Friday, October 30, 2020

Cavs Debut – October 28, 1970

It was fifty years ago this month that the new Cleveland franchise in the NBA played its home opener in the Cleveland Arena. The coach was Bill Fitch.

Unfortunately the Cavaliers lost to the San Diego Rockets, 110-99. 

Here’s the article that ran in the Journal the next day on Thursday, October 29, 1970.

For someone like me who never really followed the NBA too much, it’s kind of interesting seeing the names of some of the Cavaliers’ opponents back then. Their next game was against the Cincinnati Royals (who?). And the San Diego Rockets would relocate to Houston in 1971.

I can see why the team may have developed a ‘cavalier’ (heh-heh) attitude towards its name, eventually changing it in common usage to the shortened ‘Cavs.’ I never cared for the foppish musketeer mascot, and imagined him puncturing a basketball with his sword while babbling in French.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Hills & Kmart Halloween Ads – October 1970

From the October 23, 1970 Journal

Two department stores which are no longer in Lorain County – Hills and Kmart – ran the expected Halloween-themed ads in the Journal back in October 1970, featuring assortments of costumes, candy and other items.

The Hills ad (shown above) has pretty much the same layout as its 1969 ad (which I made fun of here) with exactly the same costumes. That blog post included the 1969 Kmart ad as well.

At least Kmart revised its ad entirely for 1970 (below). 

From October 21, 1970 Journal
Kmart had a varied collection of costumes designed to suit everyone’s tastes.

As you can see, there were the usual kiddie favorites: Bug Bunny, Casper the Friendly Ghost, and an assortment of generic characters (such as a bunny, a devil, a skeleton, a witch, a clown, a scarecrow, etc.). 
Too bad the Bugs Bunny mask didn’t match the lively rendering of the wascally wabbit on the pajama-like costume.
Casper fared a little better. 
Girls had the usual limited options: a public domain Cinderella, a princess, a fairy, a gypsy, etc. Kmart even offered the same terrible “The Spiderman” costume seen in the Gray Drug ad on yesterday’s post.
But to make things interesting, there were also costumes that reflected the tempo of the times. 
Man had just walked on the Moon the year before, so a “Man on the Moon” costume replaced the fictional Moon-dwelling Commander Matt Mason in the Kmart Lineup. 
(Perhaps these commercial “Man on the Moon” costumes, forced on trusting kids as an early age, planted the seeds of skepticism that later led to conspiracy theories expressing the belief that we never walked on Earth’s orbiting neighbor at all.) 
Yellow Submarine, the Beatles animated movie, had come out in 1968. Yet the psychedelic cartoon must have remained in the public consciousness enough to warrant the offering of a “Blue Meanie” trick or treat costume. 
The year 1970 had been a year of great unrest, with the country experiencing widespread protests not unlike what we’ve seen this year. For those pint-sized patriots that wanted to express their love of country, an “Uncle Sam” costume was just the ticket. 
Wholesome teenager Archie would be a good second choice for those kids happy with the status quo. Here’s a cute photo, courtesy of Flickr, with not only Archie, but also the Bingo costume from the Gray Drug ad from Wednesday’s blog post.
Lastly, the recession of 1969-1970 unfortunately may have made the hobo costume a timely choice.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Gray Drug Store Halloween Ad – October 1970

Gray Drug is one of those forgotten drug store chains, not unlike Leader Drug Store, Cunningham Drug, etc. Apparently it just wasn’t big enough to survive on its own, and was sold to Rite Aid (my least favorite drug store chain) in 1987, according to its Wikipedia entry.

But fifty years ago, Gray Drug was still around, with a few local outlets, such as the one at O’Neil Sheffield Center. Above is the chain's Halloween-themed ad that ran in the Monday, October 26, 1970 edition of the Journal.

There are a few costumes featured in the ad, but it’s a real grab bag. The ad helpfully identifies some of them, noting, “Be the envy of your crowd as The Spiderman, Banana Splits, Jonathan Kidd (?) or Mr. Fantastic! Be a lovely Fairy or gay Gypsy.”

I don’t know, but I think whoever created the drawing of “The Spiderman” (why the Ohio State-like “the”?) costume either didn’t have a sample photo or had never seen a comic book or TV cartoon featuring Spidey.

My spider sense tells me this is a crummy rendering!

Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four doesn’t look very fantastic either, with the addition of a mask, and missing his iconic greying sides.

At least the mask of Bingo from the Banana Splits is a reasonable facsimile. (Bingo was never my favorite Banana Split. He wasn’t the leader like Fleegle, funny like Drooper or an oddball like Snorky. I rank him as the George Harrison of the team.)

Lastly, like me you’re probably wondering: who is the aforementioned Jonathan Kidd? A descendant of Captain Kidd?

Nope. Apparently he was the eye-patched team commander in the animated cartoon series Fantastic Voyage. The character wasn’t in the movie version starring Raquel Welch (which we saw as a summer movie). Here’s a screen grab from the series.

And here’s the costume.
I guess John Wayne made eye patches cool again in True Grit.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Midway Mall Halloween Ad – October 1970

Back in October 1970, Midway Mall was promoting the fifth year of its Halloween Costume judging event for boys and girls up two age twelve. 

The above ad ran in the Journal on October 28, 1970.

It’s interesting that even after being open for four years (since September 1966), Midway Mall was still being advertised as “Ohio’s Showplace Climate-Controlled Mall Shopping Center.” It hadn’t quite wiped out Downtown Lorain or O’Neil Sheffield Center yet.

Speaking of Downtown Lorain, I still have pleasant memories of the annual Halloween window painting contest. I remember one year during my Masson days, my best childhood chum and I had the task of painting a store window with our design. I remember his father drove us Downtown in their Volkswagen Beetle and how cramped it was inside. I don’t remember that we won, but it was fun.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Lorain Creamery Halloween Ads – October 1970

To start off Halloween week here on the blog, here’s a pair of Lorain Creamery ads from the pages of the Journal during the month of October 1970 – 50 years ago.

The above ad appeared in the paper on October 12, 1970. Except for the fact that social distancing rules aren't being followed, the ad would fit right in with today – with the availability of home-delivered apple cider and trick or treat candy.

It’s still kind of strange that Halloween isn’t canceled this year (although it’s not so strange when you realize how important the holiday is to retailers).

The second Lorain Creamery ad is from Wednesday, October 21, 1970.

Although trick or treating as a stereotypical burglar might not be a good idea in Lorain these days, the other costumed kid shown in the ad would be right at home in this era. He’s got the full mask that seems to be gaining popularity.

It’s funny seeing how certain masks seem to be in style while others aren't. 
Early in the pandemic, I couldn’t find any surgical type masks in any store. So I bought a few red and blue bandanas and wore them to death. 
It took great restraint not to accessorize them with my Joel McCrea-style cowboy hat.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Admiral King vs Lorain High – October 1970

Just like the Ohio State - Michigan game is still the biggest one each year for both teams, the Lorain - Admiral King game was the most important local game for many years. 

It was the original Lorain High School – the alma mater of all older Lorainites, with all its traditions – versus the newer high school on the west side of town. Eventually, the opening of Southview High School probably diluted the impact of the game.

It’s too bad that today’s Lorain students will never experience a crosstown rivalry – or even the great games against the old Buckeye Conference powerhouse opponents (such as Fremont Ross, Findlay, Sandusky, Marion, Mansfield, etc). It made for a lot of bus trips and was an Ohio geography lesson at the same time.

Anyway, fifty years ago, there was the usual hype in the Journal leading up to the Lorain - King game. The article below appeared in the newspaper on October 23, 1970.

And here’s the lineup.
Alas, my Alma Mater fell to the Steelmen that year. Here’s the writeup in the Journal on Saturday, October 24, 1970. It sounds like it was an exciting game.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Dr. Silkini’s “Asylum of Horrors" Returns to Lorain

Halloween is coming up – so it’s a good idea to revisit Dr. Silkini and his traveling horror show. 

The good doctor made an appearance at the Lorain Drive-in back on September 16, 1959. Here’s the ad for Dr. Silkini’s Asylum of Horrors that ran in the Lorain Journal on that day.

