Monday, July 24, 2017

Sherwood Allotment Ad – July 27, 1957

Anyone growing up on the west side of Lorain in the 1960s has probably heard of Sherwood Allotment.

Well, above is an ad promoting it that ran in the Lorain Journal on July 27, 1957 – 60 years ago this month. It provides a nice description of a model home built by Molnar-Riley Construction for that development. Features of the home included built-in Tappan oven and range, a black top driveway (don’t see too many of those these days), oak flooring throughout, Formica counter tops and a cement block basement.

The ad explains that Sherwood Allotment consisted of homes that were located on Meister Road. I had always thought the whole area over there was part of Sherwood Allotment, but it apparently the housing development built on the old Lorain Country Club golf course was called Sherwood Park.

It’s interesting that according to the ad, one of the benefits of living in Sherwood Allotment was its location “only minutes from Downtown.” Who knew that 60 years later, the location would be even better, being minutes away from the retail development on Oak Point?

Anyway, I've mentioned before that the school bus carrying the Sherwood Allotment kids drove right by our house on E. Skyline Drive heading west towards Leavitt Road. But we lived just inside the boundary that would have put us on that particular bus, so we walked to Masson School. We probably needed the exercise anyway.

Being the nosy type, I drove over to Sherwood Allotment in June on a Saturday afternoon to see if I could find the model home featured in the ad. Sure enough, it was just a few houses to the east of Sherwood Drive, and still looked great.

Interestingly, the Lorain County Auditor website says the house (which recently was sold and still had the FOR SALE sign out front) was built in 1959. 
But readers of this blog know better (heh-heh).

Sunday, July 16, 2017

On Vacation!

Howdy, folks – just a reminder that I’m on vacation all week, so no new (or mildly recycled) content on the blog. But please stop back again next week, when I’ll be back (with some no doubt hastily prepared tripe)!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Oberlin Estates Ad – July 20, 1957

To close out the week, here's yet another vintage ad that's part of my apparent effort to document as many Lorain housing developments of the 1950s and 60s as possible. This one is for Oberlin Estates, which was located east of Oberlin Avenue at W. 37th Street.

The ad ran on Saturday, July 20, 1957 in the Lorain Journal. So did this full-page ad below.

As you can see, Kucirek Construction was behind the development. I’ve written about Emil and Emily Kucirek a few times on this blog, including this 2010 post about the Oberlin Avenue farmhouse they rehab’d, as well as this extensive 1969 interview with them.
As for the ‘Capri’ model home featured prominently in the ads, it’s still there on W. 37th – and looking great.
And with that, I’m on vacation! The last time I took a week off from my job in Cleveland was in 2014 – so I’m long overdue for a break. And although I usually take time off from the blog during Christmas week, my last summer vacation here was that same week in August 2014!
So please stop back in a week or so when I’ll return to my regularly scheduled blog programming. Have a great summer until then!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Central Bank Drive-Through Ad – July 1952

Although being able to do your banking while remaining in your car is something we all take for granted now, it was still a new concept back in 1952.

The above ad, which ran in the Lorain Journal on July 4, 1952, promotes the fact that the Central Bank Company, located at Broadway and 20th Street in Lorain, was the only local bank to offer a “Drive-In Teller” service at that time. It was in the rear of the building with access from 20th Street.

The “Drive-In Teller” window was even featured in the film LORAIN – An Industrial Empire in Ohio’s Vacation Land.

Of course the Central Bank building is long-gone (except for the pillars), but here’s roughly the same view today as seen in the film.
Courtesy Google Maps
Ironically, it now seems that most banks seem to have done away with direct customer contact in their drive-throughs, favoring the clunky pneumatic tubes.
It’s been a long times since I put my savings book in a drawer at the drive-through. In fact, most banks (except for First Federal Savings of Lorain) have done away with the books!
I know you’re probably wondering – what about “Miss Vacationland” of 1952 mentioned in the ad?
Well, the pageant was held at Lorain’s Lakeview Park on July 4, 1952. The winner was Sandusky’s Darlene Nancy Miller, 18, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Warren J. Miller. First alternate was Gloria Jean Lehnert, 19, of Amherst, and Second alternate was Dolores Lohrer, 19, of Sheffield Lake.
A crowd of 40,000 watched the pageant.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cities Service Luxury Driving Ad – July 1, 1958

Here’s an unusual approach to marketing gasoline: position it as a luxury item for women. That’s the gimmick at work in this ad for Cities Service, which ran in the Lorain Journal on July 1, 1958.

