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In the 1950s, the concept of "fine dining" was not a common occurrence in small towns throughout America. While there were plenty of fast food options available, such as hamburger joints, there were few options for upscale dining experiences. However, in Beaumont, Texas, one establishment stood out as the premier destination for a night out - Vic & Al's.
Vic Patrizi opened a frozen custard stand in 1948 on the traffic circle at College and 11th Street. His brother, Al, later joined him, and in 1958, the establishment evolved into a full-fledged restaurant. Along with introducing pizza to the area, Vic & Al's also offered a variety of other delicious Italian dishes, such as lasagna.
The painting depicts a scene from a prom night, with a couple arriving at the restaurant on a brand new Harley-Davidson motorcycle. One of the unique features of Vic & Al's was the wall adorned with autographed celebrity photos, including one from Vincent Price, who starred in the classic horror film "The Fly" that year. The artist notes that all of the classic cars in the painting were rendered using 1/18 scale die-case models, and that meticulous research was conducted to ensure the accuracy of the 1958 Harley Duo-Glide in the scene.
"Thanks for the memories. My father, Al Patrizi, is in a nursing home
here in Austin and has Alzheimer's disease. He is still warm, funny and the same ol'
cutup he has always been. I can't wait to show him this wonderful drawing, and possibly
hang it in his room to enjoy."
The Making of Prom Night
Watch this slide presentation by the artist for some rare behind the scenes footage of the process of painting.
The original painting is 36x24" on masonite panel, completed in 2000.
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