Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vintage Roadside at the Crafty Wonderland Holiday Show this weekend!

We hope to see our Portland friends at the Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale this weekend!

This will be the last chance to pick up several of our designs as we're planning something a little different for 2011.

The show is in Hall C of the Oregon Convention Center and is open Saturday & Sunday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Did we mention there's free admission? How about goodie bags?

We'll be in booth #5 for those of you keeping score at home. :-)

Happy Holidays,

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside

Monday, October 25, 2010

Vintage Roadside Visits: Aquarama Aquamaid Quinetta

Our latest Aquarama interview features original 1964 Aquamaid Quinetta. Quinetta performed at the Aquarama from 1964 - 1967 and was kind enough to share some of her memories with us.

Let's raise the Curtain of Bubbles once again...

Vintage Roadside: Do you remember how you first heard of the Aquarama?

Quinetta: I was working as a waitress at a restaurant across the street from the Aquarama. Mr. and Mrs. Johl and Marc came in for lunch. I overheard they were holding swimmer tryouts that very afternoon. I took off my apron, told the owner of the restuarant I had an emergency, went home to get my swimsuit, and showed up for tryouts. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't gotten the job!

Vintage Roadside: Wow! That's quite a story. Had you been working at the restaurant for some time?

Quinetta: I only worked there 1 day!

Vintage Roadside: How old were you at that point?

Quinetta: I was 16.

Vintage Roadside: Being a part of the original cast you trained in that unheated, outdoor motel pool. So, was it pretty chilly out there?

Quinetta: It was cold but I was so busy trying to learn to regulate my air so that I could stay in the middle of the pool and learn the routines that I hardly noticed the cold.

Vintage Roadside: Do you remember those first shows?

Quinetta: I just remember being so nervous and afraid I'd forget everything. I didn't forget and after the first show I was so excited that I hardly slept after going home.

Vintage Roadside: In the photo above you're shown performing on the trapeze. That must have been something to learn how to perform on a trapeze underwater?

Quinetta: It was difficult at first. Breath control is the secret. I had to inhale just enough to swing back and exhale while swinging forward.

Vintage Roadside: Did you perform any routines with Marc?

Quinetta: Marc and I swam to "Three Coins in a Fountain". We wore black bodysuits with black fins and masks. The bodysuits were fitted with underwater lights with a switch at our waists. When the music started we switched on our lights, the pool was dark, and all the audience could see were our body silhouettes moving to the music.

Vintage Roadside: Any other routines come to mind?

Quinetta: I was also part of a John Phillips Sousa march. Three other girls and myself hooked up feet (fins) to neck and did a big circle in the pool. When it worked it was wonderful, when someones air hose got caught, well, you can imagine - we gasped for air, broke the circle and headed for the top of the tank.

Vintage Roadside: Did you have a favorite routine?

Quinetta: My favorite was being a mermaid. I had to put the mermaid tail on in the water. I coated the zipper with Vaseline to keep the zipper from rusting and help it zip more easily. The tails were stored in baffles at the side of the pool. I would swim to the baffle, put on the mermaid tail, then swim to a clam shell to wait for the start of the music.

Vintage Roadside: Do you have any memories of Wally & Nola Johl?

Quinetta: I remember going to their home for lunch and to listen to the music for the show. They were very eager to use music that we liked and could swim to. I also remember Mrs. Johl's voice on the underwater speaker reminding us to point our toes or to get with the music. She would often tell us that we did a great job, too.

Vintage Roadside: Looking back how does it feel to have been one of the Aquamaids?

Quinetta: It was great fun! Swimming and making money too - can't be beat!

Vintage Roadside: Were you able to use your mermaid training later on in life?

Quinetta: Swimming at the Aquarama opened many doors for me in later life. During my freshman year at college I tried out for the synchronized swim team and made the team. In 1976 I started teaching swim lessons at the Jefferson City (Missouri) YMCA and eventually became the Aquatic Director.

Vintage Roadside: Thanks Quinetta! We're honored to talk with you.

If you have any information, souvenirs, stories and maybe even worked at the Aquarama we'd love to hear from you! Click here for our contact form.

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside

Monday, October 18, 2010

20 Vintage Roadside fine art prints now available!

Gearing up for the holiday season, we're pleased to offer twenty of our favorite Vintage Roadside fine art photographs in our Photo Department.

We Still Roam the Earth -  © Vintage Roadside

Each photo is available as an 8" x 10" or an 11" x 14" Chromira print on gloss Fuji Crystal Archive paper. We looked at several printing options and were floored by the quality and colors of the Chromira prints. All prints are produced by a professional lab here in Portland, Oregon.

