20 May 2008

Why Do They Call It "Googie"?

When I was a wee lad, growing up in Phoenix in the early 1960s, I used to go to Helsing's a lot. In fact, I used to go to the exact Helsing's shown in this photograph that used to sit at the corner of Osborn Road and Central Avenue. My mother worked just down the street and my father would occasionally drop her off on the way to his work. During the summer, I would often stay with my mom at her work all day, so that meant I would be with them when they stopped for coffee and breakfast at Helsing's.

I don't remember Helsing's very much. At that time, we went to a lot of restaurants that had what is now called that "Googie" look -- named, I suppose, after another restaurant with that same architecture that was actually called Googie's. We had Googie's in Phoenix and I went to them and don't much remember them, either.

All these years later, all these years during which I finally was able to appreciate the "Googie" style I wish I remembered more about those neato restaurants. Sure, you can still visit Pann's or Ship's in Los Angeles, and I am sure there remain many other worthy examples of that "Googie" style, but it is sad so many of them have been grossly renovated or -- like the Helsing's in the photograph -- torn down to make way for another corner drug store. Sigh!

Well, anyway, here is an article in today's Los Angeles Times about the "Googie" that can still be found in California.

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