Fast Company with the Two Jacks of Hampton Beach
Compiled by Dave Waller
Edited by Carol and Lynn Waller
[Special Thanks to Peter E. Randall for Facts and Photos]
Playland Anew:This scene from the early 1950's shows a brand-new Playland. The building now occupies the double lot, and the HoJo's and Pollard's Store provided lucrative rental income for the partners. Concrete block and asbestos tile will keep this building around for a good long time.
Prize Counter 1959
Several attractions at Playland offered rewards for high scores, and the prize counter was the main draw. Toys, radios and even cigarettes could be won if enough tickets were collected by playing Pokerino and Skeeball. If you were in town for a day, you might win enough points for a souvenir pencil, but playing all summer could net you a toaster.
Jack Hines' mother Mary was a fixture at the Pokerino tables, and enjoyed a special status amongst the boys who worked the floor. She never quite learned the game of "rolling the balls" properly, but no matter her score, Nana Hines was rewarded most every time with a strip of valuable prize coupons.
Most of the help was reliable, but one summer the Jacks discovered an insider scheme involving two brothers. One worked the prize counter; the other worked next door at Howard Johnson's. They had been trading Prize Cigarettes for Sundaes all summer. A private council was held, and the gentlemen left on 'uncertain terms'.
Ocean Blvd 1958
The post war boom meant more people had more money to spend at Hampton. The decade brought parking meters to the beach and a visit by Senator Richard Nixon drew a crowd of 10,000. Doc Hewett and others of his generation passed on, new seawalls were built to keep back the storms, and the beach continued its constant state of change.
These views provided by longtime employee Bobby Ross show the layout in 1959. The floor was 'L' shaped because the more valuable frontage was used by HoJks and Pollards Store. You can see some of Ed Tibbet's comic strip characters retired to a less obvious spot on the upper left wall.
End of an era
Jack Walsh was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, and by 1958 the partners decided it was time to conclude the business. This inventory run list shows some of the equipment included in the sale of Playland to the Dunfey Family. The Dunfeys were well known to 'The Jacks', and were always welcome when they stopped by for a visit.
1 Davy Crockett
1 Big Top Shooting Gallery
1 Wild West
2 Coon Hunt
2 Shoot the Bear
1 Space (Pistol)
2 Jungle Joe
1 Sky Gunner
1 Six Shooter
1 Dale Gun
1 Vibrator - Relaxator for Feet - 10¢
1 Vibrator - Relaxator for Feet - 5¢
1 "Lord's Prayer" Charm Press
1 Metal - Typer
1 Roovers Name Plate
16 Skee Ball Bowling Alleys - fully equipped
4 Midget Movies
8 "3 in line" rolling ball games - with stools
2 Pitchin and Bat'n
1 Air Football
1 Exhibit Hockey Game
1 Smiling Sam Penny Card
1 Mystic Pen
1 Big League Baseball
1 Pennant Baseball
1 Kirk scale
1 Cross Country Racer (2 people play)
1 Grip Developer
1 Grip Meter
1 Mercury Grip
1 Gloom Chaser
1 Play Soccer
1 Sidewalk Engineer - Bulldozer
1 Sidewalk Engineer - Crane
2 Egyptian Seeress - Fortune
2 Champion Basketball
10 Post Card - Exhibits
12 Love Meters - small-with stands
4 Vacuumatic Card Venders
2 World Series Baseball
1 Wizard Fortune Teller 1 Marvel's - Pop Up
2 Skill Tests
10 Mutoscope Movies
1 Madam Zito
This page is the final symbol of a partnership that spanned five decades. Two boyhood friends from the Brickyard in Lynn had created at least eight enterprises together. "When you figure it out, all those businesses are foreign to each other. The principles involved are the same in all of them. Hire the right guy and pay him well and operate your business yourself." -JH
Hell to get old
Jack Walsh passed away in 1963, but Hines just couldn't sit still. He used some of the money from the sale of Playland and dabbled in Hampton Real Estate, converting a farmhouse on Winnacunnet Road to apartments. He also developed houselots on a large parcel of land on High Street and and rennovated a property on Lafayette Road.
Retirement found him doing all the things he loved most - wintering in his native Lynn, and summering in Hampton with the loving company of his wife Irene. Carol's family bought a small trailer on the beach to be close to the new grandparents, and the Hines Beach house on Ocean Blvd. held a steady stream of friends and relations. It wasn't unusual to have a dozen visitors a day drop in for a cup of tea and a story.
Jack doted on his grandchildren, endlessly driving them around Hampton in his blue Buick (yes, Ed Tibbits still made sure Jack drove a Buick) to point out the landmarks, or as he would say "Make a nest in your ear."
"That's where the mile-long bridge stood. There's the bandstand where Rudy Vallee did his first coast-to-coast radio show. Here's where the Trans-Atlantic cable came in from Europe. That was an old Submarine [or Airplane] Spotting Tower. Here is where we pitched the tent in back of the Dance Hall. There is where I met your Grandmother."
The stories were told again and again, and even though he thought it fell on deaf ears, we listened to every word. This book is a dedication to The Two Jacks - one who I never had the good fortune to meet, and one who shaped my life in so many ways.
"Three Cheers to The Jacks!"
Jack Hines would often lament on the changing habits of people and the gradual shift to tacky biker town. The 1960's and 70's were especially hard on seaside resorts as people became more mobile and flew to far away attractions. The HoJo's folded up as the old guard gave way to the new.
Despite all the changes, Playland remains today one of the top attractions on the beach. Now run by the Kennedy family, the business boasts the latest in arcade games and still packs in the crowds.
No more pennies
Another country heard from. There's Jack Hines' grown-up girl Carol with her daughter-in-law Lynn Waller and grandkids Isabel and Wyatt. On the previous page they're enjoying a little 25 cent Pokerino, and look how they're doing at Skeeball! See that string of tickets?