The ad was part of a series with the same luxury theme. Here they are in color – beginning with the same ad above – courtesy of the good folks at

I like the way the gas pump subliminally serves as a TV.
But what about the men? Cities Service didn’t forget about them. Here’s a nice manly ad from 1963 with mountains and a crystal clear lake that’s no doubt teeming with bass. Plus the ad agency threw in a cute cartoon beaver gas attendant to appeal to that part of the public that is a sucker for advertising mascots (like me).
Speaking of Cities Service, I drove by Benny’s Carriage Shoppe on Reid Avenue last weekend and took the shot below. I really like that retro gas station look.

I also featured Benny’s on this blog back in 2015 (here).

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Probst Ad – July 12, 1947

Summertime makes me think of ice cream, so it’s fitting to post this ad for Probst Corner. The ad ran in the Lorain Journal on July 12, 1947 – 70 years ago this month – and celebrates the First Anniversary of the business.

The ad provides a nice photo of the owners, Herman and Violet Probst, as well as the distinctive storefront. The ad reveals that the firm also sold baked goods, candy, snacks and even frozen Birdseye brand products.

I’ve written about Probst Corner before, including this post featuring an ad from 1954. Thomas Probst, the grandson of Herman and Violet, left a nice comment on that post about a vintage Probst Ice Cream scoop that he still uses.

Lorain was certainly fortunate to have so many family-owned ice cream shops to choose from over the years.

Although the oldest Lorain businesses are no more, it’s nice that Trish and Tom Harris have kept Lorain’s ice cream legacy alive with their K-Cream Korner and K-Cream Parlour.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Rainbow Golf Gardens Ad – July 4, 1930

During the summer, many people think of heading out to play a round of miniature golf – perhaps in Vermilion at Romp’s.

I had always thought that miniature golf (what we sometimes refer to as Putt-Putt) was something that first became big in the 1960s and 70s. Well, here’s an ad that shows that it was popular in Lorain much earlier than that.

The above ad for the Rainbow Golf Gardens ran in the Lorain Times-Herald on July 4, 1930.

According to this Wiki entry, miniature golf courses had become quite popular by the end of the 1920s, thanks to the development of suitable artificial greens. The sport became so popular that rooftop courses became very common.

In Lorain, the Rainbow Golf Gardens had two locations: 1520 West Erie (just east of Lakeview Park) and 710-14 Broadway.

The business was owned by Frederick A. Koegle and William Seher.

As the Wiki article indicated, the Depression wiped out most of the early miniature golf courses in the U. S. by the end of the 1930s. It looks like Lorain’s mini-golf courses were victims of bad economic times as well.

Available city directories at the Lorain Public Library indicate that the Rainbow Golf Gardens (at West Erie only) was still open in 1933, but had closed by the time of the 1937 edition.

Speaking of miniature golf, I happened to drive by the former Putt-Putt on Route 57 near Route 2 recently. The sign is still in great shape, but it looks like windmills would be the least of a golfer’s problems on that course today.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Avon Lake – “Our Town” – July 1957

To close out the week, here’s a full-page photo spread that should be of interest to my Avon Lake readers. It ran in the Saturday, July 27, 1957 edition of the Lorain Journal.

There’s plenty of charming shots of subjects found around 1957 Avon Lake: the freight agent at the train station; the new 400-foot smokestack of the CEI plant; the new municipal building on Avon-Belden Road; the city’s first church; the city’s fully-equipped fire truck in front of the fire station on Lake Road; the roller ramps at the Avon Lake Boat Club docks; and of most interest to me, B.F. Goodrich (where my father worked for more than twenty years).

Gerry Vogel’s Avon Lake book in the Arcadia Images of America series includes some great photographs for comparison with their 1957 counterparts here, including this shot of the “first church building in Avon Lake” in 1896.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Lorain Lighthouse Historical Marker

A nice view of the Lighthouse from the Spitzer Marina
(Courtesy Matt Weisman)
I didn’t make it down to the ceremonial unveiling of the Ohio Historical Marker honoring the Lorain Lighthouse last Friday, but local historian and author Matt Weisman did – and generously shared his photos of the event with me. Thanks, Matt!

Here’s a nice one of Frank & Carolyn Sipkovsky of the Lorain Lighthouse Foundation Board of Trustees. (Frank is the Chairman of the Board.)

