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Maze Mania, 3013 US 17 Business Garden City: 2013   16 comments

Posted at 10:59 pm in closing


The concept of Maze Mania was simple: You go into the maze, find the cheese, and get out of the maze. Best time wins.

It was a little more complicated in execution. The "cheese" was actually a box size wooden mock-up wedge with an electric rubber stamp device embedded inside it. Every day, the cheese would be moved to a different part of the maze, where it would be put on a special stand near an outlet. When you started the maze, you would be given a timecard with your start time, and when you found the cheese, you would stick the timecard into the block, which would stamp a picture of a piece of cheese on the card (proving that you completed the task), then you would try to find the exit, where your final time would be recorded. Assuming you were a kid, your parents would probably be on the observation deck overlooking the maze shouting down more (or less) helpful hints. Presumably, if you were a college student, it would be a bunch of drunk friends instead.

I only ran the maze, officially, once, probably about 20 years ago. I thought it was a lot of fun, and always wanted to take some younger cousins or other relatives there, but somehow never made it happen. I noticed earlier in the year that the place didn't seem to be open in what should be a viable, if not peak, time, and so made a point of looking in on it this summer as I would drive by at various times which led me to the conclusion that it was closed.

I finally made the time to stop and have a look at it. The big mouse billboard was in obvious need of cleaning, and the door sign said "closed for the season" without specifying what season that was. I have concluded it was probably fall 2013.

Finding my way back into the maze itself, I saw lots of signs of neglect and general decrepitude. The worse bit was a whole section of maze wall that had fallen down (or been knocked over) but overall there were a number of loose boards, and vegetation encroachment. Still, I think a good handyman with some lumber and paint could make the place runnable again with no more than one or two days work.

As you can tell from the pictures, it was a rather gray day, and started raining when I was out in the maze, and yes, I did get lost. (You can always find your way out of a maze by following the right wall if all else fails, but it may not be the shortest route by any means!)






























UPDATE 5 February 2019 -- The building and all maze partitions are gone now. Simply an open lot is left:

Written by ted on August 4th, 2014

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16 Responses to 'Maze Mania, 3013 US 17 Business Garden City: 2013'

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  1. It's places like this that were ALWAYS fun at the coast of SC.
    Putt Putt, Water Slides, etc. I think whoever came up with this idea (Maze Mania) was a genius. I mean it could have / should have made money. There was nothing to it. Charge people to walk around on their property, outstanding idea.
    I wonder what happened? Usually the owner gets greedy, takes too much money out, smokes a little crack (Sorry), or lets untrustworthy people manage the business.
    Anyway, I still think someone could make a go of this if the rent was not to high.


    5 Aug 14 at 4:51 pm

  2. I forgot to ask, what did one win if they had the best time?


    5 Aug 14 at 4:53 pm

  3. Wow I had no idea this place was still around! I remember going through it many many years ago. As Rick said, these are the kinds of things that were always fun to do at the beach..."good clean fun" as it were. I've said it before, and I'll say it again Ted, I especially like these beach posts you do on occasion. They bring back so many memories especially since that area has changed so much!


    5 Aug 14 at 6:02 pm

  4. @Rick -- I think the "prize" was just bragging rights within your group of maze runners, like winning a round of putt-putt.

    @TC -- I've got a couple more beach posts coming up I think, though this one was more fun to shoot.


    5 Aug 14 at 11:10 pm

  5. @Tahoe - I agree with you about the "good clean fun". I miss things like mazes (maybe I'll try out a corn maze this year), putt-putt golf and old fashioned arcades with skee ball, pinball machines and the classic arcade games. I spent plenty of time (and money) in places like these and enjoyed every minute of it!!!


    6 Aug 14 at 12:07 am

  6. @Homer- I loved the baseball machines! I remember one arcade had the 10 cent ones, and one had the 25 cent...and the "bowling" game that had a ball like skee ball but fake pins would go up when you rolled it. Surfside pier arcade had one of those back in the 80s. Hours of fun playing that with my granddad as a child! When we finish our Media Room, it's my dream to find and buy one of those baseball machines for it.


    6 Aug 14 at 10:48 am

  7. @TC - The last time I was there, Garden City SC has an open air arcade still in operation across from the Garden City Pier and they still have the old baseball machines. Must be 15 to 20 of them side by side. Can't remember if they at 10 or 25 cents, I think they are still 10 cents.

