Lost Memphis: T.G.I. Friday's

A 1970s Key Magazine advertisement gives a view of the early days of Overton Square.

photo courtesy KEY magazine

Anyone wanting to know more about the social and cultural history of Memphis should, of course, read my "Ask Vance" columns, books, calendars, and blog posts. I mean, that's a given.

But another good source, though a bit hard to come by, are the advertisements that ran in old issues of KEY magazine, a handy guide to the tourist attractions of our city.

Here's a good example: a 1972 ad for the old T.G.I. Friday's, perhaps the best-known of various Overton Square landmarks. This illustration shows the bulding before the sidewalk patio was added, and then enclosed. It also notes the late-night hours (open until 3 am!). But I'm not sure I understand that bit about "It's a view of Manhattan from the inside." First of all, the walls and ceilings of the place were cluttered with lots of English stuff — old shop signs and street signs, as I recall, with stained glass and musical instruments and posters thrown in. What's "Manhattan" about that? And if they mean your view of Madison if you were sitting inside, well that street — then and now — never really looked like Manhattan. But maybe that's just me.

Loeb Properties is doing magical things with Overton Square, after so many years of dormancy and everybody (including me) pretty much facing the fact that the distinctive old buildings would be demolished. I'm glad that's not the case, and I'll probably be hanging around the "new" Square much as I did in the "old" days in the 1970s.

Just not until 3 a.m.

Image courtesy KEY magazine

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Famed Memphis trivia expert Vance Lauderdale answers reader questions weekly here on his blog!

About This Blog

Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and Inside Memphis Business.  Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale's Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den. 

You can find him from time to time in the pages of the Memphis Flyer and MBQ, on WKNO television, and on Facebook. When he is not exploring the highways and byways of Memphis, he spends his time sleeping, napping, and dozing.

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