Friday, August 28, 2009

Lorain County Fair Snapshots

Well, we made it out to the Lorain County Fair last night and had a great time. Food-wise, we pretty much stuck to the script: great Midway Oh-Boy burgers for dinner, french fries and Rutana's Apple Dumplings for dessert. Both the Oh-Boy and the dumpling were fantastic.

The great thing about the Lorain County Fair is the sameness of it each year; as you walk around the fairgrounds, you're overcome with a comfortable feeling of nostalgia that makes you forget what year it is.
Here are a few of my photographic images from the Fair. By the way, that smiling and waving chap with the hardhat is another favorite classic advertising mascot of mine, Willie Wiredhand. I'll have more to say about him next week.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's Lorain County Fair time!

It's that time of year again when I think about Wellington. No, not beef wellington - Wellington, the site of the Lorain County Fair!
I look forward to the Fair all year. It's one of my favorite things to do, mainly because of the food and atmosphere. It's pure fun, and a great kickoff to the fall season.
We always start our night at the Fair by heading straight for the Midway Oh-Boy booth for a delicious Oh-Boy burger. Then it's time for some french fries - the greasier the better! And don't forget the salt and vinegar!
Dessert always means stopping at the Rutana's Apple Dumpling booth. And, of course, I have to wash the whole thing down with a lemon shake-up that I'm sure my dentist would disapprove of.
I'm not sure what night we're heading out there this week, as the usual rain is predicted. But rain or shine, we'll be there at the Lorain County Fair!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sorry, Old Dutch... may have had the Right Touch in the good old days, but not enough to win the first annual Brady's Bunch of Lorain County Nostalgia First Annual Favorite Classic Beer Poll. That dubious honor goes to Miller High Life, who narrowly edged the classic beer out of Findlay, Ohio by one vote!

My thanks to all participant(s) and brother(s) who voted, even if you are one and the same! I'd buy you a cool refreshing Miller High Life at Caponi's (formerly Desimone's Restaurant & Lounge) to celebrate if it was still there!
But it ain't.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hey Mabel! Black Label, eh?

A few weeks ago I happened to blog about an old Carling's Black Label advertisement and I got to wondering: do they still make this beer?

It turns out they do! A great website that I mentioned earlier, included the contact info for a marketing executive at Pabst, who was able to locate a store that carries it a few miles from my work.
Of course, I had to go out and buy some. And that's what the current can looks like (above). Why the Canadian branding? The gentleman with the website explained to me that it is strictly a marketing gimmick to signify that Carling's Black Label originated in Canada.
Maybe Pabst (who owns the U.S. rights) thinks it is more appealing as a "Canadian" brand even though it is made in the U.S. I disagree. I think that it should play more on its Cleveland roots - and for that matter, they should bring back Mabel too!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

1968 Cleveland Indians Scorecard Part 6

A few blogs ago I mentioned how after Cleveland Indians games in the 1960s, my brothers & I would follow ballplayers up to Public Square, trying to get their autographs. It was kind of cool that a few of them cooperated, since I'm sure they just wanted to get the #$!* out of there.
The scorecard that I've been blogging about for the past few weeks included three players whose autographs I was able to get: Dave Nelson, Vern Fuller and Tony Oliva (from the Minnesota Twins.)
After their Cleveland Indians days were over, both Nelson and Fuller had nice careers. Dave Nelson is still involved in the game as a TV broadcaster for the Milwaukee Brewers and Vern Fuller has had a successful career in the hospitality and hotel business.
Tony Oliva spent his entire career with the Twins and was inducted in the initial class of the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame in 2000 along with Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew.
Did you notice the other names on the autograph pages? They belong to my boyhood chum Jeff Malek and another classmate, who thought it'd be fun to sign their names on the same page as Major League Ballplayers!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ready for more Reddy?

I mentioned last week that Reddy Kilowatt was one of my favorite advertising characters. And it's no small wonder.

Since I spend a lot of time in the Lorain Public Library pouring over microfilm of newspapers from the 1950s and 1960s, it seems that almost every day or so there was an ad for Ohio Edison featuring - who else? - Reddy Kilowatt! I even seem to recall even seeing his image on some of the local electric utility buildings, such as up on the Ohio Edison building on Lake Avenue in Elyria Township.
He was such a kid-friendly guy in the ads, doing his best to keep us from getting electrocuted, that it's no wonder that I have a certain affection for the guy long after his heyday.
Here are a few images of ol' Reddy from ads that appeared in the Lorain Journal in the 1960s.

Friday, August 14, 2009

1968 Cleveland Indians Scorecard Part 5

Here's an ad for the Illuminating Company from the 1968 Cleveland Indians scorecard, featuring one of my all-time favorite advertising characters: Reddy Kilowatt.

Reddy is one of the most famous and beloved advertising mascots of all time. He was created in 1926 by Ashton B. Collins, general manager of Alabama Power Company, as part of a marketing effort to promote electricity as a safe and reliable servant. According to legend, Collins was trying to think of a mascot when he happened to look out the window during an electrical storm, and witnessed two lightning bolts merge and strike the ground as one. To Collins, the single bolt reminded him of the body of a man – and Reddy Kilowatt was born.
With jagged red lightning bolts making up his torso and appendages, a light bulb for a nose and light sockets for ears, Reddy was the perfect spokesman for electricity. Reddy became so popular that in 1934, Collins decided to leave the Alabama Power Company and start his own company, the Reddy Kilowatt Service. This new company offered to license Reddy to other power companies and eventually more than 200 enrolled.
Reddy appeared on billboards, newspaper and magazine ads, company stationery and signage, electric bills and many promotional products. By the 1970s, however, electric consumption began to exceed the supply and Reddy was no longer needed.
Happily, Reddy eventually found a new home. In 1998 his exclusive use was purchased by Northern States Power Co., which is now part of Xcel Energy. Click here to visit their website and find out more about Reddy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

