Sunday, August 25, 2013

Excuse me, will you sign my buns: Tony Packo's of Toldeo, Ohio

 Tony Packo's, the pride of Toledo

 Toledo native Jamie Farr, Klinger from "M*A*S*H", immortalized Packo's by mentioning it in an episode.

I had a brand new camera when we visited and hadn't quite figured out the flash yet so these shots are embarrassingly amateurish, but there you will find autographed hot dog buns from the likes of Alice Cooper, Neil Sedaka and the Moody Blues, as well as among others...

 ...Jerry Seinfeld...

...Danny Glover...

 ...the cast of "M*A*S*H"...

 ...Barbara Bush...

 ...Ray Charles, and...

 ...Art Garfunkle.

On a cross-country trip back in 2006, we took a great detour off I-80 west toward Toledo and stopped at Tony Packo’s, an historic restaurant known for their Hungarian hot dogs and other delicacies since 1932. Already legendary with locals, Packo’s was given a huge boost by actor Jamie Farr. A native Toledoan himself, Farr played Corporal Max Klinger, a cross-dressing, Section 8-seeking medical corpsman who was also from Toledo on the TV series "M*A*S*H". In one episode, a man playing a television newsman talked to Klinger about his hometown. Farr ad-libbed, “If you're ever in Toledo, Ohio, on the Hungarian side of town, Tony Packo's got the greatest Hungarian hot dogs. Thirty-five cents...” "M*A*S*H" scriptwriters wrote Packo's into five subsequent episodes, including the two-and-a-half-hour final episode in 1983. In addition to its grub, Packo’s is also known for its collection of autographed hot dog buns. In 1972, Burt Reynolds visited the restaurant and commemorated the event by signing a bun. This started a tradition and was followed by scores of celebrities' autographed hot dog buns (actually, longer-lasting hot dog bun facsimiles) now enshrined on Packo's' walls. They even have one signed by the Iron Lady herself, former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. They have a fun souvenir shop to commemorate your visit and make your friends envious, too, so if you're ever in Toledo, do as Klinger says, and give Packo's a try. It's the best deal in town, frankly speaking.

Barnacle Bill lives

Here's a nice story by Bill Geist of CBS Sunday Morning about the rebuilding of Barnacle Bill's Mini Golf of the Jersey Shore, including a swell Muffler Man.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Thanka verra much, Elvis

Tupelo Hardware, where Elvis's mama Gladys bought him his first guitar. That's the truly wonderful Howard, pointing to the spot on the floor where Elvis and Gladys stood in 1945.

Elvis Presley "left the building" for good 36 years ago today. We've seen a lot of Elvisabilia on our roadtrips, not the least of which was the Tupelo Hardware store of Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis's hometown. You can read all about it here. Thanka verra much.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Signed in Penn.: Views from Quakertown, Pennsylvania and thereabouts

When the always-fabulous ModBetty of Retro Roadmap organized a roadtrip blogger summit last fall at Sines 5 & 10 in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, I had the opportunity to take some snaps of the exquisite old crusty signs around town on a beautiful sunny day. Hamlets like this remind me of Tommy Lee Jones's face... all craggy and melancholy and full of hard-as-nails character. I caught a few more hardscrabble veteran signs on my way to my motel in Allentown, another metropolis with some hard miles on it.

Keep fighting, Pennsylvania, you rusty old beauty. You're the Penn. ultimate.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The main drag: Scenes from Commercial Street, Provincetown, Massachusetts

At the very tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, sits the utterly unique destination known as Provincetown or P-town. In season, the population balloons from 3,000 to 60,000 -- mostly tourists who want to bask in its picturesque, coastal early 1600s New England settlement aura, combined with a funky, hedonistic, let-your-freak-flag-fly anything-goes ambiance. My family spent many a pleasant summer vacation in P-town and I always got a kick out of watching the square-as-can-be tourists mixing politely with the eye-popping "there's something you don't see everyday" locals. While the whole area is fun and beautiful, Commercial Street is the place to be. It's cam-P, hap-P, and laid back like a hip-P (you know, P as in P-town...get it?).

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Larry Nowlan: you're the greatest

A tweet from the indispensable informs us of the passing of sculptor Larry Nowlan, creator of the sensation Ralph Kramden statue that stands in front of New York City's Port Authority bus station that we've blogged about before. We'd like to tip our bus driver's hat to Mr. Nowlan and his great work of art. It's a regular riot, pal.