    And there is a restaurant right next to them on the corner across from the pier, a hot dog restaurant called Sam's Corner, World Famous Hot Dogs. You can get about any kind of food there you want but they are known for their dog's.

    We use to stay at Ocean View motel across the street from there, an old hotel but it was great, I was up late one night when my wife and son, who was about five at the time (my son that is) were already asleep. It was around 12:00 midnight, I went out on the balcony and was just having a smoke. I looked over and Sam's was still open. They stay open 24 hrs a day. They were lit up with bright neon and flashing lights. The sign read "World Famous Hot Dog's". I got to thinking to myself "Hmm... a world famous hot dog would be pretty good about now" So I took out on foot.

    I went in, music playing on the jukebox, a couple beach bums at the counter having drinks and talking to the cook. They sell beer and the hard stuff, I could tell the cook behind the counter was a local, and he was wearing an apron that had mustard, ketchup and what looked like the juice from some kind of meats on it, hamburgers or whatever, and various other stains all over it that gave the appearance he had been on duty for quite some time.
    He asked if he could help me and I said "Yea, give me one of your world famous hot dogs" he said "Regular or foot long?"
    Well, foot long of course. To my surprise, he reached in the cooler, grabbed a foot long dog and literally "THREW" it into the deep fryer, you know where they cook fries, from about three feet away. My first thought, pretty good aim, my second thought, deep fryer?

    Okay, he had my attention then, still carrying on a conversation with the two beach bums, he withdrew my dog after about a minute, placed it in a bun and asked what I wanted on it, well there is only one way to eat a dog as far as I'm concerned, mustard, onions and chili. A little slaw or kraut now and then is not out of the question, but never mayo or ketchup. He then hit it with some mustard out of one of those squeeze bottles, ladled some chili on top, grabbed a small hand full of onions, and again, he "Threw" the onions on top of the chili and slid the completed dog across and down the counter to me.
    Oh - My - God... a deep fried hot dog is the way to go. I have been deep frying mine ever since, except on the occasions I fire up the grill. Outside of the dog is crispy, and the inside is juicy and hot, and it "Snaps" when you bite into it.

    Anyway, TC - give the arcade and Sam's a try, walk across the street and go out on the pier, and then let me know what you think, you will not regret it. It's as close as I have been able to come to the old times at the beach.


    6 Aug 14 at 4:12 pm

  8. OH, and I forgot, on the weekends, out at the end of the pier, they have a large gazebo and bar, bands play all night long. Tables and chairs and always good people. We always have a great time and at a reasonable price.
    After 36 years of marriage this is one of the few places my wife and I have such a good time, we get up and dance like we did when we were young, Uh hmm, when we were younger. It's great.


    6 Aug 14 at 4:24 pm

  9. @Tahoe - I had forgotten the old baseball machines. I haven't seen one of those in years! The bowling machines I remember looked like shuffleboard tables that had the pins suspended at one end. You slid a puck down the table to 'knock down' the pins. Do you remember those?

    One of my favorite memories were the old arcade tents that used to be set up at the state fair. There was something about the smell of the hay on the ground mixed with the 'aroma' of all of that greasy fair food on a chilly fall evening that just made if so much fun!


    6 Aug 14 at 8:57 pm

  10. @Rick - I always loved the neon covered dives that used to be at the beach. There was a time YEARS ago a couple of buddies and I went to some greasy spoon diner (no clue what the name of it was), but the cook reminds me of the guy you mentioned. He weighed about 300 pounds and his apron looked like it would stand up on its own. He had this cigar in his mouth that had about an inch of ash hanging off the end. If the ash fell on the grill he would just scrape it or wipe it off and keep on cooking. Good eats!!!

    Speaking of hot dogs, I agree that fried hot dogs are awesome. If I can't grill them I will grab a cast iron skillet, pour about 1/2" of oil in it and get it screaming hot. If they are good hot dogs I'll fry them until just crisp and brown. If it's the $1.00 a pack jobs, I burn them to a crisp just like my bologna.


    6 Aug 14 at 9:10 pm

  11. @ Rick- I will have to go there next time I'm down that way...I've been to Garden City once or twice many years ago, nice to hear it still has that nostalgic feel to it! It's been about five years since I ventured down toward Myrtle Beach. I was so disheartened to ride down the boulevard and see the gaping hole where the Pavillion used to be, it made me not want to go back.

    @Homer- I do remember seeing one of the puck style bowling machines as a kid, I had forgotten all about that. The old arcade tents at the fair were awesome! I miss the old days of the "classic" fair rides like the Scrambler and the Spider - and not having to wait in line and walk through a metal detector to get in!

    Another game I'd love to have for our future media room is an Atari Hercules pinball machine. There was a small arcade on Ocean blvd in Myrtle Beach that had one for a time back in the 80s and I loved it. It cost like .75 or $1 to play it back then. It was HUGE and used a cue ball as the ball. Considering a very limited number of them were manufactured, I'd probably have to sell my truck and a kidney to ever own one though. LOL


    6 Aug 14 at 9:24 pm

  12. The Garden City arcade is still there, or was last year (I think it was last year..) -- I went in and played a number of rounds of Galaga. I can still get up to around stage 15 pretty regularly, but after that it falls off quick.

    If you by baseball machines, you mean the ones that have a pinball-machine form factor, shot a metal ball at your 'bat' flipper, and have tin cutout men that run around the bases -- there are still a number in one of the oceanfront arcades on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. The Pavilion wasn't the only arcade there, and last I checked this one was still going strong. It also had a bank of Galaga machines too.


    6 Aug 14 at 10:39 pm

  13. Up around level 15 was the best I could ever do on Galaga. I would hate to imagine how I would do today. Had a buddy that could kick butt on PacMan. He would work up a sweat playing that game.

    I can't tell you the last time I was in Garden City. The last time I was in the beach area was to go to a wedding in Surfside about 5 yeas ago and that was just an overnighter.

    This was round the last time I went to Charleston as well. Drove out to Folly and got so dismayed with all of the development in the area that it made me ill.


    6 Aug 14 at 10:54 pm

  14. My dad's sister is married into a family that has a beach house in the Wilmington area and I've noticed the area in & around where you turn off to go to the island where their house is see increasing development in recent years...welcoming things like a Lowe's, Harris Teeter, etc.

    I never went to the Myrtle Beach area. The biggest thing that springs to mind to me is that it's a very seasonal airline market.

    I understand airline news so well that Garden City to me conjures up images of Garden City, KS which is one of several cities American Airlines has managed to provide with service to Dallas/Ft. Worth and giving the community a major upgrade in the level of airline service the community has.


    7 Aug 14 at 2:49 am

  15. @ted- yep those are the baseball machines I'm referring to. I know the arcades you mean, I spent a lot of time in there playing those machines as a child. I've never had a visit where I didn't win a prize playing those. Heck, when hubby and I were engaged, we went to Myrtle Beach and I took him to play them. I won a prize then too..LOL! I especially like the .10 baseball machines that I think were in the Gay Dolphin arcade. They were the older version that came out in the 50s if I'm not mistaken. You could get on one machine and the little pinball would fly out so fast you could barely hit it, then another would be really slow pitch. My granddad would always get several rolls of dimes before our beach trip so we could have hours of fun playing. We vacationed mostly in Surfside when I was younger, but we would drive up to the arcades in Myrtle Beach a few times each trip.

    I was never much of a Galaga player, but I loved Pac-Man. After reminiscing on here last night, Hubby and I were looking at vintage video games online, and I was having a fit over a Baby Pac Man machine. There weren't many of those around here, it was the video game on top and pinball on the bottom. I've been sorta out of commission for the last few weeks with a leg/knee injury, and this post has provided me with some much needed entertainment and nostalgia. :-)


    7 Aug 14 at 10:15 am

  16. I love those old Williams Baseball games. The neon sign on the wall says 18 Runs Wins! After just a couple of tokens I won my wife a stuffed shark last year.

    I was thinking I wanted one of those machines for the garage but you know what? The special feel of the arcade with all the noise and activity going on around you would be missing.

    When I was a kid in the mid 60s I delivered an afternoon paper to a tavern in my small town and took a break and spent a couple of hard earned dimes on baseball and bowling machines. Some things you just never out grow.


    7 Aug 14 at 10:58 am

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