Many of the names and some of the descriptions in this blog have been changed to protect the guilty.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Shitting to All Fields, Part 4

There is good news about the fate of Chicopee’s Plantation Man (above), or as we used to call him when he stood in Pine Point, the Mutual Ford Giant (below). He was auctioned off for $11,500, and the man who bought him, on behalf of unnamed business associates, says he and his partners plan to keep him local.

According to this website, the photo below could very well be the head of this giant when he wore a chef’s hat and stood in front of a pizza parlor in Framingham, MA, before he came to Mutual Ford in 1970.

He stood at Mutual Ford for 30 years before he was moved to the Plantation Inn in 1999 by the late Mario P. Catalini (below).

Above is the Bay Street pedestal on which he stood in a photo taken by Wayne Koldys.

This particular waving giant model, built by International Fiberglass in the mid-1960s, still has a few survivors: Plantation Man has brothers in Chicago (above) and Oakwood Village, OH (below).

A door opens inside his back (below), where workers can climb inside and unbolt his head and “pick his body his body by its internal structure,” according to the masslive.com story.

Supposedly, the show House Hunters International filmed a clip of him for some reason, so maybe Plantation Man will be viewed by an international audience! 

What was a better deal than the 15-cent burgers ad I had originally posted (above)? How about double burgers for 25 cents!

Any of you patronize Henry VIII? A commenter, Pidgeon Drive Guy, had a story to tell about the place in my original post:

“The year is 1983 (fact). My friend comes home from the Marines on leave, 2 p.m. in the afternoon, he says, ‘Let's go to the Eighth.’ We walk in, it’s dark, musty, no one’s in the place, WE are the ONLY customers. We walk around the semi-circular bar/stage all the way to what was known as PERVS’ PIT. (Don’t say u don’t know about it.) A glance at the dancer, sitting not quite Indian style due to her girth, revealed much. She was a large redhead, stretchmarks like road maps up & down her sides & midsection. Bad makeup couldn’t hide her identity. This beauty was a 16 Acres gal, one year older than myself, from Kathleen St. We called out to her by name ... ‘ ****** !!!’ She leaned over like anyone might hear her secret... ‘Call me Colleen, it’s my stage name.’” 

“We already were bombed that early afternoon, & I rudely responded ‘Where the fuck do u think you are? LAS VEGAS?!!’ She immediately yelled at us in a cigarette-stained voice ‘%$#* you assholes!’ We laughed uncontrollably at our exposing, no pun intended, of our neighborhood’s gift to exotic entertainment. Then an employee came from behind a door leading to a backroom, larger than life, ex-con for sure, told us to ‘Get the #%*$ out of here.’ We did so, stumbling out the door into a blinding day light.”

How many of you shook your booty at the VIP? Remember those “teen disco” dances there?

The old miniature golf place on Boston Road, again courtesy of Wayne Koldys. It was at the site of the old Frank’s Nursery at 840 Boston Road. When it went out of business, a windmill and some of the other golf course features were supposedly bought and ended up in the large back yard of a man who lived in the old house at the former Camp Husky at 885 Grayson Drive.

Honk if you remember the old Zayre Gang next door to the miniature golf place! Read about the Zayre Gang in this old post.

Oh yeah! The Eastfield mall and its funky old “e” logo on the sign (above) and the awning (below).

Bring back the Cover-Up and The Lodge!

Our trip down Boston Road continues to the old Wilbraham 10-Pin.

Prior to the Wilbraham Inn it was the Wilbraham Motel, which had a neon sign.

Before it was Gregory’s it was the Pizza Pub, which had more of a “Jetsons” look before it was redone.

In the background of the above photo you can see the old Pine Tree Motel with its flashing neon star sign—a roach motel I wrote about in a late summer post

Okay, back to The Acres: the Allen Cooley in October of 1985. Featured films: Follow that Bird, Witness, Beverly Hills Cop, Gremlins, and Fright Night.

