Today’s strip echoed a personal experience for me.
For almost as long as I can remember, my parents were small business owners. They ran a family business that started in 1980. When my father couldn’t do it anymore in 2005, my brother took it over. It operated continuously until 2020. You can probably guess what contributed to its demise.
When it was time to move out of the building, one of the more difficult things we had to do was take down all the pictures, mementos, awards, and other history that had been hanging on the wall for decades. There were pictures of old friends and loved ones who aren’t with us anymore. There were pictures of us with famous people. There were pictures of the time we were on a local TV news story. There were print magazine and newspaper articles. There were letters of commendation we had received about the work we did. There were letters that mentioned Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. There was even a Little League team photo plaque dated 1985, for a team I played on. Every item brought back a fond memory of a former time in our lives. So much of my family history was documented on those walls.
Montoni’s history wall sucks.
Three pictures of Tony Montoni? A local TV host? A 12-year-old playing Defender? A vague woman on a motorcycle? Most of this junk isn’t worth hanging on the bathroom wall, much less selling as “memorabilia.”
The picture of the visit from Bill Clinton is fine. Any personal interaction with a current or former POTUS is a big deal. But let’s talk about what’s not on this “history wall”:
- Mason Jarre, a major Hollywood movie star who has been to Montoni’s multiple times, and initiated the Oscar-winning movie on the premises
- Atomik Komix, a local, nationally prominent comic book publishing company, with two Hall of Famers on staff
- Pete, the writer of this world’s equivalent of Star Wars, which was also filmed in this town
- Holtron, a noteworthy prop from this movie, that is housed nearby
- Cindy Summers, a local product who became a national news reporter and was so popular in high school her parties were covered by MTV
- Bull Bushka, a local product who played in the NFL
- Any of the high school championships Westview won (my local Applebee’s commemorates such things, and I live in a big city with several high schools)
- Harry Dinkle, a man who single-handedly propped up the economy of Belgium
- The pizza box monster, who doesn’t turn up in today’s strip either. As commenter Andrew pointed out yesterday, his real-life counterpart is on Luigi’s history wall.
And I never thought I’d have to ask this, but…. where are Les and Lisa? We’re supposed to take their ridiculous over-the-top Love Story rip-off and all its side plots seriously. So they’re a massive part of Westview history.
This pathetic display should be enough to convince Summer that her proposed “oral history of Westview” is unviable. On top of that, Funky is selling all this! Why would anyone want to read a history of Westview, when the people who live there and collected that history, don’t care enough to keep it?
83 responses to “Forgetabilia”
Wow, that is your history. Pretty pathetic. Nice job Tom. It’s time to retire.
You really do have to wonder where he’s going with this. Would Batiuk really wrap up the strip without making a huge deal out of it? That seems seriously out of character for him, but on the other hand, he does have a knack for defying logic, so who knows? My guess: someone will end up “buying Montoni’s” (maybe Wally?) and he’ll do a few years worth of “retiree” gags centered around Funky. But I wouldn’t wager money on that.
No, Summer, I’d start by getting a tape recorder and/or a video camera. You’re going to miss a lot of information with that notebook and pen, even if you studied shorthand during your prolonged college career.
Don’t you know all technology is bad in the Funkyverse? If Summer used a tape recorder or video camera, she would not be writing her history book correctly! We can’t have that!
Hey, maybe the book will be accepted as Summer’s masters thesis!
Although Summer’s “maybe I’ll just ask whoever’s in front of me” approach to research? This makes it pretty clear why it’s taking her a decade to get through grad school…
Who is that in the photo with President Clinton? Has he been retconned into visiting Montoni’s?
Looks like Bob Denver, or maybe Michael Cena.
In TB’s most vile revision to date, he’s retconned away Funky’s mullet!
That isn’t the same Montoni’s sign we saw yesterday. If it replaced the old one, then nostalgic Les will get ripped off when he buys it. And I thought nothing good ever happened here!
Not a retcon. He did enter Montoni’s to pick up the pizza he’d ordered to go, and talked to a bemulleted Funky.
Reminds me of the time a local restaurant was visited by Obama who ate a slice of pie. The restaurant was owned by a third cousin twice removed. It closed during the pandemic.
NOOOO BTS AND I DUMPED THE SAME BIT OF HISTORY AT THE SAME TIIIIIIME
CURSE YOU INTERNET I HAVE STEPPED ON THE TOES OF THE MASTER.
