Friday, September 29, 2017

Big Moose Showcase Ad – Sept. 22, 1967

Back when the former Lorain Arena was for sale in 2010, I did several posts about it – including a four-part series (that began here).

During the following years, additional Arena posts featured an 1955 aerial photo, a 1956 Auto Show, a 1959 appearance by the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars, a 1960 wrestling match, and a 1961 concert by B. B. King.

The Arena was converted from a skating rink/concert venue to industrial use in 1968, which was reported in this post. But before that happened, the Arena had briefly changed its name in an attempt to try something new.

And that something new was the Big Moose Showcase of Lorain.

The change in name and management seemed to have occurred around in 1966, with the change reflected in the November 1966 Lorain Telephone Directory.

Here’s an ad for Big Moose that ran in the Lorain Journal in September 22, 1967.
At that same time, a new business strategy was being put in place, which was explained in the article below which ran in the Sept. 21, 1967 Journal.
New Manager Plans Big Changes at The Big Moose
Entertainment Writer
THERE ARE BIG CHANGES ahead at The Big Moose Showcase on W. Erie Avenue.
Harold Crosby, 19, of Mansfield had joined the Big Moose staff as general manager and has brought with him some innovations.
CROSBY PLANS TO “bring the Showcase down to earth. We want to have at Big Moose what the kids want.”
First step toward this goal is lowering admission prices.
“We hope to appeal to a larger group instead of a selected few. This, we feel, will better serve the area by giving a bigger crowd of teenagers a place to go and something to do.”
WILLIAM ERB, one of the owners of Big Moose, said teen entertainment during the week is in the planning stages.
Crosby said instead of trying to have a big name band in every weekend, the Showcase will feature Ohio area bands and big name groups occasionally. “This will help us keep the lower admission prices,” he said.
This Friday night, however, the Showcase will feature Jay and The Techniques of New York City.
CROSBY SAID LOCAL bands wanting to perform at Big Moose may contact him at 673 Armstrong Ave., Mansfield, during the week or at the Showcase on weekends for auditions.
Crosby has been in the teen dance promotion business for two years. He is a student at the Ohio State University branch in Mansfield with a major in sociology.
A graduate of Mansfield High School, Crosby has worked in this area at the Elyria Roll Arena and with the Elyria YMCA on teen dances.
I’m not sure where the name “Big Moose” came from, but it’s interesting that the Arena’s roller rink predecessor – the Coliseum – was built by the Lorain Moose Lodge and was often referred to as the Moose Coliseum.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

New Stores at Midway Mall – Sept. 1967

Here's sort of a companion piece to the Midway Mall ad I ran a couple days ago. It appeared in the Lorain Journal on September 20, 1967 and announced the addition of four new stores: Foxwood Casuals, Melody Manor, Goodyear Tire & Appliance Center, and Schwede Appliance and TV Center.

I found a little bit of information about Foxwood Casuals. A 1969 article about the opening of a new Cincinnati store stated, “Foxwood Casuals is only eight years old. But it has already grown to 26 stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut. And plans are to expand to 173 stores within the next five years. It's a rustic place that uses antique trappings to display up to the minute fashions.” That explains the old-timey type used in the store signage.

Melody Manor has an interesting history as well. It was co-owned and managed by musician Gary Ryan. The liner notes from his 1969 album tell the story. It notes, "At nineteen, in addition to working the Anchor Room near Wheeling and other night clubs, he was associated with Gerrero Music Stores selling pianos and organs. In 1967, he moved to the Cleveland, Ohio area and became co-owner and manager of a retail piano and organ outlet, appropriately called the Melody Manor, located in Elyria, Ohio, in the Midway Mall Shopping Center.

"After Gary closes up shop, the beat goes on at a plush area supper club called, Mr. Larry's Beef and Tails. Mr. Larry's clientele appreciate the talents of this young man so much that Gary's appearance there has packed them in for more than fifty-eight weeks."

