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Starkey's Pizza Arcade (medium)

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Starkey's Pizza Arcade (medium)

Scott Baio | Jun 25, 2003 03:37 AM

A post by "LES" in the wildly popular "INSTITUTION" thread below triggered the purple light bulb of nostalgia in my head. The post references the origins of Jerry's (F.D.) as spinning off from a Starkey's.

So: 1984 - a 7 year-old version of me, weary from hours of Olympics watching, ascends the chrome-ed escalators of the Beverly Center. Next door to Au Bon Pain, where my mom would feast on a cup of broccoli soup, sat the distillation of every one of my childhood fantasies neatly compacted into one space: Starkey's Pizza Arcade. Not just Pizza, not just Arcade, not just Starkey, but all three, and all under one roof. Yes.

The pizza, as I remember it, was the best thing ever made. Also, the soda, was the best thing ever made, if you know what I mean. I do recall that there was an overdone quality to the cheese and an underdone quality to the dough, and that even at that tender age, red pepper flakes were employed liberally. All I asked of the food was to be just nutritious enough to keep me alive long enough to play Moon Patrol.

The arcade was a place where dreams were forged and sodas spilt. Dark, loud, and well maintained. It was here that I cut my teeth on Paperboy, Marble Madness, Dragon's Lair and their brood. The smell of pizza was ingeniously pumped into the arcade and in neat reciprocation, the BLOOP BLIPS from the arcade were omnipresent in the restaurant portion of this most venerable institution. As a specimen of early marketing savvy and brand synergy, Starkey's was without peer.

My faith in humanity was tested a few years later when my parents ripped me away from Spy Hunter and moved us to the valley, home of the mall arcade. Still, I allowed the flame of my love of Starkey's to remain lit.

I do not recall the day I discovered that Darling (my pet name for Starky) had closed, but I remember the feeling (sad).

Does anyone know the year of my true love's passing? How about a picture (preferably wallet sized)? How did the world allow my childhood to become a Forever 21 retail outlet? Anyone else share in my pain?

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