Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year's Eve Ad – Dec. 31, 1968

Well, it's New Year's Eve – so you know what that means here on the blog: another grisly visit from the Grim Reaper reminding you to drive carefully tonight.

This full page ad ran in the Lorain Journal on December 31, 1968 – 50 years ago tonight.

If it looks a little familiar, that's because the Journal repeated the Reaper a year later, featuring the same artwork on the Dec. 31, 1969 ad. But it's a good one, so that's okay.

And just so this post isn’t all grim and depressing – after all, the New Year should symbolize hope – here’s another ad for Busser Tire Company from the same edition of the Journal, featuring Baby New Year.

Friday, December 28, 2018

New Year’s Eve 1963 Ads

Here are a few vintage New Year’s Eve ads from the pages of the Lorain Journal to put you in the mood for the big celebration on Monday night.

Both are from the December 28, 1963 edition of the paper.

First up is an ad for the party planned for Triangle Bar, located at the triangular shaped property at the intersection of Lake Avenue and Elyria Avenue. Music for dancing was provided by the Jive Four.

I’ve mentioned Triangle Bar on this blog before. It was one of the many businesses that briefly succeeded Urban Miller’s Supper Club at that same location.

Triangle Bar made its only appearance in the city directory in the 1963 edition.

Meanwhile, over on the West Side of Lorain, Sherwood Inn (a favorite topic on this blog over the years) was planning its own New Year’s Eve celebration, with music provided by the Harry Herman Trio.
By George, the showgirl with the party hat in the ad looks like she would have been more at home jumping out of a cake at Frank Sinatra’s birthday party.
I do like the idea of a post-party breakfast at 1 a.m., though, with a light, healthy menu of ham, bacon, steak ’n eggs and home fries.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

New Year’s Eve 1935 at the Palace

Everybody celebrates New Year’s Eve a little bit differently. Some people like to party; some like to just enjoy a dinner out; and many just stay home.

Another option is to take in a movie, and if you were heading out to the Warner Palace theater in Lorain on New Year’s Eve 1935, the playbill also included a stage show.

The ad above, which ran in the Lorain Journal on New Year’s Eve, advertises “6 Big Acts” including Hank Miller and His Ozark Mountain Boys.

And the movie? It was To Beat the Band, starring comedian Hugh Herbert and Helen Broderick.

As you no doubt noticed, the Palace ad contains an illustration of a performer in blackface, which is now considered racially insensitive but was still going strong in the 1930s. You can read more about it here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Here's wishing all of my readers and much-appreciated contributors and commenters a very Merry Christmas!

That's Alvin the Chipmunk above, from his first appearance in a Golden Book (below) in 1959.

It just wouldn’t be Christmas without hearing The Chipmunk Song (in which the musical munks sing about what they want for Christmas) at least once. 
You might remember that the Chipmunks visited Lorain back in September 1968. (No it wasn’t at the Lorain Arena, it was Hills Dept. Store.)
Anyway, Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Journal Christmas Eve Front Page - Dec. 24, 1968

Well it’s Christmas Eve, so it’s a good time to post this.

It should look familiar to anyone who subscribed to the Journal during the 1960s and 70s, because for years the paper ran the wraparound illustration of the Three Wise Men and the Nativity on the front page on Christmas Eve.

If you look closely in the lower right hand corner, you’ll see the initials ‘gp.’ Of course, they belong to Journal cartoonist Gene Patrick, whose “Passing Scene” cartoons I’ve been posting regularly on this blog – as recently as a few days ago.

The Christmas Eve edition of the paper usually included an update of that year’s Mary Lee Tucker effort, as shown above. Some $8,000 had been donated that year so far.

Anyway, here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

I’ll be taking my usual holiday break from blogging for a few days, but I'll be back as it gets closer to New Year’s Eve.

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Passing Scene – December 1968

Well,  December is winding down, and Christmas – as well as my usual holiday break – is looming, so I’d better post these December 1968 editions of Gene Patrick’s “The Passing Scene.”