The Goodyear store lasted for many years, but today its location at Midway Mall is a Conrad's Tire Express and Total Car Center.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Channel 61 Signs On – and Off

Although there now seems to be countless ways to watch your favorite programs – whether it’s online, on cable, via a satellite dish, or over the air – back in the early 1960s, you didn’t have many options locally. You could watch Channels 3, 5 or 8 in Cleveland, and maybe tune in the Toledo VHF stations (11 and 13), which sometimes had different programming than their Cleveland counterparts.

By 1965, WVIZ was on the air, but – let’s face it – it was (ugh) educational. Thus, it was exciting for kids when the two local UHF stations (Channel 61 and 43) finally signed on, and began broadcasting old TV shows, movies and sports.

Channel 61 was the first, and is the subject of the article below, which ran in the Lorain Journal on September 22, 1967 – 50 years ago this month.

New TV Station in Cleveland
THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION has approved the transfer of the construction permit for Cleveland Channel 61 from the Superior Broadcasting Corp. to WKBF Inc., a Kaiser Broadcasting Corporation and Superior, a Cleveland company.

Channel 61, which will be Cleveland’s first independent television station, is scheduled to begin operations this year. The station’s call sign will be WKBF-TV. WKBF-TV will broadcast fifteen hours a day at the outset with full color capability.

Three million dollars have been allocated for facilities and programming. The station has title to nine hundred feature films, many of which are first run in Cleveland. An outstanding lineup of off-network programs such s Perry Mason, Twilight Zone, and Combat! will be telecast on an every weeknight basis. Specials and sports events will comprise the remainder of the station’s offerings.

L. William White, General Manager of Channel 61, said in commenting on the Federal Communications Commission’s action, “Cleveland is the largest market in the United States with only three commercial services. We have proved in our other markets that there is a real need and demand for more variety and that is the function of WKBF-TV. With about 50 percent of the homes now able to receive us, we think Channel 61 is going to be a big success.”

Kaiser Broadcasting operates UHF television stations in four other major markets, WKBD-TV Detroit, WKBS-TV Philadelphia, KMTW-TV Los Angeles, and WKBG-TV Boston (the latter in partnership with the Boston Globe.)

Channel 61 eventually signed on the air on January 19, 1968. But it took until the beginning of February for the Journal to revamp its TV listings to make room for the Channel 61 programs. (Note that WVIZ isn’t even included.)

Early evening weekday programming back then included Superman, the Flintstones, McHale’s Navy, the Twilight Zone, Lucy, Hazel and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Movies concluded the broadcast day.

On Saturday mornings during that time period, Channel 61 didn’t sign on until 10:30. Programs included Roller Derby, Wrestling, Dennis the Menace, Rawhide and the Twilight Zone. Saturday night programs included Combat! and Hazel. Sunday afternoon was taken up with old Blondie movies.

This great Wiki page for Channel 61 points out many of the station’s innovations, including the first 10 o’clock news broadcast locally.

Of course, we Baby Boomers remember that Channel 61 was the home of the Ghoul, as well as the original home of Star Trek reruns.

WKBF-TV Channel 61 signed off forever in April 1975. Here’s the story as it appeared in the Lorain Journal on April 25, 1975.

And here's what the former studio for Channel 61 at 21300 St. Clair Avenue looks like today (courtesy Google Maps).

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Franz and Flapper Visit Midway Mall – Sept. 20, 1967

Baby Boomers who grew up in the Cleveland area had several local TV hosts to entertain them with cartoons and friendly patter. I’ve written a few times about Captain Penny, who was on Channel 5, as well as Barnaby and Woodrow the Woodsman, who were both originally associated with Channel 3. Channel 61 had Captain Cleveland. And Channel 8 had Franz the Toymaker, star of the ad above announcing his appearance at Midway Mall. The full-page ad appeared in the Lorain Journal on September 20, 1967.

It’s a good time to post the ad for Midway Mall, seeing as it was just sold at auction over the summer.

Anyway, I vaguely recall watching Franz the Toymaker, mainly because he showed some of the lesser-known animated favorites like Ruff and Reddy, as well as the crummy, newer Koko the Clown cartoons.
Ruff and Reddy
Franz had a Raggedy Ann-like sidekick; there was also an offscreen mail plane (that arrived not unlike Five O’Clock Charlie on M*A*S*H) that was part of his daily shtick.

