Monday, April 30, 2018

Roy Rogers is a-coming to the 1968 Lorain County Fair

I’ve mentioned many times on this blog how I look forward to the Lorain County Fair each year.

Although I haven’t been to a Grandstand show in a long time, it’s still interesting for me to see what acts are going to be performing. The local newspapers usually announce them in the spring; this year, Grand Funk Railroad is one of the featured attractions.

Back on April 30, 1968 – fifty years ago today – the Lorain Journal provided the traditional fair preview. None other than Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were among the headliners, as seen in the Norm Bergsma Journal photo below which appeared on the front page of the paper that day.

That would have been a lot of fun to see.
At some point in the early 1960s, The Roy Rogers Show was being rerun on TV locally. I remember watching it.
Here’s a funny publicity photo. You can tell they were hitched by then.
In addition to knowing who he was from the TV show, I was also familiar with Roy Rogers from a Golden Book in the old Brady toy box, although its story highlighted Dale Evans.
Roy Rogers never seemed to age. He remained a positive, white-hatted role model for Baby Boomers right up to the end of his life, the way a Western hero should be. He passed away in 1998.
Roy Rogers was a hero in another way too. Long after Arby’s switched to the chunked and jelled, faux-roast beef in the 1970s, Roy’s namesake restaurants were still serving up real roast beef – for a little while, anyway.
The restaurant is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. You’re going to have to hit the trail for a long ride if you want to visit one, though, as they’re only in the mid-Atlantic states. Here’s the link to its website.

Friday, April 27, 2018

C-T Entertainment Page – April 29, 1949

Well, it’s Friday – and many of you are probably deciding what to do this weekend for fun.

Sixty-nine years ago, people were doing the same thing. To help them decide, they might have consulted the entertainment page of the Friday, April 29, 1949 Elyria Chronicle-Telegram, which is shown above.

Even though I’m not as familiar with Elyria as I am with Lorain, I think there’s plenty of fun things to peruse on this page.

It seemed to be the Golden Age of dance bands and trios.

Over at V. F. W. Post 1079, the Jolly Boys – formerly of the Hollywood Bar – were performing. I’ve mentioned the Boys several times on this blog, as well as the Hollywood Bar.

The Phil Nelson Trio was headlining at the Hotel Graystone, Don Wonderly’s Trio was at Davis West Side Cafe, and Charles Brown and His Orchestra was performing at Stoney’s Rainbow Bar. Charles Dickens and his trio were doing a live broadcast on WEOL at Gartner Inn, and The Tunesmiths were at Empire Tavern at the corner of Lake and Adams.

We can’t forget Doc Dolomore at the piano at La Porte Inn on Route 57.

Vacationland was also well-represented on the page, with an ad for dancing at the soon-to-open Ruggles Beach, as well as one for Crystal Beach, where Jimmy Dulio would soon be performing.

In the movie theaters, John Wayne was starring in 3 Godfathers at Avon Lake Theater; Van Heflin and Robert Ryan were featured in Act of Violence at the Capitol; Take Me Out to the Ballgame was at the Rivoli; the 1940 oater Billy the Kid in Texas was at the Lincoln.

We also see ads for the Oberlin Inn (just a nice ride for dinner), and the Melsport Tavern, where the weekly Friday Fish Fry was being held.

All in all, lots to do for fun in Elyria and all around Lorain County back then.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Old Dutch Beer Ads – April/May 1968

By George, every time I do a post on Old Dutch Beer, I think, “Well, that’s probably the last post I’ll ever do on that topic.” (And each time, I’m sure many of you are hoping that’s the case.)

But then I find yet another vintage newspaper ad from the Lorain Journal that I can’t resist posting.

In this case, the ad is from the Journal sports section of April 26, 1968 – 50 years ago today – and it’s an unusual one.

Now that’s some scrambled syntax. 
Did the ad man who wrote the copy drink a little too much Old Dutch for inspiration? Did the Journal’s graphic artist have a hangover when he assembled the ad?
Was Yoda from the Star Wars movies the copywriter?
A little more than a week later, a similar ad ran in the Journal on May 8, 1968.