First up is the strip for December 7, 1968.
Note that it makes passing reference to the fact that Lorain’s YMCA and YWCA almost merged. I like the gag about the stone foot, although I don’t remember seeing the original article.
Next is the December 14, 1968 edition (below), which reminds us once again that Lorain’s City Hall was supposed to be located in the new civic center. 
Unfortunately it did not happen – and it doesn’t appear that the city hall will be moving (and thus making a prime piece of real estate available) any time soon.
The December 21, 1968 strip (below) continues with the civic center theme. There sure were high hopes for it back then.
I like that Gene Patrick reserved the last panel of each December strip for some sort of seasonal gag or theme.
Lastly, the December 28, 1968 strip provides a nice look back at 1968. Many if not most of these comic panels have been posted here on the blog.
I like Gene’s caricature of himself!
I will try to keep posting vintage “The Passing Scene” strips in 2019, although the first batch of January 1969 strips comes from library microfilm that is unusually poor in quality, making some of them almost unreadable. We’ll see.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Lorain Journal Acquires Times-Herald - Dec. 20, 1932

It was eighty-six years ago today that Lorain became a one newspaper town.

It was on December 20, 1932 that the front page of the Lorain Journal revealed that the newspaper that day had purchased "the good will, the circulation and the physical equipment of The Lorain Times-Herald.”

The announcement noted that "the combined publications will be issued from The Lorain Journal plant.”

Interestingly, the article points out that the Journal started in 1920 as the Lorain Chronicle-Telegram, before changing its name a year later to the Lorain Evening Journal. In 1923 the paper changed its name again, to the Lorain Journal.

Although today the Morning Journal is no longer a “Lorain” paper, I’m just glad that it's still around.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas Ads – 1968

I'll wrap up my calvacade of vintage Christmas ads with a sampling from the pages of the Journal from December 1968 – 50 years ago.

I'll start off with – what else? – two Christmas Club ads, this time for the City Bank Company. Like the ads I posted for Central Bank and Elyria Savings & Trust, these feature jolly old St. Nick as well. Here's the one that ran on December 8, 1968.

As you can see, City Bank offered those lucrative 50 cent savings plans just like Central Bank.
Here's another ad for City Bank from December 15, 1968. Now that's a good looking Santa.
The Lorain County Plumbing Industry had a great Santa in their ad too, which ran on December 24, 1968.
Hey, where's my favorite plumber, Raymond Plumbing
Anyway, the last 1968 ad is for Sandy's, a longtime favorite topic on this blog. It ran on December 19, 1968.
I wonder if anyone still has one of those Sandy's Christmas stockings? I'd bet it would be worth quite a lot today to Sandy's aficionados. But it won't be too long before Sandy's is completely forgotten (if it isn't already), as there are very few people that I know who have even heard of the hamburger chain.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Politically Incorrect Christmas Ads – 1959, 1967 & 1968

One of the things that continues to surprise me when I’m looking at old newspaper microfilm is the amount of cheesecake that the Journal served up each day (and I’m not talking about the kind with a graham cracker crust). Ads featuring illustrations and clip art of attractive women that were designed to get the attention of male readers could pop up anywhere in the paper during the 1950s.

It seems that Christmas-themed ads were no exception.

Here's one for Gary Motors at 1532 Broadway in Lorain. Since men were probably the ones looking at car ads back then, the advertisement (which ran in the Lorain Journal on December 5, 1959) includes a Santa babe riding on a reindeer.

Hey that Rockette wanna-be looks familiar. Longtime readers of this blog might remember that she already made an appearance here back in 2014 (here), in a Chronicle-Telegram ad from December 1958.
But in case you think that this Christmas Cheesecake trend was merely a 1950s thing, here’s evidence that it was still going strong in the late 1960s. The ad for Putnam Furniture Carpet and Appliance on Routes 2 & 6 in Vermilion ran in the Journal on November 13, 1967.
By George, I think I recognize one of the Brady TVs in that ad. One of our first color televisions (if I remember correctly) sat on a metal rack with wheels.

