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