Feels Like Home -  © Vintage Roadside

Enjoy the photos - we've got everything from mannequin-eating dinosaurs to fading tourist courts as well as vintage neon signs.

Dive In -  © Vintage Roadside

You can browse and shop our Photo Department here.

Have a great week,

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vintage Roadside Visits: Aquarama Aquamaid Marlen Manzer

We're thrilled to present the latest in our series of interviews with the former Aquamaids and Aqualads of Missouri's Aquarama.

Today we're talking with 1967 Aquamaid Marlen Manzer.

Vintage Roadside: Do you remember how you first heard about the Aquarama?

Marlen: My dad came home from work one day and told me about it.

Vintage Roadside: Did you know any of the other cast members working that season?

Marlen: Janie and I went to school together.

 Aquarama 1967 cast photo. (Janie fifth from left & Marlen second from right.) Photo courtesy of Marc Johl.

Vintage Roadside: Was there an audition you had to go through to get the job?

Marlen: Yes - I remember meeting Mrs. Johl and working in the swimming tank.

Vintage Roadside: In the photo above you're wearing the "Go Go" costume. Do you remember any of the other costumes you wore that year?

Marlen: We also had the Snowflake suit and the Alley Cat suit with tails and big stones on our gloves.

Vintage Roadside: Did you have a favorite costume?

Marlen: I liked the mermaid one the best, but it was hard to get into.

Vintage Roadside: Were you one of the lucky ones with your own clam shell?

Marlen: Yes. If you were looking at the stage I was in the one on the right.

Vintage Roadside: Any memories of your former shell?

Marlen: It was so dark in the shell and you had to use your air hose to open the shell. If it didn't open fast enough you would have to squeeze out so you were in time with the music.

Vintage Roadside: Was there one routine you always wanted to perform?

Marlen: Janie had a single act where she drank from a cocktail glass - one show she could not make it and I got to do the act.

Vintage Roadside: You guys performed two shows a day. Do you remember the night show being any different from the day show?

Marlen: I remember at the night show it was hard to get into our costumes because they were still damp - especially the black tights we used in Alley Cat.

Vintage Roadside: Any other random Aquarama memories?

Marlen: I remember after each show we would have to put alchohol drops in our ears to help dry the water up. Also, swimming at Aquarama made learning scuba diving really easy for me.

Vintage Roadside: Any other interesting Lake of the Ozarks jobs after your time at the Aquarama?

Marlen: The only thing close was modeling for the Tan Tar A Resort Gift Shop. They would have a fashion show on Friday and Saturday nights in the dining room and I also did some modeling for their brochures. They have one of the brochures on display in their "50 Years Celebration"  case in the lobby.

Vintage Roadside: It must be fun to look back and realize you're one of very few people that can say "I was a mermaid!"

Marlen: It was pretty special.

Vintage Roadside: Thanks so much Marlen for sharing some of your Aquarama memories with us!

As always if you have any information, memories, souvenirs, or if you worked at the Aquarama we'd love to hear from you. Click here to send us a message.

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside

Monday, October 11, 2010

The top 5 questions we get here at Vintage Roadside.

We thought it would be fun to list the 5 questions we're asked the most here at Vintage Roadside along with our answers. If you have any questions of your own, feel free to leave a comment and we'll see what we can come up with.

Question #1. "What do you guys do in real life?"

A. This is it! We're "Vintage Roadside" 365 days a year. We make and sell our t-shirts, take photos which we share online and also sell to wonderful people (from national publications to that guy you see at the coffee shop on Thursdays), give presentations on bygone mom and pop businesses, write preservation-themed road trip articles, and occasionaly produce limited edition t-shirts for events and businesses with great histories.

Question #2. "Seriously, this is what you guys do?"

A. Really, this is it. This is how we pay the bills. For the past 5 years we've been nothing but Vintage Roadside full time, 24-7. We love sharing the stories behind the mom and pops we feature on our t-shirts.

Question #3. Where do you guys get the ideas for your t-shirts?

A. We have a large archive of vintage materials. We collect just about anything relating to mom and pop businesses, of any type, from the 1930s - 1970s. Everything from 1940s motor court receipts to a 1970s ledger from a North Carolina drive-in theater. Another of our favorite pieces of history is an original notebook containing all the hand-written recipes for a drive in/custard stand once located in Michigan. All of our Vintage Roadside t-shirts come from our collection of original materials.

Question #4. So you just find something you like and print it on a t-shirt?

A. That would certainly be much easier! Actually we have a copyright and trademark attorney that assists us with every item we produce.

Question #5. Why is your mascot named "Stinky"? Does he smell bad?

