View Full Version : Could a Time Capsule Liquor Store Exist?
Is it possible that a liquor store with full inventory from, say, 1940, 1950 or 1970 exists somewhere boarded up, or at least that its full inventory was placed and remains in storage? There must have been situations where people passed on, or a bankruptcy occurred and for various reasons the stock is still there or was removed in toto to a secure place.
The U.S. is a big place and I have to think there may be, not one, but many examples of this.
I know people have found caches in stores, some quite sizable, but can a "ghost store" of this type still exist somewhere? What are the chances? A store where you could walk in and find a typical bourbon and straight rye inventory from one of the years mentioned?
Is it possible that a liquor store with full inventory from, say, 1940, 1950 or 1970 exists somewhere boarded up...
In my home town, Napa California, there was a bar that had a grisly crime committed and was locked up that night and essentially was untouched for my entire childhood - probably from about 1970 and I believe on into the 1990s. I remember peering in through the small porthole windows many times over the years and seeing the tables, chairs, and bottles that looked like they could have just closed the night before.
I only noticed it having been reopened as a restaurant in the last few years, but things can get by me pretty easily sometimes.
Today, witness Gary Gillman enter the Philip K. Dick phase of his time on planet Earth.
Well, I hasten to say macabre or unsettling examples should be put to one side. It is the humdrum and ordinary experiences of life (multiform as they can be) which might (if at all) provide the desired example(s).
I note with pleasure the response of our current BOTY, but who pray is Philip K. Dick...?
I note with pleasure the response of our current BOTY, but who pray is Philip K. Dick...?
Dedicated SF readers all over the world scream in unison: boo! hiss! :)
The hockey referee, with a stern look on his face, firmly points Canadian Gillman to the penalty box. ;)
Thanks Lennart, I kind of sussed it, but refrained from the now inevitable Wikipedia search to be informed by a knowledgeable member of the board. I have never read any science fiction I think except one of the first of the genre, War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. There is enough of surprise and riddle in the real, documented world to keep my attention. :) Or it can be summed up by the saying, "Truth is stranger than fiction".
Although, I was certainly a fan of the famous TV series, The Twilight Zone, created by the late Rod Serling. Do you know this show, Lennart? All the episodes have been collected on DVD and I would think for any science fiction fan the shows are a must. Wikipedia has some excellent material on Serling and the shows. One of the entries links to a Universalist Church biography of Serling (although born to a Jewish family, he became a Universalist later in life). In the bio there is mention of a show where Serling, inserted as he sometimes was amongst the players, is erased from the set by a character who had the power to "alter reality". (The bio entry notes this was unusual as normally the characters continued acting oblivious to Serling's appearance "deus ex machina"). It is this kind of power that perhaps is needed to discover today a thriving, main street liquor store of, say, 1941. Or perhaps not, maybe it exists in reality somewhere quite outside the twilight zone!
[Spoken in a low, mysterioso voice]:
"A group of bourbon enthusiasts gather in a town not far from Louisville, KY. It is a cool overcast day with a threat of rain. There is much animation and laughter amongst the group as they unpack their special bottles and "rarities", some bought for a king's ransom in elegant shops of the nation, some found on dusty shelves in unassuming stores. In the evening a special dinner will be served, organised by a member from Texas, at the group's unofficial headquarters, a motel on a busy road leading into the old brick and stone town. Sometimes the group breaks into smaller numbers and head out in the country, rather desolate-looking today, to find more rare bourbon bottles. Some of the rural stores only rarely get a customer for bourbon, some seem to be lost in a kind of time warp, the kind, say, that have those painted white soft drink signs out front, or a 1950's neon that doesn't work anymore. Sometimes you can find a Jack Daniels whiskey from 30 years ago in these places. The group thinks some liquor was better back then (it was stronger, anyway). The wind picks up as dusk gathers but a group strike out from the motel, hoping to find something different within a half-hour radius or so.
Suddenly as droplets of rain spatter the windshield of their vehicle they spot a wooden store with an old neon in front, dimly lit in ghostly red and green, marked "Liquors". It is hard to see the store clearly but as they approach it seems to be open, lit dimly by bulbs hanging on a wire from the ceiling.
This looks promising so two leave the car and walk up to the wooden door. The wind is so strong it slams the car door shut behind them. They open a thin screen door like you don't see anymore and then a heavy wooden door behind.
Inside there is faint music from a lumpy Bakelite radio in the corner, tunes that are vaguely familiar from the 1940's like old country and Glenn Miller-style music. The soft drinks are kept behind a metal and glass cabinet with large metal lever handles and there isn't any bottled water inside, just small heavy glass Coca-Colas, green glass small slim Seven-Ups, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi-Cola again in small glass bottles, a small selection. This place has never heard of energy drinks.
The duo turn to gaze at the other wall and four shelves of liquors closely packed appear, all on heavy wooden planks, the bottles all different looking. These bottles are quarts and pints and what the group call "fifths", nothing in metric sizes, how can that be? They look more closely and what a strange brand selection! Names appear the group have only heard of or seen rare examples of on a communal table reserved for after-dinner tasting. Old Overholt Bottled in Bond. Beam's Choice Bottled in Bond. Kentucky Tavern in big quarts. Kentucky Pure Springs, Mammoth Cave, Geo. E. Stagg, Dant, Old Fitzgerald Bonded, Old Taylor Bonded, Green River, Wilson's, P.M., Hunt Club, Jack Daniels Old No. 7 90 proof in big squarish bottles, and the list goes on and on. There is a paper ad on the wall showing a man giving another a bottle of I.W. Harper, they are in nice suits shaking hands. Thunder is forming outside but the members are transfixed, what a strange place, it must never get any customers!
