Wednesday, June 29, 2005

'70s Show Prep

In addition to helping out on this fine online publication, and contributing to the clutter of the Internet on my own blog, I also have a paying gig in Springfield radio. And next week (starting Tuesday 7/5), that will include hosting the "I Love the '70s Lunch" on WNNS (98.7 FM). So I'd like to pepper that with authentic '70s memories of Springfield. I've lived here my whole life, but spent most of the '70s in a drug-induced haze.... um, I mean, surrounded by the nuns at St. Cabrini. So help fill in the blanks.

You know the drill: favorite hangouts, restaurants, what movies played in what theatres, what were the great concerts of the decade locally, best rides at the fair, etc. I'll read the best comments on the air

19 Comments:

Blogger BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Didn't Aerosmith's infamous Springfield appearance, you couldn't call it a concert, occur in the 70s? I've read on a couple different occassions that Steven Tyler considers that the nadir of his rock and roll experience. As I remember it, although I wasn't there, he was much too messed up to stand much less sing or do that slinky dance with the mic stand. They cancelled the show and in lieu of refunds, offered a copy of their latest album, something that most fans probably already owned.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I think that happened in the 80's...like 1984(?). I know someone who was there, I can ask him.

10:01 PM  
Blogger JeromeProphet said...

Back in the 70's Penny Lane was located at the corner of Ash & Macarthur.

At Penny Lane Various products were sold to, how do I put this, were sold to, enhance, that's the word, to enhance the 70's experience. Penny Lane sold such items as cigarette papers for those just too cheap to go out and buy a pack down at the Thrifty's Drug Store (now an auto parts store located at the corner of Cherry and Macarthur). Also, at Penny Lane, could be found an interesting variety of beautifully handcrafted smoking pipes that were far more stylistic than the corn cobb variety dad used to smoke his apple scented tobacco - always a great stocking stuffer.

The real thrill for my buddies, and I, were the of pinball machines!

Enhanced pinball. It seemed very very interesting at the time. Communing with the pinball machine, was similar to becoming a cybernetic organism. One connected to the ball through the plate of glass sometimes through slight movements of one's wrist, other times by picking the machines up and dropping them down, sometimes by gentle nudges, other times by kicking into the machines.

The magic of taking a single quarter, and turning it into twenty games or more was overpowering.

Tilt, and the occassional threat of being kicked out for the evening were the only words we feared - or perhaps it was respect.

When on occassion we did get tossed out of Penny Lane it was just a quick walk over to the Bowling Alley off Macarthur & Outer Park - there we learned to control our passions, and not curse the machines, or nudge them with such intensity. Penny Lane was a fun place to hang out back then. I remember that one of my friends fell into dispair when he was banned from entering Penny Lane for several months after he broke their plate glass window.

Penny lane is in my ears and in my eyes.

1:56 AM  
Blogger SybilShade said...

I was born (at St. John's) in 1970, so most of these tidbits hail from the latter half of that decade...

Bicentential train - Does anyone remember this? I believe we got to climb inside and peruse red, white, and blue stuff.

Andy Gibb Concert at the IL State Fair - He even ran backstage to change outfits ala Cher.

Bud's on Clearlake - Like Jim mentioned, this was a weekly pitstop for my family. I remember they had a lady butcher who would come out and chat with my dad. Standing there, shooting the breeze with blood smeared all over the front of her white apron, she impressed me to no end.

Southtown Motors on 11th & South Grand - The man who owned this was my best friend's dad. He dropped her off at school every morning in an Excalibur. I thought they were Rockefeller Rich.

Ice Cream Social at Sacred Heart Parish - Although this was not my parish, we went anyway. Great food and great games, but if you went to Mass there you had to kneel down to receive communion.

Zayre's - Located in that strip mall on South Dirksen. Most of my 1970's wardrobe was purchase here. They also had a pre-video-game booth where you could watch a short cartoon for a quarter.

JCPenney's - They had a grocery store in the back, but we didn't shop there much (Kroger and Bud's were cheaper). If you bought your groceries here, they would load the bags onto a conveyor belt that met you out in the parking lot.

Freedom Gas and DQ on East Cook - With two bucks in hand, I could pick up my mom's smokes at the gas station and have enough left to buy ice cream on my walk back home.

