Friday, December 31, 2021

Have a Safe New Year’s Eve – 1971 Style!

December 31, 1971 Ad from the Journal
It’s New Year’s Eve. Longtime readers of this blog know that I usually post a vintage, full-page Journal ad designed to encourage safe, sober driving on this particular night. (An example is at right, from New Year’s Eve 1962.)

This year’s ad – from New Year’s Eve 1971 – isn’t very grisly. No Grim Reaper or skeleton this time, just a tragic vision of a mangled car accident in the glass containing a drink.

And a clever message: “DON’T MAKE IT ONE FOR THE ROAD!

As the ad notes, “Drunken drivers aren’t the only staggering figures. The statistics on car accidents caused by them are pretty staggering too. And a lot of people become statistics... courtesy of that chap who had to have just one more for the road.”

There’s not too many businesses in that 1971 ad that are still around, except for nursing homes, a cemetery and Discount Drug Mart.

Anyway, have a safe New Year’s Eve so we can all look forward to 2022!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Where to Spend New Year’s Eve 1971?

There weren’t a lot of ads for nightclubs promoting a New Year’s Eve package in the Journal in late December 1971. I’m not sure why the choices seemed to be limited. But I found a few ads, and they provide a small sampling of what you might have experienced fifty years ago if you wanted to venture out on New Year’s Eve.

Two of the nightclubs were Elyria venues. Mr. Larry’s Beef & Tails had the Lee Abel Trio every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, so the Trio would be performing on Friday, the night of the big celebration. The Lee Abel Trio featured Lee Abel on Sax, Ed McKetta on organ and Val Kent on drums. 

An August 8, 1971 profile of Lee Abel in the Chronicle-Telegram provided some interesting information about him. In addition to being a musician, Mr. Abel was also a successful booking agent based in Elyria, with exclusive contracts to provide bands for Stoney’s Rainbow Lounge in Elyria and Beaver Park in Lorain. He also booked bands for Lincoln Park in Lorain, and some clubs in the Sandusky area. To his credit, he only booked bands that were members of the American Federation of Musicians Union. Mr. Abel passed away in August 2010.

Mr. Larry’s was destroyed by fire in mid-April 1975. The restaurant had opened in the 80-year-old converted schoolhouse in 1968.

Over at the Americana Inn on Route 57, the New Year’s Eve celebration featured music for dinner and dancing provided by The Dixie Blues. (A year earlier, the Jerry Manns Quartet had the New Year’s Eve honors.)

Today the 910 Lorain Boulevard address of Americana Inn is still home to a motel – Sprucewood Inn. It appears to be owned by Ramada Inn and has garnered good reviews.

Lastly, since getting around Elyria often seems corn-fusing to Lorainites, how about a New Year’s Eve celebration closer to home? The “New” 333 Restaurant and Lounge at 333 Broadway was hosting an Open House. A Sing Along featuring “Sandy and Julie” sounded like a nice, relaxed way to ring in the New Year if you weren’t the type to want to dress up.

Anyway, my parents were never ones to want to go out on New Year’s Eve, so none of these enticing festivities would have interested them. I’m sure we spent the evening at home as a family, working on a jigsaw puzzle and probably enjoying a once-a-year treat of shrimp cocktails and staying up until midnight.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

A&P Happy New Year Ad – Dec. 29, 1971

Fifty years ago, grocery giant A&P ran this full page New Year-themed ad (complete with two chubby Baby New Years) in the Lorain Journal. The ad seems to include all of the items needed for a traditional New Year’s celebration: pork, sauerkraut, potatoes, wine, champagne – and Alka-Seltzer.

Alka-Seltzer? I haven’t thought of that product in years.

But it’s still sold, although not in the classic glass cylinder (below).

Courtesy Pinterest

Now it looks like this (below). Alas, no retro charm at all.

Anyway, I’ve written many times about how the mighty A&P chain is no more. 

And what about its former stores indicated in the ad? It doesn’t seem like very many of the former locations are still grocery stores. The address for the Vermilion A&P is home to Steinacker True Value Hardware; 1600 Kansas Avenue in Lorain is the address for Lorain Metropolitan Housing Authority; the Sheffield Lake store was located in the part of Shoreway Shopping Center that was later demolished; a Rural King is located at 430 Oberlin Road in Elyria.

On the other hand, Apples is carrying on the A&P tradition, with one of its grocery stores at 209 E. Herrick in Wellington, as well as one at 250 Abbe Road in Elyria.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Hot Dog Heaven Santa Claus

The new version of Hot Dog Heaven isn’t quite finished yet, so the restaurant’s beloved Santa Claus set up shop once again in front of the Amherst Town Hall. It’s been a great location for Jolly Old St. Nick since the fire.

