Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween at McGarvey’s - 1968

Well, it’s Halloween. And since I’ve spent most of October looking back at 1968, let’s end this month with a Halloween ad for McGarvey’s Restaurant from that year.

The stylish ad for the beloved Vermilion eatery ran in the Lorain Journal on October 18, 1968 – giving the newspaper’s readers plenty of time to plan to attend.

If they did attend, it looks like it was a good time, with a costume contest, as well as dancing music provided by Jim Perrino.

Jim Perrino was very popular locally. You can find many online mentions of the organist's gigs right into the early 1980s, at places such as the Tiffany's Steakhouse & Lounge, and Libra Capri.

In case you're wondering why I didn't do a look back at what kind of Halloween costumes the kids were wearing in 1968, there's a good reason: I already did it!

Yup, if you do a blog long enough, you start using up the material.

But in case you are curious about what Lorain trick-or-treaters were wearing in 1968, you can see my blog posts with local Halloween ads from that year for Kmart, Hills, and Giant Tiger.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

George Wickens Home to be Auctioned Off

It’s kind of sad that the Walter A. Frey Funeral Home on W. Erie next to Lorain City Hall will be going up for auction in early November, as reported in the Morning Journal by Richard Payerchin (here).

Why? Because it’s one of those landmarks in Lorain that we’ve all gotten used to seeing, year after year, for decades. It’s somehow comforting seeing it there.

A 1945 Phone Book Ad
At least the business will continue, and soon celebrate its 75th annniversary. (Here is the link to the company website.)

Longtime readers of this blog know that the Walter A. Frey Funeral Home building is special for another reason as well; it was the home of Lorain Mayor George Wickens, a gentleman who made beautifying Lorain a priority.
His home was even featured on a postcard (which I wrote about here, featuring a Then & Now comparison).

It will be interesting to see what happens to the house after it changes ownership.

I would hope that the historic structure would play a role in a Downtown Lorain that is trying to make a comeback. It’d be ideal for a restaurant or B&B.

I have the perfect name for it too: Wickens’ Place.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Look Out for Falling Squirrels – October 1938

Recently, while working with longtime contributor and researcher Dennis Thompson trying to crack the Penny Morgan/Maxine Barbour case (which I wrote about back here, among other posts), I ran across an interesting news item from the Chronicle-Telegram of October 20, 1938.

The article concerns the acrobatic talents of one of Elyria’s Ely Park squirrels. It’s a story that could have ended tragically, but has a happy ending.

Read all about it in the article below which appeared on the front page of the C-T that day. It was relegated to the bottom of the page, because most of the front page was tied up with a little matter of the Lorain County Sheriff being being placed under arrest that day.

Squirrel Falls 40 
Feet From Tree
In Ely Park

The playful antics of Ely Park’s squirrels, which have entertained many Elyrians, had an unexpected and nearly tragic result yesterday when one of the squirrels fell 40 feet from a tree while playing.

Stunned by the fall, the squirrel lay on the ground for three or four minutes before moving. Then it quickly revived and scampered off while onlookers gave sighs of relief. The squirrel apparently suffered no injury, it was reported.

The accident occurred while this squirrel and a few others were playing in the upper branches of a tree in the park.

Thankfully, the article didn’t say, “Then it quickly revived and scampered off into traffic, where it was run over by a streetcar to the horror of onlookers."

Speaking of squirrels, while doing some other online research, I found this full page advertisement for a store in Quebec, Canada called JB Lalibert√©. It ran in the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph – advertised as "North America’s Oldest Newspaper • Since 1764" – on October 14, 1953.
The ad features some great squirrel artwork, which I guess is appropriate since JB Laliberté specialized in furs. The store is still around, by the way.

Anyway, the ad – with its scampering squirrels and rough wooden sign boards – reminded me of one for Lorain’s Oakwood Shopping Center, which opened in November 1958. (I’ll probably do a post next month on it.) Here’s part of the ad promoting the Grand Opening; you can see the squirrelly similarities to the other ad.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Five Big Happenings of Horror – October 23, 1968

Here’s yet another one of those ads for traveling horror shows, in which a live stage show was combined with scary movies for an evening of terror at a local movie theater.

