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Fifties Flashback

This Jacksonville photo was snapped at Beck’s Trailer Village in about 1956. The trailer park was situated in the Panama Park area, just south of where Main Street crosses the Trout River. In the location today is the Trailer Village Mobile Home Park.

Sitting at the front of the bike is Bobby Brantley, whose father managed the park. Bobby Brantley moved to Jacksonville in 1956 and attended its public schools. He would later serve as Florida’s lieutenant governor, being the first Republican ever elected to the position. Brantley held the job from 1987 to 1991 under Governor Bob Martinez.

FIFTIES FLASHBACKS — With this photo, you can’t help but think of the TV show “Happy Days” or the movie “Stand by Me.” Boys of the Fifties grew up during the days of Ovaltine, TV dinners, Keds, coonskin caps, the Big Bopper, cigarettes rolled in sleeves, sea monkeys, mutant movie monsters with bug eyes, Coke bottles with the names of cities on the bottom, Charles Atlas courses (“Don’t be a 97-pound weakling”), and a young, budding Annette Funicello.

As for the girls of the Fifties? Nostalgic memories may include poodle skirts, bobby pins, Mary Janes, Nancy Drew, dotting “i’s” with hearts, wearing a boyfriend’s letter jacket, licking trading stamps, hula hoops, skates with keys, and a young, dashing native of Jacksonville, Pat Boone. (The popular singer was born at Riverside Hospital in 1934, but he and his family moved to Nashville a year later.)

And there’s also Elvis. In 1956, perhaps the same year as the photo above, Presley continued to drive the River City girls crazy by making another appearance here. His Florida Theater concert has been said to be his first indoor concert. In any case, a local judge warned the singer not to be too suggestive with the famous Elvis pelvis wiggle. To try make sure that he didn’t, the judge even kept an eye on the Jax performance from the front row, along with the Duval County sheriff.

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