And here are a few more of Matt’s great photos.

Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer
Dave Kramer, Local lighthouse historian and
Lorain Lighthouse Foundation Board of Trustees member
I finally got a chance to check out the marker on Monday morning. I was somewhat surprised by the marker’s location; I originally thought it would be further down on the pier – maybe even at the end of it, where you could photograph it with the lighthouse nice and big in the background.

I guess the intention was to make the marker easily accessible – which works for me, as I was too pooped to walk to the end of the pier anyway.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Aut-O-Rama Drive-In Ad – July 2, 1965

Lorain County was a real hotbed for drive-in movie theaters.

There was the very first one in the county, the Lorain Drive-in Theatre on Route 6, which opened in June 1946; the Carlisle Drive-in Theater on Route 20 (1949);  the Tower Drive-in (May 1950); and the Aut-O-Rama on Route 10 out in North Ridgeville (1965).

Today, only the Aut-O-Rama – the very last to open – remains. Here’s the link to its website.

The ad shown above in from that inaugural 1965 season and ran in the Lorain Journal on July 2, 1965. The double feature was a good one with lots of star power: Mister Moses (with Robert Mitchum and Carroll Baker) and The Rounders (featuring Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda).

I love the great caricatures in the ad of Baker and Mitchum by Al Hirschfeld, although they didn't make it onto the official movie poster.

The Ford-Fonda flick looks like a lot of fun, and more like typical drive-in fare than the Mitchum movie.

After all, any movie with Doodles Weaver, Chill Wills and Edgar Buchanan can’t be all bad!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Fourth of July!

Well, it’s July 4th – and it’s hard to believe the year is half over already.

If you were preparing for a holiday feast in Lorain 60 years ago, you might have consulted this Kroger ad that ran in the Lorain Journal on July 1, 1957.

Note the appearance of our old pal Toppiethe Top Value Stamp elephant, at the top of the ad, appropriately enough.

Some of the food brands listed in the ad are kind of interesting.

‘Clover Valley Pork & Beans’ are featured. I recognize the Clover Valley brand from shopping trips to Dollar General; sure enough, after checking online, I see that while Kroger was the original registrant of the brand, Dollar General is now the trademark owner.

Note Swift’s Premium “wafer-sliced’ meats – exclusive to Kroger – including hard salami, bologna, cooked ham, cooked specialty, hot-o-collo and spiced luncheon meat (sounds like it might be Dutch Loaf). Swift’s history goes back to 1855; the company is still around, although it was purchased by a Brazilian company in 2007.

I like the brand name of the margarine listed in the ad: Eatmore Margarine. (It kind of reminds me of the character in the classic Monty Python Travel Agent sketch, with the name: Mr. Smoke-too-much.)

Monday, July 3, 2017

Planning Lakeview Park – July 1916

In case you might be heading down to Lakeview Park for the holiday, this might be of interest.

Back when Lakeview Park was being developed, there were a lot of decisions to be made about what it was going to look like. The article above, which ran in the Lorain Daily News on July 25, 1916, sheds some light on the planning process.

Municipal Bathhouse as Proposed by Server Horn 
Would Be of “Double Deck” Type Similar to 
Structure at Edgewater Park, Cleveland.
Drainage work preliminary to the general improvement of the site of what is to be Lakeview park on W. Erie avenue, recently optioned by the city from the heirs of the W. S. Chamberlain estate at a purchase of about $53,000, is soon to be begun, Service Director A. J. Horn announced today.
With the drainage work under way, City Engineer C. M. Osborne is to begin the preparation of an estimate of the cost of carrying out plans prepared by H. M. Horvath, Cleveland landscape architect for the improvement of the park site.
Horvath’s plans include the routes of drives, footpaths, the location of a proposed big municipal bathhouse and of recreational fields.
The lake-front included in the park, according to tentative plans of city officials, would be protected by the construction of four jetties, extending into the lake and providing landing places for small boats.
The municipal bathhouse, as proposed by Director Horn, would be of the “double-deck” type, similar to the structure recently completed in Edgewater park in Cleveland, with the lower floor occupied by dressing rooms, lockers and other bathing facilities and the upper floor given over to an “observation” deck.
Recreation fields, which would include baseball diamonds, tennis courts and possibly a soccer field, would be located in the section of the park lying south of West Erie avenue, according to Horvath’s plans.
Improve Other Parks
While the preparation of plans for the improvement of Lakeview park are in progress, city officials are improving other parks. Service Director A. J. Horn today ordered 76 new park benches to be divided between Oakwood park in the steel plant district and the parks in the central and northern districts of the city.
Service department workmen are engaged in grading work on Riverside park on the lower East Side. Director Horn says this park, the improvement of which had never been completed, will be sown with grass seed next fall.
Horn today was considering plans for the erection of a diving platform in the lake at the city bathing beach on the lakefront at Water Works park.
Bids are to be received in Horn’s office tomorrow for the refreshment concession at Oakwood park for the season. The concession will carry with it the exclusive right to sell refreshments in the park.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Sugardale Ad Featuring Hamlet – June 30, 1965

