Friday, November 28, 2014

That Bee Looks Familiar

Bee-lieve it or not, the above ad for PM Blended Whiskey – which ran in the Lorain Journal on November 16, 1949 – caught my eye. I'll explain why in a little bit – but first, a little background.

The ad was a black and white version of a full color ad that was part of a full series of wonderful magazine ads for PM Blended Whiskey. Here's the color version (below), as well as others that appeared as part of the "Clear, Clean Taste" campaign .

The product was bottled by National Distillers Products in Cincinnati, Ohio (and in case you're wondering, the "PM" originally stood for Penn Maryland). The PM brand – which seemed to be very popular in the 1940s and 50s – seems to be dormant now, and its parent company was guzzled up by Jim Beam Company in the late 1980s.

Even though the whisky is no longer around, that great-looking bee in the ad is still around – which is why the ad caught my attention.

Today, he apparently serves as the advertising mascot of the Tropical Blossom Honey Company, advertised as Florida's Finest Honey. Here he is (below) as he appeared in the book Character Trademarks (1990) by John Mendenhall, which is why I recognized him in the first place. The logo is circa 1951, a couple years after the PM Blended Whiskey ad. He's traded his flower for an orange!

And here he is in full glorious color (below) as he appears today on the Tropical Blossom Honey Company website, which you can visit by clicking here. The company is in its eighth decade of business and has an online store.

I have no idea which company was the first to use that distinctive bee for their mascot.
Did you know this bee also has a cousin who lives in the Great White North? 
A greatly simplified and appealing version of him in this same pose (below) served as an early mascot for Billy Bee Honey, the number one honey in Canada. The company has been around since 1958.

The above artwork was reproduced from a label on vintage Billy Bee jar that I found in the spouse's Canadian grandmother's garage during one of our annual visits to her home in North Bay, Ontario.
Here's a similar jar and label that I found on the internet (below).
Courtesy Etsy
The Billy Bee mascot's design has been modified through the years. He eventually lost his gloves – as well as his arms! Here he is on a set of collectible glasses with a sports theme that often pop up on Ebay.

The spouse's grandmother would only buy Billy Bee Honey – the creamed, spreadable version – and she saved all her empty Billy Bee plastic tubs to store her leftovers in. The empty containers looked exactly like this (below).

After many years of trips to North Bay, we got hooked on the spreadable honey as well, and today it's the only kind of honey the spouse will eat, which is not too surprising since she's still a Green Card-carrying Maple Leafer. We bring some Billy Bee home from Canada whenever we go there. For a couple years, we could even get it at the Sheffield Lake Apples grocery store in a smaller container for the American market (below), but it seems to have disappeared from its shelves. I guess most Americans didn't know what to make of the sticky stuff.
We haven't been up to Canada for a little over a year, and have had to resort to buying some online from the Canadian Favourites website. Strangely enough, on the latest packaging (below), Billy Bee has grown his arms back!

Anyway, click here to visit the Billy Bee Honey website.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving at the Castle – 1954

Eating Thanksgiving dinner out at a fine restaurant is not a new concept. Back in 1954, many Lorainites undoubtedly enjoyed their holiday meal that day at the Castle.

Photo circa 1953
(The Castle has been featured on this blog many times, including as the subject of a three-part history (here, here and here), a 1952 Sixth Anniversary ad, a 1958 Halloween ad, a 1967 ad, and a 1975 Bill Scrivo article.)

And what sort of sumptuous fare did the iconic Lorain restaurant serve on that Thanksgiving 60 years ago today?

According to the above ad, which ran in the Lorain Journal on November 24, 1954, it was quite a feast. For appetizers: oysters on the half shell, fresh jumbo shrimp cocktail, tangbrosia fruit cup and a choice of chicken noodle soup or tomato juice. After a salad (with roquefort dressing) was the main course: roast young tom turkey (with Theresa's Special Dressing), cranberry sauce, whipped hubbard squash, candied yams and a choice of buttered green peas or whipped potatoes. Finally, for dessert, patrons enjoyed country fresh apple cider, fresh pumpkin pie (with apple butter and whipped cream), hot mince pie (with brandy sauce) followed by Pierre's French Ice Cream or Sherbet.