A. Luckily, no bad smell. We gave him his name after noticing that from certain angles he looks like he's giving the camera a wicked "stink eye."

Stinky Fun Fact: He's road tripped through Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, and Kentucky.

 Keep those hands at 10 and 2,

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Vintage Roadside size 3XL Limited Edition T-shirts!

We have exciting news for those looking for a 3XL Vintage Roadside t-shirt!

Answering your requests, we've produced a very limited run of 3XL t-shirts for a selection of our most popular designs. We now have one each available of eight Vintage Roadside graphics. These t-shirts are not available through our website gift shop so we are taking phone orders at (503) 239-6342 and email orders via our contact form -- first come, first served!

Our 3XL t-shirts are the same great 100% ringspun cotton, pre-shrunk, super-soft men's t-shirts we offer for our Small - 2XL sizes. The measurements are:

28" Wide (2" wider than our 2XL)
35" Long (2" longer than our 2XL)

The price is $25.00 each + $5.95 shipping via Priority Mail. Want more than one? We can do that. Let us know and we'll confirm a shipping amount (at USPS cost) for you. Pick up four or more and we'll cover the shipping!

The Chi Chi - Palm Springs, California

The Hidden Harbor - Phoenix,  Arizona

The My-O-My Room - Denver, Colorado

Tiki Gardens - Indian Rocks Beach, Florida

Thunderbird Lanes - Ontario, California

Squirrel Lodge Motor Court - Nashville, Tennessee

The Zombie Zulu - Portland, Oregon

The Hula Hut - Tucson, Arizona

Thanks to everyone for their feedback - we hope you enjoy our limited production 3XL t-shirts!

Jeff & Kelly

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vintage Roadside Visits: Aquarama Aquamaid Dian Sevra - Part 3

We hope you've been enjoying our visit with 1964 Aquamaid Dian!

In this third and final piece we'll hear more about her favorite performances, what led to the end of her mermaid career, and an epic road trip...

 Wally Johl, 1964. Photo courtesy of Marc Johl

Vintage Roadside: What were some of your favorite routines?

Dian: I think my favorite group act was the Circus routine. I believe Marc was the ringleader and the girls would swim in sync together forming different lines and doing stunts. I believe there were swings in one part of the Circus act. It was difficult to maintain your balance and regulate the air flow while maintaining your position in the middle of the glass tank. We had to remain together and at the same height, "swing" together and perform tricks together - something easier said than done, but we seemed to pull it off more times than not!

Vintage Roadside: Did you also perform any solo routines?

Dian: I always enjoyed the scenes where we had "free reign" and could just swim, glide, wave, turn, smile and relax as only a true mermaid can. I loved swimming free-form to the music.

Vintage Roadside: Could you see the audience while you were performing?

Dian: It was difficult to see the audience if we weren't wearing our masks. We could sort of see them but they were blurry forms. When we wore the swim masks it was a different story and could make "eye contact" with individual audience members. The masks let us connect to them eyeball to eyeball - from our underwater world out to their "people" world!

Vintage Roadside: Any fun memories of things maybe going not quite as smoothly as hoped for?

Dian: There is one that comes to mind. We would form a "human circle". One girl's neck would be between my ankles and my neck would be between another girl's ankles and so on, I think we would have 6 or 7 of us forming this circle underwater, and yet, wait, there was more - we would then use our arms together and actually spin the circle around and around! All this while remembering to maintain the circle height to the center of the windows and keep in time with the music! Well one time the girl that had her ankles around my neck kicked my air hose out of my mouth! I tried to maintain my position in the circle as long as I could (without an air hose) but finally had to break rank, and the circle (oops), and swim to the top of the tank. Unfortunately when this would happen all the audience could see was a pair of tangling legs kicking and twirling at the top of the glass tank. Not a professional moment - but one necessary to sustain one's life!

Vintage Roadside: We've heard stories of Aquamaids having their hair turn green. Did you also end up with green hair?

Dian: A downside of the mermaid job was definitely the hair issues! For the most part we were blondes that first year (Barbara was a brunette) and we were asked to let our hair grow as it would "wave" more underwater if it was longer. The chemicals needed for the pool were a bit harsh and we spent hours on end underwater, thus creating a green shiny cast to our blonde locks! When our hair dried it was stiff and broke easily - as I mentioned a bit of a downside! You could pretty much spot an Aquarama mermaid on land by the looks of her hair!

Vintage Roadside: Except for the green hair it sounds like the perfect summer job. Unfortunately you had to leave early that first year. What happened?

