Time Travel

Stuck in the past—and loving it.

Roberto Gonzales

I’ve decided to be daring during the next month when dining out. Places I want to try include The Purple Porpoise, Sheik’s Lounge & Steak House, and Johnny Unitas’ Golden Arm Restaurant. Acts I want to see to top off the evening? Well, for starters, the Roadhouse Revue at Horne’s Classroom Lounge, the Dean Hanley Trio at the Piccadilly Pub and Big Band vocalist Helen Forrest at Top of the World. And I hope to take an excursion to Walt Disney World, where admission is $8 for an eight-attraction ticket book, and parking is just 50 cents.

I wish!

Yes, I’ve been stuck in the ’70s—and a half-dozen other decades—for the last couple of months, looking through a multitude of bound volumes chronicling the 70-year history of this magazine. They’ve covered my desk and the floor of my office, and it’s been a pretty amazing experience looking at the work of writers and editors before me. Story upon story about Disney, local politics, entertainment, dining, personalities, business, growth and development, sports. Not to mention the many entertaining retro ads, including one for the condo community where I now live. Forty years ago it was an apartment complex.

So where does one begin when trying to capture snapshots of the past? Well, I started with 1970, and the first cover that caught my eye was the December issue, which featured two adorable little girls posing in front of a palm tree decorated for Christmas. Reading the cover credits, I realized that their moms, Carole DePinto and Elaine Schooping, were two of the writers/editors of the magazine, then called Orlando-Land. A few Facebook and Google searches later, we were able to make contact with the women and bring all four together for an interview and photos—45 years later. Read Cheri Henderson’s account, one of four “Where Are They Now’’ pieces in our 70th anniversary special section. We also look back at the excitement surrounding the opening of Disney World and offer our take on the “Information Highway,’’ among other tidbits. And there’s a gallery of memorable magazine covers, along with features on dearly departed restaurants with unusual names, and some local attractions that have stood the test of time.

The ties between past and present continue as we catch up with comedian Carrot Top, who was once an oyster shucker at an Altamonte Springs eatery. Orlando native Sally Downs, 85, tells what it was like growing up in Orlando—before Disney. The venerable Park Plaza Gardens looks to the future with a new chef. And columnist Greg Dawson reflects on some of the predictions for Orlando that were made in 1946—and whether they came to pass. Elsewhere, you’ll want to check out our annual list of Top Dentists, in addition to their profiles, in which they answer frequently asked questions about dental health.

Finally, it’s time once again to vote in our annual Best of Orlando poll. Vote for your favorites in numerous categories, ranging from coffee places to bike shops, theme park rides to TV news teams. Just for voting, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free dinner for two at a top local restaurant.

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