On Christmas night in 1967 the Jumbo Supermarket at the corner of Wilbraham Road and Breckwood Boulevard was destroyed by a fire and explosion. The food was ruined, but not the cigarettes, according to a former member of The Clan, a gang that hung out at Treats restaurant next door. So that same Clan guy, from Catalpa Terrace, and a future member of the Circle Gang, from Bellamy Road, pulled a raid one night, filling several pillow cases with packs of smokes, and selling them at school.  “Cigs were pretty cheap at Duggan for the next couple of days,” he recounts with laughter.

For a while, the fire also made it possible for The Clan to enjoy a new hangout, aside from their usual haunts: Treats and the field behind Western New England College. They actually spent a lot of time in the foundation of the supermarket, which they called The Citadel.

Bring back the Jaycox!

Anyone in the market for a 16 Acres School shirt, complete with the civil defense siren on top?

I think a Bondi’s Island shirt would suit me just fine.

Let’s head over to Chicopee for another teen disco:

I noticed they finally tore down the old IHOP across from BJ’s.

Did I write BJ’s? I meant the United Skates of America/Airline Drive-In site! Who the hell was Senta Berger in the above ad?

Oh boy, I can think of at least two reasons we should know who she is!

Remember the Rivoli!

The Rivoli opened as The Elms Theater in 1927 and closed in 2000.

Bring back Falls Provision!

Falls provision opened in 1946 in the former Chinatown section of Chicopee, relocating to 531 East Street in 1958. It closed for good in 1996.

My friend Craig Stewart recently sent a childhood photo of him (on the left) and a kid I’ll call Brad, and reminded me of a backyard incident that instantly had us laughing our asses off. This led me to recall the first official “club” I ever belonged to. No, it wasn’t The Gully, The Pothole, or the Maebeth Womblies. I was a full-fledged member of the W.C. Fritos Munch Club.

We really dug Fritos corn chips, so Craig’s older sister Betty originally wanted to sign all of us up for the Frito Bandito Club. This character, however, drew the ire of Mexican Americans because in commercials he was a thief who roamed the countryside and relieved snackers of their Fritos.

In fact, he was so sinister looking that he inspired the insignia for the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.

In response, Frito Lay made the Bandito “whiter,” took away his gold tooth, and kept his guns in his holster.

But it was no use. Bowing to pressure, they put the Frito Bandito out to pasture, and disbanded the Frito Bandito Club. Betty’s application was returned in the mail. We started the Frito Bandito Club anyway—a rogue chapter for a rogue character.

In 1971 he was replaced by W.C. Fritos, a character who looked and talked like W.C. Fields. So we disavowed our allegiance to the Frito Bandito and joined his club, got the kit in the mail, and met in a “clubhouse” made out of sheets hung from the Stewarts’ backyard clothes lines. Craig’s mom would have none of that—she needed to hang the family’s laundry there, so we settled on a new location: the Stewarts’ new backyard tent.

Our chapter of the W.C. Fritos Munch Club didn’t last long. There was infighting—Betty wanted to hold meetings at the same time Hollywood Squares was on, so we refused to attend these “mandatory” sessions. In response, she refused us access to the “secret manual” and eventually kicked us all out of the club, including her brother Ken.

But we still hung out at the tent, and Brad wanted to belong to our “new” tent club in the worst way. This, we said, involved doing a dare for the “initiation.” How bad did Brad want in? One day he announced he had to take a shit, but no one was supposed to go in the Stewarts’ house when the parents weren’t home. “We’ll, I’ll just have to take a shit right here?” he declared.

We thought that would suffice for an initiation, but then he started to back down. “Go ahead,” said Craig. “I dare you. We’ll give you a pack of firecrackers.”

Brad went behind the tent and took a dump. Membership has its privileges, although I can’t think of any off the top of my head. The tent was unbearably hot in the summer. Oh, come to think of it, now I remember a perk—one that got us into this whole exclusive “club” mentality. We had unlimited access to the Stewarts’ junk food.