Sunday, May 10, 2009

Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor

Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour was one of the greatest memories of my youth. The one we went to was on Reseda Boulevard, at Devonshire, in the San Fernando Valley. It was fashioned to be a 1905 ice cream parlor. There was a Gibson girl on the front of the menu, leaning in toward her date.
I remember walking in and seeing the candy store, first thing. There were tons of huge rainbow lollipops, lacy looking ribbon candy and jars of color speckled white jawbreakers.
There was happy, tinkling piano music playing in the background that sounded like Disneyland. There was black and white checkered floors and red flocked damask wallpaper. There were those bent wood chairs and Tiffany lamps hanging over the booths.
The staff wore those neat straw hats (called skimmer hats I think) from the gay 90's, that Bugs Bunny and Daffy would wear when they did a variety show and the big cane pulled them away. They sold the hats at the candy store in front and I wanted one. They even had little baby ones for pets or something. When you looked up close, they looked to be Styrofoam.
The female staff had ribbons in their hair and black chokers on their necks, even though they still looked like total teenagers. The guys had sideburns. We went there for hot fudge sundaes with little American Flags stuck in them, but the place was also a delicatessen with ruebens and pickles and the rest.

Huge bowls full of like, 30 scoops of ice cream would be carried on a stretcher by two people while a guy ran behind them beating a drum. There were bells and sirens and general chaos. The bowl always ended up at the table of some lucky kid having a birthday. All the kids would dig into the same bowl, and my mom would declare it germ-ridden. I think it was called "The Zoo". There was also a "Pig's trough", which was another huge bowl of ice cream for a bunch of people to share, or one greedy person.

Farrell's downsized and eventually closed. Chuck E Cheese's started taking over the children's birthday market, Denny's started offering free meals on birthdays and McDonald's started appearing in malls, which took Farrell's mall business. Why the hell someone would want a Superbird from Denny's instead of the goodness that is FARRELL'S is beyond me. They have one open in Santa Clarita now and while I am glad there is something that sort of resembles Farrell's out there, it just isn't the same. I will treasure my memories instead!
Check out the commercial: