The year was 1967, All hell was breaking loose as far as Christine “Mrs. Dee” Dreznes knew. the television news was full of riots, revolution and war. So every day when John “Mr. Dee” Dreznes arrived home from work he heard all about riots, revolution and war at the dinner table. In Mrs. Dee’s defense she had two draftable sons and one already signed up in ROTC so she had every right to worry.
Mr. Dee had to do something to get her mind off of this. While driving down Western Ave in May 1967 he saw a for sale sign on a record and novelty business. “Eureka” He screamed. He pulled over and put $100 down to purchase the business. So what in the world is an engineer for United Air Cleaner supposed to with a record shop? Give it to his wife of course! No one really remembers that initial conversation around the dinner table the night Mr. Dee came home with the deed to a record shop, but Mrs. Dee, who was literally born on Western Ave in her Mother’s tavern, Josephine’s at 66th & Western, took to the business like a bear to honey.
So Mrs. Dee went to the shop everyday and ran her business the only way she knew how, like a tavern. She had no liquor to sell but did have a stockpile of old records. While the kids were watching Wizzo the Clown perform magic on Saturday Mornings in the novelty room, the adults sat at the counter and listened to old records. And back in 1967 old records were REALLY old, 78s from the 20s and 30s mostly. Soon bar stools were at the counter and regulars started popping in, not to buy anything, just to hang out. By 1974 Beverly Records & Novelties was the place to go to find rare and hard-to-find records.
A gentleman heard about this little shop from a friend and came in in looking for a song from the 20s and could only hum a few bars. He hummed it, Mrs Dee walked into the back room, found it and played it for the guy to make sure it was the right song.
She thought he would be happy that she found it, instead he starts balling his eyes out at the counter. Then holding back a big frog in his throat he said ‘That’s It!” “That’s the song my mother used to sing to us when we were kids. Her funeral is tomorrow and wanted to play it for my brothers and sisters.” Now they are both balling thier eyes out and giving hugs etc etc. Well he became a customer for life after that. When he died his daughter showed up with a bunch of records that he willed back to us for others to enjoy like he did.
It was this moment that Mrs. Dee knew that she was not selling records but preserving the memories attached to the music. Mrs. Dee passed away in 2007 and 2 months later Mr. Dee joined her in Heaven thus passing the reigns over to her sons Jack, Randy, as well as the boys she considered sons, Joey Lemus, Dan Ferone and Mike Schaller. To this day Beverly Records is run the same way, we don’t make a lot of money here but we always have a bar stool and some music to listen to. In this day of digital downloads we consider ourselves to be an oasis from the ordinary, where music can be experienced, not just listened to. We owe our success to you though. For the past 47 years we consider our customers part of the family and welcome you to stop by hang out and heck even buy something if you want!
Have any favorite memories of Beverly Records? Share them with us in the comments below.