Like many people, I am excited to see the new restaurant, and I’m looking forward to a chili cheese dog (hold the onions) and a big serving of French Fries.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas!


Here’s wishing all of you a Merry Christmas! 

The above ad for Brady’s Chuckwagon Chicken House on Leavitt Road near W. 21st Street ran in the Journal back on December 23, 1971. The ad is interesting because although Brady’s Restaurant had closed by that time, all of John Brady’s other business enterprises at that time are listed: the Chicken House, the mobile catering business and the office coffee service. I hope Mr. Brady is doing well these days.

(One of these years I will get around to my long-postponed, multi-part look at Brady’s Restaurant advertising through the years. Maybe in 2022!)

Anyway, I’ll be taking my usual break from blogging from now until New Year’s Eve. So enjoy your holiday time with your family and friends, and hopefully I’ll be back in time to wish you a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve Front Page of the Journal – Dec. 24, 1971


Well, it’s Christmas Eve. If you subscribed to the Journal fifty years ago, that meant that you could look forward to this particular front page design, which the paper featured for many years. As I noted back on this post, the beautiful artwork was illustrated by Passing Scene cartoonist Gene Patrick.

The front page of the Christmas Eve edition back then also included the final tally for the Clothe - A - Child campaign, usually across the top of the page, as well as a photo of seasonal interest. But the news was still important, and a few items of international significance were featured as well, in a manner that did not disturb the whole holiday effect.

For me, the whole image brings back pleasant memories of being a kid, and seeing this particular image each Christmas Eve when the paper was delivered (by a paper boy) in the late afternoon.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Kline’s Christmas Ad – Dec. 9, 1971

The 1970s were a time of change in the style of the ads that appeared in newspapers, especially those created by their art departments. The availability of modern clip art done in a loose style resulted in a shift away from the old-fashioned style of illustration and more towards anything that seemed new and different.

Thus you had an ad like the one above for Kline’s, a mainstay store in Downtown Lorain for more than sixty years. It’s an unusual looking ad, with Santa depicted as an amorphous blob all for the sake of making room for text. Kline’s was a chain, however, and it’s possible that the ad was created by its own agency or in-house art department.

Quite a difference from the Santa in this ad for Kline’s from 1956.

Anyway, it’s hard to believe that approximately three years after the Dec. 1971 ad ran in the Journal that it would be announced that Kline’s would be closing its Lorain store.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Politically Incorrect Christmas Ads – 1971 Edition

Just like it just wouldn’t be Christmas here on the blog without an appearance by Reddy Kilowatt, similarly it would be hard to celebrate the holiday without some vintage ads that would be seen as sexist today. 

It’s surprising, but fifty years ago there were still newspaper ads in the Journal with cartoon illustrations that looked like they belonged in a cartoon found in the back of a True magazine.

First up is an ad for Diamond’s Mens Stores at Midway Mall that ran in the Journal on December 8, 1971.

Despite the illustration, the ad is actually directed towards women, with various suggestions for mens gifts. Lots of knit products in that ad!

A second ad for the store ran in the Journal on December 16, 1971. This one is more typical, with a Santa Showgirl that would look right at home at a Rat Pack Christmas Party. Lots of knits in this one too!

I like the three cartoon mens heads. The pipe smoker looks like he could be a modern version of Cappy Dick.

Lastly, here’s an ad for Northern Savings and Loan Company promoting their 1972 Christmas Club. The ad ran in the Journal on November 8, 1971.

In this case, I think the Santa gal was just an attention getter, something a little more interesting to look at than a photo of the free jar of Smucker’s Jelly "in a specially packaged apothecary jar” mentioned in the ad. Plus it seems somewhat appropriate with the protest movement going on at that time.
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Back in 2018, I did a whole post devoted to ads of this sort. 
Of course, Diamond’s Mens Stores was one of the stores whose ad was featured. By the way, it appears that at least one store is still around. Here’s the link to its website, where it's described as “A Cleveland Tradition Since 1941."

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Give the Gift of Burger King – Dec. 1971


Fifty years ago, Burger King was promoting the idea of giving Burger King Gift Certificates as Christmas presents. The books sold for $5.00 and had ten coupons worth 50 cents.

The above ad ran in the Journal on December 20, 1971.

Although 50 cents doesn’t sound like much now, it could still cover the cost of a hamburger back then (but not a Whopper).

