Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Close-Up at Rinky Tinks

(Those reading “Shootings” may continue reading in Part Seven)

Mini Jukebox CloseThis Seeburg miniature jukebox sat on the counter of Rinky Tinks, an historic 1950’s ice cream parlor and sandwich shop founded circa 1979. Click the pic to read the song listing.

Weren’t these little guys somehow wired to the actual jukebox, so patrons could choose songs without getting up from their tables? Did anybody reading this witness their use?

Places like this just scream “hamburgers!” I probably should have heeded that advice rather than order grilled chicken, but the hand-scooped Blue Bell ice cream was delicious.

It so happens that Rinky Tinks, located in downtown Granbury, Texas, is for sale by owner. I don’t know how business is year-round, but I can say that on March 14, 2010 it was absolutely packed and had folks lined up out the door for ice cream.

7 Responses to Close-Up at Rinky Tinks

  1. I’ve seen some of these where each mini jukebox had a set of speakers and would play for you right at the table. At a reduced level so that each table got their own tune without interrupting other tables’ enjoyment of meal and accompaniment. I sure as heck don’t recognise any of the songs listed!

  2. THAT question was aimed at me!

    You mean the one at Rinky Dinks is NOT wired into the main jukebox? I guess today they might “enable the peripheral unit by wirelessly connecting with the cpu.”

    The gizmo on your table was not only wired into the main jukebox, it had it’s own set of speakers, so if you put a quarter (yes – three songs for a quarter) into the machine at your table, the speakers at your table were enabled, along with the ones on the jukebox. You even had a volume control of sorts – off, loud, and soft.

    The one in the picture appears to be really old. It seems to have only one selection per button. Is there a way to “flip” song menus by a knob at the top? And where did they get these songs? Never heard of them.

    The jukebox, of course, played one side of a 45 rpm record in response to one button press. It could also play the other side, but your example looks so old that maybe it’s one that could not. That’s one reason the record companies put the song they expected to be the hit on one side and a loser on the other side (the other reason was to sell twice as many records).

    Geez. You mean you didn’t know this?

    And btw, how can a 50s ice cream parlor be circa 1979?

  3. Simon – Sounds reasonable (get it, sounds?) Sorry.

    Pops – You caught me. I was hoping you would chime in because 1) you’re old enough, and 2) you’re into stuff like that. What a great answer. Thanks!

    The line about its being a ’50s place built circa 1979 was meant to be funny. It’s true, but still funny.

  4. Let’s not put too much emphasis on “old enough.” Old people get sensitive about that sort of thing.

    Re: 50s in the 70s. I drilled down to the menu. The items on the menu, while named cleverly, seem to be 70s in the 50s adapted to the Aughts. Actual 50s menu items: Frito Pie: A small package of fritos opened on the side and filled with greasy chili. Awesome.

    Chili Dog: Well, a hot dog with chili, but with chili so greasy it turned the bun orange. Not quite as awesome, but good (as long as it didn’t cool off and solidify).

    Brown Derby: A Dairy Queen cone (with the curl on top) dipped in chocolate so the chocolate formed a skin on the frozen custard. You had to eat fast and carefully becuase the custard squirted out the bottom when you bit the top. A sport.

    Root Beer Float: Root beer from a fountain, served in a frosted (glass!) mug with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Refreshing on a hot day.

    Wraps? Nah. Pita Bread? Give me a break. French Fries? Have endured.

    And wow – I actualy missed “it’s” as possessive?

  5. We took our grand daughter there for her birthday meal and it was HOT, DIRTY and the food was only ok at best. The wait staff was horrible! Our waitress asked about our order 4 times and still got it WRONG! The bathrooms where horrible as well, dirty and stinky and not well maintained to say the least! Next trip to Granbury WILL NOT include a trip to RinkyTinks, I will find a much nicer place to spend my time and money…and speaking of money it was extremely overpriced and not worth it by a long shot! Customer beware!!!! You might walk away with food poisoning or worse! My grand daughter threw up this morning…and I know why! 2 thumbs DOWN!

  6. Hi Mark,
    I am setting up a website for my band and this picture is perfect for what I need. Any chance of using it? I’d really appreciate it and I would obviously credit you for it. If so any chance of sending it over in a higher quality?
    Many thanks in advance,

  7. Ross, if you’re a real person and not a spambot, I will be glad to provide a higher-res version of my photo, as long as credit is given as you mention. Just let me know if it’s okay to use the e-mail address you used when you commented, and I will get that to you.


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