Well, it’s June 30 – the end of the month and a few days before the big July 4th holiday. And 52 years ago today, the ad above ran in the Lorain Journal, reminding you to stock up on Sugardale Coneys for the obligatory holiday cookout.

The ad features our old pal Hamlet, greedily pushing a grocery cart stuffed with coneys made from (shudder) his own kind. It looks like the advertising mascot has fully embraced man’s ways, not only adopting his meaty diet but his attire as well (although his shoes look rather elfin).

Quite a difference from the younger, naked piglet (below) seen in the 1956 ad I posted back here.
I’ve always been a sucker for advertising, so it won’t be too surprising if I toss a package of Sugardale hot dogs in my grocery cart this weekend because of this post. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Lorain Composer's “Lost" Symphony to Be Performed at Last

Standing, left to right, are: “Shorty” Chamberlain,
Kent Richardson, Walt Hines; Seated are: Frank Billings,
Dick Kuss, Harrison Baumbaugh and Ted Metzger
Back on Part 3 of my long-overdue series on the Pueblo, I mentioned Ted Metzger and the Campus Owls, a popular local orchestra that regularly performed at the nightclub.

As an article in the October 15, 1929 Lorain Times-Herald noted, “The Campus Owls known to practically everybody in Lorain-co and to many outside of the county have played several seasons at Vermilion-on-the-Lake in the summer time and the Antlers Hotel in the winter.

“The personnel of the orchestra remains the same as during the summer. “Shorty” Chamberlain, Ted Metzger, Harrison Baumbaugh, Frank Billings, Walt Hines, Dick Kuss and Kent Richardson."
Harrison Baumbaugh, Senior
Well, recently I was contacted by a relative of Harrison Baumbaugh, one of the Owls. Glenna Baumbaugh wrote to tell me that, "On Sunday, July 3rd, the Blue Ash/Montgomery Symphony Orchestra will perform the lost composition, “Rhapsody in Pink” by composer Harrison Baumbaugh Senior at 7:30 pm at Montgomery Park, Cincinnati, Ohio.
"Prelude in Pink was found recently by his son, Harrison Baumbaugh, Jr. of West Chester, Ohio (formerly of Lorain).  This complete composition with all parts intact was recovered from a 1977 house fire in Lorain, Ohio where many of his compositions were destroyed. Thinking it was composed in the late 20’s or early 30’s, it was never performed until now.  
"The title Prelude in Pink may have been inspired by Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, but this is a mystery."
Harrison Baumbaugh had an extensive musical career. According to a biography provided by Glenna Baumbaugh, “He played in local civic and school bands, and at age 15 he played piano at a local silent movie theater.  He decided to study serious music and attended Baldwin Wallace (BW) Conservatory of Music where he studied pipe organ and composition.  

"Pursuing a musical career brought him into the popular music culture of that time when dance bands and theatre music abounded in dance halls, theaters, and music parks, from Detroit to western New York. He played in numerous pit orchestras and bands, composing and arranging for bands through the 1920’s. He published some foxtrot sheet music in the early 1930’s.  

"During the last 15 years of his life, health issues kept him pretty close to his home studio with a large number of piano and horn students.

Harrison Baumbaugh passed away in late November 1963. His obituary in the Lorain Journal noted that he was a familiar face in the music department of many Lorain County public schools. 

During the early 1930s he was a member of the Ted Metzger Campus Owls orchestra. The dance band was popular for many years in Ohio and surrounding states.

The obituary also noted, Many clubs and organizations were entertained at luncheons by piano music offered by Mr. Baumbaugh, one in particular being the Lions Club of which he was a member and pianist.

