Friday, December 2, 2022

Lawson's Big-O Orange Juice Ad – December 17, 1962

During the fall of 1962, Lawson's took a beating in the newspapers with a lot of bad publicity, thanks to its sponsorship of the ill-fated Issue 1. But that didn't stop the company from continuing to do a lot of advertising in the paper after the election, including this handsome full-age ad for Big-O Orange Juice which ran in the Journal back on December 17, 1962.

For those who only remember Big-O Orange Juice through its memorable commercials featuring a Lawson's tanker truck, the ad provides an opportunity to take a closer look at the whole operation. It's pretty impressive. The ad notes, how "the oranges are picked fresh in the morning... graded, squeezed, flash-chilled, and shipped in refrigerated tankers the same day... here in 40 hours or less!"

The ad also points out that "Lawson's orange juice is absolutely pure – with no concentrate, no coloring, no additives of any kind. And its cost is kept low through the same famous Lawson distribution plan that holds your milk price down: controlled outlets, fast delivery, glass containers, high volume, quick turnover!"

It's a great advertising campaign that in my opinion has no equal, even sixty years later.


Although we drank Lawson's milk when I was a kid, I don't think that we ever had Big-O orange juice in the Brady household. Orange juice was something we had only on Sunday morning, along with perhaps a Hough Bakery kuchen or Sara Lee coffee cake that had to be thawed out.

The orange juice had to be thawed out as well, as it was always from frozen concentrate – usually Tropicana, never Minute Maid (which is what Bing Crosby and his clan were always drinking on TV commercials).

My parents didn't start drinking orange juice every day until I came home from college. The tales I told them about my working in the dormitory cafeteria, refilling the beverage machines (including orange juice) and lugging around huge bags of liquids, must have planted the idea. And I've been drinking orange juice every day ever since, including at breakfast as well as during the evening (when I'm out of pop).

Thursday, December 1, 2022

On Area Movie Screens – December 1, 1962

We'll kick off December with my favorite go-to topic when I don't have anything else prepared: what was playing on area movie screens sixty years ago.

If you sneak a peek at the Journal page above (from December 1, 1962), then you can see what star was dominating the screen: namely, Elvis! At the Palace was Girls! Girls! Girls! (with Stella Stevens); Follow That Dream (1962) was at the Dreamland; and Kid Galahad (1962) was at the Liberty Theatre in Vermilion. That's three flicks from the King, all released in 1962!

Alan Hopewell's jolly favorite, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? was slaying them at the Avon Lake Theater. Out in South Lorain, the Pearl was showing Spanish-language films: Ojos Tapatios and La Mujer Y La Bestia (The Woman and the Beast).

The ad attracting the most attention on the Journal page was probably the mayhem-filled one for The Pirates of Blood River at the Tivoli. "Women fighting for their lives... as blood thirsty buccaneers ransack a lost tropic island," reads the headline at the top of the ad. It's a Hammer film, so of necessity it has Christopher Lee in it.
After seeing the trailer, I think the poster looks better!
Other film fare in the area included The Vikings with Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Ernest Borgnine (clothed, I hope) and Janet Leigh at the Lorain Drive-in; Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window at the Amherst Theatre; and Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin in If a Man Answers at the Ohio.
What, no Duke anywhere? What gives, Pilgrim? And no Stooges either.
I like the ad for Ye Olde Hen House cooped up between the ads for the Ohio and the Lorain Drive-in. That's quite a weekend special: pan fried chicken, home made soup, potatoes, cole slaw, home made biscuits and honey and coffee – all for a buck and a quarter. 
Ye Olde Hen House much later became Jack & Diane's Lounge, as I noted on this post back in 2013.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Biz Grove Booked for Mary Lee Tucker Show – Nov. 29, 1962

On Monday's post, it was noted that the popular Cleveland TV personality Mike Douglas was going to be emceeing the Mary Lee Tucker Christmas Benefit Show.

Well, as I noted, the rest of the Mary Lee Tucker performers were usually made up of local talent. That included the musical group that would provide backup where needed for the various acts, as well as appear as an act themselves. 