Click here to read a nice article about Ray Stawiarski, who played Franz. And here’s an ample sample of some of his gentle antics.

Getting back to the ad, also appearing at Midway Mall that day was Flapper, the “Million Dollar Talking Dolphin” direct from the Canadian National Exposition.

Flapper? Was the dolphin kinfolk to Flipper?

It doesn’t sound like it. During an appearance by Flapper at a shopping center in Alton, Illinois in early July that same summer, the Alton Evening Telegraph wrote about the apparently loquacious sea mammal.

"Flapper," billed as the "$1 million talking dolphin," visited Wood River on Wednesday and Thursday, and her squeaky- squawky "talk" and playful antics in a swimming pool amused hundreds of children and adults. The bottle-nosed mammal — a relative of the whale family — cavorted in her private circular swimming tank on the Sav Mart shopping center parking lot, splashed a few onlookers, and allowed children to stroke her at times,” wrote Dick Fackler. "In response to commands from a trainer, the agile, seagoing pet emitted a series of "talk" noises, which sounded like Donald Duck with a bad cold. Her trainer said she could recite nursery rhymes and has a good vocabulary. Flopper also retrieved objects thrown into the pool and brought them back to the trainer. As she performed, the trainer would reward her with slices of fish.

"About 28 pounds of salt water fish dally form the major part of the dolphin's diet. Employees of the traveling firm, called "Porpoise Productions," from Pensacola, Fla., said the dolphin weighs about 350 pounds and is about eight feet long. She is very friendly and they swim in the pool with her, and even ride her like a horse.

"Flapper seems to enjoy putting on a show in her limited watery world, and proudly stuck her mischievous-looking head out of the water several times as if listening to the applause. Her repertoire includes wearing a "hat" around in the water, and pushing a spinning little propeller underwater at the end of her nose.
"Flapper was captured by a specially-designed boat and net near Key Biscayne, Fla., on July 15, 1963. At that time she was still nursing age, and was weaned two weeks later in Galveston, Tex. Her show business career was launched just one week after capture, as she learned in just seven days to leap into the air for a fish."

Monday, September 25, 2017

Name Lorain’s Downtown Development – Sept. 1973

Back in the early 1970s when Lorain was getting ready to redevelop its downtown area, the decision was made that it should have a fancy name. But who should name it?

Consequently a contest was held to name the project. Here’s the scoop, as it appeared in the Journal on September 1, 1973. (Gee, I was just entering high school, maybe that’s why I don’t remember any of this.)

Help Your City and Win $100 Savings Bond
Do You Have Name for Downtown Lorain Project?

DO YOU HAVE a name for the new downtown development area?

As redevelopment activities start in downtown Lorain, the Downtown Redevelopment Committee is inviting any and all citizens to “name the project.”

The contest is being sponsored jointly by the Downtown Redevelopment Committee and Lorain’s Community Development Department.

A U.S. Savings Bond for $100 will be awarded the person – man, woman or child – with the best name suggestion.

OTHER DOWNTOWN areas have names – such as Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle. Akron’s Cascades, Michigan City’s Beachway, Chicago’s Loop, and Cleveland’s Erieview.

A basic sketch of the tentative plan for the Lorain Downtown is shown at right to give you an idea of what may be included.

City of Lorain officials say they are ready to start the downtown property acquisitions and development, including talks with potential developers who are interested.

The downtown project consists of approximately 17 acres. In addition to our new City Hall, it is anticipated that there will be retail shopping areas, business offices, high rise apartment complexes, restaurants, and a market place. Emphasis has been placed on a civic center comprised of a mixture of retail space, offices, and community meeting rooms and halls. This complex is envisioned as the nucleus of the downtown development. The picture attempts to exemplify this proposed location of these facilities.

Below are listed the rules of the contest and the basis on which the best name will be judged. A panel of three judges will screen the entries.

