Thursday, June 25, 2009

Visions of Cedar Point 1966 Part 3

Here's a map of Cedar Point from the 1966 brochure. (Click on it for a larger image.) It's interesting to see the layout of the park back then, before things got so crowded and the older rides were dismantled.

Cedar Point used to be a high point of the year for my siblings and me, as big as Christmas or Halloween.

I remember back in the 1960s, my siblings and I used to annoy my parents by wanting to ride the Mill Race first, as it was near the entrance to the park. Of course, we would then spend the next few hours looking like drowned rats.

I was never a big lover of roller coasters; I like more peaceful rides like the Sky Ride. I think it's fun to do some people watching and peer down at the other park patrons while passing overhead.

Remember how another Sky Ride used to take you to Frontiertown?  A pretty good Wiki page for Cedar Point explains which rides were retired, such as the Frontier Lift as it was called.

Looking at this map brings back lots of memories. This map shows the first version of Jungle Larry's animal exhibit on Safari Island, which according to his website debuted in 1965. We loved going to see Jungle Larry, since he appeared regularly on Captain Penny's TV show. We were pretty disappointed when he wasn't there that day (out on safari, I suppose.)

1960s family dinner at Cedar Point was always at the Silver Dollar, with its sawdust-covered floor. (Don't look for it at the park now – the Silver Dollar Cafe became the Game Day Grille in 2004.)

The last ride was usually a night view from the Space Spiral. Then we hung around the Fascination area a bit (nursing our sunburns) and had a last treat, such as cotton candy or taffy. Then that was it for summer fun, until the next year.

Speaking of summer fun, I'll be on vacation beginning now and during all next week – so I'll see you in a week or so! Please feel free to post your favorite Cedar Point memories in the Comments area below!

Visions of Cedar Point 1966 Part 2

Here are some photos from my vintage brochure of how Cedar Point looked back in 1966. It sure was a different park back then!
   According the excellent Images of America Cedar Point book, the Pirate Ride was originally at a park called Freedomland in New York; when that park closed at the end of the 1964 season, the ride was moved to Cedar Point in time for the 1966 season. The Earthquake Ride also came from Freedomland.
   At the time of these photos, the Space Spiral was only a year old, having been built in 1965, and the Sky Ride was also fairly recent, dating from 1961.
   With the exception of the Pirate Ride, the Earthquake Ride and the Mill Race, all of these rides can still be enjoyed at the park today, according to the Cedar Point website.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Visions of Cedar Point 1966 Part 1

Well, it's summer at last - so it's time to think about going to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio!
   I found an old 1966 Cedar Point brochure in a local antique shop, and while thumbing through it, I was immediately transported back to the Cedar Point of my youth.
   Unlike the Cedar Point of today, with its focus on youth-oriented thrills and excitement, the park of old concentrated on wholesome entertainment for the whole family – even parents! It was sort of a Midwest Disneyland.
   The Cedar Point of 1966 was packed with atmosphere. There was Jungle Larry's Safari Island, the Pirate Ride, the Earthquake Ride, the Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad, and the Western Cruise Boat. Other rides included the Mill Race, the Mono Rail, the futuristic-sounding Super Satellite Jets, the Calypso and of course the relatively new Space Spiral.
   Stop back here tomorrow for some great photos from the brochure of some of these attractions!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Forgotten Fast Foods: Mister S Part 2

Here's another ad from the Mister S Drive-in Restaurant. (Click on it to see a larger version.) Despite the fishy focus of this ad, the restaurant's real specialty was Treasure Chest Chicken. I'll bet the chicken came in a really cool pirate-type box!
   Despite much Googling and library research, I can't seem to find out very much about this restaurant. It apparently was a national chain, because in one of their logos you can just barely make out the words "coast to coast" under it (at right). At least we know that the 'S' scans for 'smiling speedy service.'
   According to the Lorain City Directory, Mister S became Gyro House around 1985. Then, around 2000 it became Gyros and More. Although I never ate at Mister S, I've gotten carryout from Gyros and More many times through the years and always enjoyed my meal.
   But I still want to know who the mysterious Mister S is!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Forgotten Fast Foods: Mister S Part 1

One fast food place that is sort of a mystery is the Mister S Drive-in Restaurant that used to be at 15th and Broadway. It appeared in the Lorain City Directory in 1968, with two gentlemen's names listed: Charles Bennington and Milton Slutzker.
   I haven't been able to find out anything about this restaurant chain, if indeed it was a chain. I seem to remember seeing one somewhere else in Ohio and being surprised.  At least one other Lorainite thinks there were others out there, specifically mentioning seeing one in Omaha, Nebraska on a retro fast food blog.
   Anybody out there have any ideas?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Forgotten Fast Foods: Burger Chef

