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Random Crap I'm just sayin'.

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Old 12-18-2009, 02:13 PM
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Who remembers Skip's Fiesta Drive-In in Melrose Park, IL?

I used to drag race there in my youth.

Picture teens hanging out, drag-racing, sipping on chocolate sodas and eating cheeseburgers -- like in the movies "American Graffiti" and "Grease." Now picture it happening every night in the otherwise quiet western Chicago suburbs from the 1940s to the 1970s.

That was Skip's.

"Life was more laid-back then, and fun was easily accessible. You didn't have to spend a lot of money or have a lot of fancy gadgets -- just your car," said Penny Pagor, who was 15 when she first put on the white blouse, black shorts, black fishnet stockings and majorette boots that were the Skip's uniform in the early 1960s. Waitresses in the years before her wore roller skates. After her, Skip's servers wore skimpy bunny suits with black fishnets.

Skip's was founded by William Nielsen after a conversation around the kitchen table one night. There was no Skip -- just Nielsen, who liked to invent hamburger recipes in his mother's kitchen and decided to open a business offering good food, his relatives told the Tribune in 1983.

Because of its location -- on a stretch of North Avenue surrounded by forest preserves and few traffic lights -- Skip's was a magnet for teens who drove Thunderbirds, Mustangs, Galaxies and other cars that looked extra good in the drive-in setting.

"I went there to show off the car, as many did," e-mailed Bob Mattern, 65, who grew up in Oak Park. He started with a 1966 Chevelle SS 396, traded it in for a new SS 396 and wound up with an air-conditioned 1968 model that "was unacceptable in the teen world -- how can you blast a radio with the windows up?"

The soundtrack in Mattern's mind from that era includes "Summer in the City," "Wild Thing" and "Louie, Louie."

Bill Grossi, 56, remembers how when he was a kid his father got angry one time when he was trying to drive his family home from Kiddieland but got stuck in traffic. Teens had closed down the road for a drag race.

"It was amazing, truly amazing. The inmates were running the asylum," Grossi said laughing, adding that years later when he was a teenager, Skip's was still the place to be for him and his friends.

The non-stop crowds made for busy work shifts for Pagor and other waitresses, who were assigned a number each night and given a stack of thick plastic cards with that number to place on their customers' windshields. If a customer drove off with a number, waitresses were charged 50 cents for the loss. Stolen trays cost servers $1.50 apiece -- a hefty penalty for waitresses paid 10 cents a car plus tips, Pagor said.

She remembers management at Skip's being so strict that waitresses were not allowed to use the restroom before midnight. If waitresses were even five minutes late for a shift, managers would confiscate their paychecks, Pagor said.

Still, she thinks fondly of her three years of waiting on 200 cars a night at the popular hangout.

"I still remember this little boy who was in the back seat of a car. He kept popping up saying, 'My dad says you girls is tomatoes,' " Pagor said. "And the dad kept saying, 'Sit down and be quiet.' "

Although fans of Skip's remember the restaurant's heyday well, few can pinpoint its closing. Nielsen, its founder, died March 7, 1972. Business already had slowed, Pagor said, because drive-ins weren't as popular.

Not long after it closed, Skip's already was being memorialized. Pagor attended a Skip's reunion at the Kane County Fairgrounds in 1973, wearing her full uniform. Years after, Skip's regulars still drove in caravans to the McDonald's that replaced it, sometimes circling the drive-through without ordering anything, just to honor their old hangout.

The McDonald's manager who was able to talk when things calmed down said she'd never seen a caravan of Skip's fans in her seven years of working there. But if people did come back to remember, she said, she probably wouldn't know anyway.

"I don't live around here, I live in the city. I just drive here and go right back," she said.

Librarians at the Melrose Park Public Library do see fans of Skip's. At least once a month, someone comes in looking for a photo or newspaper clipping or anything to remind them of that time, said Barb Giordano, library director.

