FROM THE 1950’s, 60’s & 70’s
1. Harvey’s Nativity scene at the Parthenon in Centennial Park. The Nativity Scene featured life size figures with lights that faded from white to blue to red and Christmas Carols on the sound system. It was a truly spiritual experience and one that brought families together and reminded them of the meaning of the season.
2. The old Krystal Restaurants on West End and on Gallatin Road with curb service. They served the burgers in a red plastic basket with that wax paper covering them up for a dime each. Thick shakes and chocolate ice box pie for dessert.
3. The Monkey Bar and Carousel (operated by Max Loewenstein a survivor of Buchenwald) at downtown Harvey’s. If business was slow Mr. Harvey would let the monkeys run loose in the store.
4. The old movie theaters downtown: The Tennessee, Crescent, Lowes, Knickerbocker and the Paramount? The “Popeye Club” was at the Paramount Theater….also Bob Luck who played the big organ as it rose from a lower level at the front of the theater. Most of the theatres carried big banners “AIR CONDITIONED” in icy blue letters.
5. The original Green Hills Strip – Chester’s, Three Sisters, Family Booterie, Durys, Woolworths, Walgreens, Cross Keys restaurant & Castner Knotts. The BEST cherry cokes were at Woolworths in Green Hills and you could pop a balloon to get the price of your banana split. Chester’s had a mynah bird on the basement floor which would wolf whistle at the ladies walking by. Talking Mynah birds were a novelty in the late 50’s and downtown Harveys, the Children’s Museum and Jim Reed Chevrolet all had resident birds.
6. Green Hills & Inglewood Theaters – Party Rooms that were soundproofed and could host noisy birthday parties and crying babies. Melrose Theatre and it’s make-out balcony, Martin Theatres at 100 Oaks with the rocking chairs seats and Belle Meade Theatre with double seats for dates to get close and personal. Many theatres had drawings for cash and the prize could grow each week if unclaimed.
7. All the “real” hotels were downtown: Andrew Jackson, Maxwell House, Noel, Hermitage, Sam Davis and ultra cool Hyatt Regency with the revolving Polaris Restaurant on top and the Blue Max Lounge in the basement. As a side note, the wildest and most out of control party in the Nashville 60’s was at the Hermitage in 1968 and was an after- prom breakfast for Hillsboro High School. It made the newspapers and has become an urban legend for it’s gross excess. The Downtown Hermitage Hotel was the year-round home for eight years to pool legend Minnesota Fats. The pool shark, arguably the most famous player to pick up a cue stick, had his own table on the Mezzanine above the lobby.
8. Cascade Plunge Swimming Pool at Fair Park. The pool was massive and almost toxic from the chemicals employed to keep it sanitary. One exited the dressing room to the poolside by walking through a green ankle high pool of chemical to sterilize the feet after which one walked through an adjoining pool of a similar orange solution, then one dived into water so soaked with chlorine pool solution it was bright blue in color, stung the eyes, and had a slight bitter taste. There were several other pools of note including Swim & Sun, Centennial Park Pool, Glendale in Melrose, Sun Valley in Madison, Collins’ Lake off River Road, Pleasant Green in Goodlettsville, Willow Plunge in Franklin, Pine Springs off Couchville Pike, Union Hill Pool next to the drag strip and Rawlings off of Clarksville Highway. Swimming lessons at Shelby Park with Vic Varallo. Remember when the Downtown YMCA pool was sans swimsuits? Boys would start out as minnows and complete the course as whales. The 2nd. biggest urban legend of Nashville (behind the Hookman) concerned razor blades embedded in the water slide at Cascade Plunge. Apparently the 3rd. biggest urban legend that the Downtown YMCA required nude swimming was true.
9. Hippodrome Skating Rink (where the Vanderbilt Holiday Inn is) or the Rollerdrome (where H H Gregg is on Thompson Lane at the railroad tunnel) or Skateland in Madison (behind Sears). The Hippodrome also featured wrestling and music concerts by groups like the Kingsmen of “Louie Louie” fame. Do you remember Mary Kirby who played the organ? Mrs. Bargatze in the coat check room? Moe the door man? Ham the floor man? Mrs. Gregory who sold tickets? How about the Grand March and “Good Night Sweetheart”
10. Varallo’s at the split of Highway 100 and 70 with the curb service.
11. The A & P grocery store where the J. Alexanders is now.
12. Cooper and Martin grocery stores on Hillsboro Rd, Belmont Blvd. and Charlotte Pike. “Let’s go to the Races”.
13. Saturday mornings with live combos in the Downtown Harvey’s Department Store Loft. Remember the little chimes all the way around outside Harvey’s? The monorail at Harvey’s at Christmastime–it went all the way around the ceiling on the top floor. Harvey’s featured fun house mirrors, carousel horses and Nashville’s first escalators. The “REAL” Santa Claus was at Harvey’s. Harvey’s also sponsored an Annual Easter Parade Downtown and introduced the first costumed “Easter Bunny” character to Nashville. They took out newspaper ads proclaiming Harvey’s Easter Bunny as the real one after other stores followed suit. “Harvey’s, the fun place to shop.” At Harvey’s Department Store, the toys and carousel were on the top floor, so that parents were pulled by their kids up to the top of the store and then “shopped” their way down. Near the carousel was a bench to sit and relax if you didn’t mind sitting next to a (mannequin) cowboy. You could get Knott’s Berry Farm jellies and jams all the way from California from the shelves next to the cowboy. Harvey’s also displayed the Hope Diamond and the brass bed of a Chicago madam. Mr. Harvey once flew a WWII weather balloon above the downtown store. When it eventually died (natural causes), He took out a newspaper ad offering a reward for information about who might have shot it down. The inference was the shot might have come from a competitor across the street. He never missed an opportunity for a good promotion.
14. Hank Snow music store on Church Street. Before his shop, most instruments came from Sears and Roebuck or Western Auto . Elvis, the Beach Boys and the Beatles created waves of boys throwing down their band instruments and picking up an electric guitar. Downtown blossomed with music stores like Hewgleys, Roy Warden and Claude Street Piano.
15. The Ozburn-Hessey storage building where Riverfront Park is now.
16. Deadrick Street back when it had pawn shops and novelty shops. “Shorty Kilburn” operated a novelty stand on Church St. next to the old Warner Building, which later became the Sudekum Building and still later the Tennessee Theater. He sold many little trinkets and unusual toys for many years there from perhaps the forty’s until his death in 1956. Harmon Tone, Ukuleles, Mexican Jumping beans among other things. His nick-name of “Shorty” was due to the fact that he had no legs, they were lost at an early age on the L and N Railroad. He was good friends of Mr. Marty Robbins, and it is believed he was the inspiration for his song about “Mr. Shorty”.
17. Cain Sloan on Church Street with it’s animated “Bunnyland” displays and Breakfast with Santa. Bunny Land was in the toy department back near the Iris Room, sort of a primitive walk through version of a Small World with an rabbit theme. Right after the moon shot, they had a thing with rabbits of the moon called Astro Bunnies and a cave to crawl through made out of foam called marshmallow mountain. You could register for prizes and they showed old cartoons at the end of the “trail.” Young ladies could take classes in “White Gloves And Party Manners.” The guys that brought you your car at Cain-Sloan parking garage would drive unbelievably fast up & down those tiny ramps.