In this case, the venue was Lorain’s Palace Theater. The ad ran in the Lorain Journal on October 23, 1968. The first day of the two-day spooktacular event took place today – 50 years ago – on October 26, 1968.

Dracula was the headliner. As the ad notes, “See Dracula change into a bat and fly into the audience among you!" Also appearing that night was the Frankenstein Monster, ‘alive’ and direct from Hollywood.

Let’s see, that makes two of the five Happenings of Horror. I guess the other three were the 3 Scream Pictures.

Anyway, I love the typography and graphics in the ad. They combine to convey a feeling of general mayhem, especially with the curvaceous bodies strewn about.

If this ads looks just a teensy bit familiar, that’s because I posted a similar ad from 1957 back here. Dracula was the headliner that night as well. But instead of the Frankenstein Monster, James Dean (or at least the materialization of him) was the co-star.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Reddy Kilowatt Ad – October 25, 1967

Well, it’s been a while since I posted an ad featuring our old pal Reddy Kilowatt. So here’s one that ran in the Lorain Journal on October 25, 1967 – 51 years ago today.

And it’s a nice ad too – one of the best-looking renderings of the electrical sprite that I’ve ever seen.

Anyway, looking at this ad makes me nostalgic for the days when we only had one electric utility and less choices for providers. I know that sounds ignorant, but I’m weary from all of these companies desperately doing everything they can to get me to switch. I think every robot in Northeast Ohio has placed a robocall to my humble abode.

"Angie" seemed to call me almost every day. I finally managed to listen long enough to get to the part where I could press a button on my phone to opt out of her offer. So she no longer calls me.

But now I kinda regret it. I'd grown accustomed to her voice – just like Henry Higgins!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

American Gas Station on Middle Ridge – 1974

I recently received an email from the gentleman behind the website. is a fascinating collection images of classic Americana "celebrating the 20th Century." These include vintage magazine ads and photographs, all presented in a fun and thought-provoking manner on the well-designed website.
Anyway, the webmaster sent me the link to a photo from 1974 that he thought I might enjoy.
"Just in case you have never seen or used this, I had an old photo from Lorain show up among the many people I follow on Flickr," he noted.  "I'm passing it along just in case it is new to you and might be of interest."
Indeed it was. Here is the photo he was talking about. It dates from 1974 and was posted on Flickr by Jeff Lonto. 
As soon as I saw the photo, I knew exactly where it was taken. In case it doesn't immediately ring a bell, Jeff's well-written description tells the story.
His caption reads, "Black and white snapshot of an American (Amoco/Standard) gas station dated 1974, in Lorain, Ohio. According to Alan Nagy, "Located at 6210 Middle Ridge Road, (north of Ohio Rt 2 exit at Middle Ridge). The building is still there, it's now a used car lot).
"The station reopened as an Amoco in the fall of 1975. It was vacant and boarded up for about eleven months. The gas pumps and signs were reinstalled in the fall of 1975. The station was vacant again around 1991 or 1992.”
I thought the photo of the American gas station was interesting because it was a nice reminder of the days when gas stations associated with major oil companies dominated the urban landscape. These days, it is difficult to find a real service station connected to a national brand (especially in Cleveland where I work).
The American Oil Company was a unit of Indiana Standard Oil Company, one of the many companies created when the Standard Oil Trust was broken up in 1911. As explained in this Wiki entry, the Standard name was used in a specific region (including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and others) and the American name was used outside that region. Both brands utilized the same oval layout with a torch in the middle for their logos.
Eventually, the American and Standard brands went away and were replaced by the Amoco name. Amoco later merged with BP, and the Amoco name for the most part disappeared.
Surprisingly, BP relaunched the Amoco brand for some service stations in 2017.
The new Amoco logo
And what about the former American gas station on Middle Ridge? Here’s how it looks today, courtesy of Google Maps.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Danish Go-Rounds Ad – October 23, 1968

Remember Danish Go-Rounds?

Just as I thought. A lot of you are going, “Huh?”

You see, that’s the curse of getting old. I remember things – in this case a product that came and went – that nobody else does. At least nobody under the age of fifty.

Well, above you see an ad for Kellogg’s Danish Go-Rounds that ran in the Journal on October 23, 1968 – 50 years ago today.