Looks like the three-hour show had quite an lineup: the Frankenstein Monster, Garganta the Giant Gorilla, the Mummy and – if horror wasn’t your bag – ‘Beautiful Curvaceous Hollywood Starlets.’ It’s not clear what movies were shown, but according to the ad there were ‘2 SCREAM PICTURES.’

I’ve written about Dr. Silkini (and similar horror roadshows) before, including this 1957 appearance at the Palace Theater. Although the show might seem more appropriate in an indoor theater, I’ll bet it was spooky out there on the outskirts of Lorain under the stars back then.
Judging by newspaper clippings from all over the country, Dr. Silkini’s horror show seemed to make its monstrous mark in the entertainment world by the 1940s.
This article ran in the Jefferson, Indiana Tribune back on February 12, 1943.
The Louisville Courier-Journal seems unimpressed by Dr. Silkini’s upcoming stage show at the National in this theater column mention that ran on August 12, 1945.

This article from the Evergreen, Alabama Courant of May 20, 1948 about the upcoming Dr. Silkini show advises bobby-soxers to come with an older escort to the show, rather than a younger boy friend, because “some of the young boys can not stand the chills and faint away.”
The Frankenstein Monster was still the highlight of the show when it appeared in Moline, Illinois according to this article from the Sept. 10, 1949 Dispatch.

Lastly, this photo from the Chillicothe Gazette of Saturday, November 17, 1962 gives us a glimpse of some of the Hollywood starlets that were promoted in the “Asylum of Horrors” ads. The hairdos (including the one on the disembodied head) make me wonder, though, if the photo dates back to the early days of the show. The caption notes, “This is the same show that has played theaters throughout the world for the last 25 years.”
For more fiendish fun with Dr. Silkini, visit the “Travalanche” blog, which features a nice write-up of the Dr. Silkini shows.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Get Your Lorain County I.D. Card at Midway Mall – October 1970

Ad from the Journal, Oct. 16, 1970
(Don’t ask me who the pretty young woman is)
Here’s a curious idea that was promoted in Journal ads beginning in August 1970: the offer of getting your own ‘personal tamper-proof identification card’ at Midway Mall.

The above ad ran in the paper on October 16, 1970 in advance of the event the next day.

What was the card good for? Mainly for buying booze, apparently, since the whole thing was sponsored by  the Greater Lorain County Retail Liquor Association.

Here’s the explanation from an article that ran in the Chronicle-Telegram on November 19, 1970. By then, the program was well under way and well-received, with almost 2,000 cards issued so far.

The article noted, "Plastic identification cards, useful for proving age and cashing checks, have been issued to nearly 2,000 area residents since local liquor dealers began their "Identi-Proof" card campaign in August. The identification card promotion is sponsored by the Greater Lorain County Retail Liquor Dealers Association in cooperation with the Lorain County Sheriff's department. 

"Every Saturday since August 15th, a sheriff's deputy, working on his own time, has photographed between I00 and 175 people at the Midway Mall for the identification cards. 

"The plastic card shows a picture of the holder and serves as positive identification as proof of age for liquor purchases and for cashing checks in some local banks and retail liquor establishments, according to Boris Lazoff, president of the liquor dealers association.

"Two auxiliary deputies, in addition to the photographer, check papers brought in by applicants as identification for obtaining the cards, according to Sheriff Vernon M. Smith.

"The campaign is completely funded by the liquor dealers, Smith explained.

"No county money is being used in the project. Lazoff said the identification card processing team would be in the Mall every Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. until the end of the year.

"Proof of age in the form of a birth certificate, baptismal papers, or recently issued driver's license, and Social Security number are required at the time the card is processed, Lazoff said. The liquor dealers are trying to introduce the Identi-Proof card campaign to Lorain County Community College and Oberlin College, but have gotten no response from either institution to date, according to Lazoff.

"The liquor dealers association is also hoping to extend the campaign to neighboring towns, Lazoff said.

Its kind of amazing that the card could be used as proof of age to purchase liquor (or perhaps 3.2 beer as the case may be). I wonder how long this gimmick lasted?

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Snoopy at Midway Mall – October 20, 1970

My last surviving Peanuts book

Although Charles Schulz passed away twenty years ago, his Peanuts comic strip remains in the public eye, with a big budget computer-animated movie back in 2015 and many new retro-style products that hearken back to the strip’s original explosion in popularity in the 1960s.