Lastly, here’s an ad for Diamond’s Men’s Store at Midway Mall, featuring a Santa Babe with a particularly vacuous look. The ad ran in the Journal on December 22, 1968.
Anyway, I’m guessing that by the 1980s things had become more sophisticated advertising-wise. The printing company that I work for still has its clip art library from the 1980s, and the type of illustrations as seen in these ads were pretty much gone by then, with a few exceptions. But I think my boss would have raised an eyebrow if I had used anything like that in an ad anyway.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Central Bank Christmas Club Ads – 1966 & 1967

Christmas Clubs must have been big business back in the 1960s, judging by the number of ads I run across when reviewing vintage newspaper microfilm from that era.

The Central Security National Bank of Lorain County was a big promoter of the seasonal savings idea, with regular ads running in the Journal beginning in November each year, and running straight through the holidays.

Here’s one from 1966. It ran on November 12th in the Journal that year.

The ad is interesting because it provides a financial snapshot of the previous season's Christmas Club deposits that were being paid out: $263,300.
That’s a nice jaunty Santa illustration. Unlike many renderings showing the jolly old elf as bald as a cue ball, this one has a nice full head of hair parted on the side.
Here’s a Central Bank ad from the following year (below), running in the paper on December 2, 1967.
The ad has another great Santa illustration. It also shows that you could sign up for a plan depositing as little as 50 cents a week. (I’ll bet that plan would be popular today, in the era of living paycheck to paycheck!)
And here’s one last Central Bank ad from December 21, 1967.
This Santa’s a little less appealing than the other too, as the message is one of worrying and he looks uncomfortable. Hey, he’s got a tassle on his cap instead of a round, white puff.
Anyway, when I did belong to a Christmas Club, I sometimes found it difficult to be setting aside dough for next year’s Christmas when I was still trying to pay for this year’s Christmas. 
So are Christmas Clubs still relevant today? Here’s an article from 2017 that provides an answer.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Christmas Ads – 1963

Continuing with my parade of vintage Christmas-themed ads from the pages of the Lorain Journal, here are three from ’63. All have rather offbeat cartoon renderings of Santa Claus.

First up is an ad for the Associates Loan Company, which was located at the O’Neil Sheffield Center. The ad ran on December 9, 1963.

It’s strange to think of having to go see a loan company to get money for “presents, parties or Holiday Travel.” 
Little did anyone know in the early 1960s that by the 2000s, many people would have no problem regularly running up massive credit card debt. (According to this report, the average credit card debt per household is about $8,000.)
My next 1963 ad is this one (below) for the Elyria Savings and Trust. It ran in the Journal on Dec. 13, 1963.
Once again, Santa is linked with money. This time, though, he’s promoting the bank’s Christmas Club accounts.
That makes two things that you don’t see too much anymore in Lorain County. A bank named after a city in the county (or the county itself), or an ad for Christmas Clubs. I gave up belonging to a Christmas Club when the bank stopped sending me the final check and just deposited it into one of my accounts. That took all the fun out of it!
My last 1963 ad is for Kohlmyer’s Hardware & Appliances on Pearl Avenue. It ran in the paper on Dec. 23, 1963.
The store was still guaranteeing delivery before Christmas of appliances purchased as gifts, which was pretty impressive.
That’s a good looking gift basket “full of goodies” worthy of being swiped by Yogi Bear!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Ohio Public Service Co. Ads – Dec. 1946 & 1947

It just wouldn’t be Christmas here on the blog without an appearance by Reddy Kilowatt. 

Thus it shouldn’t be too surprising to my longtime readers that I kick-off my annual parade of vintage Christmas ads with one featuring my favorite advertising mascot.

The ad above featuring the ever-cheerful electrical sprite appeared in the Lorain Journal on December 7, 1946. Note the reference to the scarcity of electrical appliances at that time, as the war had just ended in 1945.