Kellogg’s Danish Go-Rounds were similar to Pop Tarts® in that they were a quick breakfast that you could pop in your toaster. But somehow, the idea of a hot danish that was available whenever you wanted one just didn’t catch on like Pop Tarts. Thus the product was discontinued and faded into obscurity.

My mother brought them home from the grocery store at least once, because I remember breaking it into strips before eating it. But I recall Mom buying Pop Tarts more often. (I still buy Pop Tarts once in a while, although Kellogg’s is getting pretty skimpy on the frosting these days; it’s just a thin smear. I’m more likely to buy Toast’ems, the original toaster pastry, at the dollar store.)

I’m not sure that having a carousel theme in the Danish Go-Rounds newspaper ad made a lot of sense. That probably didn’t help make people hungry.

Strangely enough, a lot of people do remember Danish Go-Rounds and are still upset that they were discontinued. If you don’t believe me, check out the comments on the website.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Lake Motel Checks Out for Good

It took a while, but it’s finally check-out time for the Lake Motel.

As reported in the Morning Journal (here), the demolition of the motel – expected since 2015 – began late last week.

The motel opened in the early 1950s as the Foster House Motel. Originally it catered to traveling salesmen.

Here’s a vintage postcard of the motel, as well as its 1963 Lorain Telephone Directory ad.

The opening of the Ohio Turnpike in the late 1950s, as well as the construction of the new limited access Ohio Route 2 in the 1960s siphoned off much of the through traffic that the Lake Motel and its neighboring U.S. Route 6 inns depended on for their customers. Having lost their main clientele, the motels eventually became run-down, serving in their final days as apartments for people who couldn’t afford to live anywhere else. This lead to inevitable criminal activity, and eventual nuisance status for the structures.
I grabbed a few pictures of the Lake Motel in 2016 when its doom was understood to be impending.
And here are the obligatory, depressing Brady Blog Steaming Rubble® shots from Saturday. These are from mid-afternoon.
By the time I went by it again during the storm a little later, the view was appropriately bleaker.
That leaves the former Parkview Motel as the Last Motel Standing – but not for long.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Ohio State Upsets Purdue – October 1968

Ohio State plays Purdue tomorrow.
That reminds me that it was 50 years ago this month that the Buckeyes attracted a lot of attention by shutting out top-ranked Purdue on October 12, 1968.

Above is the coverage of it that ran in the Lorain Journal the next day.

Alongside the article about Ohio State is a portion of the coverage of the 1968 Olympic Games, held in Mexico City.

And by the way, that's an early version of Purdue Pete, the Purdue mascot at right. You can read all about his origin here.

A week later on October 20, 1968, Ohio State pummeled Northwestern.

Back in the 1980s and 90s, I used to read a nationally syndicated weekly sports column in the Journal called "The Bottom Ten," written by sportswriter Steve Harvey. Harvey ranked the ten worst college football teams in a hilariously written analysis. There was also a carefully selected “Crummy Game of the Week,” and the upcoming schedule for that week’s Bottom Ten indicated their “Next Loss."

Harvey often had funny nicknames for each awful team. He would refer to the Northwestern Wildcats (who weren’t too good in the 80s and early 90s) as the "Mildcats."
Since those days, however, Northwestern is no longer a team to be taken lightly.

Here's a sample of the aforementioned "Bottom Ten" feature, from October 25, 1990. It's a special edition that takes a look at college football mascots.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Passing Scenes – October 1968

Well, October is more than half over – so here's this month's collection of The Passing Scene comics from 50 years ago. It's nice to have Gene Patrick back in the saddle.

Some of the strips have already been posted on this blog, before I started presenting them as a ‘fifty years ago’ gimmick.

Here's the October 5, 1968 edition. I like the taxpayer gag.
The bowling panel reminds me that my siblings and I once bowled in a Saturday morning beginners league at Shoreway Lanes in Sheffield Lake in the late 60s. I wonder if it was the same one mentioned in the comic? I remember the best part was the great hot dog in a toasted New England bun afterwards!
Here's the October 12, 1968 comic. I guess burning leaves was the thing to do back then.
Here's the October 19, 1968 edition.
At the time of this comic, the city was still deciding where to build its new civic center. At one point one of the choices was Oberlin Avenue, roughly where the Northwest Bank is located. But it ended up being located Downtown in the end, although the project did not turn out to be as grand as envisioned. 
Lastly, here is the October 26 comic. Another burning leaf gag!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Rigbee Toy Ad – October 3, 1968

It might be hard for today’s youth to understand, but there was a time when parents had to utilize the layaway system for many of their purchases – especially Christmas gifts that weren’t needed right away.

