Friday, February 17, 2012

Detour Diner

Living Film Noir
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I finally met Mr. Wade Williams.  I don't know how I can describe the guy, other than he is very enthusiastic about a place and a time and an esthetic that doesn't exist anymore.  To say he seems to be out of his time is not exactly accurate.  I think it is more like he is in a position in life that he likes to surround himself with places and things that he likes.  He owns the old Englewood Theater, in the Englewood neighborhood in Independence Missouri.  From there he seems to build out things that he likes.  Englewood is sort of like a town that with a little imagination would appear to be stuck at the year 1955.  This area could easily be a movie set for that era.  The little coffeeshop that Mr. Williams has recently opened is a movie set, from a recreation of an old film noir movie called Detour.  Detour is a movie about a man who ends up making a permanent detour in his life after suffering from a series of unfortunate incidents.  Mr. Williams remade the movie around about 1990.  He used the interior of an actual diner for the opening and closing sequences of the film.  The picture on the back of the menu is blurry so I copied the synopsis from the facebook page.

The Detour Coffee Shop interior has a long and celebrated history throughout the 20th Century. Originally, it was a small eight-seat roadside diner purchased in 1947 by Harry Liggett (a wealthy businessman and owner of the hotel in Herington, Kansas). Liggett had the diner set-up near to the train tracks in Herington and served food & coffee to weary passengers on short stopovers. The business was a resounding success and operated for many years.

By the 1960s, with the decline of railroad travel and the death of Liggett, the diner was sold and moved to nearby Enterprise, Kansas, where it was combined with another diner and operated for a couple more decades, until it closed down in the eighties.

In 1990, while driving through Enterprise, Rick Uhlig noticed the closed diner. At the time, Uhlig was working in Kansas City on the crew of the motion picture, DETOUR (a remake of the film noir classic). The script called for some scenes to take place in a 1940s-era roadside diner. Uhlig talked to producer/director Wade Williams about purchasing the diner for use as a film set, thus saving them from having to build one. Williams readily agreed and acquired it.

The diner was dismantled and relocated to The Filmworks Studios in Kansas City, where it was subsequently used in the opening and closing scenes of the film.

Fast-forward to the Fall of 2011: After being in storage in the Filmworks warehouse for over twenty years, Williams found a new use for the diner. He refurbished it and had it installed in the storefront next to the Englewood Theatre, calling it, The Detour Coffee Shop.

“Not only is the diner set-up vintage and authentic,” Williams states, “but the front door is off the old Aztec Theatre in Shawnee, the vestibule light is from the Ben Bolt Theatre in Chillicothe and the stainless ‘Coffee Shop’ sign is from the old President Hotel in downtown Kansas City.”

The operator of The Detour Coffee Shop is Ann Kendall, the owner of the Mugs Up Drive-In (the 1950s-era root beer & burger stand on 23rd, east of Noland Rd.). In a bit of serendipity, both were designed and built by the Valentine Manufacturing Co. in Wichita, Kansas.

While in the coffeeshop,  I got to talk to Mr. Williams.  He and I have a mutual aquaintence named CJ.  CJ helped Mr. Williams with a few projects, including the movie Detour.  Mr. Williams talked to me about Lustron homes, and was surprised I had never heard of them.  He says he owns a few of them.  He is a very interesting character.

*Saturday 11 February 2012
*Monday 13 February 2012
*Tuesday 16 August 2011
Opinioneering -- Eating Our Youth
June 4, 2009 at 8.06am PDT
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*Parkville, Missouri
Rough week at work.  I'm now very depressed.  I love my work but hate my job.  Somebody I trusted told the boss I was goofing off.  I had to talk to the boss the next day -- you know, called to the office first thing and all.  I figured out quickly what happened, who what where when...  I wasn't goofing off.  I had the wheels run off my car for the second day in a row, and had to go drive an hour further north on an empty tank of gas, so, naturally, I needed to stop and get gas.  While I pumped the gas, I ran into the convenience store to get some coffee, diet soda and an apple.  I had been driving all day, and drove all the previous day.  I was feeling tired and had a long drive ahead of me.  I thought going into the convenience store to pee and get some caffeine might be prudent.  The co-worker was sent ahead of me to get some vid.  He was told to go there then wait for me to relieve him.  He was pissed about this situation, so when he found out I stopped, he took it upon himself to tell my boss that I stopped to have dinner.  Nice, huh?  I love my work, hate my job.  It kicked me into my seasonal darkness that I often feel this time of year, only, this time worse.  I guess I've been holding it back so long that this little catalyst made it burst through the weakness in my spiritual dam holding it all back.  It cascaded to a point that all I wanted to do was lay in bed.  I got rid of my damn facebook accounts, and have made this blog into a private blog.  I think I'll try this for awhile... nobody but me reads this anyway.  This will no longer be a blog, but an electronic scrapbook.  It is not healthy for me to say this but this is what I feel  FTW!

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