18. The Elk’s Lodge on Sixth with the rocking chairs on the front porch and the elk statue in the small front yard just in front of the State Capitol. In the 50’s & 60’s the Elk’s Lodge featured an elderly black man who performed with a washboard, thimbles on all fingers, a tambourine and other rhythm devices. He nightly played the harmonica and sang great rag-time songs that made you tap your foot and want to dance. He naturally had a cup on the ground in front of him for tips. There was also a black band that played three nights a week in front “Stack and the Boys”. A scrub board and a No. 3 wash tub bass were two of the main instruments. They played for tips during the summer months. Their main song was “Duck Butter and Salty Dog”.
19. Before there was a Legislative Plaza, there was the old central bus stop and there were always pigeons about and the smell of diesel bus exhaust fumes.
20. Fifties and Sixties brought new freedom to teens and cruisin’ was a weekend tradition. Shoney’s, Griff’s Hamburgers, Yannie’s, Rawhide, Ford’s Drive In on Gallatin Rd. just past East High, The Black Stallion, Bar B Cutie on Murfreesboro Rd. and many others became the meeting places of choice. The famous Hi-Ho Drive-In Restaurant (with the best hamburgers and french fries) was another hot spot on Gallatin Road in East Nashville. Do you remember the sorority girls circling Shoney’s with the particular car honks they would blow? I know that SAP was Dah, Dah, Dah…Dah, Dah. Anther long standing Nashville tradition was to blow your horn as you passed through the dark and narrow railroad tunnel on Thompson Lane. Japanese Motorcycles becameaffordable and acceptable in the sixties and on West End House of Honda had a Honda 50 on top of a pole (what a waste). Motocross race tracks popped up around town and stock motorcycles would be ridden to the races on Sunday, stripped of their lights and mufflers, raced and then ridden home. Honda Scramblers would race against Harley Sprints .
21. Remember when they built the big roller coaster (Skyliner) at Fair Park? Paris After Dark, the Mad Mouse, Tilt-a-Whirl, bumper cars, hand cars, the Cyclone, pink & blue cotton candy, Leo the paper eater and an actual organ grinder with a little monkey that took money. Vietti Chili labels or RC Cola caps could get you a whole afternoon of rides. Fair Park also had a miniature golf course which held a tournament every labor day with the winner going to a national event. Remember the “dedicated” railroad crossing guards at the State Fair with their loud whistles and waving signs? The monkeys driving Speedway Cars was a popular feature at the Fair. As was the Wall of Death where motorcycles circled inside a wooden bowl. Soda bottle caps were especially coveted since scraping out the cork liner could reveal a prize. Prior to Fair Park there was the Wee One Amusement Park in Green Hills (where the donut shop is now) that opened in 1950 and Tot Haven Amusement Park (out by the old drive-in) on Gallatin Road.
22. When WKDA-FM went on the air in 1970 with “Album Oriented Rock”. WLAC 1510 would rule the new AM talk radio format with a powerhouse team of Ruth Ann Leach, Les Jameson & Teddy Bart. A early pioneer of Nashville talk radio was Roland Wolfe and when he got his “bible thumping little old ladies” stirred up it was great entertainment. Dave Overton and The Waking Crew were on every weekday morning on 650 WSM radio with Papa John Gordy, Owen Bradley, the Anita Kerr Singers, etc and also The Going Home Show, also on WSM radio, with Larry Munson and Teddy Bart. WLAC-AM had late night DJs “John R” (John Richbourg), Hoss Allen, Herman Grizzard and Gene Nobles who played rhythm & blues for an audience all over the Southeast, sponsored by Ernie’s Record Mart or Randy’s Records in Gallatin.
23. The B&W Cafeteria on Sixth, Phillips & Butorff, the neat old *single-file* Krystal Restaurants on 5th (next to the Orange Bar and Cigar Store) and also on Church St. and the Candyland at 7th and Church with the best milk shakes in town and delicious sandwiches. The Sweet Shoppe at 21st and Capers with drive-in service where for fifty cents you could get a hamburger and shake. Twentieth Century Pool Parlor upstairs over the Sweet Shoppe where you could always get a good game of 9-ball.
24. Loveman’s on the corner of Union and Fifth? They had that great balcony all the way around and the beauty parlor where they dyed old ladies’ hair blue, purple, and pink was on the balcony. They did a lot of that bizarre hair dying at Harvey’s, too.
25. Anyone remember the old blind black fellow ( Cortelia Clark) who sold shopping bags and played guitar and sang the blues on Fifth near Woolworth’s or the Buttercup saleslady on Church St. in front of McKendree Methodist Church? Downtown had it’s share of other memorable characters. The “Whistler” was a well dressed gentleman who would whistle at the sky and speak in tongues. He was often seen near Third National Bank. The “Foot Stomper” was very active and had a fetish for stomping ladies feet. David “Skull” Schulman could be seen daily walking his white poodle “Sweetie” dressed in his Hee Haw overalls. He was the “Mayor” of Printer’s Alley where he ran the Rainbow Room for forty years. Do you remember Webb Pierce’s silver dollar-studded, pistol-and-horseshoe-appointed 1962 Pontiac Bonneville convertible, dubbed the “Cowboy Car.” Do you remember Nudie’s Cadillac with the steer horns on front? Nudie designed all those sequin outfits for the country stars. Just some of the sights downtown.
26. Acme Farm Supply when it really was a farm supply and Farmer’s Market when there were actual Nashville farmers selling their produce. Lower broad featured fleets of tour buses to carry tourists to the homes of the stars. There were actual souvenir shops on Music Row instead of empty storefronts.
27. All Woody Allen’s movies always debuted at the Crescent. “Mary Poppins” stayed sold out there for weeks and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” did, too. The Crescent’s 45-foot screen and six-track stereo sound showcased “Ben-Hur, South Pacific and Oklahoma”. However in 1966, “Virginia Woolf” got raided by an over-zealous boy in blue when it opened downtown. The record for a movie run had to be the “Sound of Music” at the Belle Meade Theatre. The manager, Mr. Jordan got tired of dealing with kids “acting badly” and held the movie over for six months. There was the Happiness Club at Belle Meade Theatre where on Saturday afternoon you could go for 16 cents and watch a live stage show and a movie and sing–“Happy Days Are Here Again” as long as you behaved and Mr. Jordan didn’t kick you out. The kids nicknamed Mr. Jordan “Icky Junk”. Mrs. Drake was a “matron” at the Belle Meade Theater. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evenings she kept order among the many children attending the movies and the Happiness Club. The Belle Meade policeman who was best known for providing security was a rotund gentleman fondly known as “Big Joe”. Both the Belle Meade and Green Hills Theatre featured many movie premiers during the 60’s. A huge pie fight was held in front of the Green Hills Theatre for the opening of “The Great Race”.
28. Remember how far you could see from the L&C Observation Deck for a dime or the L&C letters on top of the Tower that would turn blue for fair weather and pink for change. If the temperature was rising, the letters lit from top to bottom to top and from top to bottom if falling. The Observation Deck was closed forever after someone jumped off.
