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Archive for the ‘Myrtle Beach’ tag

Steve Miller Band, House of Blues Myrtle Beach: 8 October 2011   4 comments

Posted at 3:09 am in Uncategorized

The House of Blues at (The bankrupt) Barefoot Landing in Myrtle Beach seems to make a policy of booking major "legacy" acts into its rather intimate space. In the past, I've seen Boz Scaggs, Cyndi Lauper, The Beach Boys (Carl Wilson was visibly failing), and Blondie there.

The only problem I have with the place is that while they have a reserved seating area, the tickets don't seem to be available on the standard web site, and standing up for two hours gets old pretty quick for me nowdays.

Steve Miller has, of course, been around forever, but scored his greatest success in the mid 70s with the "Fly Like an Eagle" and "Book of Dreams" albums. Supposedly he has never allowed a recognizable picture of himself on an album cover, and at the peak of his fame, could ride his bike around venue parking lots without being recognized. He has never had what you could call a "great" voice -- it's a very servicable reedy tenor, and the fact that it's never been perfect means that it hasn't dropped off much either: he was in good vocal form for Saturday's show. The Steve Miller Band is now apparently a six-man outfit. Two guitars, a bass, drums, keyboards and a (very flamboyant) second vocalist.

As you'll recall, when I saw The Doobie Brothers in North Charleston, and Al Stewart in Newberry, I was surprised at how lax the venues were about cameras. In the past it almost seemed like places would break your kneecaps before letting you in with a camera, but apprently, as in school, the Battle of the Cell Phone has been lost, and other cameras reap the benefit. Since I regretted not taking the closing-cam to those shows, I checked on the HOB ticketing site, and non-removable-lens cameras are allowed, so in it came.

The curtain opening number was "Jet Airliner" (with the synth prologue [mostly missed here] playing before the curtain dropped), and Miller went on to play pretty much all of his hits and well known songs: "Jet Airliner", "Abracadabera", "Wild Mountain Honey", "Serenade To The Stars", "Swingtown", "Dance Dance Dance", "Take The Money & Run", "Jungle Love", "Space Cowboy" (dedicated to William Shatner), "Livin' In The USA", "The Stake", "The Joker" (acoustic), and "Rockin' Me". He also played a few blues numbers (it was originally "The Steve Miller Blues Band") that really let the second vocalist shine.

In short, it was an excellent show, and if you get the opportunity to catch him, do.

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Cruel Joke   4 comments

Posted at 10:03 pm in Uncategorized

Written by ted on February 26th, 2011

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Myrtle Square Mall, Kings Highway (Myrtle Beach): 2006   19 comments

Posted at 1:31 am in Uncategorized

First let me note that although no description of Myrtle Square Mall would be complete without the famous clock, I did not take that picture. It appears in the Wikipedia entry for the mall, and has been explicitly released into the public domain.

What can I say about Myrtle Square Mall? For many years, it was the mall on the Grand Strand and the "general" shopping destination on any beach trip. To be sure, there were outlet and specialty malls like Waccamaw Pottery, but MSM was the "it" place.

As kids, of course, The Pavilion was first in our hearts and minds, but over the years we took many trips to the mall as well.

It had a different mix of retail than anything in Columbia, with anchor stores I never saw elsewhere like Peebles as well as standard stores like Sears and Eckerds. For me, the main attraction was the book store just off the clock court. I cannot now recall the name, but it was either completely independant, or part of a small chain that never opened in Columbia, and I found that it had an interesting selection of science fiction books that I didn't see elsewhere. Recall that in those days the only books you knew about were the ones you saw on the shelves -- there was no Amazon where you could search for any book in the world, or that would recommend books to you based on your previous purchases. I can particularly recall finding there a a Virgil Finlay collection I had never heard of, and had no clue existed. Finlay was an old-school SF pulp illustrator who had an amazing black & white line and stipple style that was unsurpassed (in my opinion) until Stephen Fabian came on the scene, and in retrospect I think Finlay's work has aged better than Fabian's. Anyway -- I bought the book :-)

The record store (whose name I have also forgotten) seemed to have slightly different selections than the Columbia stores as well.