1. ENTRIES MUST be received by Sept. 15.

2. THE ENTRY coupon should be clipped and sent to the LORAIN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT, “Name the Project” Contest, Room 306, Broadway Building, Lorain, OH 44052

3. THE ENTRY NAME will be based on the following criteria:

a. the permanency of the project name

b. the name’s relationship to the Community

c. creativity

4. IN CASE OF a tie, the entry with the earliest postmark will be the winner.

5. ONLY CITIZENS of Lorain may enter the contest.


Mary Lou Connone, Civic Center Chairman

Carl Lepon, president of Downtown Merchants Association

Ed Uland, executive director, Chamber of Commerce

Of course, if you’re a longtime Lorainite like me, you’ve got to be wondering: what name won? After all, the downtown area goes by no special name today.

Looking through the microfilm in the weeks after the contest ended, I couldn’t even find an article with the winning name. And when I got to the end of the September reel without locating an announcement of the winner, I was beginning to think that the contest was a dud.

Finally, on October 1, 1973 the winning name was revealed in the Journal: Crescent Center.

Dennis E. Northeim, a 25-year-old Air Force veteran, was the winner of the $100 U.S. Savings Bond. His entry beat out more than 800 entries.

As he stated in an article, “I was trying to link it with some name already established, one that people were familiar with and could identify with.”

He’s referring to the Golden Crescent, the Journal’s name for the area extending from Avon Lake to Sandusky with Lorain in the center.

It looks like the ‘Crescent Center’ name lasted for a little while, at least. It’s used in this 1974 article about Lorain’s Urban Renewal project.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Woody Hayes Article – Sept. 2, 1967

I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I went to Ohio State and, like my father, was a big fan of Woody Hayes. (Back here, I even mentioned how I “met” him once.)

Well, since it’s Friday, here’s a little look back for all you Ohio State fans from the sports pages of the Lorain Journal. It ran in the September 2, 1967 edition – 50 years ago this month – and features Woody Hayes talking about the upcoming season.

It’s strange how few games they played back then (nine, with two non-conference) and how late they started (September 30th). The Buckeyes would go 6-3 during that 1967 season.

The 1968 season would be the one in which Ohio State would earn its fifth national championship. And by the time the Buckeyes won their next national championship in 1970, I knew that Ohio State was where I wanted to go.

Now in 2017, I think too much attention is given to trying to win the national championship. The team should follow Woody’s example and focus on just beating Michigan!

I also hate the divisional realignment of the Big Ten conference that happened in the last few years, and I’ll probably never get used to it. There was something interesting about Ohio State battling just about the same conference teams every year. While I was at Ohio State, the football team played Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Michigan all four years, with only Purdue and Michigan State taking turns. You knew Ohio State might have a little trouble with Indiana, but would usually pulverize Northwestern. There was something reassuring about that.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thistle Building Update Part 2

Rick Kurish was finally able to determine the organization behind the Thistle Building’s construction, as well as a Scottish connection. 

In an early September email, he wrote, "Under the heading “Lorain News” in the Elyria Reporter of September 27, 1905 I found the brief article that describes what I am almost positive is the announcement of the drawing of plans for the Thistle Building (see article below). 

"The article fits both the building location and the interior design of the building. If the plans were being drawn up at the end of September 1905, construction probably didn’t start until Spring of 1906.

"Even more interesting is the fact that the Fleming & Miller Company mentioned in the article as the company erecting the building, would seem to have ties to Scotland. I still don’t have all of this sorted out, but the Fleming & Miller business was listed in the 1905 Lorain City Directory as “Saloons.” The principals in the business were John Fleming and James Miller. According to the 1910 census John Fleming was a bricklayer, who was born in Scotland, and while I could not find with certainty James Miller in the 1910 census, the 1905 Lorain City Directory listed him as an agent for the Hoster Brewing Company of Columbus Ohio, which according to the industry magazine “Ice and Refrigeration Illustrated” dated July to December 1905, had just established a plant for distribution in Lorain, Ohio. Interestingly, the February 1910 Sanborn Map for the building shows one of the ground floor stores as a Tea Shop and the other as a Saloon.
"In the 1910 census John Fleming was boarding with the extended family of Jean Miller, who was born in Scotland and immigrated to the United States in 1899. So the Fleming partner in the business was born in Scotland, and I suspect that the Miller partner was Scotch also. So perhaps, and I think most likely, the Thistle Building was named after the builder’s Scottish heritage, and not after the Thistle Lodge — although I like the Lodge theory better. 
"Perhaps some day you will turn up an article on the completion of the building in the Lorain Newspapers that will definitively answer the question.
I took Rick’s advice and scoured the microfilm beginning around the time of his late Sept. 27 article about the building. I did find a similar mention of the proposed building in the Sept. 26, 1905 edition of the Lorain Daily News.

