Sunday, July 15, 2007

"Once More With Gusto!"

Just a few more memories about The Old Days, and then I'll shut up, 'cause you'll be tired of hearing about my personal adventures as a kid collecting comics.

I was thinking back about when I bought comics from Cave City Drugs (as mentioned in my previous blog post), and some "other" memories came about. Such as when I wasn't yet 9 years old and still lived in Horse Cave, but my mother would on occasion go to Cave City to shop on a Saturday and make me tag along . My first memories of of that place and comics there was that they had a spin rack in the front left window. One comic that I seem to recall was Lois Lane #22 where she had x-ray vision. This date would have been right as it was cover dated Jan., 1961, meaning it was more than likely on the stands in November of 1960 and we didn't move to Cave City until around June of '61.

And I don't remember what the first comic was that I noticed after moving there, but by that time the store owners (the Longs) had relocated the comics to an aisle which ran the length of the center of the store, and comics were displayed in racks which hung on peg boards half-way down the right side of this aisle. It was probably in the early 1970's, maybe a bit before, that the comics were relocated again, this time hung in racks under the front right bay window, and behind this was a large magazine rack. They stopped carrying comics there sometime in the Summer of 1981 I know as a fact because I purchased the last comic book that was left on their racks; a copy of ROM Space Knight #22 (Marvel, dated Sept., 1981). I already had a copy of this, but simply wanted to be the last person to purchase a comic book at this store which held so many fond memories. I later purchased one of the peg board racks "just to have", and I still own it today.

The Longs also operated a gift shop in Cave City on HWY 31-W, (which was called: "Long's Gift Shop", "duh!"), and they sold comics there, too, which I sometimes would buy.

One other place in Cave City that's gone unmentioned was the Greyhound Bus Stop at the North edge of Cave City. They sold both comics and magazines, but at a little higher price. Instead of 12 cents, comics were 15 cents there and they'd stick a circular tag on the covers over the original price (I've still got a few of those around).

I've collected several mementos of my comic collecting days at various places. In Horse Cave they had two spin racks over the years in the Ben Franklin Store. Originally they had one which carried only Gold Key comics, and then, in the 1970's, they switched to carrying only DC Comics. After the store began to sell out preparing itself for closure (in the early 1980's), those racks were for sale at a mere $15. each, but I didn't buy them then. Later on, maybe a year or two later, I was at the storage area of a local guy that sold displays, and lo' and behold, there were both racks! I had my choice of either of them, but he wanted to keep one, so I opted for the DC spin rack, and was able to also obtain one of the metal tins from the top of the Gold Key one. I kept that spin rack for 2 or 3 years, but finally when I had to move from my apartment into a trailer I had no room for it, and (regretably) set it out for garbage pick up. However, before I did I removed and kept the metal tins from its top; the ones that say: "Hey Kid Comics", "Comics Merry-Go-Round", "The Best in Comics" and "Comics for All Ages", and I also still have both all of those as well as the Gold Key tin.

The other dime store in Horse Cave was run by the Stevensons, and was called "Stevenson's 5 and 10" (naturally"). They sold Dell comics originally, then later, just Gold Keys. Now back then the store owners could remove ("strip") the logo from the cover of a comic and send them back for credit on un-sold issues. They were supposed to then destroy the comics, but the Stevensons never did. Instead they simply roll them up in a roll of 3 to 5 comics, slap a rubber band on them, and throw them into a bin in the front and sell them for 25 cents a roll. I've got a couple of those "stripped" comics still that I know for certain came from their store. I also have several DC and Gold Key comics I know for certain came from Ben Franklin because they'd stamp their store stamp on the front cover. The rarest of the stamped comics I have is a copy of DC's The Atom #17 which still bares a faded store stamp from Dorsey Drugs, the "other" drug store that sold comics besides Caverna Drugs in Horse Cave.


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