That was a nice Halloween. You know what, though? No one cares. People will feign interest in your Thanksgiving or Christmas; they may even feign genuine interest. With your friends and associates you want to know if it went well. But no one cares if your Halloween went well. The only thing we really talk about is the number of kids we had. More? Less? Age? It’s like a census, a little demographic test to see how the neighborhood’s doing.

Our neighborhood seems to replenish its supply of small children quite well, and that’s heartening. Young parents with very small children, patient and proud; slightly older parents with slightly larger children, now slightly harried, either because the novelty’s worn off and they have emails to get to, or things are Rough at Home Because of the Kids and The Jobs and No One Walked the Dog and Someone Has to Stay To Hand Out Candy, and the day’s a bit frayed.

I told one kid that Captain America was my hero and he was happy, and then another kid pushed through the scrum, and I had to say “but I love Iron Man, too.”

“You know about Iron Man?” he said.

“Son, I was reading about Tony Stark when I was your age. When I was your age he was grey.”

This seemed impossible, so he let it go.

After a while I walked the dog. The evening was appropriately spooky.

It’s odd how these things work: while she has a dim memory of Rolie Polie Olie, she has more of a memory of knowing that it used to be something she loved. (Maybe. Now that I think about it, I remembered Tom Terrific for a long time.) Now it’s mostly about me remembering how she’s forgot. And that’s okay! Someday she’ll watch it and perhaps show it to her kids.

But maybe not. I remember I showed her the Charlie Brown Halloween special, and it left her absolutely cold.

Why is there a dog on a house having a war fight in the sky

What does this have to do with Halloween

She had an excellent point. Kids today, they have no idea what it meant to have a root beer with Bill Maudlin! Neither did I.

Why is it funny that Brown Charlie got a rock

Because he exudes failure and sadness, and adults can tell and are repelled. It was like the adults sized up Charlie Brown as a lumpy little loser, and figured "let me reinforce your poor self-image with a cruel negation of confection, a symbol of contempt that took untold millennia to create, a weight you must carry around from house to house as your peers are rewarded with delightful treats. You know you deserve a rock. Life will be nothing but rocks dropped in the fragile sack of your ego. Your costume could not hide you. No persona you adopt will ever conceal you. All shall know, and the rocks will e'er be dropped - until the day they are thrown."

Doesn't Blanket Boy's belief in a supernatural gourd oddly undermine the piety he demonstrates in the Christmas special?

Yeah, especially since at the end he cries out that he has been forsaken. This doesn't really hold up.






Now and then I look at the first picture in the queue, and think - you know, I should see if there’s something better, something more representative. The date on these grabs is almost a year ago, and there’s never any plan when I start taking them - I just screen grab and screen grab until I think I have enough for an entry, and haven’t missed anything.

This was #1.

It’s appalling on every level, but is it fair? Lots of towns have things like this - that stone can be cool, if the building’s modern, but glued to an old commercial structure that has the iron beam revealed and touched up, well, it doesn’t work.

But let’s move along and see what else we can find.


Well, they have 25% of the panels intact, so that’s something. Interesting to see the hue the old building was painted; that seems like a color they’d like in the mid-century front-panel period. The brick sides are all different colors. In short, something for everyone!


Here’s a question for the class: can you tell me which decade this building was constructed? Yes, you in the back.

“Uh - is this a trick question? The 1870s, obviously.”


Wrong! That’s an early 20th century building - say, 1918 - 1928. Just because it was established in 1878 doesn’t mean it was built in 1878.

They weren’t very . . . demonstrative in Liberal, were they.


No, they weren’t.


Can you guess what it was?

I couldn’t. It was a movie theater. Cinema Treasures:

Opened on May 22, 1930, the Plaza Theatre, through poor circumstance, was an operating theater for a very short period of time. Once the Depression began, the theater was closed, but re-opened at the start of World War II and ran throughout the war. After the war, it was closed for a very long time. Eventually, an auto parts store bought the theater, connecting it to an adjoining building for use as a warehouse. The building still stands today, but is still used as a warehouse.


Here’s your downtown-corner view, complete with an old gas station. I think.


What’s that across the street?

I’d swear this was a theater . . . but then no, it couldn’t be. But - but what was it? If I had to bed, I’d say . . .

A fire station. But it’s too Italianate for that.



The front of the Chas Summers building.


Whoever thought that cowcatcher skirt was a good improvement should have been hosswhipped out of town.



And save some leather for the fellow who thought a Buckaroo Revival awning went with a post-war metal screen:


It used to be a movie theater with a grand marquee; not a trace remains.

Another building with the same style of rehab:


Well-preserved store entrance, but man, it must have gotten dark in there. You’d long to see some sunlight.




Suddenly, it’s all redeemed. The Warren Hotel.


That's crazy. That's great.




Motels await - as does Friday, just around the corner! See you hither & yon.


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