Dian: I swam in the original show through July that summer but I developed a huge ear infection. The tank was fairly deep, and for the beginning of some of the scenes we needed to swim and rest on the bottom of the tank before the lights and music would start. With an ear infection the pressure from the depth of the tank really hurt. I would try to swim in from the side, or only rest on the bottom for a few seconds but in the end I just couldn't stand the pressure. The doctor told me I would have to stop going underwater for at least 3-4 weeks, thus ending my mermaid career.

Vintage Roadside: So you still had a month of summer vacation left. Did you end up stuck at home the next month?

Dian: A highlight of this misfortune was an unexpected trip! It was the summer that the World's Fair was in New York City and my parents arranged for me and my two younger cousins to fly to New York and meet up with my other cousins that had been touring Europe in a VW bus. We waited for the bus to arrive via ship and attended the fair for a week, then all piled in the bus and drove cross country...Quite an adventure!

Vintage Roadside: Looking back how does it feel to have been one of the Aquamaids?

Dian: At the time it all seemed fairly normal. All of my friends had jobs around the lake - some sold tickets to the country shows, some worked in gift shops, some were guides at the attractions and others pumped gas for the marinas...

Looking back I think maybe part of the attraction was that it was a glamorous job. I felt pride in being asked to swim in the original season. There was a lot of responsibility given to us to pull this whole crazy idea off - remember, for the most part the cast was from Missouri, and had never seen or heard of a mermaid show let alone perform in one! We pretty much went on blind faith that the show could actually happen. Being young helped, what fifteen year old doesn't think they can do anything? Ha!

Vintage Roadside: Before we go we wanted to ask about your memories of the Johl family.

Dian: I have only fond memories of the Johls, like the Johls my family were transplants. Mrs. Johl reminded me in part of my own mother. I always believed she was a "show girl" at heart. She designed all of our costumes to be figure flattering, colorful and flashy - "when in doubt add a sparkle!!" must have been her theme. Mr. Johl was the perfect compliment to the "sparkly" Mrs. Johl. He was daring to build and undertake such an idea - imagine mermaids in Missouri! He had a vision and with the help of his family was able to see it come true. All in all a great team!

Vintage Roadside: Thank you so much Dian for sharing some of your history with us. It's always an honor to talk with an Aquamaid!

Dian: You're welcome!

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Vintage Roadside Visits: Aquarama Aquamaid Dian Sevra - Part 2

Let's rejoin Dian and the rest of the 1964 Aquarama cast as they complete their initial training for the debut of the Aquarama...

Vintage Roadside: You were lucky enough to have a very special co-worker that first year - former Weeki Wachee performer Barbara Hodgson. Do you remember Barbara?

Dian: Yes, I remember Barbara. She must have been in her early twenties, and with me being 15 she seemed very worldly and glamorous. She had made the trip alone to Missouri to teach and train a group of fledgling mermaids in a few short weeks. At the time, being 15, I neither worried nor thought about anything more than what I would wear and where I would go on the next date, but looking back that was a very large responsibility given to Barbara!

I remember she was so patient explaining all of the plans, the routines, the training, the eating expected and the importance of stretching and excercising to build endurance. I remember we would all sit in the lobby of the Aquarama on a regular basis and stretch together and visit and get to know one another. I'm sure it must have been a lonely time for her and yet she pulled it off! Mission accomplished!

Former Weeki Wachee Mermaid Barbara Hodgson

Vintage Roadside: Before we jump in and talk about the performances we wanted to ask you about the costumes you wore that season. Do you have any memories of the costumes?

Dian: I do remember several. For the most part we wore white two-piece suits and then would put on various skirts, vests, etc. with velcro for fast costume changes! Remember, after a scene we would either swim to the side of the tank behind a partition and change the costume underwater (hooking the costume pieces securely so they could not float away) or we would swim back up the tunnel to the ladder, climb out of the tank to the dressing room, change the costumes very quickly, climb back down the ladder, swim through the tunnel and find our position underwater - Whew!!

The costumes were simple, to convey the idea of the act, but very colorful and sparkly! Much time and thought were put into the creation of the costumes. Mrs. Johl must receive the credit for their beautiful design. They needed to look light and beautiful, yet hold up to being pulled and yanked upon for quick changes. They also had to hold up as they were underwater, then dried, then placed in the water, etc. over and over and over again!

Vintage Roadside: So here we go! Memorial Day Weekend 1964. Do you remember the theme for that first year?

Dian: The show that original year was an underwater tour around the world. You, as an audience member were traveling around the world, and at every port you would dock and scenes of the mermaids in that part of the world would unfold for the audience. I remember a bullfighting scene with a matador and bull, Hawaiian wrap skirts, English Guard's jackets, circus acts from France, etc.