It was followed by another ad on May 21st.
Finally, this ad on May 28th seemed to be the last word.
So what’s going on here, anyway?
The whole thing reminded me of something W. C. Fields said in a movie: “Throw the horse over the fence – some hay.”
I ended up Googling that quote and inadvertently came up with an explanation for this campaign. 
Apparently the copywriter had a sense of humor, because this type of sentence construction was common among the Pennsylvania Dutch (who are really German – as in Deutsch – not Dutch). 
Thus the sentences are grammatically correct in Pennsylvania Dutch, but amusing (and wrong) in good ol’ English.
I don’t know if this advertising campaign was successful with the general public. But reading the ads makes me want to put myself on ice some Old Dutch Beer.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Burger Chef Grand Opening – April 25, 1968

Fifty years ago (has it really been that long?), Burger Chef was about to open its first location in the Lorain area (see ad above). Actually, it was arguably closer to Elyria, since it was out there on Route 254 near Route 57.

At that time, Elyria's Burger Chef outlet on Lodi Street was already open – so it probably made sense to slowly branch out from it.

Lorain's W. 28th Street restaurant wouldn't hold its Grand Opening until October 1968 (see ad at left).

Burger Chef has been a favorite topic on this blog since 2009. I've done a variety of posts on the largely forgotten burger chain, including a few then-and-nows.

While I was familiar with the one on 28th Street in Lorain (a high school girlfriend worked there), I don’t think I ever visited the one on North Ridge Road (State Route 254).

The North Ridge Road store continued to appear in the Lorain City Directory until the 1977 edition, when its listing was briefly replaced by Brennan’s Restaurant. By the time of the 1978 directory, the location was taken over by Kenny King’s.

Today, the store in Elyria has been torn down. Lorain's 28th Street store (below) is boarded up and looking a little worse than the last time I photographed it.

Happily, the North Ridge Road location that hosted Kentucky Fried Chicken for many years before it closed is now the home of Cathy's Ice Cream.

Vintage cup currently on Ebay

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Passing Scene – April 1968

April’s rapidly winding down, so here’s a round-up of Gene Patrick’s "The Passing Scene” comic that ran in the Lorain Journal this month back in 1968.

First up is the strip from April 6, 1968, in which Snoopy of Peanuts fame makes an unauthorized appearance. (Hey, where’s his collar?) We also get a funny cartoon about a pampered show cat.
Next we have the panel from April 13, 1968. Looks like Gene was doing his bit to promote the ‘Golden Crescent’ nickname. (I like how only the name LORAIN is readable.)
Lastly, we have the strip from April 20, 1968. I like the goofy expressions on the Art League women in the last cartoon, the idea for which is credited to Dave Wolfanger of Oberlin.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Restore a 1953 Lorain Crane!

I received an interesting email a couple of days ago from a gentleman named Guido.

No, he wasn’t threatening to break my legs over something I wrote. Actually, he’s associated with a transport company called G-Force Enterprises located in South Range, Wisconsin. The company has a variety of construction equipment for sale. Guido was inquiring if I knew anyone interested in restoring a piece of Lorain history.
He wrote, "I saw your blog. I have a 1953 Lorain Crane. It was an Air Force issue. It runs and works.

"I hate to scrap it. I was just wondering if you knew anybody that collected or restored them. Let me know if you do. Thanks for your time.”

I told him I would see what I could do to help. If you know of anyone that would be interested, Guido can be reached at

Anyway, Guido’s email was a nice reminder of the days when Thew Shovel products made the name “Lorain” known throughout the world.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Rotary District Meeting in Lorain – April 1968

Fifty years ago today, Lorain was hosting Rotary International's District 660 Conference. Approximately 600 Rotarians and their wives (known as Rotary Anns) came to Lorain for the service organization's two-day event, which took place at Admiral King High School.

The Journal included a special advertising supplement in honor of the event, a few pages which are reproduced here.

The page at the top of this post contains the Lorain Chamber of Commerce's well-written description of Lorain at that time, and all that the city had to offer.

Here's another page from the supplement. (Notice how I picked a page with an ad featuring our old pal Reddy Kilowatt.)

In case you're wondering, Lorain still has a Rotary Club. Here's the link to the official website.
Hey guys, maybe it's time to have another conference in Lorain. Lakeview Park looks better than ever, and Lorain now has an even more beautiful high school to host an event. Plus, the city is still only a stone's throw away from Cleveland and Cedar Point, making it the gateway to fun.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Lake View Park Allotment Ad – April 19, 1919

Ninety-nine years ago today, the above full-page ad advertising the availability of lots in the Lake View Park Allotment ran in the Lorain Times-Herald.