Oh, I almost forgot the after-dinner mints.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Ads – November 1954

Here are a couple 1954 Thanksgiving ads that feature a realistically drawn turkey.

The first ad – for Ande's – appeared in the Lorain Journal on November 22, 1954. As the ad noted, Ande's was located at the O'Neil – Sheffield Center, and at the time was Lorain County's only drive-in beverage store.

The second ad is for Avon Lake Food Center, located at Stop 65 in the Avon Lake Shopping Center. The ad ran in the Lorain Journal on the same day as the first ad, and features the very same great turkey art.
But let's talk turkey about that turkey. Despite the turkey's perky expression, he's fairly ugly, with wattles and a snood.

What's that? You don't know what those things are? Better head over to this website so you can see photos of the (ugh) real thing and read an informative explanation.

Just don't let it spoil your appetite for the big day tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bendix Ad – 1954 Lorain County Farm & Rural Directory

With all the hubbub recently about Bendix possibly moving its World Headquarters to another city (which you can read about here in the Chronicle-Telegram in case you missed it), I thought I'd post this ad. It appeared in the 1954 Lorain County Farm & Rural Directory.

The company has been at that location since 1941. (Click here to see a historical timeline.)
The directory ad is interesting to me from a graphic design and marketing viewpoint, because it includes the company's former name and logo, as well as a product logo that looks fairly modern.
But the main interest of the ad of course is the aerial photo, showing the headquarters and plant looking very much all alone on Cleveland Street. Quite a difference from this Bing Maps aerial (below) showing all the development that occurred over the last 60 years.
I've had the opportunity to visit the Bendix headquarters once or twice, as the company is a longtime client of my employer. It's a cool-looking building from the outside, but I can understand why the company feels the need to have a modern, new building to attract the best and the brightest.

Monday, November 24, 2014

N. Ridge Road Neighbors: Robert Taylor Insurance and Clearview Hobby

A few weeks ago, I did a post about the Harmon-Nielsen Company, formerly located at 2063 N. Ridge Road. Looking back now, I can see that my post was a little sloppy and light on information about the firm at that address today, as well as its neighbor to the west.

So please allow me to clarify things a little bit about the two companies that have the lunchtime pleasure of being located right across from Ilene's Dog 'n Suds.

First, the 2063 N. Ridge Road address belongs to Robert Taylor Insurance (click here to visit the company website and read about its history). As one person noted in a comment on my Harmon-Nielsen post, the insurance firm has done a terrific job of retrofitting the old sign (below) for its use. It really looks wonderful.
Meanwhile, the firm immediately to the west in its own building is Clearview Hobby / Futuretronics at 2055 N. Ridge Road. And despite what you might have thought after reading my post, it's still very much in business.
I stopped in recently on a Saturday morning to enjoy a friendly chat with Wayne Pakan, the owner.
First off, he clarified just how long his company has been at that location: 20 years. He also told me a little about his hobby store's specialty.
"Slot cars are now my core business," he informed me. Mr. Pakan is, in fact, the largest slot car dealer in Ohio, a claim that also appears in his ad that regularly runs in Cruisin' Times magazine (below).
For years, as Mr. Pakan explained, his business used to be 90% mail order and 10% walk-in. Surprisingly, he pointed out to me that those ratios have reversed in recent years – which is great, since that means that more people are visiting his store.
But despite the presence of a huge slot car track in the middle of it, the store is still an old-time hobby store. Walking around the tidy store was like going back in time. There's lots of Lionel trains, rockets, airplanes and plastic model kits. There's even an old Pac-Man machine for sale.
As you can see, Mr. Pakan's cat Chessie patrols the store, greeting slot car and hobby enthusiasts.
Click here to visit Clearview Hobby's Facebook page – and don't forget to visit the store too! It's open Monday and Thursday from 3 to 8, Saturday from 10 to 5 and Sunday from 10 to 2 (although it is suggested that you call first to make sure it's open).

