This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California.

The two levels of nostalgia at the Minder Binders auction

Yesterday I helped a friend of mine pick up the items that he had purchased at the auction of the Minder Binders memorabilia. If you went to ASU, or lived in Tempe, in the 1970s or '80s, you know about Minder Binders. If not, briefly it was a bar and restaurant on University and McClintock in a gigantic converted old barn that was filled to overflowing with interesting stuff on the walls, hanging on the ceiling, and everywhere. I went there a few times back in '81, ' 82 and I remember being fascinated by the amazing array of things that were everywhere. Nowadays, of course, lots of places have tons of nonsense stuff like that on the walls, but I'd never seen anything like it before, and I've never seen anything like it since.

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As someone who is interested in history, I'm fascinated by the two levels of nostalgia represented by these items. For most people like my friend, they are associated with the restaurant, evoking fond memories of college days. And they also have their own history, long before they were randomly hung all over the old barn that became a bar and restaurant. Both histories interest me, and while I can be very precise about one, the other remains a mystery.

Fiberglass sculpture from Minder Binders auction. Maroon and gold are the colors of ASU.

The maroon and gold Zeus is an example that fascinates me. Made of fiberglass, it's about ten feet tall. And while most people do remember it from its place of honor at Minder Binders, I have no idea where it originally came from. "Everyone says" that is was from a movie, or something. My suspicion is that it came from an amusement park. I'll continue to research it. This is the day of the internet, and I may find out!

As I was looking at all of the stuff after the auction yesterday, I was wondering about the first and second levels. The first level was when the items were hauled to a old barn in Tempe in the early 1970s when someone had the idea of creating a crazy-looking bar and restaurant that would appeal to the college kids. I can just picture them enjoying finding things, maybe getting a call from someone who had found something, and the seriously difficult process of getting it all in place. There were some absolutely gigantic things that were suspended from the rafters.

And then I wonder about the people who originally made these things, most of which are fiberglass. Where were they made? When? What were they originally on? Signs for businesses? I'll keep looking around, and I'll tell you if and when I find out more.

Minder Binders memorabilia getting ready to be transported to a place of honor in a home in Los Angeles. The canoe pre-dates the 1970s, the artwork and lettering were done for the restaurant.

By the way, if you got [my friend tells me that word "scored" is more appropriate] something at the Minder Binders auction, and you don't mind telling me, I'd love to hear what you got, what it means to you, and where it is now.

Update: Here is a still from the 1959 movie "Ben Hur" with a similar statue of Zeus. Much larger, and with a slightly different face, but definitely the inspiration!

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