29. Remember that they had a little popcorn stand at Centennial Park and you could buy a little box of popcorn to feed the ducks. The paddle boats at Centennial Park were awfully fun for a little kid.
The old Children’s Museum that had live alligators and a stuffed bobcat in it. I always thought what a waste of a perfectly good little cat. Trouper the Clown visited all the schools for the Children’s Theatre. If you signed up at school for the Children’s Museum, you got a pin with the image of a raccoon on it. Tom Tichenor ‘s puppets were featured at the Downtown Library. Do you remember going outside to visit the Bookmobile when it visited your school?
31. A free ride on Cleeces Ferry (off Charlotte Pike). There was also a ferry from Riverwood Drive in Inglewood to near where Opryland Hotel stands now. Unless you drove miles and miles the 6 or 8 car ferry was the only way from Inglewood to Donelson. A gray painted paddlewheel ferry vessel called the “Judge Hickman” served both the McGavock Pike crossing between Donelson and Inglewood (until the North Briley Parkway bridge opened) and then at Cleece’s crossing off Charlotte Pike (until the West Briley Parkway bridge opened). There was a list of rules for the “voyage” posted below the wheelhouse and crewmen to guide the ever bigger autos to consequently ever tighter parking slots on the two parking decks. At times they could not fit the promised 8 cars aboard, but a line of autos were almost always waiting on both river banks for the next daylight “voyage”.
32. Harvey’s luncheonette –all that chrome!!!–Cakes (German chocolate, carrot cake, coconut cake with half a cherry in the middle) from Harvey’s in the white square boxes with cord tied around them–and always the smell of chemicals in the air from where ladies were having their hair permed.
33. The old National Life Building on the corner of Seventh and Union. Absolutely gorgeous, all that wood paneling and marble. It took them much longer to get the building torn down than they had anticipated because it was so solid–then they put in a parking lot. Remember Mary Lyles Wilson’s cafeteria on the fifth floor?
34. Taking grade school field trips to Colonial Bakeries, Jersey Farms and a train ride to Franklin , KY and back leaving from the Union Station Shed .
35. Melrose Pool Hall way down in the dark basement near the Bowling Alley . Pool Halls were strictly male only in those days.
36. The Nashville Symphony gave performances in the War Memorial Building. The State Museum was in the basement and Sam Davis’ boot was always the most memorable item in the entire place for me. The mummy and the polar bear probably gave several generations of school kids nightmares.
37. Kuhn’s 5 and 10 cent store (at 6th and Church) and Grant’s 5 & 10 cent store (where West Bowl is now) . Going to the department store Grants and talking to “Santa” there. I remember they would hire winos for that role and once “Santa” was slurring and going on and on the manager would make him leave and then put up a sign saying that “SANTA IS SICK AND WILL NOT BE BACK TILL TOMORROW NIGHT”
38. Crescent, Bel-Air, Montague, Skyway, Colonial and Warner Park Drive-ins. Many had playgrounds down front for the small kids. Managers would walk around shining flashlights into dark cars to check for hanky panky.
39. The fashion shows at Cain Sloan in Green Hills. You could have lunch in the Steeplechase Room on the third floor Monday-Friday and models would stroll by showing outfits and giving you the prices if you were interested.
40. S&H green stamps and the True Value stamp stores on West End and Nolensville Road. Free dishes at Sinclair Gas Stations with a fill-up. SPUR gas stations had the stamps where one could pick from the prize cabinet on the lot.
41. Bob Lobertini , Boyce Hawkins & Ron Kaiser… the original TV weathermen. Dr. Carl Seyfert (Vandy Professor) reported the weather in the very early days of Channel 4. Remember the Carl Seifert theme song? “Everybody cares about, no one knows a thing about it — About what? the weather. If it’s cold, if it’s hot, if it’s cloudy, rain or snow, Here’s the weatherman, the guy who knows!” Nashville named a street after him. Ever wait for the TV weather to see if George Goldtrap would miss flipping that chalk into his pocket? Jud Collins will forever be Nashville’s “Mr. Television.”
42.Miss Eleanor (Eleanor Rochelle), Miss Norma (Norma Tate Coverdale) and Miss Nancy (Beverly Early) on Romper Room. Romper Stomper Bomper Boo tell me tell me tell me true have all my friends been good today? I see……. Captain Crook and Captain Boatwright (Jim Kent) was featured on a Saturday morning Kids show on WSIX-TV called Cap’n Crooks Crew. Other characters included a parrot named Honest Gabe ( Gwen Kent) and Jim Kent’s son, Robert as Saturday Morn. Ruff ‘n Reddy (Jim Sanders), Captain Bob (Bob Lobertini) & Captain Bill (Bill Jay) of WLAC-TV’s Popeye and Friends. Captain Bob’s cartoon show ended with an auction of items, paid for with Golden Flake potato chip bags. Bozo was originally on WSM and performed by Tom Tichenor and Dick Brackett. Joe Holcum and Jim Kent later played Bozo on WSIX. Grandpa Moses (Boyce Hawkins) and Happy A. Clown (Bayron Binkley) were the hosts of a live afternoon children’s show on WSM-TV called Grandpa, Happy and the Three Stooges. WSM-TV also produced Happy Town with Dave Overton as Mayor and characters, Grandpa Moses, Happy A. Clown, Professor Popoffnik and Editor Cornelius Scoopnewsel. Jackie Bell had a morning exercise program on Channel 5 and she kept Nashville’s ladies in shape. Do you remember Dr. Lucifur of Shock Theatre (Ken Bramming) & Sir Cecil Creape (Russ McCown) of Creature Feature? “Good Night, Sleep Tight, and Don’t Let the Beddie Bugs Bite!” Each Saturday night at 10:30 PM on WSM TV from 1971-1982, the 235-year-old Sir Cecil Creape beckoned his viewers (Did someone call?) into his creepy cobweb covered world for a sampling of puns, sight gags, insults (he loved to berate his commercials) contests, awards (“The Frankie,” a tiny statue of the Frankenstein monster) and strange movies guaranteed to chill his fans to the bone. Did you know Pat Sajak wrote many of the scripts for Creature Feature? Do you remember whose picture was on the mantel? Answer: Floyd Kephart (highlight with your mouse). Dr. Lucifur, was the dashing late night horror show host of Shock Theater on WSIX-TV in Nashville from 1958 through the late sixties. Dr. Lucifur wore a patch over his right eye, smoked cigarettes dangling from an elongated holder, and dressed eloquently in black tuxedo fashions. He claimed to be the President of Transylvania for over 200 years. Regulars on the show included Cyril Songbird the Poet, Frantic Freddie the Hipster and Granny Gruesome. Remember him standing under the lamp post introducing Shock Theatre? Ken Bramming also hosted a locally produced version of the Mickey Mouse Club on WSIX-TV. Remember when Captain Bob asked the kiddies why they were all giggling and someone volunteered “Herbie farted!” (Another Nashville Urban Legend sometimes recanted as Herbie giving the middle finger salute). The kid is thought to have been named Willie.