Vintage Roadside: Was there one part you really wanted to perform?

Dian: I always loved the routines with the mermaid tail! That first summer Barbara did that scene the most as it was more difficult than it looked. The tail, of course, was full of water and was sooo heavy! And swimming horizontally, kicking your legs together, maintaining your position in the middle of the glass, waving and smiling was crazy difficult! I just thought it was the ultimate routine though. If you were a real mermaid what could be better?!

Vintage Roadside: Let's talk about the shells. Did you get to pop out of a shell?

Dian: Yes, I maintained residency in many a clam shell! I remember we would climb down a ladder in the dressing room into the darkened tank, hold our breath and swim down a dark tunnel and then out into the main tank and find "our" clam shell. When you were curled up in the lower part of the shell you would grab the strap and pull to lower the shell top then just lay there curled up in the shell patiently waiting for the lights to come on and the music to begin!! Actually with the weight of the water the opening of the clam shell could be difficult as they were heavy. A little trick was to grab your air hose and put it inside the shell as you were raising the "lid" and the force of the air bubbles would assist in the lifting of the shell.

Vintage Roadside: Any other memories of the clam shells?

Dian: They introduced live fish that summer - not sure if they lasted long term? They were the large goldfish that were yellow but also they had icky black ones with bulging eyes. Sometimes you could feel something inside the shell with you and I always hated it when I had to share the interior of my clam shell with a fish friend waiting in the dark for the lights and music to begin!!!

We hope you'll join us for Part 3 of our interview with Dian as she shares more of her favorite routines, what led to her departure from the Aquarama and her thoughts on how it felt to be an original Aquarama Aquamaid.

Jeff & Kelly

Friday, September 17, 2010

Vintage Roadside Visits: Aquarama Aquamaid Dian Sevra - Part 1

One of the most rewarding parts of our years-long Aquarama research has been the opportunity to talk with many of the people involved with this unique attraction once located in Osage Beach, Missouri.

We're thrilled to bring you part one of our interview with Aquamaid Dian Sevra - a member of the original 1964 cast of the Aquarama. After months of training for that first season, Dian's career as a mermaid came to an abrupt halt after two months of performing. In addition to her time as an Aquamaid, Dian also performed in local water ski shows and spent time working at her family's resort at the Lake of the Ozarks. Let's take a trip back to 1964.

Vintage Roadside: How did you first hear about the Aquarama?

Dian: Marc (Marc Johl, son of Aquarama's founders) and I were classmates at The School of the Osage.

Vintage Roadside: So the two of you lived in the same school district?

Dian: Actually no. Although I should have attended school in Camdenton, the high school at that time was not accredited so my parents who wanted me to be able to attend college paid tuition for me to attend The School of the Osage.

Vintage Roadside: How old were you when Aquarama came along?

Dian: I was 15 years old.

Vintage Roadside: Do you remember how you landed the job as an Aquamaid?

Dian: I really don't remember the details. I think it was along the lines of - I knew Marc from school...I could swim...and I was willing!

Vintage Roadside: You also lived fairly close to where the Aquarama building was being constructed didn't you?

Dian: Yes, the Aquarama building and parking lot were on the highway right at the end of our lake road.

Vintage Roadside: Were there any other factors you can remember that led to you becoming an Aquamaid?

Dian: One of the main reasons I swam at the Aquarama that first summer is a bit convoluted.  I had also been asked to ski in the Tex Bemis Water Ski Thrill Show that year, but being 15 I didn't have a driver's license yet. The Ski Show was at Bagnell Dam, which my father thought was too far to drive illegally, however he didn't seem to mind if I drove to the end of our road and turned into the Aquarama parking lot - so I became a mermaid!

Vintage Roadside: Had you been working at your parent's resort (Robin's Resort) before this?

Dian: Yes, and although they had a yard boy and a maid it seemed like I was on the clock 24/7. I wanted to go and earn my own money and this seemed like the ticket for me!

Vintage Roadside: Did you already know the rest of the cast members that summer?

Dian: Marc and I had 56 students in our graduating class which I think was the largest class up to that point. I believe we also had six sets of twins...weird...anyway, I digress...Living at the lake at that time everyone pretty much knew everyone else.

Vintage Roadside: We've heard about the unheated outdoor pool used for training that first season. Do you remember that?

Dian: Oh yes, I think we were a lot crazy!! We would go to school each day and then after school we would all meet at the pool of a motel along the highway in Osage Beach. I believe it was like April and the water was sooo cold! All of us were good swimmers but this type of swimming was all new to everyone.

