Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Remembering Indianapolis, 1963

I don't have any pictures of Indianapolis from the early 1960's yet so these two from 1940 will have to do.

Here is one of those cute anonymous things that sometimes show-up in my mailbox. Since I remember 1963 pretty well, I thought it was more interesting than these sometimes are.

This is the city: Indianapolis, Indiana. The year ~ 1963.

  • A McDonalds hamburger, fries, and large Coke: 45 cents. At Burger chef; cheeseburger, fries, and a large Coke; 50 cents. (The Big Chef would not appear until 1966.)
  • A Big Chief, onion rings, and a Chocolate Coke at the TeePee drive-in; $1.20.
  • Frisch's Big Boy platter and a drink were $1.35.
  • A gallon of City Service Ethyl was 26 cents.
  • A pack of Lucky Strikes cost 20 cents (25 cents out of a cigarette machine).
  • Movies at a downtown theater (Circle, Lyric, Lowes, > Indiana, or Keith) 50 cents (before 6 PM ).
  • City bus fare was 20 cents. (2 cents more for a transfer).
  • Monthly phone bill: $4.95 (average). "Information" was free.
  • P. O. P. (Pay One Price) all day rides at Riverside Amusement Park, $1.00.
  • A day of swimming at Longacre Pool, 35 cents. (But you could go to the Garfield Park pool for 15 cents.)
  • Pay (Indiana Bell) telephones were black and "boxey" in brown booths, (ashtray equipped) with cushioned seats and sliding glass doors. A call would cost you 10 cents, but a call to the operator or Information would send your dime clanging back into the coin return. Were there still party lines?
  • Copy of The Indianapolis Times newspaper, 7 cents.
  • You could smell Wonder bread baking all over the city.
  • Half gallon of milk, 25 cents.
  • Bouncin' Bill Baker was spinning the platters on WIBC.
  • The "Emperor" and Jackson "Q" Sundae and Jay Reynolds were two? of the WIFE Good Guys.
  • Selwin was hosting the Saturday afternoon Tarzan movies on WISH-TV Ch. 8
  • Sammy Terry was giving us all "pleasant nightmares" on WTTV, Channel 4. Wilhelmina followed Sammy with an even worse movie!
  • Happy Herb brought us Popeye cartoons from the "poop deck" studio prop at Ch. 4. Cowboy Bob was still in college; Janie was a Ch 4 "intern."
  • David Letterman was a student at Broad Ripple High School.
  • Jane Pauley was a student at Warren Central.
  • Harlow Hickenlooper and Curley Meyers kept us laughing with the 3 Stooges on Saturday mornings (Ch. 6, at 9:00)
  • Dick Summers hosted the Teen Dance Party on Ch. 8. You could do the twist at Fox's Skating Rink, or at The Whiteland Barn.
  • Herman Hoglebogle was fixing problems for readers of The Indianapolis News. (Herman was created by Tom Johnson, a graduate of Broad Ripple High School 1951).
  • The Hinkle Fieldhouse, the State Fair Coliseum, and Clowes Hall were the Biggest, the best, and considered "state of the art.
  • "Debbie Drake was leading the morning exercises on Ch. 8. Jack LaLane was doing the same on Ch. 6.
  • Frances Farmer hosted the Channel 6 late afternoon movie on WFBM TV (6).
  • Ruth Lyons 50 / 50 Club took up 2 hours from 12 Noon to 2:00 PM on WLW-I Ch. 13.
  • There were no Country music radio stations in town.
  • There were many German language radio programs but no Spanish language stations. FM was strictly for classical or "show tunes."
  • You could live in Marion County, but not be a resident of the city of Indianapolis.
  • 38th Street was the line between the "haves" (North) and the "have nots" (South).
  • Greenwood was considered to be a "hick" town.
  • Castleton was a gas station.
  • Fishers was a train depot.
  • Carmel was a truck stop on Rt. 31.
  • Avon was a red flashing stop signal along Rt. 36.
  • Eagle Creek was just THAT!
  • The "max" was dinner at the King Cole Restaurant, and a show at the Embers on the North Meridian"strip" of upscale night life.
  • "Dream proms" were held at the Indiana Roof, and dinner at the Key West Shrimp House o r at Brody's". (21st &Arlington), or the Fireside steakhouse.
  • Greyhound and Trailways buses came and went from the Traction Terminal (old Interurban) shed on W. Market Street. You could catch a train to Chicago about once every hour at Union Station.....($12.00 round trip)!
  • You could fly out on a TWA or PanAm "jet" airliner at "Weir Cook Municipal Airport."
  • You got your prescriptions filled at Hooks, Haags, or Rexall drug stores.
  • You got groceries at Kroger, A & P, Standard, or Marsh supermarkets. (or at Porky Lane).
  • Interstate 465 was a short 4 lane "highway" that served only to connect you to the "big" State and National Routes
  • No cable
  • No Internet
  • No self-serve
  • No drive-thrus
  • No ATM's.