A year later, the Ohio Public Service Company ran the ad below in the Journal on December 12, 1947.
By this time, the scarcity mentioned in the 1946 was apparently over. No ‘boudoir lamps’ or electric irons are mentioned this time; huckster Santa is pushing those electric ranges, with Reddy reduced to a mere cameo at the bottom of the ad.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Holiday Scenes Around Lorain – 1957

Here’s a nice look back at Lorain in the late 1950s during the Christmas season. It’s a full page of holiday photos that ran in the Lorain Journal on Dec. 5, 1957.

As you can see, with all those impressive decorations in the Downtown area, Lorain almost seemed like Bedford Falls in It’s a Wonderful Life. (I guess that makes Lorain sort of like Potterville now.)

But you can also see hints of the beginning of the eventual end for Lorain’s Downtown shopping district, as most of the photos seem to focus on the O’Neil-Sheffield Center.

Growing up in the 1960s as I did, I remember that our family made the holiday pilgrimage to O’Neil’s like everyone else to see the displays and yak a bit with the Talking Christmas Tree.

Unfortunately it wasn’t too long before Midway Mall became Ground Zero for Christmas shopping and visiting Santa Claus. Eventually Downtown Lorain and the Sheffield Center became obsolete and shadows of what they once were.

I feel sorry for today's kids that are dragged to Crocker Park or Legacy Village to see a “fake” Downtown decked out for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Christmas Coloring Page - 1935

Yesterday’s blog post featured a 1968 Christmas coloring page that appeared in the Lorain Journal annually for years. Today’s post is about another seasonal coloring page that appeared in the same paper decades earlier.

The illustration that kids were supposed to color this time, however, was much more elaborate. It was part of a contest held by the the Lorain Journal and Times-Herald. The total prize money was $15, with $10 going to the winner who did the best job of coloring and $2 for the second prize. There were also three prizes of one dollar each.

(Don’t feel bad for the kids who only won a buck. Remember a dollar in the Depression year of 1935 had the same buying power as about eighteen bucks now.)

Anyway, it’s a strange illustration to try and color. The Dickensian picture is almost all black already! I’m guessing it was poached out of a book.

At least the kids could color in the large snow-covered tree...white.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Christmas Coloring Page - 1968

One of the surest signs that Christmas was on its way back in the 1960s and 70s was the appearance of this coloring page in the Lorain Journal. The newspaper ran the illustration of Santa playing with wind-up toys above a page of boxed ads during the Christmas season for years.

This particular ad appeared in the paper on November 26, 1968.

I included a few (but not all) of the ads that accompanied the cartoon in this appearance.

Despite the coloring gimmick, the ads include some very adult gifts, such as an Illinois Sesquicentennial Model 94 Carbine rifle being advertised by Bob’s Firearms on Leavitt Road; a gun cabinet priced from $83.90 at Avon Hardware; Mogan David Kosher wines from Meyer Goldberg Supermarkets; luggage and wallets from Givner's at 10th & Broadway; and an Admiral Color TV at Leonard's TV Service & Sales at the corner of Colorado Avenue and Henderson Drive.

If anyone still has one of those Winchester Illinois Sesquicentennial Model 94 rifles, they seem to be worth four or five hundred dollars today.

Friday, December 7, 2018

McDonald’s Big Mac Ad – December 8, 1968

Fifty years ago, McDonald’s was rolling out the Big Mac nationwide.

Above is an ad that ran in the Lorain Journal on December 8, 1968, introducing the double-decker burger with special sauce to our area.

Obviously, the Big Mac was designed to compete with the iconic Big Boy. But while Big Boys were available only at sit-down restaurants (such as Manners in our area), the Big Mac was a “fast food” offering, which undoubtedly contributed to its popularity.

The Big Mac also became a character on the McDonalds TV commercials: “Officer Big Mac," the symbol of beefy justice.

You can read about how the Big Mac came to be created here on its Wiki page. Interestingly, the article points out that “Big Mac” was not its original name. “Aristocrat” and “Blue Ribbon Burger” were two names that failed with consumers during its early rollout.

Big Mac already had some competition in our area. The Midway Oh Boy sandwich – also inspired by the Big Boy – had already been around since 1953 in the Lorain County area. And the Sooper Hooper double decker burger was being served up at the Hoop Drive-in in the 1950s, until those restaurants became part of the Manners chain and Big Boys replaced them on the menu.