Happily, Harrison Baumbaugh will be entertaining an audience once again this weekend, with the long-awaited performance of his Prelude in Pink. Click here for details.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Lighthouse’s 100th

The view from Hot Waters this past Sunday afternoon
Well, the big 100th Anniversary celebration of the Lorain Lighthouse is this week, with the dedication of a Historical Marker this Friday, June 30, 2017 at 11:00 am at the mile-long pier on the east side. There's also a special presentation down at the Lorain Historical Society that evening (more on that at the end of this post).

It's a big day for the city of Lorain, and the media coverage should do wonders to attract some tourists this summer.

But for me, though, it means I’ve run out of time.

Back in March, I began searching old newspaper microfilm to hopefully locate an ad or article about the original dedication of the lighthouse. It bugs me that I've never seen any newspaper coverage from the early days of the Lighthouse. Unfortunately, despite my hours of squinting at microfilm from 1917 – 1919, I failed to shine a light on any lighthouse dedication.

While reading old newspaper microfilm at the library, I thought it was interesting reviewing some of the coverage from July 1965, when it was first announced that the Lighthouse was to be demolished.  “Historic Lighthouse To Be Torn Down” was the headline splashed across the top of page 17 (!) of the Journal on July 12, 1965. The article matter-of-factly noted that “One of Lorain’s most venerable landmarks, the old Lorain Coast Guard-operated lighthouse situated on the tip of the west break wall, is scheduled to be torn down late this year in connection with the $22 million federally-sponsored harbor improvement program begun in 1962.”

From Gene Patrick’s
Passing Scene
An editorial the next day observed, “If this must be, then farewell, old friend.” It included a few suggestions as to how the lighthouse could be put to use if it was saved – as a museum, restaurant or as headquarters for the Lorain Yacht Club. The editorial noted that “there is still time to save the lighthouse, and the time for those interested to start action is now.”

Thank goodness it was saved. (You can read the whole story of how it was saved here on the Lorain Lighthouse Foundation website.)

Anyway, Valerie Smith of the Lorain Public Library will present "Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Lorain Lighthouse” on Friday evening, June 30th at 7:00 p.m. down at the Lorain Historical Society's Carnegie Center.

It's a wonderful thing that Lorain still has its lighthouse a hundred years later, and that the beloved landmark is finally the star of a big celebration.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Clash of the Burger Titans

It’s been a while, but I’ve featured Sandy’s many times on this blog over the years. The Scottish-themed hamburger chain with Thrift ’N Swift service held the Grand Opening of its Meister Road location in the Lorain Plaza Shopping Center back on June 18th - 20th of 1965.

Since Sandy’s was so close to where we lived, it was the hamburger chain that my family patronized –although it was a rare treat. The nearest McDonald’s was down on West Erie Avenue, and consequently we only caught a glimpse of it on the way to Lakeview Park. (We never passed it when we went to Vermilion, as we always took the short cut via W. 21st Street.)

Since the McDonald’s on West Erie Avenue had opened in June 1960, however, it had a five year head start in Lorain on Sandy’s, which had some catching up to do.

Thus it’s not too surprising to see the section of the restaurants page of the June 24, 1965 Lorain Journal above. Note the ads of the two strange burger bedfellows, right next to each other: recently-opened Sandy’s (with its large ad featuring the winsome Miss Sandy) and McDonald’s (with the now forgotten, bizarre Archy McDonald in a puny ad).

Despite the sex appeal of Miss Sandy, however, McDonald’s eventually won the battle – conquering Hardee’s (the successor of Sandy’s) and even taking over the chain’s location on Meister Road. Today, only a few grizzled local Baby Boomers (like me) even remember that Sandy’s was ever there.

But hold on to your french fries – there’s a rematch of sorts about to happen.

A Hardee’s is planned for Avon as part of a proposed Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores truck stop complex on Chester Road. Its neighbor? None other than McDonald’s.

Click here to visit a terrific, unofficial Sandy's website with tons of links to great vintage photos of store restaurants. Click here to explore three pages of Sandy's memorabilia, such as original napkins, cups and ads!

Finally, be sure to visit the website, which includes a page devoted entirely to former Sandy's restaurants!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Lay’s New Era Potato Chips

I’ve written about potato chips (a weakness of mine) a few times on this blog over the years, usually discussing local favorite Arvay’s Potato Chips.

Well, here’s an article about a popular potato chip brand – New Era Potato Chips – that was gobbled up by Lay’s (which at the time did not yet have its own signature brand).

The story, which ran in the advertising pages of the June 28, 1965 Lorain Journal, tells the tale of how Lays decided to add its name to the package as sort of a transitional effort to rebrand the product. The article is basically publicity for well-known distributor Pete DeSantis, but it's interesting just the same.

If you’re interested in advertising (as I am), then it’s always fascinating to watch how a product become popular, and then – at the height of its success – is often acquired by a competitor, or perhaps a company that has no similar product and wishes to get into the market. The product is then co-branded for a while before it is wholly absorbed into the acquiring company, which grinds the original brand (in this case, New Era) into so many crushed potato chip crumbs to be discarded.

In this case, however, it seems New Era may have made a nostalgic comeback in its native Detroit. The forgotten brand was apparently purchased by Better Made Potato Chips, which occasionally cranks up a batch of New Era for local distribution. Click here for the story.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Cristiani-Wallace Circus Comes to Lorain – June 23, 1965

Right after my post last week about the Adam Forepaugh and Sells Brothers Circus visiting Lorain in July 1901, I received an email from local historian and blog contributor Dennis Thompson. Dennis sent me a great vintage poster (above) announcing the impending appearance of the Cristiani-Wallace Brothers Circus in Lorain.

Dennis wrote, "Here is an old poster I found a few years ago featuring a circus at Kew Gardens. If you search for the circus name, you can find some information.”

Although there was a month and day (Wednesday, June 23) on the poster, there was no year. But after researching the circus, and knowing when the Kew Gardens project had come to an end, Dennis figured it out.

"June 23 was a Wednesday on 1948 and 1954, both too early for the circus,” noted Dennis. "Looks like they added the "Wallace Bros" in 1961 after the Kew Gardens were razed. I guess they used the empty lot, it would have been a good spot I think.

"Their 1962 and 1963 schedules are online but no Lorain. Nineteen sixty-five was another year when June 23rd was a Wednesday; that’s probably when they were there.”

Indeed it was 1965 when the circus came to town. A series of small ads in the Journal promoted its appearance, as well as several articles.
June 18, 1965 ad from the Lorain Journal
The first article (which ran June 21, 1965) revealed that the Lorain Youth Center – the organization that had brought the circus to town – had generously voted to a portion of the advance sale price of the tickets to the Carl Baker Hospital Fund campaign being staged by the Lorain Emergency Police. (Lorain Emergency Policeman Carl Baker had been shot the previous February during a robbery and the fund was set up to help him with the monumental hospital and surgical bills.)

The article also provided a nice description of the circus, with Lorain Emergency Police Chief John Sauer noting, “Some of the finest circus acts in the world are going to be here in Lorain.”

A second article appeared on the front page on June 23, 1965, on the day of the circus – 52 years ago today. It provides some nice behind-the-scenes information about the circus. It had left Mansfield that morning and rolled into town around 7 a.m. By 8 o’clock all the tents had been pitched.

A final look at the circus in the Journal occurred on the day after the event with a few cute photos appearing on the front page.
From the June 24, 1965 Lorain Journal

Thursday, June 22, 2017

George May Ford Ad – June 23, 1965

Here's an interesting ad for George May Ford, which I mentioned here on the blog a few times this year. The ad for the Kansas Avenue dealership – which ran in the Lorain Journal on June 23, 1965 – reveals a pretty creative (and adult) approach to lure customers into the new car showroom.

A "Champagne Weekend" was the theme, with sparkling champagne offered to adult shoppers. Music was provided by Barney Freeman and the Jetones, and Jackie Rancourt was the pretty hostess for the event.

The Cleveland Memory Project had a photo of Bill "Smoochie" Gordon and Jackie Rancourt on the "One O'Clock Club" on WEWS Channel 5 back in 1959. I'm not sure if she was a guest or regular co-host.

As for Barney Freeman and the Jetones, it appears that they enjoyed regional success in Northeast Ohio in the 1960s, and that the whole Freeman family was talented musically. Barney Freeman passed away in 2013.
Anyway, it's interesting to see such a sophisticated gimmick employed locally back in the 1960s. I wonder if the sales effort was successful?
Nowadays, it seems like too many car commercials are designed to annoy potential customers with their loud, unfunny banter – making the whole process unappealing. The idea of enjoying an adult beverage while car shopping, as well as some entertainment, sounds like it would be a welcome relief.