Burger Chef is another largely forgotten burger chain that was big in Lorain County before eventually meeting the same fate as Sandy's – that is, being gobbled up by Hardees like a hot, crispy golden brown French fry.
   The Burger Chef at 28th and Broadway first appeared in the Lorain phone book in 1970, making the chain a relative latecomer to the fast food burger scene in Lorain County. There were also stores at 2115 N. Ridge Road, as well as 4835 Liberty in Vermilion.
   Even though one would think that having "burger" in the name might be an advantage, it didn't seem to help this chain. A possible disadvantage would be its lack of a memorable spokesperson or mascot like Ronald McDonald. There was a cartoon chef on the sign out front, but I don't recall any commercials featuring him. I do remember commercials with Burger Chef and Jeff, two of the most forgettable advertising mascots ever created. The chain also used a smiley face with a chef's hat as its logo for a while, literally putting a happy face on the situation.
   Burger Chef managed to hold on at the 113 28th Street location until around 1990, when it became Hardees. Today, it's just an empty building.
  Although the chain is long gone, a quick search on the Internet reveals that there are a lot of die-hard Burger Chef fans out there with websites. JSF's Burger Chef Tribute website is one of them. And don't miss the NEW Images of America publication featuring Burger Chef, which you can order from Amazon by clicking here!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Forgotten Fast Foods: Casey's Drive In

I don't remember ever eating at Casey's Drive In as a kid, although I was certainly aware of it, as it was located across from Westgate Shopping Center at 2519 21st Street. The restaurant first appeared in the phone book around 1968, with locations at 1390 N. Ridge Road (across from O'Neil's) and at 4835 Liberty Avenue in Vermilion. The 21st Street store in Lorain followed in 1969. There were Elyria locations as well.
   The ads for this chain are interesting, because the Elyria phone book ads featured a photo of a real live "Casey" dressed in an old-time baseball uniform leaning on a bat, and the Lorain phone book ads featured a cartoon ballplayer mascot holding up a hamburger. I liked the cartoon mascot a lot, but apparently not enough to eat there!
   I haven't been able to find out much about the restaurant chain. It probably was a regional endeavor... but I'll keep Googling until I find something.
   Although Casey's was not in the same league as McDonald's, the chain must have had a pretty successful formula. The 21st Street store lasted almost 20 years, finally closing around 1987. Pine Gardens restaurant replaced it at the location and is still in business today.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Forgotten Fast Foods: Sandy's Part 5

Here's a huge Sandy's ad that ran in the Lorain Journal on June 11, 1970. (Click on it to see it in a larger size.) I like the ad because it has a certain charm to it with its liberal use of clip art.
   I work in the Art Department for a company that does printing and mailing, and when I joined it back in the mid-1980s, we used to use clip art all the time in the things we designed. We had a big collection of 1950s Harry Volk Jr. Art Studio clip books that we would, well... clip out what we needed and paste it onto our keylines (that's what our artwork was called). Later, we stopped cannibalizing these books and made photostats out of whatever illustration we needed. 
   Nowadays, keylines, clip books and photostats are things of the past. Just like 15 cent hamburgers!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Forgotten Fast Foods: Sandy's Part 4

Here is an advertisement for Sandy's that ran in the Journal back in June 1970. (Click on it for a larger version so that you can read it!)
   I had kind of forgotten that the Sandy's equivalent to McDonald's Big Mac was called the Big Scot. (The name was lodged in my brain, however, because I have given the "Big Scot" nickname to at least two Scotts at work over the years.)
   The Sandy's mentioned in the article was right across from Southview High School, which must have been a great location. (There's a First Federal Savings of Lorain at the location today.) 
   Click here to watch a Sandy's Big Scot TV commercial on YouTube!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Forgotten Fast Foods: Sandy's Part 3

Here's a Sandy's ad from the 1968 Lorain phone book. For some reason, the company gave Miss Sandy an extreme makeover in the late 1960s, changing her from a blonde to a brunette.
   Sandy's had a strong presence in Lorain County. Besides the Sandy's on Meister Road, there was another one in Lorain off of Route 57 at 2233 E. 42nd Street. Elyria also had several Sandy's locations, including 443 Cleveland Street, 393 Midway Boulevard and 641 Hilliard. (The Cleveland Street location was actually the first in the area, opening May 1, 1962.)
   Around 1972, Sandy's merged with Hardees, with most of the locations switching over to the Hardees name. Hardees managed to hang on at the Meister Road location for years, before finally closing at the end of the 1980s. The building was demolished and, ironically, today there is a McDonalds at the site.
   For more information about Sandy's, follow this link to a great website which is the definitive online source for information about the restaurant chain. The website includes a comprehensive history as well as photographs, ads, TV commercials and much, much more!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Forgotten Fast Foods: Sandy's Part 2