It’s interesting seeing the old Burger King mascot. I remember him having a slightly befuddled voice, with his tagline being, “Burger King...where kids are king!”

Here’s a sample of his animated antics.

Being partial to cartoon mascots, I liked him better than the live-action “Marvelous Magical Burger King" that was introduced later in the 1970s. Apparently, he was supposed to compete with Ronald McDonald.

A mute version of that guy became the much-later creepy Burger King with the face that was basically a mask with a frozen expression.



Monday, December 20, 2021

Reddy for Christmas – 1950 & 1970

What would Christmas be without a visit from our old pal Reddy Kilowatt?

Although he’s retired now, he had lost much of his power in the early 1970s, with appearances in Ohio Edison newspaper advertisements becoming rarer. So we’ll have to reach back and pluck some of his ads from previous years if I want to post some of his holiday appearances.

This ad from the pages of the November 30, 1950 Lorain Journal has Reddy hawking Westinghouse Electric Bedcoverings, consisting of electric blankets, comforter and sheets.

An electric sheet? As the ad notes, “use it with your own favorite comforter or blanket.”

The prices are pretty shocking if you convert them to 2021 bucks using one of those US Inflation Calculator websites. The electric comforter at $49.85 converts to a whopping $574.93! Yikes! And the electric sheet would cost $287.75 today (maybe even more with today’s rampaging inflation)! No wonder Reddy generously offered a corn-venient payment plan.

Here’s an early 1950s magazine ad for Westinghouse Electric Blankets and Electric Sheets.

Fast forward twenty years and Reddy is now pitching Sunbeam appliances. Here’s an ad from the December 15, 1970 Journal.

There’s a pretty good selection of electrical items: a hand mixer, a frypan, a cooker & deep fryer, a toaster, a hair dryer, a sauce pan, an electric griddle, a can opener and a Mixmaster. 

Of course, since nobody cooks any more, I’m not sure that these gifts would elicit anything but a groan if they were under someone’s Christmas tree today.
Lastly, here’s the classic Santa Reddy ad that Ohio Edison trotted out beginning in the late 1960s. This one appeared in the Journal on Christmas Eve, 1970 and reminds us that it only costs pennies to light that Christmas tree.
I’m not sure how many people in 1970 remembered Christmas trees lit by candles, but Journal Staff Writer Lou Kepler did. She mentioned them in this charming 1969 reminisce about Christmas in the one-room schoolhouse.

Friday, December 17, 2021

U.S. Steel’s Smokeless Smokestacks – Dec. 1971


Although we’re all pretty used to seeing great aerial photography taken by drones, that wasn’t the case fifty years ago, when the above photo was featured on the front page of the Journal on December 5, 1971. So I’m sure the photograph attracted some attention.

As the caption notes, “Steelmaking complex at U. S. Steel in Lorain is captured in this dramatic aerial photo taken by Tom Whittington, The Journal’s chief photographer.

“In the center is the new $80 million basic oxygen process (BOP) facility with structural steel in place to enclose the east end of the BOP shop’s charging aisle where molten iron, scrap and other materials are charged into the top of furnace.

“In foreground are idle open hearth furnaces with 12 stacks which no longer below heavy clouds of smoke because the open hearths have been replaced by the BOP shop.

“In the upper right and left are the five blast furnaces at the Lorain plant. The blast furnace is the meeting place of the raw materials – the charge of iron ore, coke and limestone – from which pig iron is produced.

“In the far background is a portion of the steel plant ore docks on the Black River, and the ore storage area.

“The Lorain steel plant currently employs more than 5,000 hourly workers.”

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I was lucky enough to work one summer at the mill while I was in college. I wrote about it back here on this post.

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Here’s an aerial view circa 1975, courtesy of the Ohio History Connection.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Manners Big Boy Hires Security Guards – Dec. 1971

Fifty years ago, in a reflection of those turbulent times, Manners Big Boy (located at the corner of Leavitt Road and West Erie Avenue) had to resort to hiring private security guards to maintain a safe and family-friendly atmosphere at the restaurant.

The story above appeared in the Journal back on Dec. 30, 1971.

As the article notes, “Manner’s has been plagued by groups of teenagers loitering in the restaurant for hours without buying anything other than a soft drink."

The real problem is that apparently there had been “heavy drug traffic” with eighteen syringes found one night in the men’s room.

Unfortunately, as a result many teenagers ended up being denied entrance to the restaurant and felt discriminated against. A dress code barring Jeans and t-shirts also was being enforced.

