Denver Now, part three: A last look back at Mile High businesses from 1982
Earlier this year, we stumbled upon Denver Now, a book showcasing businesses in the city circa 1982. The results, complete with wonderfully dated photos, are a Waybac Machine on paper, which is why we've featured it in two posts: one in March, with volume two following in June.
Now, we bring the trilogy to a close with more looks back at what was considered hip, cool and stylish more than three decades ago. Return to the Dynasty era below.
The Excalibur Society Limited
"Excalibur!" exclaims the promo for an Evergreen outfit whose address was a post office box. "The magic sword of King Arthur. A word that evokes standards of excellence. Extraordinary. Exclusive." Turns out it was also a "private club offering its members the use of luxurious. chauffeured limousines" -- presumably ones that no high school kids had puked in. Masquerade
"Give your old wall a new face," begins this item. Yeah, one that's completely terrifying. Just as strange, the item doesn't list an address -- just a phone number. Could you call and have one of these faces delivered to your door? Or, better yet, to someone else's? Continue for more of Denver Now, part three -- a last look back at Mile High businesses from 1982. KOA-TV
That's not a typo: "KOA-TV" were call letters that referred to what is now CBS4, aka KCNC. "At NewsCenter 4, they believe that fast, accurate, pertinent information is the lifeline of the Colorado people," the passage maintains, adding, "You can see this commitment in the work of such talented NewsCenter 4 professionals as co-anchors George Caldwell and Janet Zappala, and one of Colorado's most honored and experienced newscasters, Bob Palmer" -- who retired back in 1997 and passed away just over a decade later. Andrisen Morton Co.
This must have been a sizable store, since its 740 17th Street location subsequently became the home of a First United Bank branch. The shop's role as a "traditional clothier" of goods such as "Alden shoes, Talbott ties, Troy Guild shirts, Corbin, Burberry top coats, as well as their own private-label clothing" means the guys in this photo don't look as laughably out of date as you'd expect for 1982. Lucky! Continue for more of Denver Now, part three -- a last look back at Mile High businesses as of 1982. Neusteters
"Is there such a thing as 'the Denver woman'?" asks this piece. The answer: "You bet. She's much like the city and the region she lives in: free spirited, bold, independent, full of visions of limitless horizons." But she doesn't shop at Neusteters anymore. All four locations listed in Denver Now -- downtown, Cherry Creek, Southglenn Mall and Boulder -- are all long gone. A Wikipedia page devoted to defunct department stores calculates their demise at 1985. Denver International Film Festival
In 1982, the Denver International Film Festival was just a few years old; this year's just concluded fest was its 36th. Back then, however, the festival was already screening nearly 150 films (the total was around 270 this year), and its Denver Now item boasts that the spectacle had already attracted personalities such as "Lilian Gish, Robert Altman, Alan Alda, John Schlesinger, Anthony Quinn and Laszlo Kovacs." Good news for Alda: He's the only one of this group who's still above ground. Continue for more of Denver Now, part three -- a last look back at Mile High businesses as of 1982. Phoenix
Located at 2368 15th Street, the current home of Scribbles, Phoenix was a shop that specialized in "high quality items ranging from objects d'art to the fanciful. But it quickly becomes apparent, as you enter this beautiful, museum-quality gallery, that [owner] Earl Duncan's greatest passion is hand-carved, wooden carousel animals" like those seen here. We prefer to think of them as roosters, not cocks. Stuart-Buchanan
What today is the Antique Center, at 1235 South Broadway, was once Stuart-Buchanan, which specialized in "antique American, French and English furniture," plus quilts, sporting and nature prints, folk art, such culinary items as French stoneware and brass and copper cooking ware, and even antique American office furniture." Not to mention pigs. Continue for more of Denver Now, part three -- a last look back at Mile High businesses as of 1982. Arctic Art
Hard to believe that a business focused on art from the Arctic wouldn't have lasted. But back in the day, the concept was popular enough to have spawned two locations -- one at 1325 18th Street, the other at 2817 East 3rd Avenue in Cherry Creek North. Another sign of the times: Among the examples of "antique and contemporary Eskimo art" on sale were items made of ivory -- like the stuff that was crushed at an event last week. Denver Nuggets
For the Nuggets, 1982 was a good year. As the item notes, the team "broke a two-year slump by setting nine NBA records during the regular season. The 1982 Nuggets were the all-time high-scoring team in NBA history, averaging 126.5 points per game, the first time in the 36-year history of the NBA to score more than 100 points every game." The only drawback: Those tight, tiny shorts look like they hurt like hell to wear.... Continue for more of Denver Now, part three -- a last look back at Mile High businesses as of 1982. William Earnest Brown
Based on this photo, what would you guess Wiliam Earnest Brown sold? Disturbing art? Ferns? Plaid shirts and blouses with bows so big that they could be used to make an entirely new outfit? Furniture of the sort we typically see these days on curbs? Nope. The shop, located at 8101 East Belleview Avenue in Marina Square, sold stationary. Moreover, this placeholder web address suggests it still exists in some form, or did so recently, in the Los Angeles area -- but not in Denver. Randall's
At first glance, the Internet has completely forgotten about Randall's, which had locations at Northglenn Mall, Cinderella City, Colfax and Kipling, East Hampden and West 46th Avenue -- hard to believe given that the enterprise was founded in 1949 to make sure "Denver's men have gone off to weddings, proms and special occasions in formal wear that is both distinctive and a pleasure to wear." Although, frankly, these three don't seem too happy about anything.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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