Times sure have changed in forty short years! Have fun remembering....


Anonymous said...

What a great little trip down memory
lane. As the old tune goes, thanks
for the memories.

Peggy Hart

Anonymous said...

That was soooo much fun.....thank you for the time and trouble it took to give the rest of us a tickle. Sort of bitter sweet, really.

Terry Peirce

Turbokat said...

As my mother mostly listened to the radio during the day, I vividly remember Indianapolis radio in 1963. Along with Bill Baker on WIBC were Jim Shelton and Tom Doyle. (Incidentally, I recently read of Bill Baker's passing at the age of 77.)
Dick Summers, Barney Pipp and Ron Hoefer were on WISH radio. Dick Summers Saturday morning program, by 1963, was called the RC Rhythm Carnival. Summers left in early 63to join WBZ in Boston.
WISH radio became WIFE in January of 1964 when the Beatles made their Indy debut, played by Jay Reynolds, Jack Sunday, Joe Light and Reb Porter.
Also, Indy DID have a country station..."Country-politan" WIRE.
The rest of your memories were pretty much as I recall them, too.

soft said...

This is a bit late but I remember the Garfield Show on Shelby at Raymond. My Father visited a friend nearby, every Saturday late morning, into the afternoon. My Mom allowed me to go with and walk to the Garfield Show for the Matinee with the daughter. This was 1962/63. (I wasn't allowed to go on Friday or Saturday night, Mom said it was way too "rough".) I was given thirty- five cents for admission ($.10 cents) and $.25 cents leftover for snacks. I promptly on arriving, bought five of my favorite PayDays for $.05 each!

Dan said...

Dick Summer was on WIBC, then went to Cincinnati for a while, then came back to WISH.

Barney Pip and Ron Hofer were on WIFE, not WISH.

WISH became WAWE (while waiting for the approval of the WIFE call) in November 1963. They dropped their CBS contract, so had no national news connection when JFK was assassinated.

From another website:

"On 11/21/63 the station dropped it's long time CBS contract only to really need it the next day. Since WIFE had no network news on the day of the JFK assasination, Jay called KLIF in Dallas and got the dial in feed and taped a mike to the earpeice of the phone and ran the KLIF feed (illeagally) for the 4 days. He taped a note to the phone saying "DO NOT TOUCH".

---Dan Hughes,

Anonymous said...

That was a walk down memory lane! We lived on the corner of 4th and Elm St. in Beech Grove in the early 60's. I remember riding my bike down the dirt work that became 465, went to South Grove Elementary school, had a man 6th grade teacher that lived on a dairy farm within a bike ride from there. I remember Dick THE Bruiser and Bo Bo Brazil when wrestling was really real(LOL).

Darius Cartmell said...

My dad and I were watching some fights of Dick the Bruiser at Orange Beach, Alabama. We spent our family reunion there because the place is good and most vacation rentals are affordable. I can't help myself from laughing about the 60's wrestling. This program has truly reigned every decade.

Mike H said...

Does anyone remember Al Reed's tavern on 421 south of 38th past Crown Hill?

Anonymous said...

please help me recall the street between Capital andMarriot close to St Vincent Hospital??