Nevertheless, the Big Mac has been one of the most popular and best-selling menu items in McDonald’s history. The classic sandwich is still quite wonderful in its simplicity; no bacon or artisan designation is needed.

And the restaurant chain did not let Big Mac’s 50th Anniversary go unnoticed this summer. As part of the celebration, McDonald’s gave away a special coin (a MacCoin, what else?) with the purchase of a Big Mac that could be redeemed for a free Big Mac at any participating location world-wide. Now that’s global currency.

You can read all about it here.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Rigbee’s Bargain Town Toy Ad – Dec. 5, 1968

Rigbee’s Bargain Town U.S.A. has shown up on this blog a few times over the years.

The Lorain store  – which also advertised under the name Rigbee’s Kiddieland – had roots dating back to the 1920s to an Elyria auto supply company (which I discussed here). The Elyria store later added hardware and toys, which proved so popular that a store in Lorain focusing on baby toys and furniture was added in the 1950s.

Above is a Christmas-themed ad for the Downtown Lorain store that ran in the Lorain Journal on Dec. 5, 1968 – fifty years ago yesterday.

There’s all sorts of fun items in the ad. Most interesting to me is the choice of the Remco Tricky Tommy Turtle or Tricky Doodle Duck for $7.96 (roughly $57.84 in today’s wampum).

The gimmick was that you could summon either of the two creatures with a tweet of a special whistle.

Tricky Tommy Turtle looks cute with his red hair and freckles.

And I like the Hanna-Barbera-ish collar and tie that Tricky Doodle Duck is wearing.

I’m not sure how I would react, though, if I was a kid and the whistle failed to stop Doodle Duck when he was coming right at me in full feathery fury. This is the stuff nightmares are made of (below).
Don’t believe me? Take a goosey gander at this video to see the malevolent mallard in action.

That Doodle Duck needed a helping hand to get rolling. Here’s one (below) that actually responds to the whistle.

Perhaps a better choice of gift for an easily rattled tyke would be the Rocky Bear Platform Rocker – although how much fun could you have with a chair?
Anyway, many of the other toys in the 1968 Rigbee ad are fairly easy to find today in good condition on Ebay or, proving that Baby Boomers are reluctant to get rid of their toys.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Samuel Cahoon House Article – Dec. 5, 1968

(Courtesy Google Maps)
The Samuel Cahoon House is known as the oldest structure still standing in North Ridgeville. It dates back to the 1830s.

The beautiful and stately house was believed to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad. Read all about it in the article below, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on December 5, 1968.

Old Slave Stop Now North Ridgeville Antique Shop
Staff Correspondent

JUST 150 YEARS ago Joseph Cahoon, one of the first of a small group of hardy pioneers from New England, built his home in what is now North Ridgeville.

HE LABORED for many months making the bricks from the kiln which is still on the property. Out of the virgin forest he felled the trees, cutting them into planks for his floors and fashioning furniture for his comfort.

Using his own mixture, and adding horsehair for strength, he mortared the bricks and plastered over walls and ceilings. One ceiling remains intact and the bas - relief design reflects the period of architecture known as Tuscan Revival.

The home, located at 38369 Center Ridge Road, is owned by John D. Beckett of the R.W. Beckett Corporation in Ridgeville. It is now operated as a workshop-store for Florence Billmeyer and Barbara Johnston who run the Plain and Fancy Antique Shop.

Through the years many owners have changed and revised the home to suit their needs, updating it as they went. But the flavor of the pioneer stock is still much in evidence due to the restoration efforts by the two women, their husbands and their families.

ONLY ONE fireplace exists in the entire house and that dominates the room which in pioneer days was known as the “keeping” room, or kitchen in the present day vernacular.

Cahoon chose also not to build a central stairway but instead constructed three separate “back” staircases which lead to a myriad of strangely laid out rooms on different levels.

The oddly positioned windows are one of the most attractive features of the old home. All have the original shutters intact.