You can call the store at (440) 277-8004.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Monroe House Move – November 1960

Houses that were moved from one location to another have been a favorite topic on this blog for some time now. Here's another one – this time from Oberlin (although it would probably be more at home on the Oberlin In The Past Facebook page). 

The article below is from the November 23, 1960 Lorain Journal and it tells the story of the "Old Monroe House" located in Oberlin, Ohio. (Click on it for a readable version.) The historic Italian Villa-type Century home was moved about 300 feet to make way for what was then the new Conservatory of Music. The house was the former home of James Monroe, who had quite a career in politics, as well as being a member of the Oberlin College faculty.

Today, the Monroe House is totally restored and part of the Oberlin Heritage Center and is open for tours. Click here for more information.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gary Motors Sales Rambler Ad – Nov. 24, 1954

Here's something that might have caught the attention of someone perusing car ads in the Lorain Journal back in the mid-1950s: an ad for Gary Motor Sales featuring beloved Disney character Jiminy Cricket promoting the 1955 Ramblers. It ran in the Lorain Journal on November 24, 1954.

It all makes sense when you realize that Walt Disney himself served as a pitchman for the Nash Rambler in TV commercials back in 1954. (You can read more about it here.)

What's really interesting (to animation fanatics like myself) is that Walt Disney's interest in making TV commercials with his beloved characters led him to engage his designer Tom Oreb to create modern, stylized versions of them. The results are quite unusual in some cases.

Here's a stylish Nash Rambler commercial featuring the characters from Song of the South: Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear.

And here are two more Nash Rambler commercials with a (gasp) redesigned, pointy-nosed Mickey Mouse. Pluto Pup, Minnie Mouse and (gasp again) two mousey offsprings of unknown parentage are in there too.

If you'd like to see more of Tom Oreb's redesigns of classic Disney characters, click here to visit the Cartoon Brew website.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ABC Realty Sales Ad – November 23, 1963

Here's a realty ad for ABC Realty announcing the Grand Opening of a model home out in South Lorain. The ad appeared in the Journal on November 23, 1963.

The house has a lot of nice features according to the ad. As a Sheffield Laker, I'm impressed that it has those newfangled storm sewers  – and sidewalks no less!

Of course, the real reason I'm posting the ad is because it features our old pal, the little clip art man in the current Ed Tomko car ads. (Here's a link to all of my posts about him.)

Anyway, it was fairly easy to find the model house on a Bing maps aerial view of the area (below). It sits on a spacious corner lot.

From there, I found the house on the Lorain County Auditor website. The house is located at 4523 Palm Avenue. A few structural modifications have been made, but it's still a nice looking house.

Courtesy Lorain County Auditor website
The little map in the ad is a little outdated, though. Homewood School was demolished back in 2008.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Probst Corners Ad – November 27, 1954

From Isaly's, we turn our attention to another ice cream shoppe, this time a locally owned one: Probst's.

Here's a nutty ad (above) for Probst Corners featuring a cute squirrel illustration that ran in the Lorain Journal on November 27, 1954.

A confectionery store run by Herman and Violet Probst first appeared in the Lorain City Directory in the mid-1940s or so. It was located at 226 8th Street (below).

226 Eighth Street today
A second Probst location was opened in the new O'Neil - Sheffield Center (below).

Photo courtesy of the Lorain County Historical Society
The Probst listings seemed to disappear from the city directories in the late 1950s.

The Eighth Street location was briefly taken over by a deli called Handy Pantry. Then, in late October 1959 the location became the well-known home of DeLuca Bakery.

