk about a soul killing job.

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For a short time, there WAS a sort of "information" number one could call and ask anything of a TRIVIA nature and get an answer.  Lasted only a short time and disappeared with the others.

 

I wonder if that operator sounded anything like Katharine Hepburn or Joan Blondell in Desk Set.  ;)

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I worked at the phone company for 30 years and the first five I spent working in directory assistance. Talk about a soul killing job.

 

I know exactly what you mean here, Helen.

 

For my first five years in the airline industry back in the early-'70s, I worked at one of the TWA phone reservation service locations...in downtown L.A. specifically.

 

And yep, talk about a soul killing job, alright.

 

(...one of the best and smartest moves I ever made was to quit that lousy monotonous job after getting hired by another airline, Hughes Airwest, and where I was able to then work a number of other various job functions at LAX instead)

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I wonder if that operator sounded anything like Katharine Hepburn or Joan Blondell in Desk Set.   ;)

 

Actually, I called it only two or three times and each time a MAN answered. 

 

At "information" 411 and all the other operators all did sound like Ernestine ("one ringy-dingy---") minus the snort.

 

 

Sepiatone

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...My EX would anally call the weather servce each morning before the kids would go to school to determine how they would dress for the day.  I'd ask her, "Why don't you just STICK YOUR FACE out the door?" 

 

 

WAIT a second here, Sepia! Are you saying your ex-wife preferred to stick her butt into the telephone receiver in efforts to retrieve this bit of information than she did another part of her anatomy out that window of yours???

 

AND, did it perhaps help her communicate her query to the weather service if your family had had a dinner rich in the legume plant variety the night before?

 

(...sorry...was just a little unclear on the concept here, that's all...but I think I can AT LEAST see why she's now your EX-wife, anyway) ;)

 

LOL

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Unfortunately I did not get to experience it, but something else we lost from the 50's was travel by train.  Of course, the rise of the personal car is mostly what killed the trains.  Add in the "Interstate highway system."  Actually interstate is a misnomer to some extent as all US highways since the 1920's have been referred to as interstate highways.

The passenger plane did not help either with the demise of passenger trains.

On the other hand, the automobile brought us all those "wonderful" motels, diners, roadside attractions, etc.

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Unfortunately I did not get to experience it, but something else we lost from the 50's was travel by train.  Of course, the rise of the personal car is mostly what killed the trains.  Add in the "Interstate highway system."  Actually interstate is a misnomer to some extent as all US highways since the 1920's have been referred to as interstate highways.

The passenger plane did not help either with the demise of passenger trains.

On the other hand, the automobile brought us all those "wonderful" motels, diners, roadside attractions, etc.

 

Yep Cid, it is kind of a shame that all that train travel back then has seemed to have been replaced by the private automobile and passenger airliner, isn't it. And yes, even in the movies now days, of course.

 

I mean, would the very ending presented here in this short clip of THIS seemingly almost forgotten film...

 

 

...have been NEARLY as "memorably suggestive" and downright loaded with symbolism IF Cary and Eva here were instead shown driving, say, some modern crossover vehicle through some roadway tunnel as the words "The End" appear on screen???

 

(...nope, I think not, sir...and BECAUSE of course, modern crossover vehicles just AREN'T sexy...well, except for maybe that Porsche Cayenne...but OOH WEE, do they ever want an arm and a leg for THAT baby, huh?!)

 

;)

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Back when a book reviewer* in the 90's,  I received a book called GOING GOING GONE: VANISHING AMERICANA which had 71 chapters on such items as:

 

Balsa wood airplanes

Carbon Paper

Card Catalogues

The Dining Room

Drive In Movies

Family Farms

Fire Escapes

Fur Coats

Girdles

Handkerchiefs

Hitchhiking

Hotel Keys

Leisure Suits

Mending

Men's Clubs

Men's Garters

The Motion Picture Production Code

The Navy Blue Suit

Nuclear Family

Nuns

Paperboys

Paper Dolls

Rotary Phones

Sanitary Napkin Belts

Slide Rules

Smell of Burning Leaves

Smoking

Soda Fountains

Stockings

Suntans

Teenage Dating

Telegrams

Two Newspaper Towns

Typewriters

The Unanswered Phone

Unfixed Pets

Wedding Night Virgins

White Gloves

 

*almost every job I've had has become obsolete including window dresser, fashion coordinator, catalogue photographer, magazine editor, cartographer, graphic designer, even MacIntosh Technician! Oy!

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Out of all of those I'd have to say that I STILL know of...

 

The FORD-WYOMING Drive in theater is still in operation in Detroit.  AND a few still in Northern Michigan

 

There are still a few FAMILY FARMS 'round here that supply many of the FARMER'S MARKETS set up all over.

 

I still see some old structures that still have FIRE ESCAPES.

 

I STILL run into the occasional NUN.

 

Detroit STILL has TWO NEWSPAPERS.  The News and The Free Press.

 

And PLENTY of UNFIXED PETS to go around!

 

And I still have a "landline" telephone with an ID from my cable server that shows up on my TV when it rings, and that also if I don't recognize the number or name of the person calling, OR it just says "Unknown number", or "Wireless caller" or anything similarily vague, it WILL go unanswered.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Back when a book reviewer* in the 90's,  I received a book called GOING GOING GONE: VANISHING AMERICANA which had 71 chapters on such items as:

 

Balsa wood airplanes

Carbon Paper

Card Catalogues

The Dining Room

Drive In Movies

Family Farms

Fire Escapes

Fur Coats

Girdles

Handkerchiefs

Hitchhiking

Hotel Keys

Leisure Suits

Mending

Men's Clubs

Men's Garters

The Motion Picture Production Code

The Navy Blue Suit

Nuclear Family

Nuns

Paperboys

Paper Dolls

Rotary Phones

Sanitary Napkin Belts

Slide Rules

Smell of Burning Leaves

Smoking

Soda Fountains

Stockings

Suntans

Teenage Dating

Telegrams

Two Newspaper Towns

Typewriters

The Unanswered Phone

Unfixed Pets

Wedding Night Virgins

White Gloves

 

*almost every job I've had has become obsolete including window dresser, fashion coordinator, catalogue photographer, magazine editor, cartographer, graphic designer, even MacIntosh Technician! Oy!

Love that list.  I trained to be a draftsman and had a real talent with the pencil and T-square -- about a month before it all went to computers.

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Liked your list here, Tiki. However, there IS one of these which in this case UNfortunately hasn't come to pass completely.

 

This one...

 

Unfixed Pets

 

 

(...'cause as you probably know, all ya have to do to see that it hasn't is to visit any animal shelter facility in this country)

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