But as the article notes, the head of the security company pointed out that “though Manner’s is open to the public it is private property.

”The owners have a right to discriminate as to who goes into the restaurant.”

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Although it’s been quite a while, it’s kind of nice seeing the photo of the familiar Manners Big Boy sign. Looking at the repurposed Beachcliff Diner sign, I can see now that the sign has been shortened, with the former ‘Manners’ portion of it removed.

I wrote about the various restaurants located on this corner several times, including this post as part of my history of Manners, as well as this post about when it was a Hoop restaurant operated by Richard Head.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Back When the Flu Was All You Had to Worry About

Fifty years ago, there was an outbreak of flu across the country. 

As the article above from the Dec. 30, 1971 Journal notes, lt was “probably a variety of the Hong Kong flu which reached epidemic proportions across the country three years ago, but this strain of the flu is not as serious.” 

Boy, I never thought I’d be nostalgic about the days when the worst that could happen to us was a case of the flu. And back then, flu symptoms were unmistakable: fever (over a hundred), nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The flu kept us in bed and home from school for a few days, and we drank a lot of seven up (or ginger ale), and ate a lot of soup, but we knew we would get over it eventually.

In the last twenty or thirty years or so, the flu of my youth seemed to have gone away. Is it because of the flu shots? I don’t know.

As an adult, I would still get sick, but could never really find out what it was I had. The classic flu symptoms were never all there; you just knew you felt lousy. If you did bother to contact a doctor, the diagnosis was usually that we had some “unknown virus,” and that it would go away in a few weeks. 

Now we have a named virus that’s still killing people that doesn’t seem like it’s ever going away.

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Back here, I took a humorous look at getting sick, back when my siblings and I were kids in the 1960s.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Fairlawn Garden Store Santa – Dec. 1971

Huge, fiberglass statues of Santa Claus have been a part of Christmas in Northeast Ohio for a long time. Their popularity really seemed to take off in the early 1960s, with one appearing at Oakwood Shopping Center in Lorain in December 1960 (which I featured on this post). 

That "Santa holding a book” design was very popular, with the best example now being the one in Amherst that was always in front of Hot Dog Heaven for the holidays. 

A 2009 View

Santa’s back in front of the Amherst Town Hall again this year while the new restaurant is being finished up. And as I noted last year, the Hot Dog Heaven statue is a dead ringer for the one that used to be displayed at Parmatown Mall (shown on the right below).

Anyway, there’s another style of Santa Claus statue out there that was also somewhat ubiquitous. The ad below for the Fairlawn Garden Store, promoting its 17 ft. tall Santa, ran in the Journal during the holiday season several times, including December 8, 1971.

While the Fairlawn Garden Store is no more (an Acme Fresh Market sits at that location today), a quick Google search reveals that there are quite a few of these 17-foot Santas still out there, especially in Michigan. (I’ve found a few samples but can’t guarantee they are exactly the same, since they are painted differently and photographed from different angles.)

The city of Kalamazoo, Michigan has been displaying one for more than 20 years (which you can read about here and here).
Courtesy Joel Bissell and www.mlive.com
This one at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan seems to be the same design as well.

Courtesy Barbara Moser and Pinterest 
This one (recently on eBay) has seen better days. It was advertised as circa 1964. (Read about it here).

This one in Benton Harbor, Michigan was stolen in 2020.

And here’s a great story about the owner of a Connecticut Christmas tree farm and his quest to acquire a 17-foot Super Santa Claus.


Finally, click here to visit the always great Roadarch.com website. It has a fascinating collection of photos of waving Santas like those shown above, as well as some like the Hot Dog Heaven Santa. Don’t miss it!
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UPDATE
As noted in the comments, here’s are some recent views of the Santa Claus greeting visitors to Herron’s Christmas World on Cooper Foster Park Road. The Milks family opened that business in 1984. Santa is still in his original location, although the Christmas store has long since closed and the building is now home to Milks Mower Service and Milks Power Equipment.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Gel-Pak Christmas Ad – Dec. 16, 1971

Here’s a nice full-page Christmas-themed ads for one of Lorain’s iconic businesses: Gel-Pak, located at 1145 Broadway.

(I did a few posts about Gel-Pak. Back on this post, I noted that the Gel-Pak business was spread out over three different addresses in the 1970s – 1143 Broadway, 1145 Broadway and 1205 Broadway (the former Gel-Pak building).

The photo in the ad reveals a pretty nice selection of fruit and goodies in those baskets: Indian River grapefruit and navel oranges; Florida tangerines; Florida tangelos; Emperor grapes; Calmera grapes; California figs & dates; mixed nuts; Holland Hams; Assorted imported cheese from Switzerland.