At that time, Lakeview Park was still in its early stages. The first bath house was still in the planning stage, and wouldn’t open until the following year. The fountain wouldn’t appear until 1936.

Nevertheless, the Lake View Park Allotment was being positioned as an elite address. As the ad noted, “Lorain’s best and most representative citizens have purchased lots in Lake View Park and are either building or planning to build this year.”

This group of citizens included Capt. Richard Thew, founder of the Thew Shovel Company, who lived at 1422 West Erie. (A house built in the early 1950s is located at that address today.)

A. H. Babcock is listed in the ad as one of the sellers of lots. He must have liked that area too, because he owned this well-known house at West Erie and South Lakeview Boulevard.

Here’s an aerial view of the Lake View Park allotment today.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Don't Badger the Mill Hollow Badger – April 1963

American Badger (courtesy of Wikipedia)
Mill Hollow (or more properly, the Vermilion River Reservation) has always been one of my favorite Lorain County Metro Parks – ever since I was a kid.

Camping at Mill Hollow in 1960s
(Courtesy Lorain County
Metro Parks)
There’s lot of reasons why. Maybe it’s the dramatic shale cliffs. Or the shallow river, ideal for stone skipping and fishing. Or the Benjamin Bacon Museum (which ironically was closed every time we visited the park).

I’ve mentioned before how you used to be able to camp at Mill Hollow. It’s where my family first learned how to camp, in preparation for our later cross-country trips.

Anyway, it’s always interesting to me to read something about the early years of the park.

Below is an article that appeared in the Journal on April 1, 1963. It reveals that the park’s animal collection included a somewhat cantankerous badger.

Until I saw this article, I had forgotten that there used to be live animals on display down at the park. Those critters were yet another reason why we liked Mill Hollow; we were sorry when they were no longer there.

Mill Hollow live animal exhibit
(Courtesy Lorain County Metro Parks)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Journal Photographers Ad – April 17, 1968

Here’s a nice promotional ad for the Lorain Journal’s staff of photographers, shown posing in front of the iconic Journal clock tower. It ran in the paper on April 17, 1968 – 50 years ago this month.

The staff at that time consisted of Chief Photographer Norm Bergsma and Photographers Bob White and Terry Thomas. 

Terry Thomas has left a comment or two on this blog over the years, since he worked with Journal cartoonist Gene Patrick, the subject of many blog posts. Thus I felt comfortable reaching out to Terry recently at his photography studio in Atlanta, Georgia to see what he remembered about this ad.

Terry graciously responded with the behind-the-scenes story.

“Boy oh boy, does that Journal advertisement bring back memories,” he wrote. "I used to have a copy of that page taped to my darkroom door which was in the basement of my parents home on Idaho Avenue.
“I don't remember whose idea it was to do this, but the three of us wanted to show off our collection of photography equipment in which we had invested. The only cameras that the Journal owned were a couple Yashica 120 twin lens reflexes that had some Honeywell strobes attached; the reporters used those."
Terry explained the paper’s “rules” regarding the photographic equipment.
“The Journal's position was that we *could* use the Yashica roll film cameras for our work,” he noted. "If, however, we wanted to use our own gear, such as 35mm Nikons, we were on our own. But if anything happened, the repairs or replacements came out of our pockets. We didn't want to use the roll film cameras because they didn't have a variety of lenses, motor drives or work fast.”
The Journal’s position about the cameras, etc. apparently was unique among newspapers.
As Terry noted, “Other newspapers, such as the Akron Beacon-Journal, owned and supplied all of the photography equipment that their photographers used. All of the awards that we won were created with our own equipment.”
But getting back to the story of the ad.
“So one sunny day, Norm Bergsma, Bob White and I hauled our gear up to the roof of the Lorain Journal building and posed for the photo,” reminisced Terry. "I am fairly certain that the late Gene Patrick created it. Gene was a very talented photographer, as well as an artist.
“Norm passed away a couple years ago down in the Arizona or New Mexico area. I once found his obituary on the web. 
"I have no idea about Bob's whereabouts these days. He married Kathy, one of the Journal's lovely reporters and the last I heard years ago, they were living in Sheffield Lake.”
So what is Terry doing these days? He’s still working and doing what he loves.
"These days, at age 73, I am still a working professional photographer," noted Terry. "I photograph food for restaurant advertising. I also work on the sets of films and television shows as the Director of Photography or Unit Stills Photographer, creating publicity photographs which are used to advertise and publicize the productions. From time to time, I can also be found in front of the camera as an actor. You can spot me in many scenes of Stranger Things - Season One.”
Special thanks to Terry for sharing some of his Journal memories! You can visit his Facebook page here.