My siblings and I remember it well. Since the comic strip was not in the Lorain Journal in the 1960s or 70s, our main exposure to Snoopy and Charlie Brown were the TV specials that ran on CBS. We eagerly awaited each one.

We also had many of the Peanuts books that contained reprints of the strips, unaware that the comics that we were reading were ten or more years old. (That’s one of them at the top of this post.)

Anyway, as the early 1970s unfolded, Peanuts was in its heyday – and that was reflected in these Journal items from October 1970.

The first is this article from the October 18, 1970 Journal about Schulz and his creation. 

Note in the photo that he’s posing in front of a set of the Peanuts Hungerford dolls (I had a Charlie Brown one, which I wrote about here).

Here’s a color version of the photo in the article. Charlie Brown is really beat-up!

A day after the above article ran, this advertisement appeared in the October 19, 1970 Journal promoting the upcoming appearance of Snoopy, as well as his nemesis the Red Baron, at Midway Mall.

Schulz would surely have cringed at the off-model drawing of Snoopy in the ad.

Was the event something unique to Midway Mall, or was it a traveling show? I can’t seem to find anything online to answer that question – no photos, other ads, etc.


I’ve done several posts about Peanuts, including this one about the “Great Pumpkin” TV special, this one about the Christmas special, and this post about cartoonist Al Capp (of “Lil’ Abner” fame) poking fun at Peanuts.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Grand Opening of Taco Kid on Oberlin Avenue – October 1970

Yes, the Taco Kid rides again on this blog. 

The building at 4300 Oberlin Ave.
that was home to Taco Kid

It seems that I keep coming up with more things to write about this forgotten Mexican fast food chain, which had outlets in Lorain on West Erie Avenue (the building that houses Chapman’s Food Mart) and Oberlin Avenue (where Exhale Hooka Lounge is located). I'm still impressed that this little-known franchise beat Taco Bell to Lorain.

And fifty years ago this month, Taco Kid was holding a Grand Opening of the store on Oberlin Avenue.

Here’s the ad that ran in the Journal on October 16, 1970.

And a day later, this ad ran in the paper.

As I mentioned on an earlier post, the chain was originally called Taco Boy when the West Erie Avenue store opened in 1969. But by early 1970, it had been renamed Taco Kid (which I discussed on this post). 
By October 1970, it seems that only the Oberlin Avenue restaurant was still part of the chain (since it was the only location being advertised). Perhaps a Grand Opening being held so many months after the store first opened was due to a change in ownership or something.
Anyway, a month later, Taco Kid held an unusual promotion – a souvenir poster that was 25 cents with any purchase. Here’s the Journal ad from November 27, 1970.
So why do I think the poster promotion was unusual? Because the poster was for a (fictional) movie called "Midnight Sancho" – a takeoff on Midnight Cowboy. The stars of Taco Kid’s movie was Putsom Meatinya and Bidda Hunkov.
Here’s a copy of the poster. I’m surprised that there are still a few of these floating around the United States.
As you can see, it is indeed a takeoff on Midnight Cowboy’s poster. The burrito on the right is wearing the same fringed cowboy jacket as Jon Voigt did on the Midnight Cowboy movie poster, and the burrito on the left has on the long coat that Dustin Hoffman was wearing. (There’s even a tiny bit of the light pole that was on the Midnight Cowboy poster.)
I wonder what advertising agency thought it was a good idea to tie in the Taco Kid name with an X-rated film about (as Wikipedia puts it) “the unlikely friendship between two hustlers: naive prostitute Joe Buck (Voigt) and ailing con man “Ratso” Rizzo (Hoffman).”
Although the smell of the hookah smoke now wafts on Oberlin Avenue where once the aroma of tacos and burritos drifted, there’s still one tell-tale sign of the building's origin as a Mexican fast-food joint: its windows.
A realty website reveals that the original half-dome windows from Taco Boy/Taco Kid days are still visible from the inside.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Harvest House Cafeteria Ads – October 1970

It’s been a couple of years since I featured the Harvest House Cafeteria at Midway Mall on the blog. My observation in the assortment of posts was that it seemed to be perpetually Thanksgiving at the restaurant, with a roast turkey dinner more often not being the special.