As usual, the Biz Grove Orchestra was that group. As noted in the caption accompanying the photo above, which appeared in the Journal on November 29, 1962, "The Biz Grove Orchestra will perform at The Journal's annual Mary Lee Tucker Christmas benefit, produced by the City Club of Lorain on Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. at the Palace Theatre. Leading the 14-piece band is Chuck Bizgrove [sic] at center. Members are: John Byers, piano; Bob Gawn, bass; Bob Aukerman, Mel Gymorie, Vic Kubiak on trumpets; Dick Reed, drums; Gary Potter, and Bill Sheppard and Dick Cooley on trombones; Paul Kumler, Jack Ruth, Ed Nemecek and Frank Katrick saxophones.

The Biz Grove Orchestra has been mentioned on this blog before, including when it performed at the 1960 Mary Lee Tucker show.
Anyway, I've mentioned before how my older brother Ken and I were members of the Biz Grove Orchestra in the 1980s. Many of the same band personnel from the 1960s were still with the group twenty years later.

I'll be writing some personal reminisces about that experience in an upcoming post very soon. (You know, just like I did with the Pueblo).

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Blue Law Enforcement Confusion in Amherst – Nov. 1962

On Election Day 1962, Issue 1 – the amendment sponsored by Lawson's that would have enabled the chain to keep its stores open in Ohio on Sunday – was defeated by the voters. As a result, the various city police departments in Ohio began to enforce the existing blue law that outlawed Sunday sales.

It quickly turned into a big mess statewide, with spotty and selective enforcement. Some stores cooperated with the Sunday mandatory closing, others did not.

Here in Lorain County, there was much confusion, with shoppers not sure which stores were going to be open. The article below details how things were going for Amherst merchants.

As the article noted, "It was business as usual for those Amherst merchants who traditionally open for business on Sunday, but Sunday's business wasn't quite up to the usual volume most merchants reported.

"Ray Grocott, manager of Ray's IGA on Park Ave., which is open on Sunday mornings and part of the afternoon, reported that his business was not up to par and said he believed it was because of the uncertainty of the public that stores would be open.
"The Lawson Milk Co. store on Cleveland Ave. reported that business was poor in the morning and that the store received several phone calls from customers asking if it was open for business. But business picked up and was normal in the afternoon and evening, the store's manager reported.
"Mischa's Restaurant on Park Ave., an ice cream parlor which does a brisk Sunday trade, reported that business was slow Sunday night.
"The city's two drug stores, Lessiter's Pharmacy at 187 Park Ave. and Kamody Drugs at 101 Main St., open only a few hours on Sunday and then for the main purpose of filling prescriptions.
"Police Chief A. H. Koppenhafer said he visited stores in Amherst which opened Sunday for business and observed the businesses but did not take the names of the clerks or in any way try to enforce the Sunday closing law."
As we will see in an upcoming blog post, the situation in Lorain would soon get tense regarding the enforcement of the blue law.
Strangely enough, the photo accompanying the article about the Amherst merchants is of Gang's Food Fair in Sheffield Lake, which has turned up a few times on this blog (including here and here).
Here's the building today, courtesy of Google Maps.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Mike Douglas to Host Mary Lee Tucker Show – Nov. 1962

Do you remember Cleveland TV personality Mike Douglas?

If you're a Baby Boomer, I'm sure you do. For years he hosted a popular daily variety program on TV that actually had its start in Cleveland before being syndicated in other markets. (You can read more about the history of the program and why it had to move to Philadelphia here.)

