Reminiscing - Ocean City of Yesteryear.
I didn't see this thread so I thought I'd start it. I like talking about the Ocean City of my youth, and I thought others might, also. I'd love to hear personal experiences or stories relating to the Ocean City of yesteryear.
Circa: 1976. I'll begin with one experience. When I was in my 20's, my girlfriend and I went to the Bonfire one night just for drinks and the hope of finding the love of our lives. Back then, the Bonfire was a very upscale restaurant and night club. Anyway, a man called us over and introduced us to two men, one of them being Bobby Boyd, and I'm hoping I'm remembering his name correctly. He was a football player for the Baltimore Colts. Being from Bucks County, PA, I hardly knew any of the Eagles, let alone the Colts, outside of Johnny Unitas. He was such a nice man, which impressed me the most, but that ring he wore was unreal. I'd never seen anything like it. It was a championship ring with a big stone in the middle of a football stadium with the scores on the side. All that on one ring. We left shortly after speaking with him on our way to another place to find the loves of our lives. I found mine 6 years later, and we've been married 22 years.
Thought I'd try to get this going a bit more. Anyone remember these things from the O. C. of yesteryear?
The early 1960's when someone thought it was a good idea to allow a huge Budweiser sign at the Inlet, facing the boardwalk. It was down by the next year.
The Knickerbocher, an old ferry boat from New York that someone was going to turn into a floating mall. It was docked somewhere in the bay around 15th St, I believe.
Some old restaurants and taverns: The Ship's Cafe, Dick Vach's Quarterdeck Restaurant at 55th St., The Upstairs/Downstairs, Mermaid Inn, The old Sand Bar at 33rd and bayside, The Hurricane Nightclub, The Tides Inn and The Lackawanna.
Old Mr. Rappaport's clothes pin toss on the boardwalk, The Band Shell, Dances on weekends at the Pier Ballroom, The Ice House, The Baltimore Colts annual parade down Baltimore Avenue.
Dr. Frank Townsend, who, along with his father, Dr. Frank Townsend Sr., took care of everyone in Ocean City from the early 1900's till the early 1960's, when Dr. Townsend hired a helper. I believe Dr. Townsend retired in the 1980's. He passed away a few years ago.
Madeline Brady Studio of the Dance. Miss Brady, my Aunt, taught practically all of Ocean City, along with surrounding areas where she would also hold classes, tap dancing, ballet, acrobatics, jazz, baton. One of her students, Linda Harrison from nearby Berlin, was "Nova" in the original movie, Planet of the Apes.
Surfing at Indian River Inlet, because you weren't allowed to do it in O.C.
Wow, I wish I had some of those memories. Sounds wonderful. But I never got to go on a vacation till my kids were teenagers in 92. Ocean City was the first place I ever went on a vacation. It just wasn't something my family did growing up. We never had a car till I was 12 years old. But hopefully, my kids will have memories of OC and they will take their kids there too. It's a wonderful place.
Great stuff songbird, thanks for sharing.
Most of my memories come from circa 1980s:
- The old haunted house at the Pier Rides. I can't remember the name of it now, "Haunted Manor" or something like that. It was a fantastic, walk-through haunted house. Great interior design work, and very scary. At one point, they had a guy who would chase you out at the end with a chainsaw! They don't make haunted house attractions like this anymore. I think it closed in the lates 80s, or early 90s.
- Bozo the Clown at the Pier Rides. He sat in a cage and you tried to dump him in the water by hitting a target with baseballs. Nothing special about this, but it was Bozo himself who was, how shall I say it, "unique". This guy would taunt you with all kinds of derogatory insults! "Your girlfriend is so ugly....." - That kind of stuff. Not exactly family friendly stuff, but for a teenager, it was hilarious! Bozo got the boot sometime around the late 80s, early 90s.
- Freak Street! AKA S. Division street. The street that leads into Trimpers Amusement Park. Back in the 80s this street was known as "Freak Street", because it was the main hangout spot for "Metal Heads" and "Punks". On any given night, you would see dozens on them just, well, hanging out! Again, this O.C. tradition ended sometime in the late 80s, early 90s. Loitering is not allowed there anymore.