Friday, June 18th 1965 was the grand opening for the Lorain Sandy's drive-in at 1111 Meister Road in the Lorain Plaza Shopping Center. The ad announcing the opening promised a festive atmosphere, with the Cleveland Kiltie Band performing, as well as an appearance by the local "Miss Sandy".
   Miss Sandy, of course, was the advertising mascot for Sandy's, a cute blonde kilted lassie doing a Highland dance. Her greatest exposure was on the rotating sign in front of each restaurant.
   The ad at right appeared in the Lorain Journal in July 1965. The toasted cheese sandwich sounds pretty good; it must have been, because when I showed a copy of this ad to one of the librarians at the Lorain Public Library, the toasted cheese sandwich is the specific menu item that she fondly remembered!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Forgotten Fast Foods: Sandy's Part 1

Although there was a McDonald's at the corner of Leavitt Road and W. Erie Avenue as early as 1960, I don't remember ever eating there as a kid. The drive-in my family patronized was Sandy's on Meister Road, which was closer to our home.
   Although Sandy's is largely forgotten now, at one time the chain seriously challenged McDonald's and Burger King. The story of how the company began is an interesting one.
   Sandy's origin had a McDonald's connection. The company was started by a group of four businessmen from Kewanee, Illinois who jointly owned a successful McDonald's franchise in Urbana. However, when the group attempted to exercise their option to open additional franchises in Peoria and Decatur, Ray Kroc denied them permission as he had decided to limit new franchises to single owners. Frustrated, the four businessmen decided to start their own drive-in chain and in 1958 Sandy's was born.


Monday, June 8, 2009

McDonald's comes to Lorain

Remember this guy? He's Speedee - the original 1950s hamburger-headed mascot of McDonald's and the symbol of their speedy service. (Speedee was eventually replaced by another mascot named Archie McDonald, who was replaced in the mid-1960s by another mascot, a fella named Ronald McDonald.)
   For years, Speedee adorned a magnificent blinking sign at the McDonald's down at 2500 West Erie at the end of Leavitt Road. I can still see it in my mind's eye, even though both the sign and McDonald's have been gone from that location for many years.
   The McDonald's on West Erie was the first in the Lorain area, appearing in the Lorain phone book in 1960. Despite my fondness for the McDonald's mascot and sign, I don't think my family ever ate there very much, if at all, when I was a kid. And where did my family go for fast food burgers? Stop back here tomorrow and I'll tell you!
   I'll give you a hint, though: if you were wearing a kilt, you'd be right at home in this restaurant!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Get along little doggie – at Dog 'n Suds!

Since the wife duped me for dinner last night (the ol' dinner out with her girlfriend routine), it was the perfect evening to head to Dog 'n Suds over in Sheffield Township.
   I ordered my usual well-balanced meal from the cute carhop (a root beer and a chili dog with no onions) along with a hearty side order of corn dog nuggets, and as I sat there in my car reading the newspaper, I thought to myself: "It just doesn't get any better than this."
   You too can enjoy a genuine slice of Americana, not to mention helping keep a Lorain County icon in business. Head over to Dog 'n Suds soon, because before you know it, summer will be over!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Digging around the old box of photos Part 3

Here is yet another shot from my August 1979 photo shoot down by the Black River. This shot is from over by the Lorain Sailing and Yacht Club. If you visit their website, you can see an aerial view of what this area looks like now. The building has either been replaced or given a new roof.
   I always liked this shot. It gives me the impression that Lorainites walk around with yellow slickers and check their lobster traps every morning.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Digging around the old box of photos Part 2

Here's another slide from the same photo shoot back in August 1979. This time the view is looking north towards the mouth of the Black River from Riverside Park.
   I think these ducks were thinking "Man, we've got to get out of this crummy park before it sinks into the river!"

Monday, June 1, 2009

Digging around the old box of photos Part 1

Everybody has a shoebox full of photos that should have been sorted and put into albums. We tell ourselves that we'll do it during the winter, but we never do. (Besides, we have all those digital photos from this millennium that are piling up on our hard drives that need sorting and printing.)
   Anyway, it's much more fun to dip into the box, pull out a random stack and rifle through them, because every once in a while, you discover that you've unintentionally captured a bit of history. In this case, I found some slides from waaaaaaaaay back in August 1979, a year after I bought my first SLR camera, a Pentax K-1000.
   At that time, I had been looking for something interesting to photograph and ended up down at Riverside Park on Lorain's east side. Back then, it was very different than it is today. Erosion had eaten away much of the park, as well as the road going through it.
   The view is looking towards the shipyards. Who would have believed back then that someday American Shipbuilding would be gone?
   Compare the vintage view with the modern view (below), shot a week ago.