Vintage Roadside: One of the critical parts of performing at the Aquarama was using the air hose. Do you remember learning to use the hose?

Dian: We had some sort of generator on the pool deck and air hoses running from it to the swimmers in the pool. A huge part of swimming with an air hose is learning how to regulate your breathing, in part by biting down on the hose with your teeth so you can maintain your position underwater. Too much air, you tended to float, too little air and you sank.

Vintage Roadside: It sounds like holding your position for the routines was one of the hardest things to learn. Aside from the temperature did the motel pool pose any other problems in your training?

Dian: In the motel pool we had to "imagine" where the glass for the tank would be. And then we had to learn the routines. I don't believe we could hear the music in the pool at the motel - another problemo!

Vintage Roadside: Was it difficult learning the routines?

Dian: We had to coordinate our moves not only with the music but with our cast mates. Believe me, swimming and being a mermaid was much more difficult than it sounds. It might sound dramatic and glamorous, but in truth it was very controlled, difficult, challenging and took a lot of stamina and strength!

We hope you've enjoyed Part 1 of our visit with Dian! In Part 2 we'll raise the "Curtain of Bubbles" for a look at those very first Aquarama performances.

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside

Thursday, September 9, 2010

SCA Conference right around the corner!

With the Society for Commercial Archeology 2010 Conference less than a month away, we wanted to remind you that early registration ends September 15th! You can find a handy link to register here.

The conference is being held in beautiful NW Arkansas and here are a few of the many great things offered:
  •  An opening reception at the restored Dickson Street Inn
  • Two bus tours with highlights such as Dinosaur World, Thorncrown Chapel, lunch at the Crescent Hotel, the Sky Vue Cabins and Kopper Kettle Candies.
  • A full day of roadside-themed paper presentations
  • A limited edition SCA 2010 Conference t-shirt designed by SCA member Rick Kilby and produced by Vintage Roadside
  • Closing dinner at the 1902 Powerhouse building

Remember to pack an extra memory card for your camera - we made our first visit to the Arkansas Ozarks last fall and we're still speechless!

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Tiki Oasis 2010!

It's hard to believe Tiki Oasis 2010 has already come and gone! Tiki Oasis can sometimes feel a bit like Christmas - weeks of prep, an event that flys by and the next thing you know you're standing in your living room with a suitcase in your hand, sunburnt, a bit bleary and wondering how it all ended so quickly.

Some of you may know that we added a new element to our Tiki Oasis experience this year. We presented a symposium we've been working towards for years on The Aquarama - an underwater show once located in Osage Beach, Missouri. We truly enjoyed having the opportunity to share one of our favorite stories and we want to thank all of you that attended. Special thanks to Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid for being our very amazing guest, and also to Marc & Ann for their friendship and generosity. Look for more Aquarama material coming soon!

Photo courtesy of Michael Contos. Visit him on Flickr here.

Another highlight for us was bringing back a vintage cocktail recipe not served or seen in roughly 40 years. The Aquarama Sling. If you were lucky enough to grab one of the 500 gift bags you received one of our recipe cards. For those of you that didn't end up with a card we proudly offer the recipe below. Bottoms Up!

Here's a quick rundown of how our days went:

Thursday - A great dinner with friends at The Red Fox Steak House (very cool place) followed by the opening party at the Bali Hai. The high point of the evening was Marina's performance with The Tikiyaki Orchestra - wow! You'll see bits of the performance in our video below.

Friday - Our Aquarama symposium, grocery shopping (Bathroom Salad anyone?) and a perfect evening watching the show from the balcony of our room.

Saturday - The Vintage Roadside booth was open for business! We introduced three new designs again this year and had a great day. Saturday night favorites included Charles Phoenix, the Lampshades and a mind-blowing performance by Ape.

Sunday - Rolling out the Vintage Roadside booth for another fun day, and a great poolside set by the Martini Kings!

Here's where some of you head for the airport and arrive home a few short hours later. Us? We load up the car and head 1100 miles north. The plane might be faster, but it's almost impossible to convince the pilot to swing back for another look at that big fiberglass statue!

We enjoyed some time with friends along the way home, enjoyed our first lime flavored Crush, didn't enjoy those horrible cheese chips at a mini mart on Sunset Blvd., almost melted from the heat in Stockton, napped in a few rest areas (Hello Weed, CA!) and that brings us to today - already crossing off the days in our calendar until we can all do it again!

Thanks again to everyone that was a part of the weekend - we truly appreciate it!

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside

Monday, July 26, 2010

Aquarama Update

For several years now we've been working to put together a history of Aquarama, Lake of the Ozark's lost mermaid and underwater show.

