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Tom Looks Back at the Best of Tucson®, Circa 1973

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If Tucson Weekly did Best of back in 1973, it would have looked something like this:

Best Place To Devour Fried Chicken: Shakey's (Multiple locations). We know, we know, there are Kentucky Fried Chicken places on every other street corner and we also have Tucson's very own Lucky Wishbone. (Those chicken fingers dipped in the tangy red sauce join with the crispy fries and greasy garlic toast to make for a Bad Diet But Great Dinner trifecta.)

But Shakey's...oh man! They have killer fried chicken AND Pizza AND these things they call Mojo potatoes, devious creations that took the Dietbuster Demon decades to perfect. First of all, pizza and fried chicken in the same place is crazy. It's like your wife telling you, "Hey, let's you and I go play some football AND have sex at the same time."

If that wasn't good enough (which it most certainly is), those potatoes put things on a whole different level. The potatoes are sliced about a half-inch thick in round or oval shapes, breaded in God knows what, and then deep fried. We think that the reason that they come in round or oval shapes is that, if they were pointy on one end, people would be tempted to try to jab them directly into a vein.

State champion basketballers Hoegie and Delano like to hang out at the Shakey's across the street from the Rodeo Grounds, but they've also been known to head up north to the one on Miracle Mile.

Best Way To Cool Down On a Hot Summer Day: eegee's (dispensed from vending trucks all over town). This lemon concoction is killer! The stuff is denser than a Slurpee from 7-11 and smoother than a sno-cone. It's simply amazing.

A couple years ago, Edmund Irving and Robert Greenberg got some money together and purchased a used vending truck. They named the company after their initials and eegee's was born. They would drive the truck around town, parking in front of schools or at sporting events. It has proven to be wildly successful. The owners are said to be considering opening eegee's stores where they can sell the wildly popular slush and maybe even sell sandwiches or French fries. An even wilder rumor is that it might someday come in flavors other than lemon.

Long-time reader Dale Lopez remembers the first time he bought some eegee's off the truck. "You know, during the summer, there were always ice-cream trucks going around with that awful music. But when the eegee's truck showed up, it was like magic. It could be 110 degrees outside and they could pull up in front of a totally deserted park. Within a couple minutes, a line would form. It was always great."

Best Place To Get CBD: The correct answer would be to stand just about anywhere in Tucson and just wait 50 years. But if you want to get some other cannabis products, there's this alley by Fourth Avenue. These two guys have dreadlocks and body funk that makes you believe that they somehow offended the God of Skunks and were then on the receiving end of some serious retribution.

The only problem is that they want to share their wisdom first. They want to talk about Haile Selassie, who has been the Emperor of Ethiopia since 1930. (There's some serious unrest in his country right now, spurred by a horrible famine, so he might not be Emperor much longer.)

We're not really sure how he stays in power. I mean, he lost a war to Italy, for crying out loud. Italy couldn't win a war against Italy, Jr., but somehow Ethiopia (Abyssinia) became the first (and last) part of Mussolini's Italian Empire.

What was the category again?

Best Place To See a Concert: The new Tucson Community Center. Built just a couple years ago, the TCC, as it is called, puts Tucson on the map. We're going to be treated to two or three major rock concerts a month! Big-name acts are going to hit Phoenix and then Tucson before heading to the West Coast. (Or, they might just skip Phoenix altogether and do their Arizona show in Tucson.)

We know that some people are upset that some old houses had to be torn down to make way for the showcase venue, but progress is progress. And the adjacent La Placita Village that is opening this year just makes everything that much greater. They're going to have to hire a team of civil engineers to redesign the roads to handle all the traffic that's going to be streaming into downtown to go shopping at La Placita.

Best Place To See a Movie: Apache Drive-In, Palo Verde Road, south of Ajo Way. A lot of people prefer the DeAnza on Alvernon near 22nd or the Midway on Speedway. We're looking forward to next year's opening of the Tucson 5 on Grant near I-10, but for now, we prefer the Apache. It's kind of out in the middle of nowhere, so there is less surrounding light. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first drive-in theater which opened in New Jersey. But unlike much of the rest of the country, Tucsonans can enjoy movies at the drive-in pretty much year-round.

Fads come and go, but some things are just too good to ever go away. Just ask the folks at the Tucson Citizen.

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