Saturday, August 26, 2017

I Love a Parade

Today I have two fun photos featuring a good old fashioned parade in Anytown, U.S.A.! These days parades are expensive affairs, and many cities and towns have discontinued parades that had existed for decades. Such a shame.

This first shot is helpfully dated "November 1959", and shows a group of Shriners - the Color Guard - presumably leading the way for a much larger group of be-fezzed marchers behind them. Be-fezzed I say! "Hardy's Theatre" is showing "Girls Town" and "Hot Car Girl" - both movies that might fall into the "exploitation" category, with pretty girls and crazy criminals.

Say, where is Hardy's Theatre anyway?

Fresno, California, that's where. And it was originally called the "Liberty Theatre" (opening in 1917), and was changed to "Hardy's" in 1931. As you can see here, the theater has fallen on hard times. Fresno is in the midst of a slow downtown revitalization, but it is unclear as to what the future holds for this old movie house.

This next photo was unlabeled and undated - if anybody recognizes this stretch of road, please chime in! I'd hoped that the businesses might help in figuring out the location, but "Kress", "Leeds", and "Pay Less Drugs" are all chain stores that could be anywhere. 

Still, it's a fun photo of yet another colorful group of Shriners - these fellows seem to be dressed along the lines of a French Zouave soldier, with some liberties taken (neckties!).


K. Martinez said...

It's sad seeing the then-and-now pics where then it was so lively, festive and full of people and now it's like a ghost town.

Always appreciate vintage American city photos. Thanks, Major.

Nanook said...


What could be more American than a parade and Shriners, I ask you-? I thought I was gonna have to chime-in on the ID of the theatre, but you beat me to it. I do know the address is: 944 Van Ness St. AND... what a double bill-! I have a window card for Girls Town, lovingly framed and on-display.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I love a parade! The blare of a horn. A bright uniform. A handful of vets, a line of cadets....or any brigade. I love a parade!

Chuck said...

I love the sign for Buford's Appliances in the first photo - so much information - "Appliances," "When [or 'Where'] Credit is Good,""Frigidaire Products," and a helpful "TV" sign tacked on later to let folks know they service those, too.

The color guard hasn't updated their US flag yet, which wasn't uncommon that year. While 1959 saw both Alaska (3 Jan) and Hawaii (21 Aug) added to the Union, following long-standing tradition, the flag only gained a 49th star on July 4th. After the admission of Hawaii the following month, folks knew there would be a new 50-star flag the next Independence Day and most just decided to wait to replace their venerable old 48-star model.

Note the color guard also carries a pre-1965 Canadian flag along with the flags of Mexico, California, and their Fresno Shrine chapter.

The "now" photo immediately evokes Hill Valley, CA, circa October, 1985.

No idea where the last photo was taken, but note the stoplight in the middle of the street. You can just make out the crosswalk behind the marching band.

TM!, thanks for the earworm.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Wow a 5-10-25 cent store holy smokes time flies and we are getting old! The youngers don't even know what that is.

Today a pile of those coins might buy you the "bite size" "fun size" or what was just penny-nickle candy in the old dime stores. Nowadays that candy is 2 fer a buck as a teaser at the register of the 7-11, Circle K, QuickTrip or whatever serves as a corner gas/shop in your neck of the woods.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, pretty much every time I find a “now” image of a location, it has lost at least 75% of its former charm. Not sure what that means, but it is too bad.

Nanook, with the name of the theater in giant letters, I had to do my research! Otherwise I might as well hang up my blogging shoes.

TokyoMagic!, I am more of a hoedown person, myself.

Chuck, I think it says “Your Credit is Good”, They don’t know me very well! :-) I love old motel signs that advertise “color television”, when that was a big deal. I am pretty sure I have seen photos well into the 1960’s in which the old 48-star flags still show up. They must be owned by lazy people. Apparently 49 star flags are very rare and highly desired by vexillologists.

Alonzo, I am trying to think what today’s modern equivalent to the old “five and ten” stores are; I guess it would be the dollar stores? Those dumpy places! Though I admit they are handy for certain items.

Dean Finder said...

Major: The midcentury-themed Cabana Bay hotel at Universal Orlando actually advertises "color TV" on it's marquee:

Unknown said...

Parades always scared me a little; they still do.