"Some of the older people, they just like to relive their youth and just remember times gone by, when life was a little easier," Giordano said.
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Old 12-18-2009, 02:21 PM
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Ms. Pagor, with her mementos from Skip's, today...



Our hangout in the '70s was G (Genesee) Street in Waukegan. I came along a bit late for all the cool cruisin' stuff and G Street had pretty much died out by the time I got my drivers license.
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:38 PM
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"Bill Grossi, 56, remembers how when he was a kid his father got angry one time when he was trying to drive his family home from Kiddieland but got stuck in traffic. Teens had closed down the road for a drag race."

One of the times, we put sawhorses across the road at both ends, and someone ran a gasser against the locals. A friend of mine did well against him, running a factory Pontiac with aluminum front end and a 421 with 3 deuces.
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Old 12-18-2009, 05:30 PM
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I meet Toots on a cruise night back in 1977. She was from a neighboring town and her starter went out on her 70 Impala coupe. I pulled up with my date to find my best friend trying to help her out by taping it with a hammer to get it to start. I asked her out the next weekend when she showed up at the turn around with her girl friends.
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:12 PM
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What happened to my Drive-In?
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:14 PM
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The kids ran it into the ground 'cuz you weren't there......














I thought you were more responsible........
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:45 PM
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What happened to my Drive-In?
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Originally Posted by stoney61 View Post
The kids ran it into the ground 'cuz you weren't there......







I thought you were more responsible........
Oh, they moved it to Walworth, WI.



Skip's Dari Drive-In, 100 State Rd. 67, Walworth, WI

(262)275-8585
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:55 PM
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If I ride up, can we do the Rustic Tour and eat at Skip's place?
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Old 12-18-2009, 07:14 PM
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orbit has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knoworbit has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knoworbit has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knoworbit has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knoworbit has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knoworbit has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knoworbit has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knoworbit has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knoworbit has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knoworbit has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knoworbit has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever know
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If I ride up, can we do the Rustic Tour and eat at Skip's place?
Yep. Skip's in Walworth is in that area, a bit west of Lake Geneva.

May be a good place to have lunch. Or stop for a photo op.

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Old 12-18-2009, 07:51 PM
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For us it was Manners Drive-In Restaraunts and the burgers were 'Big Boys'. While there were several on the east side, the ones in Bedford and Warrenville Hts. were always hoppin on Fri. and Sat. nights.
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Old 12-18-2009, 08:02 PM
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I really dig that piece of Americana history. Awesome.

I grew up on a main Rd where there was a drive In on the corner, and we could see the films from our back porch, was so cool on a saturday night, me and my brother would stand out the front watching all the sweet cars drive by, not to mention the frequent drag races between the Ford guys in their GT Falcons and the Holden Guys in their GTS Monaros, was pretty cool.

We only have one operating Drive In left here in Adelaide and i still get to atleast 2-3 a year cause i know it'll be gone soon.
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Old 12-18-2009, 11:28 PM
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Big Cheese has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowBig Cheese has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowBig Cheese has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowBig Cheese has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowBig Cheese has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowBig Cheese has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowBig Cheese has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowBig Cheese has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowBig Cheese has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowBig Cheese has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever knowBig Cheese has forgotten more about Harleys than you'll ever know
Skips once in awhile, Bus's on 95th st. in Oak Lawn, all the time.
Hey Ken, You talkin about scoopin the loop?



What is the Scoop the loop in Waukegan?


Back in the 50s through the early 70s Genesee Street in Waukegan IL was the gathering place. Everyone went there to meet others and just to hang out. Anyone who was anyone or even just wanted to be seen with anyone went to Genesee Street. Many marriages came to be as a result of hanging out on Genesee Street. This was also the place to go if you had a hot car. People would just drive in loops around all of the downtown Waukegan streets but the main gathering place was always Genesee Street. In the late 80s a local classic car club wanted to bring back this tradition for one weekend each summer. This has become one of the largest classic car gathering in northern Illinois each summer.
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