Monday, July 16, 2007

"Please...Don't Shoot."


At the risk of losing all readers of this blog, there are yet two more places that I need to post about regarding places I purchased comic books as a kid in Cave City. Yes, I know everyone's really tired of this subject by now, but please do indulge me just this last time and I Promise I will drop the subject and start giving you a different variety of material.

One of those two places in Cave City was a classic-sort of general store called Handy & Reynolds. It was torn down in the 1980's, but stood on the same spot (today occupied by two different banks) on the corner next to the railroad tracks since the latter 1800's.

It was owned by two different people: Mr. Handy (who also was president of the "People's Bank", right across the street back then on the opposite corner), and Miss Reynolds (who inherited her partnership when her husband, the original co-owner, had died).

It was a large, two-story, brick building. The general store occupied more than half of the space, but only used the downstairs as the store, leaving the upper part for storage. The other apartments to the building housed (either upstairs or down) for a number of years such things as a barber shop, an antique store (one of the first I ever remember, run by a Mr.'s Wimpee and Sullivan), and a beauty salon. When my family and I first moved to Cave City in the Summer of '61, I got to get a really good look at the downtown area. On such an adventure I discovered Handy and Reynolds, and the scene looked much like one would if you stepped out of a time machine into the 1930's.

Being a general store, they sold dry goods, had a meat counter and made sandwiches, had clothing, glassware and everything else you could imagine. Some of their merchandise had been there for years and years. "High-Button" shoes were still in their showcases, as well as those independent stiff collars men wore in the early 1900's. In one corner was a grandfather clock from the late 1800's, and a WWII "Buy Bonds" poster still up on the wall. The store was heated by coal, and towards the rear there was a huge pot-belled stove where local historian, Ellis Jones, would sit and relate stories about how they could have saved famous cave explorer, Floyd Collins (Jones was on the recovery team), had the whole thing not turned into a circus. The others would sit and listen patiently, as Miss reynolds rang up sales on an antique cash register from the turn of the century, and Ellis's wife (who also worked there) did the bookwork from her wired-in little desk area.

They were all great, friendly people, and Miss Reynolds bought those bundles of comics from Goodman Candy Company, just like my Aunt Katy did, and as well, sold them for a nickle each. The first comic I remember buying there (and I bought dozens over the next few years from her) was a copy of Fantastic Four #11, still a favorite issue of mine to this day with "The Day In The Life of The Fantastic Four" lead-in story, and the introduction of "The Impossible Man" story as a back-up (a rare thing, an issue of FF having TWO stories!). I purchased comics from her until they finally closed their doors around 1980. One of the last comics I remember buying there was a copy of Charlton's Abbott & Costello. Can't recall the number; just that it had an unauthorized app. of "Tarzan" in it.

(The only souvenier kept in my family from H&R was a set of clear glassware I bought for my mom at Christmas in the late 1960's, which she still has displayed along with her various colored depression glass, oatmill glasses and circa 1960-70's Avon perfume bottles.)

The other place I want to mention is Parkland Drugs Store, which to this day still is in operation and sits in its same spot on HWY 31-W going North through Cave City. In the 1960's (particularly the early 1960's), this was the "in" place to be in that town.

In the 7th. and 8th. Grades, we were dismissed from classes at 2:30 PM, but the bus that took us back home didn't come by until 3:PM. So we'd take the Jr. High bus to Cave City, which made two stops. Either you could get off at Parkland Drugs, or the elementary school. Well now, it just wasn't cool at all to hang around the elementary school if you were in Jr. High, so we'd all get off at Parkland Drugs to wait the remaining twenty or minutes for our ride home to return.

This was some dream-spot in the 60's. It sported a full marble soda counter with stools, and back then you could still get a nickle Cherry Coke or a nickle single scoop ice cream cone. Beyond the long fountain to the right and in the rear were tables to sit at, and next to that, their magazine racks. But you couldn't buy a 12 cent comic there. All they carried were magazines, or 25 cent Giants, OR...Classics Illustrateds. Some of the comics and mags I can remember buying there were the Giant Harvey The Spirit #2 (as I'd already gotten #1 of that at some grocery in Louisville a couple months earlier when my family was visiting relatives), another Harvey Giant, Fighting American #1 (by Simon & Kirby, reprinting stories from the 1950's), some classics such as The Time Machine, and War of the Worlds, and some magazines, mostly Warrens (but occasionally a copy of MAD), such as Horror of The Beach Party, Creepy, Eerie, etc. I think I may have bought my copy of Vampirella #1 either there or at Caverna Drugs in Horse Cave. And I also remember buying copies of Castle of Frankenstein from their racks.

The main thing I purchased there, however, was paperbacks, and I think I bought every original copy of ones like MAD, Doc Savage, The Shadow, Marvel , DC, Tower, MLJ, etc. super-hero collections, The Spider, G-8 & His Battle Aces, EC reprints, Famous Monster collections, Star Trek, James Bond 007, Fu Manchu, and...well ... ALL of my paperbacks probably came from there in the 1960's, including any SF and fantasy ones I read.

There were just certain places I bought certain things. Like all of my pbs from there, but all of the song books (Hit Parader, Song Hits, etc.) came from Cave City Drugs, and any plastic models came from either CC Drugs or Ben Franklin's. Some places just had a better selection of some particular items.

Sadly, Parkland Drugs is just a shdow of itself today, being mostly a pharmacy, with no fountain, or maybe not even a magazxine rack anymore. The last comics (which they finally started carrying some in the 1980's), have probably disapeared as well.

And...I think that's it. Join me next time for something Completely Different!


At 4:15 PM , Blogger Johnny Bacardi said...

I remember Handy & Reynolds fairly well- I didn't grow up in Cave Coty, of course, but my Dad called on them occasionally for Midway Wholesale. I don't think I got very many, if any, comics from there. I seem to recall getting an old Charlton Blue Beetle, the one with the Madmen if memory serves. Mostly, I just remember it being very dark, dusty and old in there.

I went in Parkland once in a while back when they had that nice magazine and paperback rack...of course, Theresa worked there in the 80's, but by then they had moved a lot of that out. I do remember getting a copy of Castle of Frankenstein, #10 I do believe, there. I had been to the doctor, and was quite ill that day. I also believe that later that day was the first time I ever saw the original Godzilla! Ah, memories.

At 5:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parkland Drugs. When I was working at Cave City I would occasionally stop by there on my way back to Munfordville. There were two attractions. One was hand made milk shakes which were great. The other was the PB rack. They seemed to always get the new Ayn Rand PBs when no one else did. I bought a couple there as well as a couple of SF PBs, one by Clarke and one by Anderson I Think. Always wondered if they special ordered the Ayn Rand non-fictions PBs. Wasn't something you saw at most drug stores.

At 6:14 PM , Blogger ~D.Puck' said...

They carried a good assortment of Revell and Aurora plastic models, Palmer and Marx toys as well! Ah yes...the "Good Ol' Days"...

At 9:18 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

I just ran across your blog in an impulsive google search last night. Your account of Handy & Reynolds was eerily accurate. I have heard all of Mr. Jones' stories many times, as I am his grandson, Ellis M. Jones, III. Although you promised to move on, I would like to hear any related stories.

At 4:37 PM , Blogger ~D.Puck' said...

Good to hear from you, Ellis! Your grandpa was a good friend, and was like a grandfather to me as well. Please contact me at my email address:, so we can correspond a bit about the "good ol' days" of Handy & Reynolds!

At 4:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My grandfather and father owned Caverna Drugs in Horse Cave. They eventually sold it to Rite Aid. They had a fountain at their store.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home