Apart from the stores, obviously I have to say something about the clock. It sat above the central court, and was a marvel of conceptual design. The version pictured above is in fact one of the later versions -- the first version had 60 colored balls suspended from the ceiling in a circle with suspened numbers (similar to those pictured) at every five minute mark. The bulk of the balls were one color, with the ones at the five second intervals being another. As ever second passed, another ball would illuminate until all 60 were lit at which point they would all go dark and the next numeral would be illuminated for the current minute. Hmm, or maybe the numerals were for the hours and there were seperate balls for the minutes. At any rate, you could sit there and watch the time pass before your eyes so to speak. It was not a particularly easy clock to read -- it always seemed to take a minute to figure out just what was lit, but it was a fun clock to read.

I remember a number of interesting solo trips to the mall. The first was when I had just started to drive. My mother and I had gone to the beach to winterize the beach house, and having done that, she agreed to let me drive while she walked on the beach. Well, that's an always risky permission to give to a teenager, and I headed straight to the mall, despite it being a 25 mile drive one way. I had no particular goal other than I was, by gosh, going to drive, but I did end up getting some Trixie Belden books for my sister's birthday from Sears of all places. Needless to say my mother was not pleased at being ditched for three hours longer than she had planned to be...

Another trip to Sears years later (and near the end of the store's life) for dryer parts also yielded a trove of retro flashlights of the kind I grew up with, and which I thought were no longer being made -- I still have four or five.

I'm unsure why Burroughs & Chapin decided to deep six the mall. Certainly it was somewhat dated, but that could have been fixed by a remodel. I suppose access was an issue, but it's not like there's an Interstate in Myrtle Beach, -- the replacement mall at Coastal Grand may have slightly better traffic at US-17 bypass and US-501, but it's not a slam dunk.

At any rate, by 2005 most of the stores had made the transition, and in 2006 they started knocking Myrtle Square Mall down. The fact that B&C owned the replacement mall meant that Myrtle Square never went through the "death of the old mall as the new mall draws stores and traffic" phase. It was not in B&C's interest to eake rents out of Myrtle Square while firing up Coastal Grand.

On the other hand, they seem not to have had any Plan B for the Myrtle Square Mall site. Currently the huge tract bounded by 23rd & 27th Avenues North on the north and south sides and Kings Highway and Oak Street on the east and west sides stands vacant (as does the other large B&C tract at the old Pavilion site). It's hard to believe that two such prime tracts in the heart of Myrtle Beach have sat vacant for so long. (Well, not completely vacant -- there's still an Office Depot which must have had a long term lease, and I saw signs of homeless presence in the bushes).

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Studebaker's, 2000 North Kings Highway (Myrtle Beach): 9 Jan 2010   2 comments

Posted at 11:24 pm in Uncategorized

Studebaker's was something of a Myrtle Beach landmark, from the same era as Mother Fletcher's and Xanadu (which both predeceased it). The club started in 1981 and celebrated their 28th anniversary in 2009.

I'm not much of a club person, but I was vaguely aware of Studebaker's as a Shag venue where the National Shag championships were held.

As of now, the web site is still up (they must have paid for a full year..) and has a number of videos taken inside the club. This story from the Sun News gives some details of the closing and blames it (or the owner does) on the anti-bike rules Myrtle Beach instituted a few years ago. I can certainly see the we want peace & quiet residents' point -- the annual rallies certainly are noisy and obnoxious, but on the other hand it's probably a bad idea for a tourist town with no industry to take steps to keep people away..

The storefront is in the process of being converted to a Dollar General.