1968 Cleveland Indians Scorecard Part 4

Here's another ad from the 1968 Cleveland Indians scorecard: an ad for the gone-but-not-forgotten Kon Tiki, a Polynesian restaurant that was located on Public Square as part of the Sheraton Hotel complex. (Click on it for a larger view.)
The Kon Tiki was part of a chain of restaurants founded by Stephen Crane. According to the book The Book of Tiki by Sven A. Kirsten, Crane had opened his restaurant The Luau on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills in 1953. Later, the Sheraton corporation enlisted Crane to recreate The Luau in Montreal, where it opened as the Kon Tiki in 1958. Kon-Tiki locations in Portland and Cleveland followed. Other locations with a similar theme (but different name: Ports O' Call) included Chicago and Dallas.
(Above) a Cleveland Kon-Tiki menu and a photograph from the menu showing (from left to right) a South Sea Cooler; a Zombie; and a Taal.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Heat Wave Musings

Well, we finally got into the 90's temperature-wise over the weekend for the first time this summer in Sheffield Lake. So we did what everyone else did – we turned on the air conditioner. (It was actually the first time we had it on all summer.) Which got me thinking: what did we do without air conditioning when we were growing up?
The answer: we sweated.
Oh, we coped like all the other kids. If we were stuck in the yard all day, we played in the sprinkler or inflatable pool, and chased each other around with squirt guns. If we were lucky, we went to the beach at East Harbor State Park in Marblehead, or at Findley State Park in Wellington.
We also drank lots of Kool-Aid (never soda pop) and enjoyed frozen treats now and then such as Kool-Pops (which were– what else? – frozen Kool-Aid that you squeezed out of a plastic sleeve) or popsicles.
In the house, fans were constantly running, especially the deadly exposed metal blade kind. At night, we ran an exhaust fan in the attic that sucked up the heat. (The distinctive sound of that exhaust fan on a hot summer night still haunts my childhood memories.)
At dinner time, if it was unbearably hot, my Mom would set up a table in the basement. In fact, I even remember sleeping in the basement a few times to beat the heat.
It wasn't until the late 1970s that my parents had air conditioning installed. Now it would be unthinkable not to have it.
Which just goes to show you how soft Americans are getting!
Images courtesy of a great website, Tick Tock Toys.

Friday, August 7, 2009

1968 Cleveland Indians Scorecard Part 3

Here's another ad from the 1968 Cleveland Indians scorecard for the Brilliant Electric Sign Company. (Click on it for a closer look.) They are, of course, the designer and manufacturer of the great Chief Wahoo sign that stood atop Gate D of the old Municipal Stadium for many years.
Kids love Chief Wahoo and my brothers and I were no exception. There was something exciting about seeing his huge grinning face, brimming with confidence and fun. It's a pity that the ol' Chief didn't make it over to the new stadium.
Where he is now? Here's a link to a nice article by Jim Vickers that explains the Chief's new home at the Western Reserve Historical Society. (Photo at right courtesy of the Western Reserve Historical Society.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

1968 Cleveland Indians Scorecard Part 2

Here's another ad from the 1968 Cleveland Indians scorecard that is a bit of Cleveland history: Carling's Black Label beer.
According to the book Cleveland Food Memories, the Carling Brewing Company started out in 1933 in Cleveland as the Brewing Corporation of America. As the popularity of its Black Label Beer and Red Cap Ale grew, the brewery expanded beyond its original northern Ohio market to become a national powerhouse.
The memorable "Hey Mabel" campaign, created by the Cleveland advertising agency Lang, Fisher & Stashower, greatly contributed to the Black Label brand's popularity and ran for almost twenty years. (I only remember the jingle from the radio.)
Unfortunately, the Cleveland plant was closed in 1971, just a few years after this ad ran in the scorecard. The local plant was sold and became part of C. Schmidt & Sons Brewing Company.
Click here to visit a website that is a nice tribute to this great brand of beer. ("Mabel' image at right courtesy of

Monday, August 3, 2009

1968 Cleveland Indians Scorecard Part 1

One of the fun things about saving old programs, newspapers, etc. is looking at the old ads in them. As I am employed in the advertising field (sort of), I am particularly fascinated by old ads, especially when they bring on a feeling of nostalgia.
Here's a few from the 1968 Cleveland Indians scorecard. There's one for the Red Barn chain of fast-food restaurants, one for the Open Pantry convenience stores and one for radio station 1300 WERE. (Click on each of them to view a larger image.)
According to its Wiki entry, the Red Barn was a restaurant chain founded in Dayton, Ohio that at its peak had 400 locations. (Click here for a great website devoted to the Red Barn.) I remember that the Red Barn's advertising mascots were puppets shaped like a chicken leg, a fish and a hamburger. I also remember saving an old greasy Red Barn barn-shaped container and keeping my bottle cap collection in it!
Open Pantry was a chain similar to Lawson's. I did a little online research and found that there is still an Open Pantry chain operating in Wisconsin, although I'm not sure if it is the same company.
WERE 1300 was the radio home of the Cleveland Indians for many years. (I like their ad with Chief Wahoo, with its Laugh-In inspired headline, although it is sad that the mascot is rarely used in such a creative fashion any more.) WERE is still around, although it no longer has Indians games and it's no longer at 1300 AM. Click here to visit the station website.