Lake Springfield Beach - Free on Wednesday's and they always blared my favorite tunes (like "Let Em In" and "Undercover Angel") from my favorite radio station (was it WCVS?).

PK's Top Shop - I think this was also located on 11th and South Grand. Great place to get your name ironed onto the back of your favorite shirt or, in later years, down the sleeve of your favorite 3/4 sleeve jersey.

Race Track on Clear Lake and Dirksen - I never got to go, but we could hear it from where we lived and especially whenever we went out for a fancy dinner at the Bonanza.

The Ice Storm - Shut in the house for a week, huddled in the kitchen around our gas stove, this was one of the most memorable weeks of my early life.

The Axe Murder at Lauterbach's - One of the victims had a son in my class at St. Pat's. I'll never, ever forget the day they called that kid down to the office. Then, a couple weeks later, the father of another classmate was interogated by the police (he DID look an awful lot like the sketches of the murderer!), but nothing came of that.

Big Jim - I shook his hand in a parade. I didn't see him in person again until last week at the Dana Thomas House dinner. He's just as big as I remembered.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the Icy Root Beer at Rutledge and North Grand. We would go there, get curbside service and roll the window down with the tray on the window. I loved that Root Beer.

How about being able to take a bus downtown on a Saturday and spending the day and only taking $5? I remember Kresge's, Kmart, the Three Sisters, Myers Brothers, Bressmer's and even The Cloud Nine Massage Parlor (never was old enough to even peak in the door).

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake's recreation was on Wabash The Guess Who, Played at the Illinois state fair 1971, Olson shows set the rides up in happy Hollow, Penny Lane was a bar called Romi's, Pisani's and the the Lake Club hadn't burned down yet, Old time bands like Steppenwolf were still regulars in town, REO Speedwagon was doing invites, The beer ball at the lake was the weekend get away, and jokingly the tourist weren't terrorist. how's that for some 1970's memory's Springfield.

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know I'm late to be adding something to this, but I just found this. I remember The Shack on 6th right off South Grand, across the street from Topp's Big Boy and right behind a filling station. They had homemade bread for their sandwiches and homemade pies. When we went there to eat, I, as a teenager, always had a hamburger on homemade bread. But when my Mom stopped there to pick up food for supper and brought it home to Auburn, she always bought roast beef sandwiches on homemade bread (the roast beef was shaved and piled high) and usually chocolate pie. Yummy!

9:55 AM  
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Anonymous Brian DeLay said...

Wow! I haven't lived in the midwest for decades, but I've found my people! So many memories...
You missed a couple of goodies:

North Grand and South Grand...
as different streets. It was like a Zen koan.

Hauntingly weird carillon (a.k.d. "Da bell tower") concerts in Washinton Park on beautiful fall Sundays, while sunning at the "rats nest" parking area (it was next to the snooty country club golf course...Illini C.C., I think): chicks, pot, and muscle cars. Those were the days!

8:12 PM  
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3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember, as a high school student, taking a blanket and playing skin games after dark in the Rose Garden at Washington Park?

2:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the nasty, nasty, housing projects? I mean just trifling. Those were the ones on Jefferson, almost on the corner of 11th Street. They were right by the public health building where everybody who didnt have insurance had to go for immunizations every school year? Or the orginal IGA on 11th and Cook...thus Mr. B's IGA on South Grand. Lum's restaurant, Jackie Robinson System greasy ass hamburgers? Or how about Springfield Furniture downtown on Adams? Krushfield's that had a teen night on Fridays? Those were the days................NOT!

11:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Myers Brothers Department Store in downtown springfield...before the White Oaks Mall was built.

The Boar's Head restaurant on Stevenson Drive -- I thought it was the best restaurant in Springfield.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe there were 4 Grand Avenues (North, South, West and possibly East) that formed a square. West Grand Avenue became MacArthur after WWII.

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in Springfield and was part-owner of Pisani's Restaurant and Bar (married Larry Pisani until 1969). It was an amazing time for us, and I have many good (and bad) memories. I went to Lanphier High School and wondered if anybody remembers Russells Drive-in where we cruised nightly, as well as Cootracans (not sure of the spelling)--a hangout on North Grand Avenue where everybody went after school?

1:38 AM  

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