Written by ted on November 10th, 2010

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Not a beach I want to visit.. (December 2001)   1 comment

Posted at 9:42 pm in Uncategorized

Written by ted on May 7th, 2010

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Miss Sun Fun South Carolina Pageant Headquarters, 942 Harden Street: 1960s   4 comments

Posted at 1:33 am in Uncategorized

This is kind of an interesting one in that it was totally unexpected. I know this Harden Street storefront has been a number of things, but I couldn't bring any of them to mind. Googling turns up virtually nothing -- except a page from the Spartanburg Herald Journal for 21 Feb 1962:

MISS SUN FUN South Carolina will be selected March 31 in Columbia as contestants throughout the state vie for hte title Sponsored by the Columbia Chapter of the American Business Clubs, winner of the state title will enter into competition for the national finals to be held in June at Myrtle Beach. The national winner will receive $10,000 in prizes. Application forms and rules have been sent to newspapers throughout the state. They may also be obtained from contest headquarters by contacting Miss Sun Fun South Carolina Pageant 942 Harden Street Columbia. Entry applications must be mailed before March 1.

I kind of remember the Sun Fun Festival and Miss Sun Fun being a big deal when I was little (though at the time of this article, I would have been 1 year old and oblivious). I had always thought of it as strictly a Myrtle Beach thing though, and didn't know it had state-wide entrants, and apparently even a national reach.

Indeed, while The Sun Fun Festival & Miss Sun Fun still exist, they now appear to be owned by the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, and I can't really recall hearing much about either since the 1970s.

It's still something nice to think about during dreary Februaries though..

All Star Cafe / Club Kryptonite, 2925 Hollywood Drive (Myrtle Beach): 31 October 2009   6 comments

Posted at 1:35 am in Uncategorized

Club Kryptonite was in what is actually one of the more normal looking buildings in its section of US-17 Bypass (just north of Broadway At The Beach) in Myrtle Beach. Sure it is somewhat cylindrical, has huge torches and a comic-book logo on the front, but it's not a pyramid like the nearby Hard Rock Cafe or a really awkward looking sphere like the next-door Planet Hollywood.

I would hear the Club Kryptonite commercials from time to time on the radio at the beach, and they always made it sound like a really hip, risque, happening, appealing place, except for the fact that I'm years past the target demo, don't dance, hardly drink, don't much like loud techno or hip-hop and get stopped up if there's any smoke in the air... Still I wouldn't have minded seeing the inside.

Looking at the club's fossil web page and various fliers one thing that is somewhat surprising is that there is no mention of any connection with DC Comics. It's obvious that the club's logo is meant to invoke Superman's chest shield and, of course, Kryptonite is the fictional substance that is Superman's one weakness (OK, he's also vulnerable to magic, but that's not as widely known..). Obviously the club couldn't use the famous "S" logo without permission, but apparently DC neglected to ever trademark the word "Kryptonite". (I actually think the spelling "Klub Kryptonite" would have worked a little better, appropos to nothing).

According to the Myrtle Beach Sun News, Halloween 2009 was the club's last gasp:

The party’s over at Club Kryptonite.

The business’s owner, Maximus Entertainment, LLC, was sued by Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc. on Nov. 4 for a breach of contract and served an eviction notice the day before for unpaid rent, according to court documents. The club rented the building from B&C.

Club Kryptonite, located at 2925 Hollywood Dr. in Myrtle Beach, had until Nov. 17 to vacate the building or respond to the notice, and the decision was made to vacate, said co-owner Andrew Manios.

The decrease in sales this year, combined with the increase in rent and additional insurance policies the business had to take on, made it hard to pay the bills, Manios said.

The club opened in April of 2002 and had its last night of operation on Halloween.

I believe that this is the final radio ad and that this is the final promotion:

More pictures and audio after the jump..

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Written by ted on January 16th, 2010

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The Myrtle Beach Pavilion, Ocean Boulevard: 30 September 2006   22 comments

Posted at 2:03 pm in closing


PAVILION AND MIDWAY.
MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA
"AMERICA'S FINEST STRAND"
670 Miles South of New York
735 Miles North of Miami
Home of Miss Universe Pageant of South Carolina

OK, today is an anniversary of sorts. Three years ago today was the final day of operation for the Myrtle Beach Pavilion. As it happens, I was there, and made a video essay to share with friends and family. The fact of doing that, and not really having any good forum for something like that was one of the things that started percolating around in my brain and eventually led to establishing Columbia Closings.

