Monday, July 15, 2013

Don Hutson's Packers Playdium

Press-Gazette Archives
Don Hutson assists an unidentified young woman at the Packer Playdium, February 7, 1942.
Until relatively recently, "football player" was not a year-round occupation. Even Packer legend Don Hutson, whose career as a player spanned from 1935 through 45 (and who continued to coach for three years after that), ran two well-known Green Bay businesses — an auto lot named, appropriately enough, Don Hutson Motors, and a bowling alley and bar named the Packers Playdium.

Hutson's partner in the Playdium was another Packer great, Charles "Buckets" Goldenberg, who joined the Packers in 1933 and wore the Blue and Gold (and sometimes Green) through the 1945 season. Together, the two men had enough star power in Green Bay to change the city's liquor ordinance; until 1942, alcoholic beverages could only be sold in premises located on street level. That would have left the ten lanes of the Playdium's second floor dry, so Hutson and Goldenberg convinced the city council to exempt hotels, clubs and "bowling alleys with not less than five alleys on the second floor." The two were aided by over 1,000 signatures supporting the change.

Glassware from the Playdium is prized by collectors. This particular glass is currently available from Titletown Nostalgia.

This linen postcard, postmarked 1949, gives us our best look at the interior of the Playdium.

You can see those distinctive swirls on the alley's walls in the photograph above.

I love the mural on the bar's wall, depicting a generic Packer surrounded by mascots of the other NFL clubs, including an Eagle, Lion and Cardinal:

Why not Hutson's #14?

The player depicted is wearing the Packers' 1935-36 uniform, with its distinctive gold raglan sleeves:

The reverse bears a photo of Hudson in his navy and gold mid-1940s Packer jersey. This particular card was sent to a customer as an appointment reminder.

Sherwood is over 30 miles from Green Bay; perhaps Mr. Runge was a Packer fan, or the Playdium was a particularly good place to bowl.

No comments: