Archive for October, 2010

I seriously had to pull over and catch my breath (and snap a photo) when I drove by the Roxy Theatre on Main Street in Northampton, PA – just north of Allentown. Even now my blood sugar levels are peaking just gazing at the photo of this fabulous vintage movie marquee and neon sign!

Roxy Theatre Northampton PA

It is this type of unexpected, glorious find that makes road trippers and suburban archeologists like myself drive through unfamiliar hamlets and visit sleepy little downtowns.

When I saw the sign for the Roxy looming ahead of me, unlit in the late afternoon light, I was astounded. When I saw that the theatre was still open, I was hopeful. And when I saw that a movie was going to start in a little while, I called Retro Roadhusband and let him know I would not be home for dinner!

I futzed around the area until dusk and as I drove past the theatre I noticed that the sign was not lit, but there was a line of folks gathering to buy their tickets.  I pulled into the free parking lot located right behind the theatre and headed up the alley towards the entrance. I was charmed to be behind an older couple, out on a hot date on a Saturday night, and bid them a good evening as I walked past them.

Going to The Roxy

What a treat was waiting for me as I turned that corner!

Roxy Theatre Closeup Northampton PA

The Neon was ablaze, not one light out, and the sign was in motion with flashing lights and neon. Oh how beautiful, especially at this dusky time of night. I could not stop myself from taking a jillion photos from every angle, across the street, right below it. I could not get enough.

Roxy Theatre Front View Northampton PA

Glorious neon sign, check. Free parking, check. How about the fact that the tickets are THREE DOLLARS, yes just $3.00 to see a first run movie on the big screen. I took my dollar coin change from the nice lady in the booth and handed my ticket to the uniformed usher in the lobby.

Roxy Theatre Entrance Northampton PA

Once inside, thrilled that the interior was as lovingly well kept as the exterior, I admired the art deco design of the space, and promptly realized I needed to find the ladies room.

Roxy Theatre Northampton PA Art Deco Statuette

Little did I know that the dashing gentleman in the suit who directed me upstairs was in fact owner Richard Wolfe. He began kindly answering my questions, between greeting patrons, directing folks to the proper line at the snack bar, and selling gift certificates. When I told him a little about Retro Roadmap he was more than happy to allow me to snap some photos and gave me a wonderful history of the place.

Click here to read part 2 of my fab visit to the Roxy – AND see some video of their cool sign sparkling in the night!

Roxy Theatre
2004 Main St
Northampton, PA 18067-1314
(610) 262-7699

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He wasn’t the Beatle, but my dad.

John E. Lennon passed peacefully today surrounded by family and listening to Cole Porter. Dad, You’re The Top and are missed.

dad-and-schwartz-newfoundland-navy(He’s the cute one on the left. Taken in Newfoundland when the Navy back in the late 50’s – early 60’s playing hockey with his pal “Schwartz” – in their bathrobes, wearing ties, for no apparent reason. Love that)

This extended obituary was written by dad’s long time college friend and hunting buddy, our “Uncle Quack” – I remember dancing the twist with my dad at my cousin David’s wedding!

John Edward Lennon, III of Needham and North Falmouth , passed away peacefully with his family by his side on Thursday, October 21, 2010 at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Needham, at the age of 73, after a long debilitating bout with Parkinson’s disease.

John grew up in Dedham, and graduated from Dedham High School. Despite losing his father to a heart attack he attended Harvard College, and graduated with an AB degree in History in 1958. Following college he attended Officers Candidate School with the U. S. Navy in Class 41, and was commissioned Ensign in March, 1959. After training at the Aviation Ground Officers School in Jacksonville, Florida, and instruction in Air Intelligence in Washington, DC, he was assigned tours of duty at the Operational Control Center in Argentia, Newfoundland, and later as Air Navigation Officer at Quonset Point, Rhode Island. After his active duty tour he attended Harvard Business School and graduated with an MBA degree in 1964. His working life was focused in Boston while living in Needham, and involved as a financial analyst the management of funds for initially the Old Colony Trust Company followed by a long career at Colonial Management as a Vice President heading the Tax-managed Trust, and Colonial Utilities Fund.
Most of his recreational life, other than support and devotion to his family, involved a love of the sporting life, including over forty years of bird hunting, ownership of a succession of Weimaraner dogs and strong support of the breed for hunting and field trialing, collector of books and written materials on the sporting life, duck decoys, double barrel side by side shotguns, and art work done by the late Boston sporting artist Aiden Lassell Ripley. He was elated to have qualified for the Orvis Doubles Club with the shooting of two woodcock on a simultaneous flush in 1982. He focused some of his activity with a summer home acquired in Falmouth on Cape Cod. His knowledge of popular songs from the past was encyclopedic, and he was an early performer of the twist from Chubby Checker. John enjoyed playing golf with his friends both in Needham and on Cape Cod, and participated for years in a monthly evening playing bridge with a regular group.
John maintained his active reserve status with the Navy and attained the rank of Captain, with a retirement ceremony held on the USS Constitution. He was the historian for the Weimaraner Club of America and a member of the Yankee Weimaraner Club, as well as a member of Ducks Unlimited and the Ruffed Grouse Society, and throughout his life was a strong proponent of the Weimaraner breed of dogs. John enjoyed golfing and was a charter member of Ballymeade Country Club in North Falmouth. He remained devoted to his church and his family for all his life and will be missed by his many friends.
He was the beloved husband for 46 years of Kathleen (Hickey) Lennon and the loving father of Elizabeth “Beth” Lennon and her husband Cliff Hillis of Phoenixville PA, Pamela Lennon Carr and her husband Sean of Stoughton and Kathleen “Katie” Lennon of Norwood. Brother of Deanne Kurriss of Bass River. Dear Papa of Kaileigh Lennon, Madeleine and Jack Carr. Also survived by 3 nieces and nephews. Interment with Military Honors at St. Mary’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donation in John’s name may be made to Lewy Body Dementia Association, 912 Killian Hill Road SW, Lilburn GA, 30047.

