Re: Slot Car Craze of the 1960s

05/13/04 - posted by John Martini

Actually, that slot car palace on Great Highway operated around 1965-1968. Following its demise, the building was converted to the last incarnation of Chet Helm's Family Dog ballroom, which billed itself while there as "Family Dog on the Great Highway."

I spent many hazy evenings lying on the floor there, listening to the likes of Sons of Champlin and the Youngbloods. Their motto was "Magic At the Edge of the Western World."

Historically, that building was built as the Ocean Beach Pavillion in the 1880s and had a zillion incarnations over the years. These included a training camp for boxers, a riotously decorated fried chicken joint called "Topsy's Roost", a rental hall called the Surf Club, and the aforementioned slot car track.

Following the Family Dog's demise the hall briefly housed a music venue called "Friends and Relations Ballroom." I think The Who's rock opera "Tommy" was staged there but dont' quote me. The hall was finally torn down when Playland was demolished.

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