43. Gulas and Welch Wrestling on TV with Jackie Fargo, Tojo Yamamoto, Len Rossi, and Gentleman Saul Weingeroff with the “Germans” Kurt and Karl von Brauner. They all had their signature moves: the Fargo strut and Atomic Drop, Tojo’s Japanese Claw and the Mario Milano head-butt all got the crowd cheering or booing. Jerry Lawler threw fire, Tojo threw salt and his wooden shoes were deadly weapons. It was good versus evil with The Fargos (Jackie, Don (roughhouse/nuthouse) versus the Masked Medics or Don and Al Greene versus Tommy and Eddie Marlin. Heaven help the good guy who found himself in the opponents corner and at the mercy of Gentleman Saul’s cane. Ginger the wrestling bear was another crowd favorite. Sponsored by Shyer Jewelers. “If you don’t know diamonds, know your jeweler and if Harold says it’s so, it’s so“. Live wrestling at the Hippodrome where the kids would yell at Announcer Gil Greene for Rudy’s Farm pens and other knickknacks. Nick Gulas would say…”Ladies and gentlemen we’re expecting an all time record breaking crowd, better get your tickets early. They’re available at the box office and in the lobby of the Sam Davis Hotel“.
44. Times before Marcia Trimble’s death when kids were able to walk the streets and play without fear of kidnapping and death. A kid could leave home in the morning on his bike and return at dark, having explored miles from home.
45. When you shopped in Burkes Dept. store. transactions were completed by a series of baskets, pulleys and wires that went from the apparel sections to the balcony; similarly, the vacuum tubes in other dept stores to get the money to the office. You could buy anything at the downtown department stores with a charge-a-plate. It was a piece of metal about the size of a WWII dog tag that had your name and address in raised letters on it and had little notches along the side. Each store that took the plate for credit had a certain place for the notch on the side. If the card fit into their credit machine it meant you had an account there. I remember one time when we went to one store and didn’t have the proper notch and the folks were falling all over themselves trying to cut a new notch in the little plate. Talk about easy credit!
46. Shakey’s Pizza Parlors and the sing-a-longs on weekends. One side was for families and the other side served beer. Singing to the bouncing ball and player piano and the red/white striped jackets and straw hats, and banjo’s.
47. When the only action on lower broad was Saturday night at the Opry? When the Hard Rock Cafe was a Hardware store?
48. When riding the bus downtown was cool and safe and cheap (well, maybe not cool).
49. Sadie Hawkins Day and the Hillbilly Day Festival and Parade in Madison. Also, the boat ramp at the end of Neely’s Bend Road in Madison. Folks could go and put their boats in the Cumberland River (across the river was the mouth of Stones River). Madison was also the home of WENO Radio. WENO built Nashville’s first theme park called Frontier Town complete with train and train robbers on horseback. Celebrities like Dan Blocker (Hoss from Bonanza) would appear at the park. In addition, WENO hosted a massive Easter Egg Hunt each year.
50. The first Nashville McDonald’s and the original Shoney’s Big Boy, both in Madison. Who could forget the good ole Sunset Park at the end of Neely’s Bend Road in Madison. Swimming pool, roller rink and concerts on week-ends. There was Skateland, an outdoor skating rink behind the McDonalds in Madison where the Allman Joys frequently played. Friday night football – Litton Lions, Stratford Spartans, and Madison Rams. The Frozen Castle was an East High School hang out in the 50’s and the Lions Dairy Dip was next door to Isaac Litton High School. Remember the Isaac Litton Marching 100 with Band Director Sammy Swor, Sr. and their many parade appearances?
51. Charlie Nicken’s Barbeque on Jefferson Street with curb service and just a block from Sulphur Dell. (Bribe the curb waiters and get beer sooner than the calendar allowed.) Also, Jim Coursey’s Barbecue, 4th Ave. S., just south of the Fairgrounds.
52.Nashville grade school team mascots? Stokes Wildcats, Woodmont Warriors, Percy Priest Tigers, Burton Bulldogs, Cavert Cavaliers, Eakin Eagles, Parmer Panthers or Julia Green Hornets. Going to parties in the Sycamore Lodge in Shelby Park or at Riverwood Riding Academy. Driving out to Warner Parks for a little necking but, leaving quickly because your date is sure the “Hookman” was probably lurking in the bushes. Road trips to Chapel Hill to watch for the ghost on the RR tracks or using a Ouija Board to summon the Bell Witch? All guaranteed to frighten a date into your arms. The Ghost of Granny White, stand on her grave and hear her heart beat, or the “devil worshipers” off Granny White at the end of McGrace Hill.Lovers Lanes included the Warner & Shelby Parks, Reservoir Hill off 8th. Avenue, Love Circle behind 32nd. Ave. S., Baskin Hill off of Jocelyn Hollow Rd. and Laurel Ridge. A great way to get a date out to the park was the scientific experiment of coasting up gravity hill in Edwin Warner Park. Submarine races were a regular weekend teen event on Old Hickory Lake. An expensive date featured dinner at an exotic restaurant like the Omni Hut in Smyrna, Jolly Ox, Sperry’s or St. Clair’s in 100 Oaks. A very special dinner was Chateau Briand for two at Jack Favier’s Silver Wings Restaurant at the Airport. Rich Schwartz was the place for that special prom dress. It had ladybugs on the steps.
53. Nashville’s first major indoor mall…One Hundred Oaks. Woolco, Harvey’s, Penney’s, Magnavox, John Simmons, Games Imported & other exotic stores we were fascinated with when it opened in 1968. Their was no food court but, there was a great hot dog place up by Woolco called La Petite Café. Do you remember standing really still in JC Penney to feel the floor shaking?
Psychic Jean Dixon would later predict on talk radio that 100 Oaks would eventually collapse. The Crazy Cave in 100 Oaks (the one downstairs inside) every Saturday playing pool (on the little tables) and Space Invaders then having lunch at Shoneys. Madison Square Shopping Center was the largest in the country when it was first built in 1956. Harding Mall featured the Santa from the Bozo Show.
54. Seeing James Brown at Sulphur Dell, Little Richard at the National Guard Armory, or the Beach Boys, Ice Capades or Three Stooges at the new modern Municipal Auditorium.
55. The Shrine Circus in the Coliseum Building at the Fairgrounds, the Dixie Flyers in the Municipal Auditorium, the Nashville Vols at Sulphur Dell with the steep banks in the outfields and Coach Larry Gilbert pointing his finger to the high screen in right field for Charlie Workman or Tookie Gilbert to hit one out. Larry Munson was the radio play by play announcer for several years. The Harlem Globe Trotters in McQuiddy Gym at Lipscomb and Coo Coo Marlin and Marty Robbins racing stockcars at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. The Speedway had a really cool tunnel that ran under the track to the infield and pits and during a race you could hear the cars racing just above you. It was always a sellout for the Joie Chitwood Thrill Show at the Speedway. Their big finish would be a Astro Spiral jump. That’s where a car goes off one ramp, does a complete 360-degree rollover in mid-air, and lands on another ramp. It’s called the “Astro” Spiral jump because it was first done in Houston’s Astrodome back in the ’60s. They would also blast a car out of a giant cannon loaded on the back of a truck. The roof of the grandstands would make it sound like an atomic bomb going off. Do you remember Fast pitch softball featuring The King (Eddie Feigner) and his Court at Shelby Park?