A few days later, Rick weighed in again on the company that sponsored the building’s construction. "While watching the Indians beat up on the Detroit Tigers this afternoon, I picked up my laptop and started looking at the Fleming & Miller Company that was apparently associated with the Thistle Building. I had never heard of the company before finding the article about the drafting of building plans the other day. Mainly, I was trying to establish a hard link between the company and possible Scottish ancestry of the principals in the company. I didn’t accomplish that, but I did find an article in the Elyria Reporter of September 25,1905 containing an interesting interview with Jane Miller, wife of James Miller. 
"While a portion of the article is a little hard to read, apparently Jane Miller, a business owner in her own right, if the article is to be believed, is the person who was the driving force in moving the company into Lorain. It appears that they had big plans for business in Lorain. I’m not sure if they all came to fruition, but I did find a mention of one of their saloons in Lorain in 1907.”

So what does all this mean? Rick summed it all up.

"Perhaps the origin of the name “Thistle" attached to the building erected by the Fleming - Miller Company is destined to be an enduring mystery.

"Whatever the plan, the building located on the southwest corner of 7th Street, which was most likely built in 1906, was named the Thistle Building. We can postulate that the building was named “Thistle” by the principals of the Fleming & Miller Company, due to the apparent Scottish ancestry of several of the principals, or that the Lorain Thistle Lodge of Lorain, founded in 1905, was somehow involved in the naming of the building. That may be as close as we come to an answer to the question. I tend to believe the first option relating to Scottish ancestry — at least until a third option appears!

Hilariously, I think I might have found that third option while preparing this post. I had Googled the word “Thistle” and discovered that the flowering plant is the floral emblem of both Scotland and – Loraine, France!

In the meantime, I will continue my search for some sort of newspaper article announcing the completion of the building.

Thanks once again to Rick Kurish for sharing his research.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Thistle Building Update Part 1

The view this past weekend
Although the Thistle Building is gone, the question remains: How did the building gets its name?

Thanks to longtime blog contributor Rick Kurish, we now have some theories about the origin of the name, as well as a lot more information about the building.

First of all, Rick determined an interesting coincidence regarding the name, “Thistle.” As he wrote in a mid-August email, "I found it interesting that you found nary a Thistle surname in any Lorain City Directory. That led me to believe that perhaps the name Thistle on the building was derived from an organization that may have financed its construction. To that end, I spent some time looking for a fraternal organization in Lorain that had Thistle in its name — and I found one.

"In The American Year Book - Directory of Scottish Societies and British Associations, 1915 -1915 on page 85, under the heading “Ohio Societies” is listed Lorain Ohio Thistle Lodge No. 3. Perhaps this Scottish Society financed the building, then rented out the 1st and 2nd floor commercial/residential space, and used the 3rd floor auditorium for their Lodge Hall. 

"It’s an interesting thought, but the only problem is that I can not find a shred of evidence that that was in fact the case.”

I think it is a pretty good theory, and I was able to determine that the Lodge (whose membership was all female) celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1945 – meaning it was in existence about the time the building was constructed. But I couldn’t find any connection between the Lodge and the building either. It sure would have been nice to find out they held their meetings in the Thistle Building!

