Gone... Not Forgotten...
"Doo Wop Back to the '50s Tour"
to a $5,000 grant from the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Investment and Development
Authority (GWTIDA), the Doo Wop Back to the Fifties Tour returns for 2007. The
re-vamped tour will debut April 28, 2007 to coincide with the Greater Wildwoods
Chamber of Commerce Salute to the Sixties Weekend and the grand opening of the
Doo Wop Experience, a salute to all things Doo Wop.
Back to the Fifties Tour celebrates the island's quirky, kitschy, tacky, tawdry
mid-century buildings that have survived both the slow, dreary decline of the
late 1980's and the rocketing, roller-coaster boom of 2001 through 2005. Where
the downturn once preserved the Doo Wop treasures with almost maudlin authenticity,
the boom bulldozed approximately 300 Doo Wop style motels, diners and restaurants
into oblivion. Yet, despite the dire headlines throughout the island's economic
cycles, Doo Wop not only survived but became the claim to fame that put the Wildwoods-by-the-Sea
back on the map, this time to stay.
on the Back to the Fifties Tour (Will it be a trolley or a decorated bus or even
a tram car for 2007? Stay tuned!) are treated to a leisurely ride through the
island, narrated by knowledgeable guides whose love of all things Doo Wop is exemplified
by their willingness to appear in public in poodle skirts, bobbie socks, and bowling
shirts. In 2006, the capable drivers of Sheppard Bus Company (which provides transportation)
also embraced the Doo Wop message and dressed like Joanie and the Fonz. To the
tunes of era which the tour celebrates, riders gape and gaze and snap photos of
the island's still abundant collection of Blast-Off, Pu-Pu Platter, Chinatown
Revival, and Phonee Colonee hotels and motels, diners and nightclubs.
Back to the Fifties Tour also salutes business owners who have embraced the Doo
Wop message in designing new buildings. America's first Doo Wop Wawa, Doo Wop
Acme and Doo Wop Commerce Bank branch are also featured on the tour and characterize
what has been lovingly dubbed "neo Doo wop" style. The Doo Wop Preservation
league(DWPL) born in 1997 as the brainchild of Jack Morey of the Morey Organization
and Steve Izenour, AIA, encourages Doo Wop design and provides pointers in its
definitive treatise: How to Doo Wop (available for sale on the DWPL website www.doowopusa.org).
in 1991 as a cooperative effort between Wildwoods-by-the Sea business owners and
the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC), the Doo Wop Back to the Fifties Tour
remained a "sleeper" for a number of years, primarily an educational
experience and an inventory of the island's previously unacknowledged mid-century,
roadside architecture. Originally dubbed "Doo Wop" as early as 1991,
the term and the tour languished.
Steve Izenour, reknown architect of Venturi Scott Brown, whose book "Learning
from Las Vegas" was the definitive salute to and salvo for American roadside
architecture. Where others saw tacky, tired motels and diners, Izenour saw buried
treasure. Teaming up with Jack Morey of the Morey Organization, Izenour and architect
Dan Vieyra of Ken State University invited architecture students from University
of Pennsylvania, Yale University and Kent State University to inventory and catalogue
the island's sleeping beauties and to offer advice and design ideas to Doo Wop
property owners. So the term "Doo Wop" entered the national lexicon
as the name which best characterizes the mid-century roadside architecture and
the Wildwoods-by-the-Sea entered the national and international consciousness
as the "Doo Wop Capital" of both the Jersey Shore and the whole US of
2007, the Doo Wop Back to the Fifties Tour will run on Saturday, April 28, 2007
during the Salute to the Sixties Weekend; summer, on Tuesday and Thursday nights
at 7 PM and will include the new Doo Wop Experience; and on Saturday, October
20, 2007 during the Fourth Annual Back to the Fifties Weekend. Tour prices have
not been set but are likely to range from $10.00 to $12.00 for adults, $5.00 to
$6.00 for children 12 and under, and free for children 3 and under. Check the
DWPL website for more information!