Below is the essay pretty much unchanged from how I wrote it then, followed by a lot of still pictures (too many, I'm sure) that I took on that day and earlier in the year:

Last Ride at the Myrtle Beach Pavilion, 30 September 2006

We didn't actually go to the Pavilion that often as kids, so the closing
shouldn't be that big a deal, but we always knew that there was the
possibility that we might go, and that possibility loomed large in our minds.

In the end, Burroughs & Chapin is a business, and they made a business decision to shut the Pavilion down. That said, they actually did it in a classy way. For the Last Ride celebration on Saturday September 30 2006, they presold tickets, each of which came with park access from 3PM to 8PM, free parking, and unlimited free pizza, burgers, corndogs, funnel cake and ice cream.

As I happened to be at the beach at the time, I reserved a ticket and took a CVS disposable video camera (as well as my regular film camera, and a disposable film camera) to record some last memories.

This page is devoted to the short videos I shot that day. I have converted the DVD which CVS gives you into an AVI file for each scene. While these files are not huge (except for the all-in-one file), you may not be able to stream them unless you have a fast connection. If clicking your left button on a picture does not start your movie player, or if the clip plays jerkily, I recommend clicking your right button over each picture and selecting "save target as" or the equivalent to download the clips. They should be playable with Windows Media Player on Windows, or "mplayer" on Linux.

We start off on the roof of the Pavilion parking garage, looking out at the roller coaster and other rides:

Moving to the South side of the garage roof, we look down at the lines forming to get into the Pavilion:

Coming off the roof, I took a brief shot of foot traffic on Ocean Blvd, noting the fact that the Pavilion Arcade is already closed:

Collecting my ticket and stepping inside the park, we see some kiddie rides:

More kiddie rides:

The very first thing I ever remember from the Pavilion is this 1905 German Band organ. The second thing I remember is the blow dryer in the restroom. I had never seen such a thing! I only remember Daddy being there on that trip, probably because he would have been the one taking me to the bathroom (which is alongside the organ), but doubtless Momma & Sus were around.

I was disappointed that Sugarbug could not see the organ on her trip to the park, but it was closed for repair at the time. When you consider that it is 102 years old, I suppose that's not surprising. I'm not sure it comes across in these videos, but the organ is loud!

The placards describing the organ claim some of the original cardboard punched music sheets are still used. Somehow I doubt that "Ob La Di Ob La Da" was that popular in 1905!

The only actual ride I remember from that (presumed) first trip to the Pavilion is this boat ride, which I thought was possibly the neatest thing in the world:

No trip to any amusement park would be complete without the Bumper Cars:

My attempt to film while driving a Bumper Car ended quickly when the
attendant stopped the ride. I thought I had broken a rule, but he was
after a kid who was old enough to ride, but not drive:

The swings is a nice ride because it goes around, but not enough to make middle aged stomachs queasy:

I hopped aboard a wooden pig for a ride on the carrousel. While not as old as the band organ, it is pretty old. I noticed that the carrousel music was coming from a sound system and not the antique music box. Perhaps they didn't feel it was worth repairing for the time left. I have no idea what will happen to the carrousel or band organ. It would be a shame if they were left to rot:

The Log Flume is the park's intermediate water ride. More wet than the
"boats", less soaking than the "river ride":

There was a pretty good beach band playing at the amphitheatre. The name escapes me, but they had just finished a very good version of "Carolina Girls" when I started filming. This song was well done, but not one I would call a classic:

I wrestled with whether to ride the big coaster or not. On the one hand, I was coming down with a cold and had something of a headache, on the other hand, I'd never have the chance again. Riding the intermediate coaster "The Mad mouse" decided me I wasn't ready for the big one, but here are some people who were:

Here's another shot of the Carrousel, which was strikingly pretty with
the setting sun glinting off the mirror panels. I like this one a lot; there's so much going on in this shot and some appropriately elegiac music for the last sunset on the working park:

Finally, we finish with the band organ again to take us out:

This is the whole video in one 306 megabyte, 20 minute lump:

After running out of video, I stayed until the end of the day, and rode
the final run of the Bumper Cars. It was somewhat of a melancholy experience, but I'm glad I did it.