Anyway, Rick kept digging and was able to clarify something about the building’s address. He wrote, "I was puzzled by two seemingly conflicting addresses for the Thistle Building. The current address (at least before demolition) was 700 Broadway. In your blog posting a week or so ago, you mentioned an address of 676 Broadway for the Thistle building in 1907. 
Using a Sanborn Fire Map from 1918, Rick explained the discrepancy. 
"At that time, Seventh Street didn’t go all the way through to Broadway. As a consequence, there was a grocery at 666 Broadway, and the map indicates that the adjacent Thistle Building, first floor only, was divided by a wall into two commercial spaces. These commercial spaces on the first floor, while listed as 676 Broadway and 700 Broadway, were in fact in the same building. 
"Apparently at the time that 7th Street was continued to Broadway (perhaps after the 1924 tornado), the grocery was demolished, and the 676 Broadway address of the Thistle Building was discontinued. Not an important discovery perhaps, but it clarifies the address of the building.”
Rick also was able to hone in on the approximate construction date using the Sanborn Map. He noted, "One of the news stories I read on the fire indicated that the Auditor’s Office didn’t have a construction date for the Thistle Building. It dawned on me that the Sanborn Maps may hold the key to the buildings construction date. The building does not appear on the attached Sanborn Map dated June 1905, at which time 7th Street was named Chestnut Street. 
"Since you found a reference to the Thistle Building in 1907, that would pretty much lock in the construction date to the late 1905 - 1907 time frame. You also turned up information that the Daughters of Scotland Thistle Lodge No. 3 dates to 1905. Although it proves nothing, it is interesting that the Thistle Lodge and Thistle Building appear in Lorain at about the same time.”
During my correspondence with Rick, I mentioned that I thought it was strange that neither the Morning Journal nor the Chronicle-Telegram mentioned that Harry’s Mens Wear was the longest tenant in the building.
Rick noted, "I shopped at Harry’s regularly after I returned to the area in 1969. In fact, it is the only store that I remember being at that location. 
"The store had parking out back, and both front and rear entrances. They always had the best selection of clothes — especially Levi jeans!”

Next: The company behind the Thistle Building revealed

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Richard C. Beck Remembers Lorain

The trailer park just west of Chris’ Restaurant was home to Richard Beck
I got an nice email a few months ago from Richard C. Beck III, who called Lorain home for a while in the 1950s. Although he now lives in Georgia, Richard has fond memories of his short time in Lorain, and decided to share a few of them with me. 

"My family lived there in 1957- 1958,” noted Richard.  "I was in school there at grade six. My 6th grade teacher was Mr. Davidson.

"We lived in the one row small trailer park on Rt. 6 & 2 just west of the (now gone) Howard Johnson's Restaurant. 
"My dad worked as a painter/sign painter for Brady's Restaurant, the Ohio Theater, and the Lorain Drive-In. My dad paid me 25 cents an hour as an apprentice during the summer break.
"Mr. Dick Kline managed the Ohio Theater and the Lorain Drive-In.  We painted and made signs for both of them. Now they both have been gone quite a while.  
Richard remembers the Drive-in well. "Lorain Drive-In had "Buck Night" on Fridays; the total cost was only one dollar for everyone packed inside a car. 
"At the back of the parking lot, there was a fish pond, he noted.
Biking was a passion for Richard during his time in Lorain.
"From Sears and Roebuck on Broadway Avenue in Lorain, I bought an English Racer 3 speed bicycle.  I pedaled it on West Erie Ave/Rt 6 & 2 quite often.
He remembers, however, that the streets werent always bike-friendly back then.
"In those days, all drivers considered bikes as toys – not allowed to legally use Public Right-of-Ways.
Nevertheless, Richards still an avid biker. "At age 71, I still pedal a bike here where I live near Atlanta, he noted.  
Richards lived in a lot of places, but knows which one he liked the best: Lorain. 
"Before we moved there, we lived in Massilon, Lima, Defiance, Hicksville, and Toledo. Lorain was/is my most favorite town. It's made me depressed when I learned about all those big businesses that disappeared from Lorain."
Richard sums up his affection for Lorain quite eloquently.
That city – at the mouth of the Black River on Lake Erie with the Coast Guard station – was always the place I wanted to move back to."

Monday, September 18, 2017

Ghosts of Nationwide Theatrical Agency

Remember when I wrote about the Nationwide Theatrical Agency and its uniquely-shaped sign at 1629 Broadway? At the time, I wondered what kind of acts the agency actually booked.

Well, recently a small window to the world of Nationwide Theatrical Agency mysteriously cracked open, after being literally boarded up for decades, and provided me with my answer.