It was slow going until we were fortunate enough to talk with Janie - one of the original Aquamaids. (If you'd like the read the interview we did with her you can find Part One here and Part Two here.) We're beyond thrilled that after talking with Janie we've been able to talk with other past employees, Aquarama visitors, and now a member of the family that created, owned and operated this unique piece of history.

We're looking forward to doing our part in preserving this unique history beginning with our symposium at Tiki Oasis on August 20th at 10:00 am:

Beautiful Girls That Live Like Fish: The Story of Aquarama, World Famous Mermaid Attraction.
10:00 am at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Diego.
Tickets available here.

If you're headed to Tiki Oasis this year we hope you'll join us for our presentation! We'll also have Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid (all the way from Florida) as our special guest to answer any questions you might have regarding life as a professional mermaid.

We'll be working to share what we've put together via future presentations, our blog, and through our Aquarama history section on the Vintage Roadside website.

Also, if you have Aquarama memories to share we'd love to hear from you on the blog or through our contact form located here.

See you soon!

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Let's catch up!

Howdy all!

What's shaking at Vintage Roadside you ask? Here's an update of a few of the things we've been working on along with a few things coming up later this summer.

We had our first photography show here in Portland. Thank you to everyone that came down for the opening reception at The Original - we had a blast! And thanks again to those who purchased our art work. We hope you're enjoying the photographs!

We took a short road trip down to the southern Oregon coast. We're suckers for chainsaw carvings.

We were vendors once again at the Rose City Round-Up hot rod show. We've been all three years and this was the best yet!

We've endured endless rainy days to finally get out and shoot a few more things here in Portland. Wonderful to see the 6th Ave Motel neon sign restored.

We restocked our Jet Lanes, Thunderbird Lanes, 29 Palms Roller Rink, Hula Hut & Walters Maroon Ambulances t-shirts.

Here are a few upcoming things for the summer. We'll post more details about these events as we get closer.

The July Antique & Collectible Expo. Over 1400 booths of just about anything you can imagine. We always find that one thing we never even realized we needed.

Jake the Alligator Man's Birthday Party. A Friday night bachelor party followed by a hot rod show and Bride Of Jake contest. We're also designing the limited edition t-shirt for the party again this year.

Hotrod-A-Rama returns this year. One of the great traditional hot rod shows in the NW.

Tiki Oasis. We'll be launching 3 new t-shirt designs and presenting a symposium on the history of Aquarama.  Our symposium will also include a very special guest - Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid!

Now that we're caught up we'd love to hear about your summer plans! Any road trips coming up? Eat at a great drive in lately? Win a round of miniature golf? Feel free to leave a comment here or post over on our Facebook page located here.

Hope to see you this summer,

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Come see Vintage Roadside at Crafty Wonderland this weekend!

Howdy all,

If any of you are planning on attending the very first Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Spring Sale this weekend stop by and say hello to your friends from Vintage Roadside! We'll be there all weekend ready to provide you your first new t-shirt of 2010.

There will be over 200 booths of Portland area goods to choose from so bring your wheelbarrow or possibly a pack mule, although we're not sure of the Convention Center's policy regarding service animals, so maybe leave the mule at home.

  • What: Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Spring Sale
  • When: May 1st & 2nd. 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Where: Oregon Convention Center, Hall D. Portland, OR.
  • How Much: Free admission!
See you there!

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sale at Vintage Roadside!

We're in the throes of spring cleaning here at Vintage Roadside and have decided we need to make some room. What this means for you is that you can now add our Moonlight Motel and 77 Ranch Tourist Court t-shirts (men & womens) to your Vintage Roadside t-shirt collection for a song. That song would be titled "Sweet! $12.00 + shipping." Limited to stock on hand. Our normal retail price is $20 for men and $22 for women.

First up is our Moonlight Motel shirt. The Moonlight Motel was once located in Independence, Missouri (boyhood home of Harry Truman) and offered telephones, radios, and room controlled heat. You can pick one up for $12 + shipping on our website here.

Our Moonlight Motel shirt is available for both men and women in Navy Blue.

Next up is our 77 Ranch Tourist Court t-shirt. Dallas, Texas' 77 Ranch was the place to stay along Hines Blvd. in the 1940s and offered shady porches and rustic wooden furniture. You'll find our $12 + shipping 77 Ranch t-shirt on our website here.

Our 77 Ranch shirt is available for men in Light Blue and for women in Orange.

We hope everyone is enjoying spring!

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ontario, California - Charles Phoenix, Graber Olives, and Thunderbird Lanes

Before we jump into our tour of vintage Ontario, we'd like to begin the wrap up of our Palm Springs trip with a few thank you's.