56. Getting out of school for the State Fair? The State Fair was a huge deal back then. Kids would be unable to sleep the night before a trip to the fair and everybody dressed up just like church. Knothole baseball was played at Fort Negley by teams sponsored by companies like McDowell Road Builders, Jersey Farms Dairy and First American National Bank. Whatever happened to all those local banks like Third National, First American and Commerce Union? Swimming at the Harpeth Narrows was very popular on weekends. High school fraternities and sororities sponsored Formals and summer combo parties in people’s driveways. How about a spaghetti supper or school carnival? A spaghetti supper at Walter Stokes School promised the older kids an opportunity to “make out” in the adjacent creek bed and playground while the parents feasted on spaghetti inside. Carnivals were great, besides the carnival rides there would be game booths and hay or bus rides where again the older kids were swapping spit at every opportunity. In the 8th grade we had make-out parties and in the 9th grade we had wild combo parties. Adult supervision, yeah right. Seniors in high school got an official cut day. You could go to Percy Warner Park or you could go to school. Of course the teachers were all at the park to chaperone.
57. John Kennedy’s Saturday, May 18, 1963 open presidential limo motorcade through Nashville and where you were when he was shot in Dallas on November 22, 1963. (I was in school at Walter Stokes)
58. All restaurants, movie theatres and even hospitals allowed smoking. The schools had zero air-conditioning. Cigarettes were available in vending machines to anyone with the cash. Beer was purchased by tipping helpful men who hung around the front of certain convenience markets. Fake Id’s were easy because the green paper drivers licenses you could get an old one from an 18 year old friend and carefully erase numbers and change them with a very fine pencil. Having your “parents” write a note allowing you to buy cigarettes at the grocery store.
59. When the only great peanuts came from the Arcade. “Mr. Peanut” use to walk up and down the arcade and pass out peanuts! For fresh roasted peanuts you could also go to Acme Seed on lower broad.
60. Remember when you could just ride out to the airport (Berry Field) and go stand outside on the observation deck and watch the planes land and take-off? They also held air shows that featured a Nashville Tour in a DC-7 for a penny a pound.
61. Cerebral Palsy Telethon on Channel 4 with the parade of kids in wheelchairs and on crutches while the telethon hosts sang “Call 244 7 Oh Oh Oh” to the tune of The Saints Go Marching In. “Call now and light up those lights!!! ” Look at us were walking.
62. Getting all your home appliances at the Sears and Roebuck on Lafayette, your car parts at the Western Auto, your toys at the Phillip’s Toy Mart on 8th Avenue, your scouting supplies at McClures or the Army-Navy Store on West End near downtown owned by Arnold Lefkovitz and everything else at your neighborhood hardware or drug store. Woolworth’s would sell knockoffs of the latest hits for half price. There was no way to copy songs off our transistor radios. Getting the latest Beatles’ 45 at Zibart’s Books, which had listening booths to preview the vinyl records and deal with Mary Charmella who ran the record department. The stamp collectors’ guru, Murray Brosius, ran the stamp department at Zibart’s Book store and was responsible for turning many Nashville kids into lifelong stamp collectors. What about the hippest new hairstyle at Clyde’s Music City Barbershop or experiencing Nashville’s first lady barbers at England’s (they were babes, too)? For a different style you could visit George the Barber at “The Flat Top Barber Shop” on Thompson Lane.
63. The fountains at Aladdin Industries lit with colored lights at night you could see from Murfreesboro Road.
64. Receiving the polio vaccine on little sugar cubes in the school gym. Taking the hearing test in grade school?
65. Getting ready for school and the only TV program on would be Ralph Emery with Spider, Norm and the Band or Eddie Hill’s Country Junction with Smiley and Kitty. Do you remember the Farm Reports in the early morning?
66. National Guard Tanks stationed in Centennial Park and downtown when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn.
67. Slot-car tracks, trampoline centers, go-cart tracks and miniature golf courses that sprung up and disappeared. The best miniature golf in town was at the Wee Tee Golf Course behind the Dairy King on Thompson Lane at Mill Creek. The best slot-car track was next door to the Hippodrome on West End. Large slides also appeared around town were kids would ride down on mats or potato sacks. There was always plenty for a kid to do in those days. Carnivals setup in shopping center parking lots on a regular basis. It seemed like there was always a carnival at Madison Square.
68. Real deep snows in the winter where school would be out for days/weeks and Centennial Pond (Watuga) would freeze for ice skaters. Everyone would rush to Inglewood Hardware for sleds and get the tire chains ready if Boyce Hawkins said snow was on the way. Waiting for Carlisle Beasley of Metro to decide if the roads were bad enough to close schools and for Keith Bilbrey to announce it on Channel 4’s Ralph Emery Show. Fortunately Mr. Beasley always checked the hills of Joelton first and we could go back to bed by 7AM! January 1951’s major snow and ice storm paralyzed the city.
69. The Cold War brought an Air Force Early Warning Radar Station to the Joelton Area. Residents were certain that this was just like painting a big bulls-eye on Joelton for Russian missiles. 1962 and the Cuban Missile Crisis had school students practicing hiding under their desks in case of attack. Students took home permission slips to their parents to request whether children should be kept in school or sent home in event of a missile attack. TVs were not allowed in class except for space launches which were incredible and dangerous (because our missiles blew up at first). It was a bit like getting a day off, because space launches were “educational.”
70. Friday night with Night Train and host Noble Blackwell, featuring artists like: Ironing Board Sam, James Brown, The Van Trease Trio, Good Rockin’ Hoppy and a very young Jimmy Hendrix. Friday night also featured Shock Theatre where the creepy organ intro music was usually more scary than the movie. Shock, Jr. came on Sunday afternoons.
71. Stiefs Jewelers windows displayed German made clocks with animated figures that would march out at the change of time intervals and dance and turn in time to music that you could stand and watch forever. Stiefs Jewelers was on 6th Ave. North between Church and Union. Something you always had to do when you went downtown was to have ham and rolls in Harvey’s basement at the counter which was the best lunch in Nashville. As they always said, “Harveys has it.”
72. When Nashville had two daily newspapers, the Tennessean in the morning and the Banner in the afternoon. Papers were delivered by boys walking or on bikes and papers were placed on the front porch of homes.
73. Where you got the best sports equipment, The Sportsman’s Stores and Bill Clay’s in Melrose for hunting and fishing gear. The Woods and Waters TV Show was very popular.
74. When you could park all day for free on Lower Broadway?
75. The “Popcorn Vendor” that was right outside the front entrance of the downtown Walgreens (popping fresh popcorn….a dime a bag).
76. Shoes were a big deal since the average kid only had a school pair and a Sunday pair. There was Stride Rite on Sixth and Flagg Brothers on Church Street. However the ultimate was a pair of Red Goose Shoes from a Family Booterie Store. Every kid dreamed of pulling the goose’s neck and getting that prized golden egg. The Family Booterie store in Hillsboro village had a fluoroscope that would show your feet inside the shoes you were trying on. I wonder how many cooked feet resulted from that particular commercial gimmick. I can still hear their ad…”Two for the price of one plus a dollar, two for the price of one plus a dollar…” followed in a few weeks by “table and rack (clap clap) it’s back.”