By the way, I noticed earlier this year that Global Plastics Technologies, the company leasing the former Morning Journal building, erected a new sign on the clock tower.

Monday, April 16, 2018

In Search of a Ford GT-40

Near the end of March, I received an interesting email from a gentleman named Mark Johnson. (Not the WEWS-TV chief meteorologist.)

Although Mark currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he owns a graphic arts company, he grew up in Bay Village in the 1960s.

Mark has an interesting quest. He’s trying to locate a car.

But not just any car. This is a Ford GT-40 that he sat in at the Marshall Ford car dealership on Mayfield Road in Cleveland in early May 1966.

Here’s the photo from that day, showing Mark and his brother sitting in it.

Mark says he was a big Ford fan in 1966 and sitting in the car was a big thrill. “I think I was star struck, he noted. "Now I need to figure out who owned the car. Whoever it was, was nice enough to let my brother and I sit in it. That is what started the search 50 years later."

Mark believes that the same Ford GT-40 that he sat in at the auto dealership was also on display at a car show held at the O’Neil-Sheffield Center back in early July 1966. Erie Shores Sports Car Club was the sponsor of the show.
Journal ad from July 8, 1966
Here are some of Mark’s photos from that O’Neil-Sheffield Center car show. "I wish the quality was better, but I was just a kid with a Brownie, he noted.

It’s fun seeing the O’Neil-Sheffield Center as it used to look in the background of these shots. As for the bottom shot, Mark noted, "As I recall, the timed one-at-a-time car races (a parking lot “gymkhana") was held around the back of the shopping center.”

Here's a small photo and caption that ran in the Chronicle-Telegram promoting the show.

(Courtesy Rick Kurish)
Anyway, Mark is trying to trace the owner of the Ford GT-40 and he needs some help. "Now I need to see if I can find any members of the Erie Shores Sports Car Club to see if they know anything about the entrants or have any other photos.

"So the chase continues.”
I asked Mark what message he would like to give my readers, and here is his reply. 
"I’m interested to hear from anyone who remembers, or has photos of, the car shows and races at the O’Neil-Sheffield Shopping Center, especially the show from July 9 and 10, 1966, where a Ford GT-40 was featured. 
"Or from anyone that was a member of the Erie Shores Sports Car Club. Thank you!” 
You can reach Mark Johnson via his email at:

Friday, April 13, 2018

Chicken Delight Grand Opening Ad – Feb. 11, 1964

Well, it’s Friday at last. And although many of you may be thinking of fish for dinner, I’m thinking of chicken – again.

And here it is – the ad I couldn't find in time for my two-part series on Chicken Delight. It's the Grand Opening ad for George and Nell Robinson’s business, and it ran in the Lorain Journal on Feb. 11, 1964.

In the early months of the store, there wasn’t very much advertising. Only one or two tiny ads ran in-between this one and the one I posted from April 16 of that year.

Anyway, that plate of chicken in the ad looks pretty tasty, even in black and white.

I like the large Chicken Delight logo in the ad, with the great old-timey type, and early version of the chicken mascot.
It’s more fun than the current logo of the company, which is roosting up in the Great White North these days.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Lawson’s Ad – April 3, 1963

Here’s an old Lawson's ad sure to rekindle some memories. It ran in the Lorain Journal on April 3, 1963 and very simply promotes one item: cottage cheese. But it’s the charming rendering of the convenience store with its iconic milk bottle sign that packs a nostalgic punch.

At right is a photo of a store similar to that depicted in the ad, courtesy of

When you entered a Lawson’s store, you knew it would be clean and well-stocked.

