Lost Memphis? — T.G.I. Fridays



Image courtesy Key Magazine

I put a question mark after the "Lost Memphis" in this title here because even though Friday's — at one time the centerpiece of Overton Square — is long gone, I hope the nice-looking old building itself will not be lost to the wrecking ball.

I won't waste your time here by reminding readers about the impact of Overton Square on our city. I just wanted to share this cool illustration/ad that ran way back in a 1972 issue of Key Magazine. I know I'm feeling (and showing) my age here, but it's really hard to believe that this was 40 years ago. Four decades!

I like the sorta-homey enticements of this advertisement. Friday's offered anything and everything: It featured "atmosphere, people, dinner, drink, and good music." It was a gathering place for "our friends and yours." In a bad mood? Then come here and you'll find "cheery crowds every day." What's more, Friday's promised to "make you feel more welcome than anywhere in town."

Well, I'm not so sure about that. Why, some nights I wandered in there, and even with my cape and swordcane clearly revealing that I was a Lauderdale, I wasn't made to feel very welcome because the wait staff was just too swamped dealing with other customers. On more than one occasion I wandered across the street and hobnobbed with the regular patrons of Yosemite Sam's.

Finally, remember all the amazing clutter — old British street signs and stained-glass windows and battered musical instruments and other junk — that gave Friday's its interesting decor? I like the way the ad explains the concept behind that: "It's a view of Manhattan from the inside." Wait. What? That makes no sense to me at all.

Even so, I really do miss the place, and hope that Loeb Properties and the others involved in this project can bring back even a little of the magic that once made the intersection of Madison and Cooper so special.

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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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