Friday, December 19, 2014

A Look at Central Press Association

Yesterday I mentioned Central Press Association, a division of the well-known King Features Syndicate. It happens to be the place where my grandfather finished up his career as a linotype operator and repairman (after stints at various times at the Lorain Journal, the Plain Dealer and Lorain Printing).

Central Press was located in Downtown Cleveland at various locations over the years, including 2063 E. 4th Street (1910-1913), 2042 E. 4th Street (1913-1927), 1435 E. 12th (1927-1955) and 1013 Rockwell (1955-1963).

Grandpa Bumke had a little spiral bound souvenir book of Central Press that provides a nice window into its world of the early 1960s. Here's a selection of images from it.

Entrance
Court Smith, Managing Editor
Editorial Department
Al Buescher, Art Director
Art Department
Photo Department
Engraving
Composing
Composing Staff (Grandpa is in top row, fourth from left)
Press
Mailing
Back Cover of the book
It's interesting that at one point Central Press apparently was in the same building as Otto Moser's, Cleveland's oldest theater restaurant. I was lucky to have eaten at the restaurant several times in the early 1980s when it was still on E. 4th Street.

Here's a better version of the photo from the book, courtesy of the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History website.

Otto Moser's later moved up to Playhouse Square. Today, E. 4th Street is a prime entertainment district with more than a dozen unique restaurants.
As for my grandfather, he passed away in 1965, but I have a lot of memories of him. One of these memories is directly related to his employment at Central Press.
Grandpa smoked, and he had a cigarette lighter that he pulled out once in a while that had all the cartoon characters from the King Features made-for-TV cartoons on it. I specifically remember Beetle Bailey and Snuffy Smith being on it, since Captain Penny had featured their cartoons on his TV show.
I don't know what ever happened to Grandpa's lighter, but if my memory is correct, it looked like this one (below) that's on Ebay. Barney Google, Popeye and Krazy Kat are on it too.
Here's the flip side of it, with the King Features logo.
And while I'm at it, here's the well-remembered opening of the Beetle Bailey cartoons – courtesy of YouTube.


And – why not? – here's the opening to the Snuffy Smith cartoons.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great memories of your Grandfather for you! Things done the old way. Loved the pictures. Merry Christmas, Rae

Dan Brady said...

Merry Christmas to you too, Rae!

What's funny is I work for the same kind of firm in Cleveland--printing and mailing--been here 30 years. And when I started, it looked exactly like Central Press did in the photos.

Matt Weisman said...

Dan,
Nice article. It brought back old memories when I worked in the Graphic Arts in downtown Cleveland in the early 60's. I remember all the old type houses where everything was hand set and it occupied whole floors. The type proofs were like fine art. Cleveland at that time was a huge printer of industrial and building publications like Sweet’s Catalogs. Worked in a studio on Euclid above all the theaters that were still open and showing movies in Cinemascope. Saw all the classics back then.

Dan Brady said...

Hi Matt,
Wow, you had a ringside seat for a very unique era. I was lucky to catch the tail end of it in the 1980s, working in the Caxton Building, where there were type houses, photographers, art studios, and other printers besides us.

Downtown Cleveland is so different now, I drove down there on a Saturday night a few weeks ago for the first time in a long time and couldn't believe it.