Friday, October 14, 2011

1980 Disco Rats - A Trip Down Memory Lane

Disco Rats
Franklin Lakes Stereo, Franklin Lakes New Jersey

A trip down memory lane is in order. I fondly remember the days of the late seventies and early eighties, the Jimmy Carter years. Gas was around a $1.25 a gallon and a ten-spot filled your tank in a VW Beetle, or Plymouth Duster.The economy was coming out of a tail spin and good jobs were hard to find. I was carefree and happy not knowing what field I was going to pursue job-wise and had a good core group of friends that I used to hang out with and work when I wasn't attending college. Living at home had a lot of advantages and I spent most of my waking hours working anyway so it was a good way to save up money at the time. I held down two jobs after graduating college in 1977, a full time day job at FMNA (Fiat Motors of North America) and a week-end part-time sale job at Franklin Lakes Stereo in Franklin Lakes New Jersey. Franklin Lakes was a bedroom community located about 25 miles north east of New York City and was the home of the IBM CSD Service Division headquarters. A lot of celebrities lived in that town and I remember Earl Monroe of the Knicks lived close by and bought a bunch of high end stereo gear from us. I remember him first walking into the store like a kid in candy store. He was wearing his Knicks warm up sweats and a Walt Frazier style fur coat and stepped out of a black Mercedes SLC300 convertible with NJ vanity plates that read " PEARL". As you can tell from the clothing and haircuts, the disco years had an impact on all of us growing up and working in suburbia. Franklin Lakes Stereo was located on a small non-descript strip mall near the center of town and we had our share of audio geeks and characters visiting our store on a regular basis. Franklin Lakes Stereo was a high end stereo store and we were authorized resellers for Crown, Nakamichi, Trnscriptor, KEF, Sonab, B&O, Revox, Beyer, Rogers and a host of other esoteric brands of audio gear.

We used to send out for Pizza from this local pizzeria (Forgot the Name) and sometimes we would eat in. It had pretty good pizza, veal parmesan sandwiches, and excellent oven baked calzones. We always got this young waitress named Adelle and we gave her the nick-name of Dumbdelle as she was so scatter-brained and could never get our orders right.

Life was good, working hours were long, getting discounts on audio gear was a great side benefit, as was getting a really good car audio sound system for free. When Sunday rolled around, I usually slept in and didn't get up until noon-time exhausted from the seventy hour work-week but you know, those days were some of the happiest days of my life and will always look fondly on those years living and working in the burbs of New Jersey.


  1. I worked at FLSC during H.S. and college 1966-72. I also look back on that as a great time. We were still putting up tv antennas on roofs. Did one for Yankee pitcher Tommy John. Did Frank D'allessio still own it when you were there? He gave me my first job and co-signed my first car loan so I could get there from Wyckoff. Frank passed away a few years ago in Cal.

    1. Hi Mike! Long time no hear. I was at FLSC 1976 to 1979 or so at the beginning of the Rich Flavia manager era(he's second from the left in the photo above). Sorry to hear about Frank D - I haven't heard anything about him in close to 30 years. He was a great guy to work for. He didn't have a son named Frank, but rather his two sons were Richard and Peter. Joe Russo just retired from working in West Milford at his "Computer Discount" / Radio Shack that was affiliated with FLSC from back in the day. I haven't seen Joe in a couple of years, but my parents live in West Milford now, and see him from time to time. Between Joe and Frank, I think I have been blessed to work from some truly great people. Living in Ohio now and am Sales Manager for a large Amateur / Commercial Radio manufacturer/retailer/reseller - DX Engineering.
      Bob Naumann FLSC 1976 to 1979

  2. Michael: Yes Frank D'Alessio still owned FLSC when I worked there. In fact his son Frank Jr. is in the posted photo, I think he was 11 or 12 at the time. We had just renovated the store and removed the last remnants of the Radio Shack. Very small world. Frank was a class act. Sorry to hear of his passing. I still remember and look back at those days like it was yesterday.