Tucson’s 1950s culture in fried chicken


This page is from the book, “Entertaining Tucson Across the Decades,” in volume one of a three volume set available on Amazon.com.


The Polar Bar was the popular carhop hot spot of the early 1950s located on the north side of Speedway Blvd., between Country Club and Alvernon. The restaurant also had a large dining room. Weekend night the parking lot was filled with hungry cruisers and gazers.

The Polar Bar served the Zombie– the “World’s Largest Sundae.” For $1.00, a patron would get approximately one quart of ice cream, five kinds of fresh fruit, crushed nuts and “anything else that’s handy.” The Sissy Zombie was “twice as little for half as much.” The Wildcat Deluxe Sundae, topped with strawberries, marshmallows and nuts, was only 30 cents. Take home a quart of hand packed ice cream for only 70 cents.

The Zombie Burger, for 40 cents, had all the trimmings. For five cents more, add grilled ham.
The inside of the menu is hand stamped: “All price are our O.P.S. ceiling prices or lower. A list showing our ceiling price for each item is available for your inspection.”

The Tucson Polar Bar was owned by Derald Fulton 4 and Paul E. Shaar, Don Morris, manager. Fulton moved to Phoenix in 1948 where he started the first Polar Bar. Fulton opened the first Lucky Wishbone at 4872 South Sixth Avenue in July 1953 as hundreds of hungry Tucsonans waited to get a taste of its trademark fried chicken.

Three Tucson employees, Morris, Clyde Buzzard and John Kinder, became managing partners. There are seven locations in Tucson.

The Golden Brown Chicken (see menu left) served with fries, garlic buttered roll and a choice of soup or mixed salad bowl, became the staple item (less soup or salad) for the Lucky Wishbone, Tucson’s first fast food restaurant serving fried chicken (shrimp and steak fingers). Chicken is still sold under the Junior, Mom and Pop, but the price has gone up abit.

“In Paris It’s the Riza Bar –
In New York It’s the Astor Bar
In Phoenix in Tucson, It’s the Polar Bar.

Fr more, read additional chapters from “Entertaining Tucson Across the Decades.”

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