Well, back in 1962 the major component of the Mary Lee Tucker charity program was still the benefit show that featured local talent on the bill. As I noted back on this post, there was usually some well-known regional and even national talent as master of ceremonies, such as Lynn Sheldon (TV’s “Barnaby") (1950), Leo DeLyon (1954), Bob McFadden (1955), Frank Fontaine  (better known to many as Crazy Guggenheim on the Jackie Gleason Show) (1957), Don Webster (1964), and Houlihan and Big Chuck (1968).
And to add to this pantheon of talented performers, we can add Mike Douglas for the 1962 edition of the show. The front page of the Journal of November 20, 1962 tells the story.
"Roll out the carpet, Lorainites, one of Cleveland's most personable TV stars will hit Lorain for a one-night stand early in December.
"Show time is nearing, Dec. 5 showtime that is, when Lorain will play host to everyone's favorite at The Journal's Mary Lee Tucker Christmas Show.
"A Chicago-born Irishman with a gift of song, Mike Douglas, well-known Cleveland TV star, was named today as master of ceremonies for the Christmas benefit show, produced and directed by The City Club of Lorain.
"Douglas, the star of a 90-minute variety show each day, was signed by members of the City Club last week to emcee the Christmas extravaganza on Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. at the Palace Theater.
"Formerly a featured singer with the Kay Kyser Orchestra, this polished professional is well known to the people of Lorain.
"He is ready with a quip. a question or a song at the drop of a hat and is at ease with a local housewife or a famed guest star.
"Douglas' show, which has been on the air less than a year, has been called "the most ambitious programming ever attempted by an individual station."
Elsewhere on that front page of the Journal is an update on the tensions between the United States and Cuba, and a story about a Minnesota man who claimed to have the biggest ball of twine in the world.

Friday, November 25, 2022

2-Day Blizzard Ends – Nov. 27, 1950

Although it's been downright balmy during the past couple of days, we had some pretty cold weather a few weeks ago in Lorain County. I think it caught us all by surprise to see snow on the ground so early. (The day that I needed a scraper to get the snow and ice off my car's windshield, I remembered that all of mine were snug and warm inside my storage unit at the former Lorain Drive-in.)

But at this time back in November 1950, the city was digging out from a true two-day blizzard. Below is the front page of the Journal from November 27, 1950.

As the article notes, "Still stunned but slowly recovering from the shock, Lorain and the rest of Ohio continued digging out from the worst blizzard of modern times which completely paralyzed transportation and business and slowed communication and industry to almost a standstill over the week-end.

"More snow felt today as weary street crews continued a battle which began at 2 a.m. Saturday to clear at least main traffic arteries of the 12 to 20 inches which fell Saturday and yesterday and which was whipped into drifts as high as 10 to 12 feet by strong winds.
"Snow flurries were predicted for the next 24 to 26 hours, forecasters said, but no appreciable fall is expected."
The snow was not restricted to Ohio. Another article on that same page observed, "Life for most of the eastern seaboard's millions was getting back to normal today, 48 hours after the great Appalachian storm spread death and destruction from South Carolina to Maine.
"Most power, traffic and telephone service torn up by the storm was restored yesterday but many areas still were cut off – mostly suffering from power failure.
"Thousands still shivered from lack of heat and met the darkness with candles – if they were lucky enough to have them."
Elsewhere on that same page were other snow storm related stories: an article about how the storm "had choked off milk supplies" in Lorain, since farmers couldn't get their product to market; and a report of how two "Good Samaritans" helped a Columbus man get his stalled car going – and then stole it! 

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Journal Front Page – Thanksgiving 1962

Sixty years ago, there was a lot going on across the front page of the Thanksgiving edition of the Journal.

To the uninformed (like me), the headline seems to refer to the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds and some trading deadline. But it was actually referring to a war that took place between China and India. You can learn more about it here.

As usual,  there was the expected, warmed-over holiday fare about the history of Thanksgiving. There's also a lighthearted observation about Santa Claus arriving four times in the next few days, at Hills (mentioned in yesterday's post), the O'Neil - Sheffield Shopping Center, Oakwood Shopping Center and Downtown.

In the seasonal lock-up report, the prisoners were feasting – not on bread and water – but on turkey (in the Lorain County Jail) and chicken in the Lorain City Jail. Interestingly, the Dew Drop Inn was supplying the poultry repast for Lorain's cellmates.

Elsewhere on the page was a report of a hunting accident in Amherst, a mysterious gas leak in Sheffield Township and the upcoming second Sabin Oral Vaccine Sunday.

And of course, Today's Chuckle.