Here’s the fascinating story, a tale of haunting showbiz images revealed.

I recently received an email from Mark Stadul, who along with his wife owns the building in which the Nationwide Theatrical Agency was located. It's now the home of their business, Steel Coast Trading – which sells used and surplus tools, machines, electronics, test and vehicular goods.

Mark and his wife had been renovating the building and recently made an interesting discovery. He wrote, "During recent repairs, I uncovered a door that had been walled over in the building that had several posters, postcards, and pin-ups from the agency.” It seems that the plywood had been there for decades and only needed to be pried off to reveal the various promotional pieces that hadn’t seen daylight for years

Mark invited me to stop by and take a look at his findings, and I did just that.

The actual promotional pieces seem to be from the 1960s, with a few bearing postmarks. I spread them out on a workbench and grabbed some quick shots of some of them. Most were yellowed, curled and full of pinholes.

It’s quite an eclectic collection of acts, all striving for the bookings that would catapult them to fame and fortune. A few made it big; others, we’ll probably never know. 
Little is known about Tia and her "volcanic, tempestuous and seductive" Tahitian Fire Dance. 
On the other hand, Frank and Denise Agostino had a fine career with their acrobatic balancing act. The back of their postcard was postmarked November 1969 and advertised that they were currently appearing in Minsky’s Revue at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. By 1976 they were sharing the playbill with Joey Bishop in Philadelphia.
Colonel Jerry Lipko and his "Human Chimps” were based in Florence, New Jersey. They also performed as “Lipko’s Comedy Chimps” and were billed as “America’s Finest Chimp Act.” A July 1973 newspaper report in the Monroe Evening Times described the act, noting, "Col. Jerry Lipko has had chimps for 18 years, using them in his shows and lectures. At present, he features Skippy, eight-years old; Roses, five; Hazel, 24, and a new member, George, who is two, and still in training. All Chimps wear shoes and clothing and amaze crowds with their human traits. They roller skate, balance on rolling balls as well as on the high perch. They play musical instruments, ride bikes, and even a Honda, where their working area permits. They have appeared on television shows with Red Skelton, Jimmy Dean and Mike Douglas and with numerous circuses and fairs throughout the country.”
A tragic fire in Col. Lipko’s camper in Dec. 1976 claimed the lives of several of his famous chimps.
Here are a few more promotional photos for Lipko’s Human Chimps.

Burlesque performer Von Ray, the “Texas Tornado” also enjoyed a successful career with her novelty act. She often performed while standing on her head, which is why she was also billed as “the Upside Down Girl." She owned her own bar in New Orleans as well. 

Here’s another promotional shot of Von Ray from the late-1960s.

But getting back to the other acts...

Mississippi Rain was a Southern pop group based out of Jackson, Mississippi. The band recorded an album for Polydor Records and was represented by Fras-Co Productions. Here’s a link to a nice collection of photos of the band on Facebook, collected by the man who wrote and arranged their album.

Buck Buckley and his “neoteric wit” unfortunately seem to be destined to remain a mystery, with no internet “footprint” to reveal anything about the man and his act.
Of all the acts represented here, Eddie Floyd was by far the most successful, with a long career as an American soul/rhythm & blues singer and songwriter. Heres Eddie today (below).
And heres the link to his website.
Lastly, and happily, Walter Blaney and his big one-man show featuring 100% clean, wholesome fun, comedy and magic" are still around as well. 
Herethe link to his website.
Also included in the collection of items retrieved from behind the plywood wall was, appropriately, this postcard of Fremont Street in Las Vegas as it used to be in all its original neon glory. 
It was postmarked August 17, 1970 and was sent to Frank Gimello from Ralph, one of his employees. “Hi Boss,” it read, “Looking things over for anything new you might be able to use or interested in…”
Sounds like Ralph had a great job!
Special thanks to Mark Stadul of Steel Coast Trading for sharing his findings. Heres the link to the Steel Coast Trading Ebay store.
While preparing this post, I researched Mark’s building a little more. It was built around 1948 and was originally known as the Central Lorain Commerce Building.