Goody Goody: Past Present and Future Debuts at Tampa Theater
Nostalgia reigned at the Tampa Theater on Saturday as Tampa history buffs packed the house to watch the premiere of Goody Goody: Past Present and Future, a documentary by local filmmaker Lynn Marvin Dingfelder lauding the history of the hamburger stand on Florida Avenue and it's recent reincarnation in Hyde Park.
The energy in the place was celebratory. The crowd was a mix of young and old but leaned more towards the latter. Laughter and hugs would arise as Goody Goody veterans recognized one another as if they were at an old-time Tampa class reunion. Richard Gonzmart, the principle behind the renaissance of Goody Goody and whose family has been in the local restaurant business since 1905, greeted friends, shook hands and hugged attendees like they were family.
Prior to the start of the film an organist played the pop-up Wurlitzer Organ chiming out old tunes reminiscent of an earlier time and creating an even greater sense of being back-in-the-day.
The documentary starts with flashback photos of Tampas past followed by scenes from the old eatery. There were several cameo appearances from politicians past and present like former mayors Sandra Freedman, Dick Greco, and Bob Martinez, former appellate judge EJ salcines, former City council member Linda Saul Sena, radio personality Jack Harris, and current mayor Bob Buckhorn. Gonzmart himself speaks of his own storied memories from his childhood at the place on Florida Avenue and his hope to create similar memories for families for generations to come. Also appearing were several former employees, each one of them recounting special moments of their times at the old location. Many of their personal tails, like Freedmen's account of skipping temple with her family to eat burgers only to find other temple members there, speak to the fond memories each one of them experienced.
Those memories were the foundation of the documentary according to Dingfelder, preserving the history, personal stories, and nostalgia that show Goody Goody as so much more than a restaurant. It was a staple in the community and a reminder of a simpler time, something that Gonzmart wants to preserve.
During the show applause breaks out as known faces appear on screen to tell their tales. Chuckles of familiarity speckle the room when audience members identify with recognizable issues from the old place like the cold aluminum chairs or being instructed by the carhops to roll their window up at least 2 inches in order to hook the tray that your meal is delivered on to your car. Like I said, nostalgic!
The film is backed with the soundtrack of several versions of 1936 song by Matty Malneck Goody Goody with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. While the song and the restaurant had the same name, they are not related as the song came out 31 years after the original restaurant opened.
Following the film Tampa Bay Times book editor Colette Bancroft (right) emcees a talkback with Larry Wiezycki, the director and editor, Richard Gonzmart, film producer and writer Lynn Marvin Dingfelder, and John Bell – President & CEO Tampa Theater.
If you have a long history in Tampa and like to reminisce this documentary is a must see. The intricate detail of Gonzmart's 14 year dream and the 2 year construction and replication is fascinating. Just seeing the details of sourcing the materials like finding local beef for POX burgers (explained in the documentary) and the thought put into custom made beer tap handles gives a behind the scenes look at the infinite attention to detail in replicating every nuance of the original shop. Take the time, especially if you have been in Tampa for a while, to experience this nostalgic look and new iteration of Goody Goody.