It’s okay, remember to keep breathing and do those exercises that the guest hosts get in that PDF. You’ve stepped temporarily into a dimension where you’ve brushed against Tom Batiuk’s abilities. A dimension not of sight or sound but of mind. Specifically, an unsound mind. You’ve just dipped a toe into…The Batiuk Zone.
Thanks BC… I needed that…
*pulls up guest host bible PDF*
As was already mentioned, Clinton appeared in the strip during the 90s. And then they mentioned that visit a few years ago, during one of the stupidest plots the comic ever did (and, yes, I know that’s a pretty high bar). Adeela was sent to make a delivery, but it turned out the order was a trap by ICE, who promptly arrested her, because they thought she was someone else. Funky called Clinton to get her released from custody. This happened during the Trump administration. How Clinton was able to pull that off was never explained. Then the ICE agents came to Montoni’s, because the pizza that Adeela delivered was just that good. Laughs all around.
It was Batiuk trying to do commentary on current events, with a resolution that didn’t make any sense in the context of those events. (Kind of like… well, every other time he tries to do commentary on current events, really.)
All this is just Tom Batiuk replaying his greatest hits for his most appreciative audience–himself. He’s pulling out the high school yearbook and pouring over the photos.
Plus, it gives him a chance to wallow in misery, “Oh it’s so unfair that the good people have to suffer while the fat cats get rich,” etc etc retch etc.
He’s flailing for awards and recognition, ANY awards and recognition. And it’s honestly pathetic and fairly contemptable, since we know Montoni’s isn’t closing. “Montoni’s closing” would be like “Les moving on from Lisa” and that will never happen either.
Oh man, that bit about Montoni’s in NYC was such BS. Funky lost money because it was a stupid business idea, in fact he deserved to lose money. It has nothing to do with greed, it is all stupidity! But yeah Tom, blame those fat cats. Whatever.
I’ve seen photos of the “pizza” at Luigi’s in Akron. I can tell you that no New Yorker considers that pizza, and 95% wouldn’t eat it on a dare. I’m not making a value judgement, just stating a fact. You need to know your market before you invest in a business, and nobody wants that kind of pizza here.
My grandparents were from Italy, so I know what real Italian food tastes like. Nothing at Luigi’s can be considered real Italian food.
I make pizza every Friday night from scratch using my own dough. On Saturday I typically bake bread. This week I made rosemary focaccia.
This is just a Halloween prank, right? On Monday, the Pizza Box Monster will storm through the front door and reveal itself to be [who cares?]!
Lisa? Why not?
And why isn’t there a pic of Wally Winkerbean, the famous war hero held hostage in Iraq whose release was covered by all the networks Wally has spent every waking moment since returning to Westview in either the kitchen at Montonis or the upstairs apartment He does not go outside He did not go to Cory’s wedding Wally will have a mental breakdown if Montonis closes
I made a joke on here years ago about there being an autographed photo of the late Gary Garcia (of Buckner & Garcia/Pac-Man Fever fame) on the wall at Montoni’s, Garcia being the kind of locally-produced minor celebrity (B&G came out of Akron) who achieved fleeting national fame that a place like Montoni’s would be proud to show visited the restaurant once.
Good grief, the truth is so much sadder. Garcia would be closer in fame to Bill Clinton than to anyone else on this wall… with the gulf between Garcia and #3 being greater than the distance between Earth and the nearest quasar.
Local independent restaurants have a very low bar for “famous” when it comes to their fame walls. Even by that standard, this “history wall” is an embarrassment. And it omits people who should be up there.
Hell, if any of us walked into Luigi’s (even if only to use the restroom) we’d be on their Hall of Fame. “Famous Internet Influencers!”
Ok, I’ve done a lot of complaining tonight, but the latest Batty Blog entry about the color palette was informative.
Agreed. I wished his blog was more of this and less bloviating. Though it still doesn’t explain all the redheads turning blonde on Sundays.
Right, there are so many interesting things he can write about, but like his strips, he focuses on trivial things or whatever happens to annoy him at that moment.
Cool to see a shoutout to my novice internet sleuthing efforts yesterday!
Also while we’re comparing to Montoni’s nonfictional counterpart, if you look up pictures of the inside of Luigi’s (It’s listing on Google maps should suffice), you’ll find that they have a wall of history of their own, and it’s very dense with all the celebrities of various listings (both photos of them being their and their autographs), proud awards and trophies shelved above them, and they’re showcased right above the tables for easy viewing so you don’t have to bend over the bar for a good look.
