A Broadway Fender-Bender

Looks like there might have been a minor fender-bender east of Pacific on Broadway on a warm night when the streets were wet. The negative is in poor shape, but there are all kinds of interesting things captured in the frame. Click on the photos to make them larger.

  • I think it’s a fender bender because the car in the foreground (with a Ford Groves license plate) is empty.
  • There’s a small crowd of gawkers gathering on the sidewalk.
  • There’s a guy standing behind the second car exhibiting body language that he’s not particularly happy. You can see that same sort of thing at another crash at Fountain and Broadway where you can also read about Cape’s singing policeman, Fred Kaempfer.

Barely worth two shots

  • It had to have been minor because it was only worth two shots. It wasn’t newsworthy enough to make the paper and it didn’t look like it would turn into an insurance job.
  • The Esquire Theater is showing Walt Disney’s Moon Spinners.
  • The Wayne’s Grill sign is still lit, probably open to catch late-night moviegoers. Wayne’s was the home of the best filet I’ve ever eaten, all for $1.25.
  • Beard’s Sport shop is on the left side of the street just beyond the Esquire and just before the phone company.
  • There’s a guy standing in front of the price sign at the Cities Service gas station, so we don’t know how much you had to pay to fill your tank, but I’m guessing it was going for about .39.9 a gallon. Thoni’s price wars that took it down to 19 cents didn’t usually make it that far into town.
  •  If you look above and to the left of the highway signs, you can see one of the cheesy plastic rose baskets that were supposed to symbolize City of Roses.
  •  Vandeven’s Merchantile is on the right. There’s a sign that looks like it says “Novelty Shop,” that might have been Bodine’s Gift Shop at 823 Broadway. Beyond it is the vertical sign for Radonics Electronics Radio and TV.

Is the Esquire deal off?

When I was home last fall, the big news was that the Esquire Theater, closed for first-run movies since 1984, was going to renovated by its new owner, John Buckner.

Well, it looks like the excitement might have been premature. One of Buckner’s enterprises, a new restaurant named Razing Cain, closed in less than a month. The Missourian is reporting that Buckner is now “rethinking” if he’s going forward with the Esquire project.



23 Replies to “A Broadway Fender-Bender”

  1. It’s obvious that you never frequented the city’s billiard salons.

    You failed to ackowledge the Pla-Mor pool hall. Prpobably the most interesting and story filled business in that shot. It was owned by Lee and Irene Eaker and stood between Waynes Grill and the Esquire. She was a stearn disiplinarian! I’ve seen her spank young men on the leg for kicking their feet up on the table. You didn’t antagonize Irene!

    1. Guilty. I was never a pool player. I started to list the Pla-Mor since it was listed in the City Directory, but it didn’t have a sign showing, so I passed on it.

      I also have to confess that the time I shot Jerry Beaver and D’Ladiums was probably the first time I had been in there.

      I’m probably the only journalist in the world who never learned to play poker, too.

    2. Do you have any more information about the Pla Mor pool hall? Perhaps stories and pictures. My grandfather is Wayne of Wayne’s grill and at some point he owned the Pla Mor. I’d love to hear more!

  2. I blew the picture up because I was curious about the movie that was playing. I could definitely make out Walt Disney, but what was the title … Moon Spiders? No, I think it was most likely The Moon Spinners, a 1964 film starring Hayley Mills and Eli Wallach. Are you sure this wasn’t a few years earlier? Disney died in 1966 by the way.

    1. I have the advantage of being able to pull up the original frame, so I can read “Moon Spinners” on the sign.

      I can’t be positive of the year because the negative sleeve just said “miscl family.” The two wreck shots were something that was on the tag end of some pictures of my brothers, dad and mother on a camping trip.

      The pix COULD have been taken between 1964 and 1967, but the sleeve could have been a random set of clippings taken at different times.

      Like I say all of the time, the two wreck shots were of no value to me at the time, but I’m glad I held on to them because they are an interesting snapshot in time of a vibrant city block that has turned into darkness and parking lots for the most part.

  3. Kenny & Van
    I use to rack balls at the Pla-mor 10 cents per rack then go next do to Waynes grill and spend it.

  4. Radionics, Charlotte does not even have an electronics store like that (or at all). I seem to remember another futher up Broadway.

  5. I keep drawing a blank… it was at the other end of Boardway, towards KingsHighway. It was not named Radonics. Use to stop by after school, and it would have been early 70s too

    1. I think I have your answer. From the 1969 City Directory:

      SUEDEKUM ELECTRONIC SUPPLY CO INC, Clarence W. Suedekum Pres, Clarence W. Suedekum Jr V-Pres, Mrs. Caroline E. Suedekum Sec-Treas, Electronic Equipment and Supplies Wholesale Radio and Television Equipment, 2215 Broadway St, 335-9469.