THOUGH AN attic tops the ancient house, according to the tenants it was apparently never used and was built by Cahoon solely for the purpose of holding in heat.

The cellar is a mystery writers dream and as yet remains to be restored in any way. Its dark recesses and sudden, incongruous partitions and doorways lend themselves to vivid imaginings.

One of the most exciting parts of the house’s history has been verified by the Lorain County Historical Society. During the Civil War it served as a station on the underground railway.

One of the cellar doorways was made to look like a solid wall of stones. When the doorway was needed the stones could be removed, leading to another room which had a similar doorway and steps leading deep in the earth outside of the home itself. Though now closed off, it was here escaped slaves waited the transportation to the next station on their way to Canada and to freedom.

Proprietors Billmeyer and Johnston are at the shop daily except Sundays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. In their work room they make many items which they wholesale and retail. Many of the antique furnishings of the house are also for sale. Included in their occupation is the restoration of antique dolls.

They enjoy people browsing, and may be contacted by individuals or groups for guided tours through the ancient structure.

A great article about the Cahoon House and its 1987 restoration appeared in the April 6, 2015 News-Herald (here).

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Weather Oddities by Woolly Bear – Dec. 1951

TV's Dick Goddard popularized the woolly bear caterpillar as a weather forecaster. But decades before that happened, the cartoon panel above appeared in the Lorain Sunday News on December 23, 1951, showcasing the fuzzy little worm.

It’s a cute series of vignettes, if you’re a weather junkie. I like that rabbit blowing a raspberry at the hunter. And note how the cartoonist slipped in a little bit of cheesecake.

I’m not sure if “Weather Oddities by Woolly Bear” was an ongoing syndicated feature or a one-shot panel. But this type of entertaining cartoon – similar to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! – certainly livened up newspapers back in their Golden Age.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Palace Theater Souvenir Program Article – Dec. 2, 1963

In December 1963, the Palace Theater in Lorain was putting the finishing touches on a six-month rebuilding of its famous organ, in preparation for the upcoming Mary Lee Tucker Christmas Show.

The publicity for the organ’s rebirth reminded a Lorain resident that he had a souvenir program for the opening of the Palace Theater on April 19, 1928.

Read all about it in the article below, which appeared in the Journal on December 2, 1963.


Palace Organ Renovation
Brings Back Memories

The story about the rejuvenation of the Palace Theater organ brought back memories to Joseph Muzik, 1113 Fifth St.
He went back to his old records and came up with the souvenir program for the opening of the Palace Theater April 19, 1928.

The organ, after six months of rebuilding and “tuning up,” will make its second debut Wednesday night at the Mary Lee Tucker Christmas Show at the Palace.

Muzik is a veteran and active member of the Lorain City Club, which is collaborating with The Journal’s Mary Lee Tucker organization in producing the show.

The souvenir program, with a colorful cover and a full quota of congratulatory ads, announces the opening of the $500,000 theater, “A Temple of Amusement Dedicated to the Future Progress of Lorain,” and lists the attractions.

Muzik’s memory is pretty good.

He said that when he read The Journal story, giving the title of the opening film as “Something Always Happens,” he knew that it wasn’t quite right.

Reference to the official program showed the title of the picture was “Something’s Always Bound to Happen.”

Vaudeville attractions were:

Stanley Dale, in “Half There;” Ned Norworth and Wanda Nash, an act drawn from the big Broadway musicals, and the Arthur and Brown Revue.

Syd Sampliner and the Palace Theater orchestra, and Larry Jean Fisher and the organ, completed the program.

Among advertisers who have since disappeared from the scene were the Paris Candy Kitchen, Honecker’s Pharmacy, the New Lorain Hotel, Rathwell’s Garage, Craft’s Central Drug Store, and the A. B. Sauer Music Co.

Strangely enough, although Muzik’s memory was good, (remembering what the Palace souvenir program had listed as the opening movie's title), it sure looks like the Journal did indeed get the film name right in its 1963 story.

A quick search on the internet shows that the movie apparently was titled, Something Always Happens.