If you’d like to extend your condolences on the official funeral home page here’s the link to the Obituary for John E. Lennon III at Eaton Funeral Home

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Getting ready for the RetroRoadmap / Roadside fans meet-up in Scranton on November 14, and making a map of some of the fun places to check out before, during or after this day of fun!


Click here to check out the map of some of the places in the Scranton, NEPA area that might be of interest to Roadbloggers everywhere!

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Sent from the Retro Roadphone

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I often get myself in a tiz on a road trip up to Mass, not being hungry when I know I’m passing cool old places in New Jersey to check out, and then ending up ravenous in some uncharted territory in Connecticut. So yesterday I put fuel in the tank early with a perfect pit-shop at the White Rose System Diner in Roselle NJ, and mmm what a cheeseburger!

White Rose System Diner Facade

An early 1960’s era Kullman diner, the White Rose is an easy detour off of the Garden State Parkway and open 24 hours- good to know for future roadtrips. The diner has 2 entrances on either corner, the door to the right has the Kullman tag over it.

White Rose System Diner Entrance

I sat myself down at the counter and admired the blue formica walls and porthole door to my right. The tiny stools at the windows were an adorable short version of the ones at the counter. One of the most unusual features I noticed right away is that the grill is smack dab in the middle of the diner, where other counter seats would be!

White Rose System Counter (the grillman is actually standing in front of the grill in this photo- go figure!)

They had plenty of standard diner fare on the menu, as well as a specials board, but I was hankering for a cheeseburger and man was I happy with this one! Totally hit the spot.

White Rose System Cheeseburger

I know the folks who were working there (and eating there) were looking at me a bit oddly as I tried to casually snap these photos with my camera (note the couple in the window in the top photo) but you’ll be pleased that this place was added to the Retro Roadmap!

White Rose System
201 E 1st Ave
Roselle, NJ 07203-1301
(908) 241-9639

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With all this talk of cool vintage and retro exhibits happening in the Boston area, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the exhibit of wonderful color photos of classic movie theaters, taken by Stefanie Klavens and on exhibit at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington, MA. Her exhibit “The Art of The Movie Theater” was extended from its original closing date back in May, and is on display until October 31.

From the National Heritage Museum writeup:

Boston photographer Stefanie Klavens’ interest in 20th-century popular culture inspired her to begin shooting these images of grand picture houses over a decade ago. Regularly attending the Senator Theatre while growing up in Baltimore, Klavens always felt there was something special about the theater. Only years later, however, did she fully appreciate its 1930s Art Deco design. Not surprisingly, it was among the first venues she photographed.

Her continuing photographic journey has taken her all over the country, photographing ornate city palaces and intimate small-town movie houses. As more of these historic buildings close, Klavens documents this vanishing era in American culture.

senator-theatre-stefanie-klavens-retro-roadmap(This is the Senator Theatre in Baltimore, where Jenifer would see movies as a kid, and where good friends of Retro Roadmap T&P Shreeve had one of their first dates!)

About the Project: Klavens works in the traditional method, shooting on film, using only available light and long exposures for her interior views, and printing the photographs herself. All prints are loaned by the photographer.

sands-theatre-brush-co-stefanie-klavens-retro-roadmapI’m hoping to be able to make it to the exhibit in my chockablock full weekend at home, and you should make a plan to see these great photos as well!

The Art of the Movie Theater
National Heritage Museum
33 Marrett Rd
Lexington, MA 02421-5703
(781) 861-6559

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This exhibit of vintage travel postcards highlighting Boston is on display at the Boston Public Library until March 31,2011, so make a plan to check it out the next time you’re in Beantown.

Greetings from Boston, Mass. [front]

An Exhibition of Postcards Celebrating our City

Now through April 30, 2011
Central Library Copley Square, Johnson Lobby

Greetings from Boston, an exhibition of vintage postcards currently on display in the Johnson Lobby, allows visitors to tour “vintage” Boston through postcards depicting some of the city’s most famous places and spaces in bygone days.

Click here to read more about this exhibit showing some of the Boston Public Library’s extensive postcard collection, which totals nearly 165,000 cards!

The Boston Public Library is worthy of a visit itself, and you can even get a guided tour of the BPL, highlighting the architecture of Charles Follen McKim and Philip Johnson, as well as the many works of famed sculptors and painters.

The Boston Public Library
700 Boylston Street, Copley Square
Boston, MA 02116

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