77. Vanderbilt’s SEC title in basketball in 1965 with Clyde Lee setting many school records. Also memorable was Vandy’s 1954 football victory over UT, 26-0 or the 1975 “Punt, Barry Punt!” Vandy victory over UT in Knoxville. Vandy’s Memorial Gym was also host to the Annual March of Dimes Basketball Tournament which featured schools of the N.I.L. It was a major deal the year (1963) that Nashville’s Bill Wade quarterbacked the Chicago Bears to the NFL Championship. There were major high school rivalries like Cameron vs Pearl that were settled on the basketball court. The spirit squads were awesome! Nashville had three all black high schools…Cameron, Meigs and Pearl. Remember “All the way for Doc” and the 1954 West End High School march through the state basketball tournament led by the “dynamic duo”, Ralph Greenbaum and Jimmy French at Vandy’s Memorial Gym? The Annual Clinic Bowl game was played at Vandy’s stadium with the best high school team from the west vs the best high school team from the East side of town. .Nashville High Schools also competed on TV in Classroom Quizbusters. Long live the Cumberland Indians, Joelton Blue Jays, Dupont Bulldogs, Bellevue Owls, Issac Litton Lions, Central Golden Tornadoes, Donelson Dons, Howard Rebels, West Blue Jays, East Eagles, Madison Rams, Goodlettsville Trojans, Cohn Black Knights, Pearl Tigers, Cameron Mighty Panthers, and North Yankees, if only in our memories. High School rivalries were a big deal. Overton and Antioch had a teasippers/farmers thing going. Schools actually had school spirit then. The Overton Band would have teabags hanging from the end of their trombone slides at the Antioch game. Good times. I won’t even repeat what kids thought of Hillsboro’s Burros LOL
78. Long before liquor by the drink (1967) passed, Nashville had numerous public and private clubs which offered gambling, alcohol and music. The Colemere Club (currently the New Orleans Manor near the Airport on Murfreesboro Rd.) which was owned by Nashville City Government and served as the hangout for most of the city’s politicians , openly had slot-machines in several rooms as did most American Legion and Knights of Columbus Halls. At the annual Colemere Club Easter Egg Hunt kids could finish gathering up the eggs and still have time to play the gaming machines. “My favorite machine featured little horses that raced around a track.” The Club Plantation on Murfreesboro Road and the Palms Club on Nine Mile Hill were major adult hangouts. Many clubs offered Las Vegas style gambling. Printer’s Alley Clubs featured Boots Randolph and Exotic Dancer Heaven Lee. Most teens knew the beer joints or liquor stores that accepted fake id’s without question. In the 1950’s in West Nashville it was practically a rite of passage for a young man to have his first beer at King’s Inn (where no one ever asked for an id) near the corner of West End and Woodmont Blvd. You could tip Ace on White Bridge Road and keep the mug. Joe’s Village Inn in Hillsboro Village was also infamous for allowing underage drinking. There was also “Frank’s Friendly” a non-descript bar off of Charlotte fairly close in to town. Boys would go to Frank’s where there was usually some adult guy waiting to take your order, your money and bring you back quarts of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer for your party!! Sin was abundant in Nashville in the “old” days. The Belle Meade Motel was nicknamed the “No Tell Motel”. Other motor courts in town featured high fences or rooms with attached garages where a person could hide their car from prying eyes. In the 70’s Video Poker Machines were widespread and Massage Parlors 😉 were operating in every area of town. Nashville’s vice squad must have had other priorities. The Police Department also maintained an official position that there were no gangs in Nashville and police promotions were rumored to be made in a Goodlettsville Liquor Store. Strange times indeed. The Belle Meade police were so helpful they would carry you home, instead of the drunk tank or a DUI. The Southerner Liquor store, where you could cash a check postdated (at 1% interest per DAY). Funeral homes in Davidson county were the only Ambulance service. They monitored the police frequencies and would race each other to the scene of an accident. According to rumors, the driver would take the long way to the hospital in hopes that the patient would expire and they could then take the deceased to their funeral home. Newman’s Raiders… Metro Police motorcycle cops that patrolled the streets. They always traveled in formation and fanned out in groups of two. They were led by Sgt. Kerry Newman.
79.Ever attend a WMAK Schools Out Party at Fair Park? WMAK’s “Our Leader” Scott Shannon and his trademark signoff “Reminding you to live, love, be happy and never ever forget…?” ” and followed by Cherish by the Association. He had a weekly show called Crying Time, he would read sad breakup stories followed by an even sadder song. The “Wild Child” Bill Berlin or “Captain Midnight” Roger Schutt at WKDA? Urban legend is thatskating Captain Midnight would play tapes at night while he slipped down to Printer’s Alley to mingle with the masses. The radio request lines were very popular with teens. While you were on hold the lines would bleed over and you could talk to others on hold and guys could get dates. WMAK, WSIX and WVOL went directional at night and often the signal was lost to certain areas of the area. WLAC covered the whole Southeast selling baby chicks. Ever visit the Stahlman Bldg. to pickup concert tickets or an album you won in a radio contest? On WSM-TV there was the “Five O’Clock Hop” hosted by Dave Overton and hostess Martha Sanderson. Kids would do the solo dance for gift certificates for shoes at Flagg Brothers (guys’) and Holiday (gals’). There was also the “Sock Hop” hosted by Noel Ball. On Noel’s show young girls would lipsync to the hits. The Sock Hop also featured a quartet of three boys/one girl called the “Manhattans” who would also lip-sync. Members of the Manhattans included Doug Seymour, Buzz Cason, Bill Pruitt, and Judy Eades. The Manhattans appeared in 1956 & 1957 while they were students at Issac Litton High School. Noel Ball was Nashville’s first and most flamboyant rock n roll disk jockey. He drove a pink & white 1955 Crown Victoria and pushed the envelope in his professional and personal life. Noel Ball was “THE DJ” of the late 50’s & early 60’s. Hugh Baby Hops were held all over Middle Tennessee hosted by DJ Hugh Jarrett whose radio show was sponsored by Royal Crown Hair Dressing. In the mid-sixties it was a big deal when the Dick Clark “Caravan of Stars” rolled into town at Sulphur Dell or the Armory. On a clear night, if you lived in West Nashville you might be able to pickup real rock on Vanderbilt University’s 10-watt mono WRVU, transmitting on 91.1 from high atop the Oxford House apartments at the corner of 21st and Capers, the tallest structure in the Vandy realty portfolio.
80. Deserted military barracks and hospitals were scattered around town. White Bridge Road (near current Target), Howard School Campus? The separation center on Thompson Lane which consisted of Army Barracks. They housed soldiers coming home from World War II until they were discharged.
