Friday, July 22, 2011

Remember Wild West Sarsaparilla?

Here's a newspaper ad for Wild West Sarsaparilla from the June 28, 1970 Lorain Journal. (Click on it so you can read it.) It caught my eye because of that cartoon cowboy. I seem to remember seeing him in the same pose in a huge ad on the side of a building near the McDonald's on West Erie Avenue; it's one of those iconic images (like Oakie the Squirrel) that still haunts me from childhood. Strangely enough, the cowboy didn't appear on the pop can.

However much I liked the cowboy illustration, though, I don't remember ever drinking this stuff. My family was too set in our ways when it came to pop. We had Pepsi with Yala's Pizza, and 7-Up or Vernors when we were sick. Other than that, we usually had Hires Root Beer (for floats), and the odd bottle of Cotton Club Ginger Ale now and then.

Looking at the sketchy cartoon cowboy makes me think that it is the work of the late well-known Plain Dealer cartoonist Dick Dugan, creator of the Cleveland Browns brownie. (Here's a link to a nice article about him, and links here and here with samples of his work.) What do you think?

Photo of can courtesy of


Anonymous said...

That l'il ol'blogmaker, -Alan....
I remember the ads for Wild West, but we never drank any; I DO remember having homemade sarsaparilla somewhere. (And, what's up with the spelling?)

Do you remember Lawson's Chocolate Cola?

ge13031 said...

It's not the same brand but check this place out
This is not a cheap plug, just a lot of fun!

Lisa said...

I remember that building and ad! I also vaguely remember pestering my grandpa enough that he finally went in that beverage shop and bought some for us to try. What was the name of that beverage shop? Was it an early RiteNau?

@Alan - ewww - chocolate cola?
Was it like a fizzy YooHoo?

Anonymous said...

What was the name of that place, it was busy back then. Chocola. People would mix milk w/ their Pepsi. I have had Old West Sarsaparilla
Kind of like Vernors with a twist.

Patti Ashbolt said...

Wild West Sarsaparilla in Lorain was created and owned by my father, Allen D. Ashbolt and his counterparts Gerald Strohacker, and John Pappas all of Lorain Ohio. World Trade Inc. was created by the three.
My father did work for the Plain Dealer and the artwork was in fact that of Dick Dugan.
Needless to say, we drank plenty of Wild West Sarsaparilla and Fire Water growing up.

Allen W. Ashbolt

Eric said...

Amazingly, this brand of sasarparilla made it all the way to a vending machine outside a gas station in McCrory, Arkansas, in the early '80s. Though I was only 6 or 7, I remember the can distinctly.