By comparison, Montoni’s so-called wall of history is a fraction of the size, mostly kept behind the counter, and as Banana pointed out they’re not even showing all the celebrities they can stake a claim to have served. It’s the markings of a smaller sort of local joint more proud of its meager accomplishments rather than an idolized local landmark that somehow warms the heart of even ICE agents.
On that note, the fact that Funky is auctioning off the place’s memento photos seems like something they’d have to do if they were desperate for cash. They’ve got a signed John Darling and a rare photo of the last president of the 20th century, that’s the most valuable ones of the bunch. Beyond that, are we really expected to believe the Winkerbeans or Tony’s family would want hold onto those? Not every Northeast Ohio establishment has a reclusive collector looking for everything down to the autospy photos (granted, if Chester does find some excuse to covertly buy everything for his vault again, that’ll be funny at least)
Since memorabilia is more valuable than gold in Westview and with closing of Montoni’s, every item there becomes memorabilia, I’m sure that after the auction Funky will be rich beyond his wildest dreams and he can reopen Montoni’s with his newly aquired capital.
auctioning off the place’s memento photos seems like something they’d have to do if they were desperate for cash.
Other than the picture of a former president, this entire wall isn’t worth $20. They must be really, really desperate.
Luigi’s does have a lot of history on its walls and that should be your only reason to stop in.
I have to say, I don’t recall seeing any photos of Batty, but I think there are some FW strips posted. Then again I haven’t been there since the 1990’s, and that was before Batty did that Band Box arc.
Thank you for sharing your family’s history, Banana, Jr. My dad and sister ran their own businesses for a while, too. It’s so much blood, sweat, and tears. 40 years is an incredible run, though.
From Funky’s phrasing, the Sunday-only reader could be forgiven for thinking he’s selling off the photos and nothing else. But, why would he auction off the photos, as part of general auction, and who would buy them? I suppose collectors might try to pick up the Clinton one and we know there is at least one JD Who Was Murdered otaku in town, but the others?
Also, as some of you have noted, the wall is most noteworthy for what’s NOT on it. Which sums up the past 20 years of FW: Mostly interesting for what it does not do. Again and again.
Honestly that seems like something we the readers could do half-snarkily, half-earnestly do with respect to this strip reaching 50 years.
This came up during the “Gun that Killed John Darling” story, but museum or a history wall to show all the moments of this comic, famous and infamous, would be cool to make a few collage images or webpages of sort. A lot of moments get lost over the years, would legit be a cool thing to collect them all together in some form.
Even to just take all the deep dives that CBH made into the early history of FW and consolidate them into a special “history” section of SoSF would be nice. I learned so much about the strip from her research and it would be a shame to have it fall into the SoSF memory hole.
Mitchell Knox will obviously want the picture of John Darling, Jessica’s father who was murdered. And maybe a member of the 1985 Little League team might want that picture, but who would pay money for the rest of that stuff? Shouldn’t Funky want to keep the photo of himself with Clinton? Shouldn’t he give the photos of the Eliminator to her husband, his friend Harry? Shouldn’t the first picture, which I assume is Tony and his family, be given to Tony?
Or, if no one else wants them, maybe he should give the lot to Summer for use in her book. I recently mentioned the local history books produced by Arcadia Publications. Many are crammed with photos such as those.
Someone’s gonna bid on the picture of the giant Montoni, ready to take a dump on anyone foolish enough to try t make a drive-thru purchase.
“Pizza World” magazine? That photo alone merits an arc of its own. A joyous Funky, making it rain with wads of pizza cash? When did THAT happen? And when was Leather Tuscadero in the strip? I assume that had to have happened sometime after Ted McGinley joined the FW cast.
If I remember correctly, Funky was to be the cover star of “Pizza World” magazine but the story made him look bad, so he bought up every copy so no one would know.
Honestly, ED, this is the kind of thing YOU should be telling ME.
FINE. I’ll try to beat BTS this time.
Funky was interviewed for Pizza World by a proto Cayla, five months before Real Cayla showed up. He then bought all the copies because he was so proud of the magazine cover.
My parents have a similar story when I was the cute Christmas three year old on the cover of the Iowa Soybean Digest.
So weird to travel back to 2008…when FW could occasionally come within sighting distance of real humor.
“I Totally Forgot About The Story”: The Autobiography of Tom Batiuk
Honestly, I don’t remember this one at all. During early Act III (2007-2012), BatYarn was still high as f*ck on those Pulitzer fumes. But they wore off right around when Les married Cayla, and he’s been on auto-pilot ever since.
and get me beat, you did. The crazy thing to me is that proto-Cayla, Darcy Williams, shares a last name with pre-married Cayla.
This entire night in a nutshell.
Is that something that has happened and what is the correct answer?
This is bothering me so much at the moment.
Yes. It happened. 2006 I think. The answer was Crazy Harry, who was the team’s ‘pizza acrobat’
Thank you Harriet!
Now I can sleep tonight.
Back when Funky still had a sliver of hair color and peak coverage, and relatively youthful all things considered by way of being forty-something. Then he aged 20 years in 12 year’s time, whereas Les hasn’t aged a day since then.
Yeah, this is what led into the Big Pizza Intervention in December of that year. It would have followed immediately, but there were softball strips to run. Remember when Batiuk tried to make those a thing?
NOW I HAVE TO GO THROUGH ALL MY CHRISTMAS ISSUES OF IOWA SOYBEAN DIGEST
I think there’s a local collector of “Bean’s End” catalogs that may be able to scratch your itch for vintage agricultural ephemera.
Right you are, this was back in early 2008. I don’t believe he wound up buying the whole circulation or even realizing the story was bad (he forgot to read it), but he did buy a lot of copies.
The interview, though, was something for sure. Funky spent the whole multi-week arc behaving like a pompous ass while Khahn (then a Montoni’s employee) sat in a corner booth and whispered cutting remarks about Funky to Crazy. The interviewer was a woman named Darcy Williams… look familiar, Les?
Ah, now it makes sense. This “Darcy Williams” turned in such a lousy puff-piece article that she was effectively blacklisted as a writer. Humiliated, she changed her name to “Cayla”, moved to the town that caused her ruin, and married Les. Now humiliated even more, she inwardly turned her ire to the cause of her downfall: Funky and Montoni’s. And thus was born… the PIZZA MONSTER.
And as part of her fiendish plan, she temporarily stopped straightening her hair and let it go natural, thus becoming unrecognizable to the Extremely White inhabitants of Westview.
And when was Leather Tuscadero in the strip?
Are you referring to the biker gal? I believe that is the adult version of Donna “The Eliminator.” Two photos of the Eliminator on the wall o’ fame?
One of these I’ll have to learn how to post pictures in the comments or at least learn how to embed the links in text.
Are they any tutorials for this amateur commenter to read?
Testing one two three. Testing one two three.
Thanks ian’sdrunkenbeard! I borrowed your Luigi’s photos method.
It woiks! YaY! 🥳
And yet I grew up during the dawn of the video game age, and girls played alongside us quite often. We’d go to our local Montoni’s ( now owned by cousin) and play whatever games they had with whoever ( male or female) happened to be there.
Why does Batty have to make up stuff like this? Answer: so he can show how enlightened he is.
As an underclassman in college, I missed the early part of the video game boom because I was hitting the books. What money I had was usually spent buying beer on the weekends. Back in those days, an 18-year-old could buy 3.2% beer legally (or buy a good meal because the dorm food was ghastly).
After college, I played video games and no one ever batted an eye. Not that I was any good.
I don’t think Batiuk hid the Eliminator’s gender because she was a girl who played video games. I think he hid her gender because she was a girl who was GOOD at playing video games.
She’s a girl and she’s good at video games?! WOW!
I’m sure there were girl gamers who were pretty damn good before Batiuk wrote his little story.
Oh yeah, back before Donna (of course) became a fat frumpy mope. Another thing I completely forgot about. It’s kind of amazing how instantly forgettable this strip can be sometimes. I mean, I still remember the “Our Gang” shorts verbatim, but a solid 3/4s of FW has vanished down the memory hole.
My memory isn’t that great either. I happened to remember ComicBookHarriet including one of those strips in her blog this past April. It was during the Crazy Harry/Eliminator helmet story arc.
Even knowing that the residents of Westview are oblivious idiots, I have a hard time believing that they couldn’t tell a girl in a skin-tight leather catsuit from a boy in a skin-tight leather catsuit.
I know what’s going to happen Cindy is going to find out Montoni’s is closing, and she will get her rich younger movie star boyfriend Mason Jarre to buy it with his Lisa’s Story: The Movie profits Cindy will get to re-decorate the renamed ‘Mason Jarre’s Pizza’ but will keep Funky and co. on staff to run it It won’t matter if it still loses money, for uber rich Mason it’s just a tax writeoff anyway
Cut the malarkey, Funky… we want to hear about when Montoni’s was robbed. No, not that time, the other time!
Just like when they called Tom, Todd in one of those puff pieces.
Okay, so Summer/Marianne/Mopey Pete now has a writing pad and has changed their top, so are we to assume that is now the next day, after Funky told Les and them to “stick around for the auction”? And it never occurred to Funky yesterday to ask what the book was going to be about?
Also, Tony Montoni apparently has/had a son? Has Tony Jr. ever been featured in the strip, and why didn’t hetake over the family business?
Lastly, a longtime favorite cheesesteak shop here in Philadelphia was nearly destroyed in a fire last month, and one thing everyone was wondering about was the collection of celebrity autographs and signed photos on the walls. Among the ones I can recall off the top of my head (some of which survived) were Kobe Bryant, Julius Erving, John Denver, Hall and Oates, Soupy Sales, local boy Bruce Willis, and many more notables, along with the usual mix of local TV anchors and radio DJs. Sorry, Montoni’s, but your “wall of fame” still doesn’t hold a candle to Jim’s Steaks.
Also, Tony Montoni apparently has/had a son? Has Tony Jr. ever been featured in the strip, and why didn’t he take over the family business?
The woman in the photo appears to be wearing fashions from the 1940s. I believe the little one in the photo IS Tony Montoni.
Funky and his “killer shark” issues. Yawn.
Let’s sum this up: we have Funky running the place into the ground because he’s a moron who makes stupid decisions and focuses on idiotic things and blaming the Covid and the one percent. We have the very boring history kept badly by a nitwit who doesn’t know what’s important. We have an inept author wannabe taking notes in a way that’s sure to make sure that whatever gibberish Funky spouts is going to be misinterpreted and have missing details.
Guaranteed best seller, gang.
Yeah, this was the jackwagon who thought opening a pizzeria in NYC was a good idea. Now it could be if you had a unique business plan or way of making pizza, or if you were a famous pizzaiolo from Naples.
But bringing suburban Ohio pizza to the big city is dumb and you deserve to lose money for attempting to do so.
This is what Holly should have said.
Here are some photos I took at Luigi’s within the last year. I always judge an Italian restaurant by the quality of their plastic grapes and landscape murals.
If Luigi’s ever has an auction I’m going to bid on the two 8×10’s of the chimp (Zanzibar?) wearing a snazzy hat and guzzling a bottle of beer. Travis Tritt got a place of honor next to the chimp, but I’m not interested in his photo.
I only noticed the chimp pictures when I was posting the pix here, so I didn’t get to ask any of the staff about it. Next time I go I’ll try to get the scoop.
I see comedian Pat Cooper there in the first photo, with a headshot taken from the set of an unreleased live-action John Darling flick…
Never mind Pat, who is that in the hat on in the photo to his left? Have we at last a clue to the whereabouts of Zanzibar the Talking Murder Chimp?
I think these links will lead to bigger photos…
Call me crazy, but the book Summer is writing is a “written history,” not an “oral history.” Ten years in college hasn’t taught her the difference.
I’ve just seen the next two weeks flash before my eyes.
I see that the first Montoni’s photo shows a sign that is not taped up – but it is crooked.
I want my Pizza Box Monster gosh darn it!
I didn’t say so last time I posted, so a belated thanks to everyone who shared their book/story writing experiences here a few days ago.
My grandfather died in the late 90s. There was a bowling alley which he lived near and was a regular patron long ago. The bowling alley died from COVID. The entire facility has been torn down. The teardown process occurred over several days, and I happened to drive past it while it was ongoing. At that point, some of the walls were down and the interior was exposed to the elements, and I could see far enough into it to notice that there was a wall that had pictures on them. The alley was open since the mid 50s, and had a wall of pictures there, and nobody bothered to take the pictures down, much less ask to have any of them for free. They were simply left to rot and vanish.
Prior posts today asking who would buy these pictures is the major point to address, because in the real world, they would struggle to find anyone to take them away.
And why wouldn’t Tony and or Funky just keep the photos? They don’t mean anything to anyone else.