There also seemed to be an endless parade of clown illustrations in the ads, designed to appeal to the kids (in those days before clowns were seen as sinister or hiding out from the law).

Anyway, here is an atypical pair of Harvest House ads – with neither turkey or clown – from the pages of the Journal back in October 1970 – 50 years ago this month.

The first ad (from Tuesday, October 6th) features ‘All the Fish You Can Eat.’ The special was only good on Wednesday. Why not Friday?

A few weeks later on October 23, 1970 (with perhaps the supply of cod or pollock exhausted), the ad promoted ‘All the Chicken You Can Eat.’ This special was good every Sunday, thus tying in nicely with the movie, play and book entitled Chicken Every Sunday.

Hey, I wrote about chicken dinners recently back here.

Anyway, ‘Chicken Every Sunday’ was apparently the menu that my father got used to while growing up. His grandfather raised chickens (and pigs too) right at his home on W. 28th Street in Lorain. Since they all lived together during the Depression (Dad’s parents lost their house), that’s what they had on the Sabbath. 

Maybe that’s why in later years, Dad couldn’t stand chicken in any form.

Meanwhile, my mother reminisces that she hardly ever had chicken while growing up in the 1930s. Her father liked unusual things, like liver – not exactly a kid’s favorite. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Journal Sign Gets a Paint Job – Oct. 10, 1970

The view this week
Although the Morning Journal is no longer printed at its former facility down at the Devil’s Elbow (or even in Lorain for that matter), its name still adorns one face of the clock tower there. It’s a nice reminder of the days when it was truly a Lorain paper.

As a kid in the 1960s, I used to watch for the Journal paperboy in late afternoon, so I could see what was happening in Li’l Abner, especially if Fearless Fosdick was being featured. 

Isn’t if funny remembering how the paperboy (or papergirl as the case may be) used to come collecting?  Our carrier used to come on Friday night, or Saturday afternoon. The young entrepreneur used to have a little ticket with dates on it for each subscriber, bound on sort of a keychain, and they would punch it after you paid them. I remember a few times having to answer the door and pay & tip the kid if Mom was busy.

It’s too bad those days are long gone – and the era of impersonal delivery via a noisy car (often needing a new muffler) is here to stay.

Anyway, 50 years ago the Journal was still in its plant and thus wanted to leave a good impression on the community. So from time to time the iconic Journal sign needed to be freshened up. And that’s the subject of the photo and caption shown below, which ran in the paper on October 10, 1970.

I featured photos of the Journal sign before, back here and here, in both cases as part of a Daylight Savings Time story. The photographer even had a little fun with one of the images in those long ago, pre-Photoshop days.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Dodge Ads – October & November 1970

A 1972 ad
The Dodge brand of automobile really had some distinctive advertising back in the 1960s and 70s that set it apart from its competitors. The theme of the cowboy-hatted Dodge Boys, the “Good Guys in White Hats” that were ready to beat the competition to the draw, was an appealing idea that really enhanced the Dodge image, making it memorable and fun.

The ad below from the Lorain Journal of October 5, 1970 – for the Si Gary Dodge and Myers Motors dealerships – is part of that campaign. 

Note how the Dodge Boys cartoon logo is perfectly designed to appear on a variety of promotional items – and it sure did. Here’s a small sampling of vintage items from Ebay, including a button, a cup, golf tees and even a hot pad.

The early-1960s version of the logo was sans cowboy hats.

The Dodge Boys concept also worked well in a series of animated commercials.

Two days after the above Journal ran, this Si Gary ad for the Dodge Demon appeared in the paper on October 7, 1970. The ad (most likely designed by the Journal art team) featured the cute Demon logo.

And here’s a Si Gary Dodge ad from the November 2, 1970 Journal promoting 50% off on factory-installed air conditioning. We bought our first car with air conditioning about that time (although it was an Olds).

And finally, here’s another Demon ad. This one ran in the Journal on November 9, 1970 and features an all-demons version of the Dodge Boys logo!

Although the Dodge brand has bounced around a bit between owners through the years, it’s still a great looking line of cars (that belies the abuse the brand took as the car that Al Bundy drove on Married With Children).