I'm not sure if the Probst stores are well-remembered by Lorainites or not. If you have a memory of the stores, be sure to leave a comment!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Isaly's Dairy Store Opening Ad – November 16, 1949

Opening Ad Published in the Lorain Journal on November 16, 1949
Mention the name of Isaly's today, and you might think of the great Isaly's chipped chopped ham that you get at your local grocery's deli counter. But did you know that Lorain once had its very own Isaly's convenience store?

Isaly's roots go back to when its founder settled in Monroe County, Ohio in 1833. The family business was originally making cheese, before expanding to dairy farming and eventually home delivery of milk. The Isaly family later branched out by opening a chain of retail stores in Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
Courtesy Brian Butko from his book
Klondikes, Chipped Ham & Skyscraper Cones: The Story of Isaly's
The Isaly dairy stores not only became famous for their uniquely shaped "skyscraper" cone (shown above), but also for the Klondike Bar – an Isaly's creation.
Anyway, the Lorain Isaly's dairy store and restaurant held its formal opening on November 17, 1949 at 735 Broadway. At the time, it was announced that the Lorain store was the most modern of the chain's 413 retail outlets.

The store was erected by John Dandrea, according an article in the Lorain Journal at the time. The sales room was more than 3,200 square feet in size, with 100 feet of counter space and seating for 107. The store sold fountain products, ice cream, grocery and deli items in addition to full-course lunches and dinners.

Robert Terrel of Elyria was in charge of the outlet's 25 employees. Lawrence Radick of Lorain was assistant manager.

Vintage Isaly's Sign
The Isaly's store concept apparently didn't work out in Lorain, unfortunately. Maybe it was ahead of its time, or the location wasn't conducive to walk-in business. Possibly there were just too many other places to get an ice cream cone. But at any rate, the 735 Broadway location was listed as vacant by the time of the 1958 directory.

Around 1960, the 735 Broadway address became the longtime home to City Loan & Savings Company. That company remained there until the late 1970s. (Although the 735 Broadway address is not in use today, the closest location seems to be the 737 Broadway address of the Lorain Arts Council.)

To find out more about Isaly's, click here to visit their website. And if you're a really big Isaly's fan, click here for information about a book about the company's history, written by author Brian Butko.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Lorain vs. Elyria Ad – November 12, 1954

It's Friday night, and that means high school football games. So here's a full-page ad with sponsors promoting the Lorain vs Elyria game that ran in the Lorain Journal on November 12, 1954 – 60 years ago this week.

As usual, the sponsors include some long-gone companies (like Kline's and Kutza's). But this ad collection is unusual, because many of the companies are still around. These include Crystal Clear Dry Cleaners, Lorain Telephone (now part of CenturyLink), Ohio Edison, First Federal Savings of Lorain, and Lorain Banking Company (now Lorain National). Does that mean it pays to advertise?

The ads themselves have some clever wordplay tying in their company's specialty with sports terminology. But what's funny is how some of the advertisers blatantly pull for Lorain to win, while others either just offer tepid encouragement, or play the middle of the road entirely.

I guess when you're a public utility you can't play favorites.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Page-ettes Indian Pudding Ad – November 15, 1954

Well, it's National Indian Pudding Day, so I thought I'd better post this ad for Page-ettes, which ran in the Lorain Journal on November 15, 1954.

What, you weren't aware that November 13th was that particular holiday? Well – neither was I, until I did some research for this post.

It turns out Indian Pudding is a classic New England dish made of cornmeal, milk and molasses, dating back to colonial times. It's not very well known outside of New England, where it's still very popular. It's served warm, and with ice cream – which automatically makes it sound good to me. (I love stuff with cornmeal in it anyway!)

Speaking of ice cream, that's what's being promoted in the Page-ettes ad (in case you didn't know). Page-ettes were individual mini-cartons of Page ice cream – in this case, Indian Pudding flavored ice cream. But I suspect that Page-ettes didn't stand much of a chance in these parts, with all of the excellent local dairies cranking out their own ice cream.