The concept of layaway was quite simple. The shopper selected their items and paid a deposit for the store to hold them. Then the shopper made a series of timed payments until the bill was paid in full, when the items being held were finally released.

Anyway, if a shopper was going to use layaway for their Christmas gifts, then they had to start shopping for them early. That’s the idea behind the above ad for Rigbee’s Bargain Town, which ran in the Lorain Journal on October 3, 1968.

(I wrote about Rigbee’s before, back here.)

But getting back to that ad. There are the classic Lincoln Logs for 79 cents (about $5.73 in today’s moolah).

I tried to find a nice color image of the Lincoln Logs can in the ad, but this photo (below) was the closest I could find. The lettering for LOGS is the same, and the kids are similar, but for some reason this can says ‘American’ instead of ‘Lincoln’ as in the ad.

I also found a photo (below) that looks exactly like the Lincoln Logs we had.

But as you can see, ours weren’t Lincoln Logs either. They were American Logs as well. No wonder I never thought of the sinister guy on the can as Honest Abe. I hope that’s wood he’s hacking away at.
The ad also includes Winking Heidi. A lot of these dolls survived, because they are all over the internet. Is that because they were a cherished keepsake? Or did their novelty wear off so quickly that they weren’t played with enough to get broken – and discarded?
The Playskool Tyke Bike is another vintage toy that is quite ubiquitous online. 
To me, this largely unappealing creation looks like it was slapped together using leftover parts from other toys (the handlebars from a bike, wheels from a wagon, etc).

Lastly, there is the most expensive item in the ad: the Blazon Spring Horse. Only $6.99 at the time of the ad, but it would cost a whopping 50 clams today (assuming the US Inflation Calculator website is accurate).

Here’s what I think is a close match for the spring horse.

We had a spring rocking horse at our house too, although I don’t think it was a Blazon. You can see it in the background of this photo of me as an unhappy Buckaroo.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Those Cascade Park Bears – October 16, 1968

Back in early August, I featured some vintage articles about Cascade Park that included one (courtesy of Rick Kurish) about how the park’s beloved bears managed to survive the notorious July 4, 1969 flooding.

Since the time of that post, I found another article about the three bears. This one ran in the Lorain Journal on October 16, 1968 – 50 years ago today – and speculates about the future of Grandma, Gracie and Sophie.

At that time, it was unclear as to whether Elyria was going to be able to keep the bears due to insufficient city funds.

The grass-roots campaign to save the bears also included the goal of enlarging the bears’ den.

The article explains that Grandma “has been in the park for more than 20 years.

“The old bear was born in the den under the big ledge and is the last known descendant of the original pair of bears brought to the city.

“Gracie, who was born in 1957, might possibly be the daughter of Grandma.

“Sophie, who is not as gentle as the other two bears, was given to the city by a hunter who brought the cub back from a hunting trip in 1957.”

Monday, October 15, 2018

Ortner’s Airport Article – October 10, 1968

1956 Lorain Telephone Directory Ad
1947 Lorain Telephone Directory Listings
Many Lorainites are familiar with the various airports that were located on Leavitt Road near the intersection with Meister Road. Originally there was Port Mills (which opened in 1929); later there was the Lorain Skyport (on the east side of Leavitt) and Long’s City Airport (on the west side).

But there was another airport listed in the Lorain phone book for years that many people (like me) may have heard of, but never knew much about it or where it was: Ortner’s.

That’s why I was happy to find the article below, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on October 10, 1968. It provides a nice look at the impressive operation owned by Andrew Ortner, as well as a brief history.

With the tragic deaths of Andy and Dean Ortner in separate airplane accidents, the company was left with no one to run it. It was eventually sold in the late 1970s, and continued on as a small country airfield. But in 2011 the airport came full circle, and is once again owned by the Ortner family. Here is the link to the Ortner Airport website.

Click here to read Richard Payerchin’s 2013 article about the Ortner family reacquiring the airport.
1963 Lorain Telephone Directory Ad