  6. Always nice to one of my dad’s billboards…Old Taylor 86 Proof…Amen…
    and The Pla Mor was a place for serious pool… no booze ( like other places) and Mrs. Eaker was not someone to be taken lightly. I was playing snooker there one night with Mike Rogers and we were a little slow in the game, Mrs. Eakins told Randolf Siztes to tell us to speed it up or….we did not wanting to incure the rath of either.
    Wayne Grill…THE BEST…

  7. My favorite was Wayne’s famous waffles with eggs and bacon. Can taste them now!

    Little known Fact.

    Who owned Wayne’s Grill before Wayne?

    Charlie(Dad), Louise(Mom)and Bill (Uncle) Brune sold Brune’s Grill to Wayne in the late 40’s before opening Brune’s Cleaners (1948) on Main street in the building that became the License Bureau for many years – that location is now the Johnson Law Offices.
    Family tales implied that a couple nights per week my Uncle Bill would bring home his buddies from the Purple Crackle and Colony Club in the wee hours of the morning, and grill up a bunch those filet’s Wayne later made famous. They literally “ate up all the profits”.
    Uncle Bill later introduced the Ford “Edsel” to Cape Girardeau…. so I guess his Karma wasn’t swift but it was sure.

    1. I don’t think I ever had breakfast there.

      I love the background of Wayne’s Grill. Now, THAT’S history we never got in school. I’d have paid more attention if they’d talked about that instead of treaties and stuff.

  8. Definitely 1964. For one thing, “Moon Spinners” was a 1964 movie … another thing, the gas station (Cities) became Citgo in 1965. By 1966, all their stations had the present-day Citgo signs. (I’m forever trying to figure out why this stuff sticks to my brain like barnacles!)

    But the clincher? The front tag of that rear car. An Illinois plate from … 1964! 🙂

    If I may guess at what the gas price would’ve read, I’d have to say it was 29.9 — that seemed the going rate back then.

    Okay, back to lurking.

    1. I think you’re right. I had the ability to blow up the pictures bigger than you can, so I should have caught that 1964 on the Illinois tag. You are also probably right about the 29.9 on the gas price. Those last two digits are nines, and I can’t imagine gas hitting 39.9 in Cape in those days. I was astounded and outraged the first time I ran into 45.9 gas in LaBelle, Fla., in 1973.

      You are invited to slip out of Luke Mode anytime you feel like it. Good info.

  9. Coming back from college in 1970, gas war in Effingham, IL – 19.9 – never saw it that low again.

  10. Ken, take a closer look at the left front fender of the second car; I think the damage was a little more severe than the bumper reveals.

    Ahh, Radonics and Suedekum Electronic Supply, two of my hangouts in the late sixties!

    1. I judged wrecks by how likely I was to get a picture in the paper and how likely a lawyer or insurance company might come looking for pictures. This was a low-damage rearender, it looked like to me, so I didn’t waste much time or film.

      I sort of enjoyed testifying in court. I learned early on not to get tricked into saying more than I should and speculating about the accident. When they’d ask, “What caused the accident?” I’d say, “All I can tell you is what the photos show. The vehicles came to rest X feet apart, there were X feet of skid marks and there was damage A, B and C.”

      Once a lawyer made the mistake of asking a question he didn’t know the answer to: “You say that the skid marks were 32 feet long. You didn’t say ‘about 32 feet,’ you said, ’32 feet.’ How do you know it wasn’t 35 feet? Or 30 feet?” he asked, trying to rattle me.

      “Because I pulled out a tape and measured them so I would be prepared to answer a question like that.” He decided he had no further questions.

      When Lila and I got married, we rented a dump of an apartment from a local lawyer. As soon as we could find a better place, we gave notice and moved out. The lawyer came in, inspected the place and said he was going to hang on to our damage deposit because of x, y and z. “Wait a minute, those things were like that when we moved in.”

      “You should have noted it when you took possession of the place,” he said smugly.

      “This place is such a dump, I didn’t think there was a piece of paper long enough to write down all the defects,” I argued unsuccessfully.

      A few months later, I got a call from him. One of his clients had been involved in a train vs. car accident and he thought my photos would help him win a judgement against the railroad. Let’s just say that I more than got back my damage deposit. I know he was going to pass the expense on to his client, but I made him squirm in the meantime.

      When we moved out, fellow photographer Bob Rogers moved in. Bob told the lawyer he’d paint the place himself if the owner would pay for the paint. They struck a deal and Bob painted the living room a flat, matte black that made it a great place to shoot. It also made it like being in a coal mine with the lights out. When Bob moved out, the owner had a conniption fit, but there was nothing he could do. He hadn’t asked to approve Bob’s paint choice. The paint to cover up that black had to have been thicker than the wallboard.

      I suspect he didn’t rent to photographers after that.

  11. While waiting for our food order @ Wayne’s Grill, we would make up sentences from song titles on the table jukebox.

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