I like the attractive artwork in the ad. It sure reminds me of Dick Dugan's style.

Anyway, if you've got the urge to whip up some of this New England concoction, here's a link to an interesting article about it, complete with several recipes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

1954 Harmon-Nielsen Ad – Philco Television

Here's a big ad for Harmon-Nielsen Company that ran in the Lorain Journal on November 16, 1954 – 60 years ago this month. The ad promotes the new Philco "Miss America" television set with a 24" console.

That's Lee Meriwether, Miss America 1955 in the ad. She's one Miss America that actually achieved a great level of career success after her reign was over. In this case, she enjoyed a fine career as a model and actress (well-remembered for her role on Barnaby Jones and as Catwoman in the 1966 Batman movie). Here's the link to her website.

Philco's "Miss America" television set campaign ran for several years, gaining a new spokesmodel with each new contest winner. (Here's a link to a website with a nice overview of the campaign along with some great photos of the televisions themselves.)

It's rather quaint looking at ads like this, and remembering how people used to shop for TVs and major appliances. A half-century before shopping online or browsing at big box stores became the norm, consumer often got their first look at the new products in big, glossy color magazine ads. These same ads were also reproduced in black and white and customized with the dealer's name for local newspapers.

It's strange remembering how big and bulky television sets used to be, in view of today's ultra-thin models. The old-time sets were regular pieces of furniture with beautiful wood finishes.

I'll probably never forget waiting for my parent's TV set to warm up so I could watch cartoons as a kid in the early 1960s.

Anyway, I didn't have time to properly research Harmon- Nielsen Co. for this post. I did find out that the company became simply Harmon Appliance in the mid-1950s, and later, Harmon's TV & Appliance. Erie TV & Appliance purchased the firm in 1995.

2063 N. Ridge today
(Courtesy Lorain County Auditor)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Tale of Three Chris' Restaurants

The Morning Journal had a nice article back in mid-October about the 50th anniversary of Chris' Restaurant. (Click here in case you missed it.) The article mentioned that Chris Manofski started his popular restaurant back in 1964 on Pearl Avenue, and moved it to its current location at 2812 W. Erie Avenue (in the old Howard Johnson's restaurant) in 1981.

The article left out some of the details of the restaurant's history.
Mr. Manofski did indeed start his restaurant on Pearl Avenue, although his business had a different name back then. The 1965 Lorain City Directory included a listing of his Pearl Restaurant at 2843 Pearl Avenue (roughly where the vacant lot is next to the Koury Building, across from Lorain National). But the listing was only in the book for one year before the restaurant changed hands.

Then in the 1968 book, a listing appeared for Chris Restaurant at 5100 West Erie – the former home of Johnson's Restaurant, and most recently Jack & Diane's) right across from the Lorain Drive-in. The listing remained in the city directory well into the late 1970s.

What makes it confusing is that there were actually three restaurants in the Lorain area with Chris as part of their names during the 1960s and 70s.

In the 1970 directory, there was Chris Restaurant at 5100 West Erie. In that same book, there was Chris' Restaurant – run by Frank and Christine Bishop – at 5316 Colorado Avenue, and Chris Cafe at 3680 Pearl, run by a gentlemen listed as Christ Evanoff.

It's a good thing Lorain didn't have a Ruth's Chris Steak House back then. It's enough to make a researcher's head spin.

I'm not sure how long Mr. Manofski was involved with the restaurant out on Pearl. Hopefully, someone knowledgeable about Chris' Restaurant will clear this all up for me with a blog comment.

Nevertheless, Chris' Restaurant remains one of my mother's favorites. We stop in on Saturday every couple of months to enjoy a delicious perch sandwich, along with some friendly service.

The funny thing is, when Mom is in the mood to go there, she mentions, "How about lunch at Chris Cafe?"