According to this Wiki page, Lawson’s originated in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The original store merely sold milk, but eventually grew into a chain of mini-supermarkets that was primarily Ohio-based.

(I posted an ad celebrating the June 1959 opening of the very first Lawson’s in Lorain here. I also posted a October 1959 ad here, a May 1962 Ice Cream ad here, a July 4th 1962 ad here, and a 1966 Dutch Loaf ad here.)

In the mid-1980s, Lawson’s stores in the U. S. were sold to Dairy Mart. Amazingly, the Lawson’s name lives on as a convenience store franchise chain in Japan.

Today, former Lawson’s stores dot the cityscape of many Ohio cities. You can find them repurposed as everything from a pizza joint to a doctor’s office.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Rick K. Remembers: Military Surplus

Back on April 3, I did a post about the Ohio National Guard Armory on Grove Avenue that included a photo of the old personnel carrier tank parked out in front. Its fighting days over, and no longer needed by the army, the tank has enjoyed a peaceful retirement for decades.

But what about normal-sized military surplus? How and why did all that stuff end up in stores like Cane’s Surplus on Broadway?

Regular blog contributor Rick Kurish has the answer.

In a recent email, Rick wrote, "Have you ever considered a blog series on the military surplus bonanza which existed at the end of World War II?

"As the war was coming to an end, the federal government realized that they would have to deal with a huge surplus of military material. To deal with this, the government created the War Assets Administration, and charged it with liquidating the surplus.

"In its approximately five year lifetime, from about 1946 to about 1950, the War Assets Administration managed to auction off 32 billion dollars of surplus military material, which would be over 300 billion in todays dollars! The result was that military surplus stores, which had first appeared after the first World War, sprung up in cities all over the country.

"Virtually every city of a certain size had at least one store. Many of your blog readers are probably familiar with Cane’s in Lorain, Dave’s in Oberlin, and also Federal and Elyria Surplus Center, both in Elyria.

"The range of military equipment that these stores sold was amazing — especially to a young boy. Probably every family in the 1946 – 1960 time frame had some items that had at one time been military surplus.

"As a young kid in the 1950s, I camped out in the backyard sleeping on my army surplus folding cot, while being kept warm by my army surplus blankets.

"I have attached a few sample ads from the 1946 to 1950 time frame to give an idea of what was available.”

Here are Rick’s ads from the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram. The first three are for the Federal Store at 307 Broad Street.
Here a couple more, for Elyria Surplus Center.

Rick noted, "The surplus was so large that the surplus spilled over to regular retail establishments. I have ads of surplus army air force watches sold in jewelry stores, army surplus bunk beds sold in furniture stores, surplus radios sold in electronics stores, surplus rubber boats sold in sporting goods stores, and even army ammunition boxes and army air force goggles sold in five & dime stores.”

Here are some of the ads that Rick is referring to.

"The stuff was everywhere,” observed Rick. "I’ll bet many of your readers have fond memories of this “Golden Age” of military surplus.”

Rick shared a few of his own personal memories.

"My dad was an electrician and often worked outdoors in cold weather,” he noted. "He purchased some of his cold weather work clothes at Cane’s in Lorain. He spent a portion of his World War II service in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska so he knew what cold weather was, and he purchased a lot of army surplus gloves, socks, long underwear, etc. at Cane’s over the years.

"I remember going with him at times when I was about 8 years old and bugging him to buy me things. I remember one time trying to get him to buy me a gas mask, and finally settled for a compass. The compass had more features than an eight year kid knew what to do with — but at least I always knew which way was north.
"I remember at about the same time, a friend of mine who lived down the street became the envy of the kids in the neighborhood when he acquired a surplus hand held periscope. It was supposedly used by tank crews to enable them to observe the area without exposing themselves to enemy fire by climbing out of the hatch on the tank. We had great fun for a while using the periscope to peek over and around things without being observed.

"Ahh, it was great to be a kid in the 1950s, even though we didn’t have the internet and video games!”

Special thanks as usual to Rick for sharing his research and well-written memories.

Like Rick, I enjoyed poking around in Cane’s during and after my high school days; I was sorry when the business finally closed and Downtown Lorain lost yet another mainstay. Later, Dave’s Army Navy store was the only reason I ever drove to Oberlin; unfortunately, Dave’s closed in 2010.