Shakey’s Pizza Parlors….Where Have They All Gone?
When I was in college, one of my first jobs was at the Shakey's Pizza parlor at Latham Circle just north of Albany.
I tried to explain this place to Dan on my show the other day. He just couldn't grasp the idea.
Shakey's, founded in 1954, was a pizza joint where everybody sat together on long picnic benches. There was an old time piano player and banjo player strumming along up front, with the words to the songs playing on the screen (founder Shakey Johnson was actually a banjo player).. At night they showed Laurel and Hardy silent movies. The only menu item was pizza. Lots of beer was served. And that was it.
The signs were all very corny and old-fashioned, like "Ye Olde Restrooms," "Ye Olde Coat Rack," etc. Really kind of cheesy.
I had to wear a red striped vest, a straw hat and a string tie. I looked like Magilla Gorilla.
The place was always packed, mostly with families in the day and drunken Albany college students at night.
At the height of "Shakeymania" there were more than 500 pizza parlors. The nearest one to Oneonta was in downtown Binghamton. Today there are only 58, with 51 of them in California and the rest in the far west.
How many remember going to a Shakey's?