First, a huge thanks to everyone that stopped by to say hello and pick up t-shirts at the Charles Phoenix show and the following day at the Vintage Airstream show. We truly appreciate it!

We'd also like to say thank you so much to Jacques Caussin, Nickie McLaughlin, and Christy Eugenis from the Board of Modernism Week for letting us be a part of the show. We had an amazing time and can't wait for 2011! And a tremendous thank you to Charles Phoenix for spending a Sunday showing us the sights and sharing the history of his hometown of Ontario.

On to the field trip!

Our first stop of the day was at the Ontario Museum of History & Art. Housed in Ontario's second city hall, the museum has a wonderful collection of local artifacts on display. A few of our favorites were the items from the former Hotpoint factory, the Road Ways exhibit, and the neon sign from the former Thunderbird Lanes.

One of the highlights of the Hotpoint display was seeing the great product names once used by the company. Can you imagine the buzz at the dinner party once you announced you were now the proud owner of a brand new "El Stovo"?

Happy Hotpoint. Most famously portrayed by Mary Tyler Moore in the Hotpoint commercials of 1954. We're calling dibs on this outfit for Halloween 2010!

The mighty Thunderbird! When we began our initial research on Thunderbird Lanes as one of our t-shirt designs, we were thrilled to discover the museum now housed the sign. We'd been looking forward to seeing the sign in person and have to say, seeing a 17' wide neon Thunderbird at eye level is quite an experience. (If you'd like to see how our Thunderbird Lanes t-shirt turned out you can click here.)

The museum is open Thursday - Sunday and admission is free. If you're ever in the area it's well worth a stop. You can find more information on their website here.

Our next stop was Graber Olives. In business since 1894, Graber's is the type of place we love to visit. We're huge fans of "factory" tours and the tour of Graber's did not disappoint. Along the tour we saw how the olives were cured, canned, and labeled as well as hearing stories of the people behind the olives past and present. Two of our favorite parts of the tour were the equipment they still use, which dates to the 1940s, and Betty, our tour guide.

Tours are offered throughout the year along with group tours by request. You can learn more about Graber at their website located here.

Below, Betty explains how the labeling machine (over her right shoulder) operates.

A shot of one of their prize winning boxes designed by artist Rex Brandt.

We wrapped up our day in Ontario at Vince's Spaghetti - an Ontario institution since opening in September of 1945 as an open air French Dip stand. According to Vince's website they "serve over 9000 meals a week, over 1500 miles of spaghetti each year, and over 21 tons of spaghetti every month."

Below, Charles shares his tips on making the most of a visit to Vince's with Mrs. Roadside as well as trying to convince her that his dubbing of us as "Jelly" is a win-win for everyone.

After a great day around Ontario we pointed the car north and headed back to Vintage Roadside World Headquarters - with a few detours along the way.

Mini Jake stretches his legs in the pet area of a highway rest stop.

Hope everyone had a nice start to their week,

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vintage Airstream and Trailer Show - Modernism Week 2010

We were excited to be asked to be a part of Modernism Week's first-ever Vintage Airstream and Trailer show held at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. And while we were there as vendors, we did manage to sneak out of our booth for a few photos. Here's a little of what we saw out there.

The shot of the Ace Hotel below is intended to be used as photographic proof that there are places where the sun is actually visible to the naked eye in the month of February. We also wanted to say thank you to the staff of the Ace - we had a wonderful stay and everyone we worked with went above and beyond. Thanks again for everything!

We were pleased to have the opportunity to spend some time over the weekend talking with John and Steven from Funky Junk Farms. They have an amazing collection of just about everything we love (old signs, vintage cars, vintage appliances, etc.) and one of the finest collections of vintage travel trailers out there. Below is John's 1948 Westcraft.

A perfect 1952 Silver Streak owned by Better Shelter.

The Ace provided a great setting for this vintage Airstream.

One of the highlights of the weekend was meeting John from Scoot Palm Springs. We had noticed people zipping around town on scooters and thought that seemed like the perfect way to see the area. John's company rents scooters for half days, full days, and weekends. You can pick your scooter up at the Ace Hotel or for an additional charge they'll even bring them to you.

In addition to friendly scooter rentals, John possesses mad modeling skills. Below you'll see John in our Chi Chi t-shirt. (Thanks, John!)

A detail shot of Steven of Funky Junk Farm's 1954 Spartan Royal Manor.

Here's the Spartan Royal Manor in all its glory.

We had a fantastic time and want to say thank you to everyone that stopped by our booth to pick up t-shirts, say hello, and offer tips on things to see in the area. We're already counting the days until Modernism Week 2011!

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside