Friday, October 30, 2020

Cavs Debut – October 28, 1970

It was fifty years ago this month that the new Cleveland franchise in the NBA played its home opener in the Cleveland Arena. The coach was Bill Fitch.

Unfortunately the Cavaliers lost to the San Diego Rockets, 110-99. 

Here’s the article that ran in the Journal the next day on Thursday, October 29, 1970.

For someone like me who never really followed the NBA too much, it’s kind of interesting seeing the names of some of the Cavaliers’ opponents back then. Their next game was against the Cincinnati Royals (who?). And the San Diego Rockets would relocate to Houston in 1971.

I can see why the team may have developed a ‘cavalier’ (heh-heh) attitude towards its name, eventually changing it in common usage to the shortened ‘Cavs.’ I never cared for the foppish musketeer mascot, and imagined him puncturing a basketball with his sword while babbling in French.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Hills & Kmart Halloween Ads – October 1970

From the October 23, 1970 Journal

Two department stores which are no longer in Lorain County – Hills and Kmart – ran the expected Halloween-themed ads in the Journal back in October 1970, featuring assortments of costumes, candy and other items.

The Hills ad (shown above) has pretty much the same layout as its 1969 ad (which I made fun of here) with exactly the same costumes. That blog post included the 1969 Kmart ad as well.

At least Kmart revised its ad entirely for 1970 (below). 

From October 21, 1970 Journal
Kmart had a varied collection of costumes designed to suit everyone’s tastes.

As you can see, there were the usual kiddie favorites: Bug Bunny, Casper the Friendly Ghost, and an assortment of generic characters (such as a bunny, a devil, a skeleton, a witch, a clown, a scarecrow, etc.). 
Too bad the Bugs Bunny mask didn’t match the lively rendering of the wascally wabbit on the pajama-like costume.
Casper fared a little better. 
Girls had the usual limited options: a public domain Cinderella, a princess, a fairy, a gypsy, etc. Kmart even offered the same terrible “The Spiderman” costume seen in the Gray Drug ad on yesterday’s post.
But to make things interesting, there were also costumes that reflected the tempo of the times. 
Man had just walked on the Moon the year before, so a “Man on the Moon” costume replaced the fictional Moon-dwelling Commander Matt Mason in the Kmart Lineup. 
(Perhaps these commercial “Man on the Moon” costumes, forced on trusting kids as an early age, planted the seeds of skepticism that later led to conspiracy theories expressing the belief that we never walked on Earth’s orbiting neighbor at all.) 
Yellow Submarine, the Beatles animated movie, had come out in 1968. Yet the psychedelic cartoon must have remained in the public consciousness enough to warrant the offering of a “Blue Meanie” trick or treat costume. 
The year 1970 had been a year of great unrest, with the country experiencing widespread protests not unlike what we’ve seen this year. For those pint-sized patriots that wanted to express their love of country, an “Uncle Sam” costume was just the ticket. 
Wholesome teenager Archie would be a good second choice for those kids happy with the status quo. Here’s a cute photo, courtesy of Flickr, with not only Archie, but also the Bingo costume from the Gray Drug ad from Wednesday’s blog post.
Lastly, the recession of 1969-1970 unfortunately may have made the hobo costume a timely choice.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Gray Drug Store Halloween Ad – October 1970

Gray Drug is one of those forgotten drug store chains, not unlike Leader Drug Store, Cunningham Drug, etc. Apparently it just wasn’t big enough to survive on its own, and was sold to Rite Aid (my least favorite drug store chain) in 1987, according to its Wikipedia entry.

But fifty years ago, Gray Drug was still around, with a few local outlets, such as the one at O’Neil Sheffield Center. Above is the chain's Halloween-themed ad that ran in the Monday, October 26, 1970 edition of the Journal.

There are a few costumes featured in the ad, but it’s a real grab bag. The ad helpfully identifies some of them, noting, “Be the envy of your crowd as The Spiderman, Banana Splits, Jonathan Kidd (?) or Mr. Fantastic! Be a lovely Fairy or gay Gypsy.”

I don’t know, but I think whoever created the drawing of “The Spiderman” (why the Ohio State-like “the”?) costume either didn’t have a sample photo or had never seen a comic book or TV cartoon featuring Spidey.

My spider sense tells me this is a crummy rendering!

Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four doesn’t look very fantastic either, with the addition of a mask, and missing his iconic greying sides.

At least the mask of Bingo from the Banana Splits is a reasonable facsimile. (Bingo was never my favorite Banana Split. He wasn’t the leader like Fleegle, funny like Drooper or an oddball like Snorky. I rank him as the George Harrison of the team.)

Lastly, like me you’re probably wondering: who is the aforementioned Jonathan Kidd? A descendant of Captain Kidd?

Nope. Apparently he was the eye-patched team commander in the animated cartoon series Fantastic Voyage. The character wasn’t in the movie version starring Raquel Welch (which we saw as a summer movie). Here’s a screen grab from the series.

And here’s the costume.
I guess John Wayne made eye patches cool again in True Grit.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Midway Mall Halloween Ad – October 1970

Back in October 1970, Midway Mall was promoting the fifth year of its Halloween Costume judging event for boys and girls up two age twelve. 

The above ad ran in the Journal on October 28, 1970.

It’s interesting that even after being open for four years (since September 1966), Midway Mall was still being advertised as “Ohio’s Showplace Climate-Controlled Mall Shopping Center.” It hadn’t quite wiped out Downtown Lorain or O’Neil Sheffield Center yet.

Speaking of Downtown Lorain, I still have pleasant memories of the annual Halloween window painting contest. I remember one year during my Masson days, my best childhood chum and I had the task of painting a store window with our design. I remember his father drove us Downtown in their Volkswagen Beetle and how cramped it was inside. I don’t remember that we won, but it was fun.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Lorain Creamery Halloween Ads – October 1970

To start off Halloween week here on the blog, here’s a pair of Lorain Creamery ads from the pages of the Journal during the month of October 1970 – 50 years ago.

The above ad appeared in the paper on October 12, 1970. Except for the fact that social distancing rules aren't being followed, the ad would fit right in with today – with the availability of home-delivered apple cider and trick or treat candy.

It’s still kind of strange that Halloween isn’t canceled this year (although it’s not so strange when you realize how important the holiday is to retailers).

The second Lorain Creamery ad is from Wednesday, October 21, 1970.

Although trick or treating as a stereotypical burglar might not be a good idea in Lorain these days, the other costumed kid shown in the ad would be right at home in this era. He’s got the full mask that seems to be gaining popularity.

It’s funny seeing how certain masks seem to be in style while others aren't. 
Early in the pandemic, I couldn’t find any surgical type masks in any store. So I bought a few red and blue bandanas and wore them to death. 
It took great restraint not to accessorize them with my Joel McCrea-style cowboy hat.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Admiral King vs Lorain High – October 1970

Just like the Ohio State - Michigan game is still the biggest one each year for both teams, the Lorain - Admiral King game was the most important local game for many years. 

It was the original Lorain High School – the alma mater of all older Lorainites, with all its traditions – versus the newer high school on the west side of town. Eventually, the opening of Southview High School probably diluted the impact of the game.

It’s too bad that today’s Lorain students will never experience a crosstown rivalry – or even the great games against the old Buckeye Conference powerhouse opponents (such as Fremont Ross, Findlay, Sandusky, Marion, Mansfield, etc). It made for a lot of bus trips and was an Ohio geography lesson at the same time.

Anyway, fifty years ago, there was the usual hype in the Journal leading up to the Lorain - King game. The article below appeared in the newspaper on October 23, 1970.

And here’s the lineup.
Alas, my Alma Mater fell to the Steelmen that year. Here’s the writeup in the Journal on Saturday, October 24, 1970. It sounds like it was an exciting game.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Dr. Silkini’s “Asylum of Horrors" Returns to Lorain

Halloween is coming up – so it’s a good idea to revisit Dr. Silkini and his traveling horror show. 

The good doctor made an appearance at the Lorain Drive-in back on September 16, 1959. Here’s the ad for Dr. Silkini’s Asylum of Horrors that ran in the Lorain Journal on that day.

Looks like the three-hour show had quite an lineup: the Frankenstein Monster, Garganta the Giant Gorilla, the Mummy and – if horror wasn’t your bag – ‘Beautiful Curvaceous Hollywood Starlets.’ It’s not clear what movies were shown, but according to the ad there were ‘2 SCREAM PICTURES.’

I’ve written about Dr. Silkini (and similar horror roadshows) before, including this 1957 appearance at the Palace Theater. Although the show might seem more appropriate in an indoor theater, I’ll bet it was spooky out there on the outskirts of Lorain under the stars back then.
Judging by newspaper clippings from all over the country, Dr. Silkini’s horror show seemed to make its monstrous mark in the entertainment world by the 1940s.
This article ran in the Jefferson, Indiana Tribune back on February 12, 1943.
The Louisville Courier-Journal seems unimpressed by Dr. Silkini’s upcoming stage show at the National in this theater column mention that ran on August 12, 1945.

This article from the Evergreen, Alabama Courant of May 20, 1948 about the upcoming Dr. Silkini show advises bobby-soxers to come with an older escort to the show, rather than a younger boy friend, because “some of the young boys can not stand the chills and faint away.”
The Frankenstein Monster was still the highlight of the show when it appeared in Moline, Illinois according to this article from the Sept. 10, 1949 Dispatch.

Lastly, this photo from the Chillicothe Gazette of Saturday, November 17, 1962 gives us a glimpse of some of the Hollywood starlets that were promoted in the “Asylum of Horrors” ads. The hairdos (including the one on the disembodied head) make me wonder, though, if the photo dates back to the early days of the show. The caption notes, “This is the same show that has played theaters throughout the world for the last 25 years.”
For more fiendish fun with Dr. Silkini, visit these other blogger's links.
The “Travalanche” blog features a nice write-up of the Dr. Silkini shows; the writer of “The Big Séance” blog has fun observations as well; and the whole ‘spook show’ phenomena is looked at from a well-researched historical perspective on a blog called "The Chiseler."