Suddenly an old feller walks up to them wearing a straw hat and with an unfiltered cigarette in the corner of his mouth. "Howdy folks! Good to see some customers, we hardly ever get any customers up here anymore". Behind him is a wall calender showing a pin-up like Betty Grable, the dates are all wrong, it shows April 1947, what kind of crazy place is this anyway?
The old-timer leans to gaze out the frosted window, "Well that's some humdinger of an automobile you fellers have out there. Must be some new model they didn't tell ME about". He's thinking they are dressed funny, too, but you never know who is going to pass by. On the wall are ads for Pepto-Bismol, Brylcreem, Lux soap, where are they anyway, is this Kentucky in 2007? Has the group somehow been turned into time travellers finding way more than they bargained for? Or is it just a dark and stormy day and fatigue and the encroaching darkness are giving an old-fashioned place the feeling of stepping back into the 1940's?
A shiver enters the two as if one person and despite the fabulous treasures of whiskey in front of them they feel they have to leave immediately, something is not right in this place. One summons the courage to buy a bottle and chooses a quart of Old Overholt Bonded rye and hurriedly places greenbacks in the proprietor's hands. The shoppers walk out quickly as if one man. The store owner looks for a while at the money, as if there is something different about it and what with their newfangled car and all, but the low-watt bulbs don't shed much light and he is tired so he puts them in his overalls and ambles back to the counter to get a chew.
Now it is storming rain and the group drive out of that place in a scatter of gravel stones and mud-spatter. Soon they are back in their motel and talk turns to other matters such as, "I hope that prime rib Randy organised will be good", or "I hope Tim didn't forget that bottle he said he'd bring me to trade". A sumptuous feast is consumed. The party that went out to the funny old store feel more tired than usual, but are enjoying themselves. Then one of them brings out the bonded Overholt and says, "let's look at this more closely". It is removed from the old-fashioned paper bag and there appears a tall round quart bottle closed with a red metal screw-type capsule. There is a red stamp on it and it reads "Distilled 1941 Bottled 1947". Wow, talk about a dusty shelf find! The group pour the drink and it is fabulous. Instantly they realise they have to go back to the strange place and buy more, more Overholt, some bonded Taylor, some Mammoth Cave, Kentucky Pure Springs, that bonded Fitzgerald, even that Wilson's and P.M. Next morning the whole group get into cars and in convoy fashion follow the route described by the intrepid travellers of yesterday. Only, they drive for hours, they can't find the store, it seems the by-way leading to it off Route 31 is gone or at least they can't find it. Were some of them ever really there? Sure, they have the 1940's Overholt to prove it (no bill though, in their rush to leave the place they forgot to get a receipt)! Now some of the party who didn't go yesterday are wondering if a joke was played on them.
The group, tired again, stop at an esteemed member's sumptuous home not far from the main road, a lovely big place with a large deck behind and fabulous views of the hills and dales of old Kentucky. He kindly offers a drink (and his own bar is sumptuous enough) so their attention turns to the present and soon the odd adventure, or supposed adventure, of yesterday is forgotten.
But could the amazing and impossible have happened? Could the group who went out the day before in the dusk have been transported through time back to a place that no longer exists? If so, why would this group have been selected for such a journey, they are just a bunch of friends, from all walks of life, enjoying an obscure hobby. Should we, rather, not ignore the laws of time and space and assume at best they were fatigued and had an unusual experience in an old-fashioned store they just can't find anymore?
The answer lies ... in the twilight zone...".
You have now entered The Twilight Zone... (http://www.brownielocks.com/HalloweenSingAlongs.html):slappin:
The Twilight Zone, created by the late Rod Serling. Do you know this show, Lennart?
Yes, I do, but I am only familiar with the late incarnation of the series, hosted, if I rember right by SF legend Ray Bradbury. The early classic shows was, if my knowledge is correct, never screened in Sweden.
Otherwise, I can draw parallells between your "fantasies" and those of my beer can-collecting youth. We often fantasized about discovering gems in desolated and abandoned areas.
I've pondered the time capsule store idea before, too.
More specifically, I've pondered two liquor stores in the old part of downtown that have been boarded up, as nearly as I can tell, for 20 years or more. And yes, I've looked for clues.
I do wonder if the inventory is still there, especially since a local store I (sort of) frequent that recently moved left a bunch of inventory in the old locale, apparently (according to the manager) stock that didn't sell well. He says they don't know if they'll move it...makes me feel like there has to be a store somewhere that just got boarded and left, full of sweet nectar.
Oh, and the Twilight Zone rules.
I remember reading some time ago about the UN buffer zone that runs through Nicosia, Cyprus and separates the Greek from the Turkish Cypriots. Apparently it was abandoned or evacuated in great haste, and shops stand fully stocked as they were in 1974. Or at least they did when this news article was written.
I suppose there is something similar around Chernoble. Probably very little bourbon or rye in either place, though.
Philip K. Dick is, in my humble opinion, incorrectly categorized as a writer of "science fiction," although I know there is no other category into which he conveniently fits. Rather, he was a lightning rod of what I prefer to call "sociofiction." His works and his worlds are populated not by gadgets and gizmos, but instead by shifts -- sometimes ever so slight -- in the fabric of the social world. Though I doubt anyone would describe PKD as a master wordsmith, he imagined worlds not far from ours, magical, dangerous, and worthy of contemplation lest we arrive there unaware. You owe yourself a read.
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