81. Defunct Nashville restaurants included the Captain Ray’s Sailmaker (theme restaurant on West End) that featured wait staff in exotic costumes and dining rooms like the “harem”. Cajun Wharf on Cowan, Mahi Mahi on White Bridge Road, Captain Paulos on Riverside Drive (best hushpuppies in the world), Malones Restaurant on First Avenue, Cross Keys (downtown with the red doors and favorite items such as Hot Brown and getting to write your own order on that little pad of paper they had at the table with the golf pencils!), Zager’s Deli the best Matzo Ball Soup in townwas founded by Morris Zager (Mr. Morris). Mr. Morris’ sons, Arnold and Jack, took over the business. At the Downtown location, there was a “Men’s Balcony.” One day, according to Arnold, some “bra burners” (liberated women) came in and demanded to be seated in the Men’s Balcony. He took them upstairs without a word, where they were greeted with stares and silence by the men seated there, the Iris Room at Cain-Sloan, Melfi’s Italian, (Vito & Frances Melfi) the original pizza house in Nashville on Division Street and the original Irelands (steak & biscuits) near Vandy. There was also Nero’s Cactus Canyon in Green Hills (which housed a private club before liquor by the drink; called Silver Slipper), The Melrose grill by the theater, and Marchetti’s on 19th off of West End. Madison Square had the Lazy Susan Restaurant beneath Harvey’s where patrons shared bowls of food served from the center of large tables. The really great hot fudge sauce at Candyland that made the ice cream sundaes the best in town. If you wanted a great banana split, you could go to Elliston Place Soda Shop.
82. Remember the old TV studio locations? WLAC (Life & Casualty) on 4th Ave. just south of the L&C Tower. The WSIX (Where Service is Excellent) studio on the hill in Brentwood at the base of the broadcasting tower. The original WSM (We Shield Millions) studio in west Nashville off Granny White Pike. WSM-TV (now WSMV) signed on the air in September 1950, on channel four, to become the area’s first television station. WSM also conducted a special promotional campaign prior to going on the air. A live “TV studio” was set up on the main floor of Harvey’s department store on Church Street. Shoppers could watch as performers went through the paces of doing mock TV shows. You may remember, too, that Harvey’s was also selling its own brand of early television sets–and those “Harfield” TVs weren’t cheap.
83. The Shetland ponies at the Litsey farm where Briley parkway now intersects Lebanon Rd. The Rudy farm in Pennington Bend with its herd of real live buffalo. The Nashville Game Farm in Joelton. 100 Oaks Mall had lions on exhibit in the summer and reindeer at Christmas.
84. Girls Club “ETC” dances at the old Maxwell House Ballroom with Francis
Craig’s Orchestra and later Tea Dances at the Hyatt Regency on Sunday afternoons with The Louis Brown Orchestra featuring vocalist Marti Brown?
85. When the only lottery was the one that young men who turned 18 played?
86. Taking ballet or flamenco lessons from Albertine Maxwell and also Joy Zibart who taught Modern Dance to generations of Nashville girls. Mrs. Zibart’s pianist was Mr. Werner Zepernick. There were dance lessons from the Nick Lambos Dance studio and regular dances at Fort Nightely (followed by do-nuts across the street at Krispy Kreme). There was also the Tweensters dances in West Nashville. Music lessons were given downtown at the Eva Thompson Jones School, whose alumni reportedly included Pat Boone. Mr. Boone was also a frequent celebrity guest at the Happiness Club of the Belle Meade Theatre.
87. The sound of squealing tires as the attendants delivered and parked cars in the Cain Sloan parking lot downtown? They would ride back upstairs on a chain lift.
88. In grade school somehow we all brought in cigar boxes which held our school supplies and shoe boxes which could be decorated at Valentines to hold treasured cards. Remember “milk break” in elementary school and when being chosen to wheel the milk cart to all the rooms was a big deal! Do you remember when they came by for a count on hamburger day in the cafeteria? Kids with extra money could order a second hamburger which was a big deal. Remember when girls FINALLY got to wear pantsuits to school (NOT jeans) in 1970! Do you remember when there were patrol boys at remote corners a few blocks away from the school? They had yellow flags on wooden poles and usually a patrol lady was there to supervise. Patrol girls only got to work at the school on the porch. Do you remember leaving your prized bike in a bike rack at school and not even considering putting a lock on it? Did you ever ride your bike with playing cards stuck in your spokes with clothes pins?
89. Teenagers mostly stayed out of trouble, occasionally “rolling” a friends house, drag racing or sneaking into the “Hoochie Coochie” shows at the Tennessee State Fair. The youth/delinquent officer Sergeant Currey would cruise by the “parking spots” every Friday and Saturday night to see if he could catch kids circle dancing in the headlights of their cars. The State “reformatory” was at Jordonia, and being sent there was the ultimate threat that any school principal or other adult authority could issue to an errant youth. We were always much happier with a school visit by the Police Department rock band “The Blue Lights” than the youth officer. The exclusive two-percent club at Hillsboro High School, whose members called themselves that after the principal said the school was great except for “two percent who were wild.” Green Hills also had a “real” motorcycle gang called the R.A.T.S. (raising all types of stuff). Or at least the Metro Police thought so since they investigated the group and visited the schools to warn about the dangers of gangs. In fact, the guys met at Griff’s Hamburgers on Sunday afternoons and rode their small Hondas, Harleys, Sears Crusaires and Cushman Eagles around the area and were totally harmless. Times were very naive and innocent back then.
90. Toys in this period were very low-tech. Nashville’s Kusan Toys made a very popular derringer replica cap-gun. Kusan also later made pop-guns that would fire ping-pong balls. In the late 50’s every boy had a coon skin hat, replaced in the sixties by a beatle wig. Kids traded baseball cards and marbles. Did you ever know the difference between a Candy Swirl, Goldstone Swirl, Swirled Band or a Indian Swirl? Girls mostly played with Barbies after they came along in 1959. Prior to that Shirley Temple Dolls were really hot. Building model cars was cool and Phillips Toy Mart had them all. Phillips was also a great place to go for a small bottle of chemicals guaranteed to make your house or school hall smell like rotten eggs – if you knew what to get. Most young boys carried pocket knives, even to school. Nobody even considered that they might be used for violence. It was a real accomplishment if you could throw a pocket knife and stick it in a tree trunk. Hardware stores had these great huge displays of pocket knives to ogle. Boy scout knives were kinda lame in comparison to a slick pearl handled knife. To have your own whet stone was the ultimate. Everybody had at least one toy made by Wham-O. Boys aged there own cinnamon toothpicks in pill bottles and the older, the hotter. The first video game I ever saw was Pong at the Magnavox Store in 100 Oaks. Kids were busy all summer with programs provided by the parks. Day camps like Camp Widjiwagen and Davis Gorham Day Camp were very popular. At the Oak Hill Day Camp you were either a Chickasaw or a Cherokee. Beechcreek Day Camp with camp director Allen Bell was where hundreds of girls learned to ride and swim and do archery, etc. Youth Incorporated was where you went downtown to the bus shelters and you could catch a bus to spend the whole day at the camp for like a dollar a year. There was horse-back riding at Riverwood Academy in Inglewood and at Percy Warner Park Stables. At Shelby Park Day Camp kids looked forward to “Gold Rush Days” when gold painted rocks were hidden in the grass and gullies just waiting to be found. Kids were encouraged to save and Fidelity Federal had the coolest piggy banks.
