Happy new year! Frosene Phillips is celebrating the new year today. During her absence, she shares another gem from her father Perry Phillips’ archives. Phillips’ Night Sounds column ran in the Oakland Tribune from 1962 until his passing in 1991. Today’s column excerpts were originally published January 2 and 6, 1970. Looking back fifty years, offers a unique taste of what was then and what remains as well as what has changed … Oakland Raiders included. Enjoy the trip down memory lane!
By Perry Phillips
Well, here we go again. Another new year and a new decade as well. I kind of look forward to the 70’s mainly because we had so many changes on this beat in the 60’s that the old town just ain’t quite the same any more. I have a strong feeling that before this decade has run its course there are going to be many more new nighteries, restaurants and hotels in the Eastbay. It’s something to look forward to. For instance, the new Hilton Inn will open this spring, there are several new restaurants on the drawing board, the Edgewater Hyatt House is adding 200 more rooms plus an 800 capacity banquet room and – that downtown hotel is a distinct possibility. Of course the rumors will continue. There’s one making the rounds now that a major hotel concern is trying to buy the whole square block between 3rd and 4th on Broadway which includes the Western Pacific Station. True or not, I for one can’t say but, you’ll have to admit it is a most interesting rumor.
Jack London Square should really boom in the 70’s. The way North Beach in San Francisco continues to go downhill it could easily lose its tourist appeal. And, many of the restaurant owners on Jack London Square tell me they have been drawing an increasing number of San Franciscans over to this side for dinner. Perhaps the time has come for the restaurant owners on the Jack London Square to consider promoting that area on a national level.
As for nighteries, the Eastbay can always take a few more. There is room here for a discovery type club such as San Francisco’s Purple Onion and another type club or two such as the Taverna Athena. An operatic club would probably do well now but on a four-night a week basis. In any event, a little more variety would certainly make this beat a lot more interesting in the 70’s.
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There was a lot of champagne just sitting around waiting to be consumed last Sunday night. Not a cork was popped and a lot of club owners are silently cussing the Kansas City Chiefs. Too bad, everyone around this beat was pulling so hard for our Raiders to win the AFL championship and the club owners were prepared
for such an eventuality. I came across the Edgewater West’s Kenny Kaphan right after the game and he had tears in his eyes. He went back to the Edgewater West and supervised the huge buffet that was spread for the team. Most of the players and coaches, including head coach John Madden, showed up. And, considering the bitter loss earlier, the general mood was not as gloomy as one would expect. Friday morning, Kenny was as happy as a lark. The Raiders had chosen one of his action photos (he’s an amateur photographer) for the cover of the program book. He’d gladly exchange the honor for a Raider victory. Two years in a row was too much for me, incidentally, so I just called it a night after stopping off at the Edgewater West and went home. Still it was a great year and there’s not a nightery or restaurant owner around town who wouldn’t take his hat off to the Raiders for giving them a good year, also. We’ll get ’em next year but I have to admit, it’s a long wait.
I had planned, by the way, to make my annual extended visit to Las Vegas and fly from there to New Orleans. The trip is still on, minus the New Orleans part of it, and by the time this gets into print I’ll be somewhere on the famous Las Vegas strip. If anything, I’ll enjoy the winter weather there but I know, from past experience, that everywhere I go the first thing I’ll hear is “What happened to your Raiders?” I’ve learned to live with it especially since folks down there are quite aware of our town thanks to the Raiders.
Frosene will be back with you again Thursday, January 16th.