Ted, 3 October, 2006

Still pix after the jump..

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Garcia's Mexican Restaurant / Roadhouse Grill, 215 O'Neil Court: 1990s   12 comments

Posted at 11:04 pm in Uncategorized

This real estate report says this building was built in 1986 -- I would have guessed a bit earlier than that. I was first aware of it when it was a Garcia's Mexican restaurant. I'm pretty sure that this was the spot anyway, though the facade was different (the real estate link says the place was remodelled in 1996..). As I think I've written somewhere, Columbia has a hard time getting and / or keeping "national" Mexican chains. We never had a Rio Bravo, Chevvy's, Chi-Chi's or On The Border, and we lost Garcia's and Don Pablo's. El Chico seems to be the only one that sticks. To be fair though, I think the whole Garcia's chain has fallen on hard times, and they closed their Myrtle Beach location several years ago.

After Garcia's the place became Roadhouse Grill which was sort of a Western place like (but not as good as) The Texas Roadhouse on Two Notch, but that didn't last long either. After that I think the building was empty for several years until it's most recent incarnation as a Bingo hall.

UPDATE 13 May 2010: Just for grins, here's the old Garcia's building in the Kroger plaza off of US-17 in North Myrtle Beach:

Written by ted on April 27th, 2009

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Hard Rock Park / Freestyle Music Park, US 501 at Myrtle Beach: 2 Jan 2009   16 comments

Posted at 1:17 am in Uncategorized

Well, given the events of last Friday, I suppose it's time to do a closing on South Carolina's biggest white elephant. That's the date that Hard Rock Park "chose" to move from Chapter 11 reorganization to Chapter 7 liquidation. Why?

The park, which said it was worth $400 million when it opened in April, was unable to attract any bidders willing to pay at least $35 million for the park at a Dec. 15 auction, according to court documents.

I find that amazing, even with all the other financial beef-wittery that has come to light lately. The Sun News's stories on the park are filled with comments from the locals to the effect that they could have told the owners what was going to happen, although it also appears that many people did tell them. One of the articles (which I don't have a link to right now) detailed the park's origins: Apparently the pitchmen were thrown for a loop when they were told that the Hard Rock empire was approachable for branding the rock-and-roll park they were pitching. The problem was that they weren't pitching a rock-and-roll park, but a "standard" amusement park, and weren't planning to pitch to Hard Rock, but they brainstormed some rock-related ride names on a lunch napkin and sold the concept. That's the kind of story that becomes a legend if a venture succeeds, and a cautionary tale if it doesn't...

In the event it seemed that the owners were better at promoting to corporations than to tourists, and aside from the unforseeable blunder of trying to launch a venture in the annus horribilis of 2008, they priced tickets too high ($50 + $10 parking), didn't advertise, and didn't promote with local hotels.

I had two chances to visit the park. The first was on the Fourth of July 2008, when I was taking pictures of Waccamaw Pottery. As I was standing in the parking lot, I could see the Led Zeppelin roller-coaster running in the distance, but it was about lunch time, and after that, I ended of taking a helicopter ride over the beach instead. I also had a week to myself at the beach in August, and thought about taking in the park then, but it was hot, I didn't feel like getting on 501 in tourist season, and I figured it would be better in October, but that was not to be as the doors closed in September.

Oh well, it's only rock and roll!

UPDATE: Here's a link from commenter "Beach Guy" that has the origin details I mentioned.

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