Jim Bartlett's Blog

Posts from July 2014


The Way It Used to Be
I hope you saw the article in Isthmus recently about the great Lost Madison Facebook community--and that you've checked out Lost Madison yourself. It's full of pictures and memories of Madison the way it used to be, and an excellent source of information about the city's past.

In the summer, I find myself thinking about Madison as it used to be, because when I was a kid, I spent more time here in the summer than in any other season. My aunt and uncle lived here, first on Segoe Road and later just off Whitney Way, and I'd spend a few days each summer with my cousin. He was pretty good at navigating the bus system, so we'd ride all over the city. We loved to hang out on State Street, and we spent a lot of time at Hilldale. They had 10-cent movies at Hilldale back then, and my cousin and I agreed that Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was overpriced at a dime. We liked Jaws much better--in the summer of 1975 we stood in line outside what is now the Bartell Theater, but was then the Esquire, to see the movie absolutely everybody was talking about.

Long before that, however, I was a visitor to Madison. After West Towne opened in 1970, my family would pile in the car on a Sunday afternoon, drive up from Monroe, and wander the mall. Over the years, I spent a large percentage of my allowance at Victor Music, and it's still the place I see in my head when I imagine what a music store is supposed to look like. In those days, the mall was on the very edge of the city. There were farms to the west and the south. Not long ago, I was traveling down Fish Hatchery Road in Fitchburg and the same thought occurred to me--I could remember when this was somebody's cornfield.

There are more interesting memories of Madison's past at Lost Madison. You should click over there right now.
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The Winning Is Just Beginning
The other night at Concert on the Square, one of the listeners at Table 75 asked me, "What's the best prize you've ever given away?"

 
I had to think about it for a minute. Making someone's $992 mortgage payment during Magic Pays Your Bills last year was fun. At another station, I once gave away $1000 to caller #106, and I've handed out a few weekend getaways. But I know a radio guy who once gave away an all-expenses-paid trip to Dublin, Ireland, to see U2 in concert, which is instantly cooler than anything I ever gave away. 

 
A more interesting question might be, "What's the worst prize you've ever given away?"

 
In one town, the local movie theater gave us tickets, but asked us to give them away not in pairs, but one at a time. The theater manager said, "I don't want you to give away pairs because then I don't sell anything. Nobody goes to the movies alone, so if you give tickets away one at a time, at least I'm going to sell another ticket." (We could have made the listeners promise to buy popcorn, I guess.) In another town, an appliance dealer occasionally asked us to give away stuff he couldn't sell. I can tell you there are some things in this world that people will not only refuse to buy, but they won't even take it if you try to give it to 'em free. An electric combination hot-dog cooker and bun warmer, for example.

 
At Magic, we're extra-careful to make sure the prizes you can win from us are truly special, and not just junk that's lying around. And we assure you that if you ever win tickets to anything, there will always be two of them.
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Locations: Dublin




 
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