- Elvis, AKA "Norman". Elvis was a well know O.C. institution for over 30 years! All day, every day he would cruise up and down the boards in his polyester shirt and pants, and cowbay hat, while carrying an old 8 track cassette recorder (which always played Elvis tunes), while humming along with a kazoo. My Dad knew him from the 60s. I know him from the lates 70s and 80s. I have not seen him in years. He may have passed away, but I am not sure.
- Lombardi's Pizza on the boardwalk. Best damn pizza in O.C.. They closed the boardwalk shop several years ago, unfortunately. They still have one in North O.C.
- The Day the Moose Fought Back. Well, not really, but one night in 1988, some drunk patron at the Purple Moose Saloon ripped the moose head off the wall and threw it through the front window! Must of scared the hell out of people walking passed it on the boards.
- The George Washington Hotel is on fire! I remember it well. I was at the Atlantic Hotel (The best hotel in OC I might add. We always stay there) when we heard all of these sirens. The hotel suffered major damage and never re-opened. It was one of the oldest hotels in OC.
- The Wild Mouse ride at Trimpers. Extremely fun Wild Mouse ride that was operated by a very scary looking man. He had literally 2 or 3 teeth in his mouth and he was always covered in grease! This ride closed sometime in the late 80s.
- Laughing Sal from the early 30s! I really miss her! Ok, just kidding.
Anyway, that's all I have right now. Ocean City is still my favorite place to go for vacation. I have converted my wife (she loves it now), and my kids really love it. I've come full circle: Fun times as a kid, fun times as teenager/young adult, and now, fun times as a parent.
Man, writing all this down really has me hungry for some Fischers caramel popcorn, some Pollock Johnnie's sausage, some Dolle's candy, and some Dayton's fried chicken!
Is Ripley's where the Haunted Manor used to be? I wondered. And Laughing Sal is inside the Lifesaving Museum on the second floor. Thanks for jarring my memory.
Wow, this is an old thread!
The haunted house was called Morbid Manor. It was near the end of the Pier Rides, left-hand side.
"Boardwalk Elvis" is alive and well. He must live in or around the Ocean Pines area, because I see him occasionally riding his bicycle along Rt. 589 (Racetrack Rd.).
Originally Posted by JJ_Walters
Irish House (now the Purple Moose)
The Maryland Inn
The bowling alley on the 2d floor of the casino on Caroline (?)
The old Coast Guard Station,it was moved to the inlet and became the Life Saving Museum.
The Roosevelt Hotel(Tony's Pizza is there now)
The Capitol Movie Theatre
The Showell Theatre ( yes,2 movies in downtown OC
Edward's Five & Dime (now a department store)At one time there was a swimming pool there(before my time)and it is now used as the basement(I was told)
The Beach Club at 9th Street
The Hamilton and Stephen Decater Hotels
The Blue Mirror (The Purple Dahlia) a real honest to goodness nightclub on 9th street
The original Billy's Sub Shop next to the Cork Bar
THAT'S ALL FOR NOW,I'M OLD AND THIS THINKING TIRES ME OUT,NAPTIME
I am glad to hear that Elvis is still alive, I have a photo of him from back in the 1990's...blue poly., suit and his stereo....he was standing where the Ripleys now is. A blast from the past.
Geez, I remember Elvis from the 70's and 80's. I've been going to OC since about 1974 (average about every 2-3 years then) and almost every year since 1990. I remember the haunted house also from the 70's. My favorite and still a tradition for us is Tony's pizza. It used to be this dark long narrow pizza and beer place before they remodeled and put in windows on the side and added the upstairs and made it a family place. I also remember walking by the Purple Moose around 1979-80 and watching a guy escorted out by police with what looked like a knife wound in his hand, bleeding on the boards. That place has a history. I also remember riding the bus all day for something like a quarter when I was 14-15. Of course that was back when Phillips was the place for seafood and OC was basically shut down from Oct-May. We went for a day trip in March 1979 and literally had to search for a place to eat since most places were closed for the off season and there was almost no traffic. Not like today!