Friday, March 14, 2014

Chevy Dealer Mascots: Bob Beck and Commander Ray

Bob Beck Chevrolet circa 1955
Chevrolet dealers seemed to like to feature themselves as advertising mascots back in the 50s and 60s.

Remember the Bob Beck Chevrolet ads with the distinctive caricature of Mr. Beck? I remember seeing that cartoon for years. This full-page ad (above) ran on Monday, March 11, 1957 in The Lorain Journal.

I always liked it when a company depicted its owner as a cartoon mascot in its ad. It puts a friendly face on the whole operation and instills trust – which is critical if you're selling cars, as in this case.

The Bob Beck dealership was located at 2147 Broadway in Lorain.

In Cleveland, there was "Commander Ray" of West Park Chevrolet. Here's a portion of an ad (below) from late July 1969 that appeared in The Plain Dealer.
Commander Ray was Ray Herzberger Jr. He was a former Navy Commander who starred in a series of commercials for his dealership, which had been in his family since 1927. I'm sure all of you remember the catchy jingle used on his TV commercials, performed to the tune of "Sailing, Sailing."

"Chevy, Chevy – see Commander Ray at West Park Chevrolet!"

Mr. Herzberger passed away in March 1998.

I wonder if he knew Admiral King?


-Alan D Hopewell said...

Do you remember the tv fued between Chevy dealers "Straight Shootin'" Ed Stinn and "Big Hearted" Jim Connell in Cleveland?

Dan Brady said...

I remember the Ed Stinn commercials (because of his deep voice) but I don't remember the feud. Was it all in fun?

Mike Kozlowski said...

Dan and Alan -

The 'feud' was definitely all in fun, but there was some serious business involved - Stinn and Cornell were constantly swapping places as one of the top ten Chevy dealers in Greater Cleveland.

And as far as Commander Ray knowing Fleet Admiral King, most USN officers and sailors were perfectly happy never to do anything more with him than watch him walk past. Ernest J. King, for all his glory, was one of the most unpleasant men to ever wear a Navy uniform. His own daughter once described him as "the most even-tempered man I know - always angry." :D