91. In the sixties teen clubs popped up all over town: Hullabaloo on Dickerson Road, Upbeat Club in Tusculum Shopping Center, The Dog House located in the old gym at DuPont High School in Old Hickory, Pirates’ Cove at Two Rivers, Don’s Den at Donelson High, Teen Town at Ryan, Skateland on Thompson Lane (aka The Salt Mines because they threw salt on the concrete so you could dance), Chicken Coop out on Hwy 70 , Tiger A-Go-Go out Charlotte near River Road, The Sack on Gallatin Road across from East High above an appliance store or the Co-Ed in East Nashville and the Nowhere Club in Hendersonville behind Woody’s Restaurant. Whether you were scoping babes in the boogaloo line at Pirates Cove or avoiding the drunken gaze of Bill Grewcook at Dons Den, you would have been under the same roof on the same night. Both Dons Den and Pirates Cove took place at the Lions Club Bldg. behind the Donelson High football bleachers. Imagine! Rival high schools coexisting simultaneously at the same venue … although, at times, it could get interesting! In Green Hills there was Saturday night at Teen Town at Calvary United Methodist Church. In the early seventies clubs included the 23rd Psalm, located at 1415 17th Ave. So. in the music row area that was in operation from November 1st of 1970 until June of 1972. Also, the Market Place, and Furnace operated in West Nashville. The steps of the Parthenon were a major teen hangout as were the stone gates of Percy Warner Park and the train trestle in Shelby Park. Did you ever see a performance of “Sing Out South” or go Christmas caroling for Fannie Battle Day Home?
92. Remember the advertising jingles of the times: “The height of a piggy’s ambition from the day he is born is hope that he’ll be good enough to be a Frosty Morn” (ham). How about “Elm Hill Bill” or the rockabilly pig that likes Jacob’s Preferred sausage? Not to mention “Colonial is GOOD bread.” Did you buy Tom Polk Tires or ever “Go get a Goo Goo, they’re good”? Remember Little Miss Sunbeam making appearances for Sunbeam Bread? Sunbeam, the bread with no holes. Young redheads could also compete to be “Little Miss Spark” at the Nashville Fire Dept. “Live the life of Riley in a Wiley Mobile Home”. Purity Dairies cow said “it must be nice to be wanted”. Who could forget Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs singing for Martha White Flour. “Goodness Gracious good and light, Martha White.” Ole Ernest sold us all on Purity milk.
93. Remember having a school jacket or sweater with a letter? How about a madras shirt? Girls collected love loops off the back seams of the boys new oxford shirts. Beatle boots were available at Family Booterie and were so pointy they could be considered a deadly weapon. One year lightning bolts on our shoes were the bomb, the next year multiple taps on our soles was a must have. Winter coats came from Spartans or Zayres Dept. Stores. Kids wore goulashes over their good shoes in wet weather.
94. A trip to the dentist meant a visit to the Bennie Dillon Building downtown. A trip to the doctor meant a visit to the Doctor’s Bldg. on Church St. or to Doctor’s Row on West End near the hospitals. Do you remember when Nashville was one of only two cities in the country to have a dental division and to have fluoride in the water (1953). We also had a dentist come to each school every year to check the teeth of the students. You had your teeth checked every fourth year and if you had cavities, you got a note to take to your parents. The dentists in the health department would fix the cavities if you came in. Nashville also had two dental vans that went from one area to another (much like the bookmobiles)
95. In the 60’s Country Music stars attempted to capitalize on their names by launching fast food restaurants. We had Minnie Pearl’s Chicken, Tex Ritter’s Chuckwagons, Hank Williams’s Barbeque Pits, Tennessee Ernie Ford Steak and Biscuits, Minnie Pearl’s Roast Beef and Eddy Arnold’s Tennessee Fried Chicken among others. We also had Loretta Lynn’s Western Wear, Hank Snow Music and Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop.
96. We had lots of special media personalities. Sportscasters were always flamboyant, especially at WSM. Charlie MacAlexander wore the most bizarre sports jackets. Paul Eells was known for his trademark “Holy Smokes”. How about when Dan Miller giving us all a special gift of a fireplace crackling on TV or when WSM decided we needed Disco lessons each night during the news? What about Channel 5’s “Dialing for Dollars” every weekday afternoon on “The Big Show” 3:30 to 5:30? Bill Hall and Ralph Emery worked in local rock and roll radio before settling down. Huell Howser had his “Happy Features” on Channel 4. Huell tried to warn us that we were losing our cities history and got suspended for it. This website proves his point was well taken. Oprah Winfrey read the news on Channel 5 and Pat Sajak did the weather on Channel 4.
97. Several music/movie/tv stars got their early starts here. Ronnie Milsap played the roof club of the King of the Road Hotel for many years. Roger Miller played Printers Alley between sets for Boots Randolph. Actresses Cynthia Rhodes and Mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio are both alumni of Opryland USA. Randy Travis washed dishes at the Nashville Palace Restaurant. Not to mention, Dinah Shore and Pat Boone got their starts on local TV.
98. Nashville had it’s share of unique and memorable food products. Goo Goo’s and King Leo Candy were made world famous by the Opry but, did you ever hear of a Dream Cream candy bar? How about Charlie Nicken’s pickled tomatoes and fried corn bread? Nero’s Catcus Canyon and Jimmy Kelly’s also featured corn cakes. How about an Elm Hill Meats Spice Round? How about Kleemans apple pie at Harveys with cheese on top? The Pie Wagon in 12th Avenue featured a Boston and Denver sandwich and meats that were boiled, not fried. Have you ever tasted anything as good as Lorenzo’s Special Chicken (Nolensville Road at Thompson Lane) which was only served in limited supply on weekends? Slow cooked in lemon juice, vinegar and real butter. Did you ever try a Black Walnut Angel Whip from the Frozen Castle on Gallatin Road or a Chocolate Drift from Candyland downtown? You can still relive the past at a few Nashville establishments. Varallo’s downtown restaurant (knick name Nicks) was started in 1907 and the restaurant was a haven for politicians and many famous people around Nashville. You never knew who you would sit next to at Varallo’s or who you would meet. Over 500 marriages started at lunch introductions at Varallo’s. It was truly one of the most popular gathering places in Nashville for almost 100 yrs. You could get Varallo’s 3-way Chile only .10 cents a bowl. It’s still owned and operated by Varallo’s. Rotier’s Restaurant on Elliston Place and the Loveless Cafe on Highway 100 are virtually unchanged from the 1950’s. If you want a “old fashioned” sugary birthday cake, where else but Becker’s Bakery on Granny White Pike.
99. Christmas and Easter Parades and Funeral Processions downtown on Church Street and when people dressed up to go “downtown”? Ladies would wear hats and gloves to visit Castner Knotts. Remember the display windows of the department stores on Church St. , they were works of art. How about the elevator ladies in Castner’s downtown with their white gloves soiled from opening and closing the gates.
100. Remember when Nashville had a real theme park? Remember the first time you attended a performance of “I Hear America Singing” and the pride you took in Nashville?
Gathered from posts on the Nashville Newsgroup (nashville.general), e-mails and many of my own recollections. I would like to post pictures of many of these events and establishments. If you should have old photos or would like to contribute a memory (1950-1979), please contact me: Chip37075@yahoo.com