Thursday, April 16, 2009

Shakeys Pizza

Shakeys Pizza Parlor was a franchise that started out of Sacramento, California by Sherwood "Shakey" Johnson and Ed Plummer. Sherwood got his nickname from nerve damage suffered from malaria while serving in WWII. He came back home and opened a bar in the fifties. Shakey and Ed started out by serving beer only. They then took the profits from the beer sales and immediately turned the bar into a pizza parlor.

The closest franchise in the 60's and 70's was in the Birmingham Roebuck area. Shakeys Pizza Parlor was another reason to drive down to Birmingham, AL. I went very few times but many young men drove their dates from Gadsden to eat at Shakeys. I remember my older sister Jennie bringing me a styrofoam faux straw hat from a date to the Birmingham Shakeys.

I loved Shakeys because they showed old silent movies on a screen while you ate your pizza. The room was filled with the sound of a player-piano in the corner set on auto-pilot. It was a very lively environment. Did you know that Shakey Johnson used to play piano for his patrons in his old Sacramento location? I found some interesting tidbits of info at Wikipedia. I had no idea until I was Googling for a Shakeys image to post that the franchise was still going. It's been well over twenty years since Shakeys left the Birmingham area.

I remember the Shakeys in Macon, GA. My Uncle Pat lived in Macon for years. Dad, Mom, and I would got to Shakeys every now and then (at my request) when visiting Pat. A strange thing happened while at the Macon Shakeys. We were all sitting around a table when we were approached by Randy Bradford. Randy is one of Ray & Doris Bradford's sons. The Bradfords live East Gadsden. Ray and Doris were good friends of my parents. Randy just happened to be sitting at the table with a group of friends, when we sat down. I guess this happened about thirty years ago.

There are only two Shakeys parlors this side of the Mississippi River. There's the one in Auburn, AL and one in Warner Robbin, GA (not far from Macon). If I'm ever in either neighborhood, I'll be sure to stop by for a slice.
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