It was kind of nice to be able to order and ship such baskets from a Lorain company, instead of Harry & David. I’ll bet it was cheaper too.

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I noted the Indian River grapefruit and navel oranges in the listing of fruits. I remember the annual Indian River fruit sale held by the Admiral King Marching Band, when its members temporarily became teenage fruit hucksters. I remember going door to door in our neighborhood, taking orders. We bought several boxes ourselves, which we stored in the garage.

It was a different time then, when a kid could go door to door peddling something, and believe it or not, we did get a lot of orders. It was a good idea, and at least Lorain was spared a major scurvy outbreak.

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There’s a Fractured Fairy Tale (as seen on the “Rocky & Bullwinkle” TV show) that always made me think of Gel-Pak.

In the story “Snow White Inc.” a wicked queen has her own fruit basket business – called Witchpak. To get rid of Snow White, she doesn’t just give her a poisoned apple. Instead, she decides to deliver one of her “Sleeping Death Apples” baskets to her instead!

And how does it all end? Watch the cartoon below, courtesy of YouTube!



Friday, December 10, 2021

Lake Ship Johnstown Photo – Dec. 1971

I often joke about how today's Morning Journal always features an unusually huge photo on its front page, taking up valuable real estate that might better be devoted to hard news stories. These photos are inevitably of the ‘soft news’ variety, depicting volunteers at work, etc., with a headline above it that never makes much sense.

Well, back in the old days, the Journal used to have photos on the front page as well. But back then, the Journal had a staff of photographers who had a knack for capturing something uniquely ‘Lorain.’ So when there was a photo on the front page, it often depicted some aspect of life in a steel town on a Great Lake.

Below is one of those types of photos. As the caption notes, ‘The lake ship Johnstown glides beneath the Central High Level Bridge in Lorain on its way to a winter berth on the Black River.

“The 682-foot-long ship, part of the Great Lakes fleet of Bethlehem Steel, will spend part of the winter at the National Gypsum Co. docks and then move into drydock at the American Ship Building Co. for a regular five-year inspection."

I like that a few lines of the opening verse of the poem, On the Quay by John Joy Bell was included with the photo.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Of Reel Cowboys & Real Cowboys – Dec. 1971

Back in December 1971, John Wayne (a favorite on this blog) was promoting his upcoming movie The Cowboys in the media. The movie, directed by a young director named Mark Rydell and due for a January 1972 release, was to be a different type of movie for the Duke. 

Why was it different? Well, for one thing, it wouldn’t have any of his old buddies in it (like Ben Johnson or Bruce Cabot). The plot was a little different than the usual John Wayne movies; in this one he enlists a bunch of young boys for a cattle drive, serving as a sort of surrogate father to them.

But mainly it was different because he gets killed in it.

I remember seeing the movie with my family at Amherst Theater and getting pretty teary-eyed when the Duke was shot to pieces by Bruce Dern. I still think it was just an attention-getting gimmick.

Below is an article about the Duke and his interaction with the director of the film. It appeared in the Journal on December 15, 1971.

That same month on December 26, 1971, an article appeared in the Journal about a real cowboy named Jack Hart – a 99-year old cowpoke who was born in Oklahoma in 1872. In the article, he looks back at his life on the range in the waning days of the Old West, as well as on the rodeo circuit. He also offers several interesting observations about guns, Indians and horses, and claims to have known Teddy Roosevelt.

The story kind of reminds me of the one in which an elderly man claimed to be Jesse James in 1948.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Ohio Theater Reopening – Dec. 1971

A few months ago (back here), I had written about how the Ohio Theater, a mainstay movie house in Downtown Lorain since 1924, closed in early September 1971.

But as regular blog contributor Alan Hopewell had noted in a comment, the curtains hadn’t come down for good quite yet.

On December 4, 1971, the above article and photo appeared on the movie page of the Journal. It noted, “The Ohio Theater is displaying a sign on its marquee saying ‘Watch for Opening’ but the new manager says he doesn’t even know when that will be.

“There was talk that the Ohio would open last week but the opening was delayed and when the theater will open is very uncertain.”

I like the response from the new manager, Chester Scullark, when asked by Journal Staff Writer Hugh Gallagher as to what kind of movies that the Ohio would be showing. “I know from beans,” was his reply.

Twenty days later, we had our answer: XXX rated – and Judge John S. Kolena of Lorain Municipal Court wasn’t very happy about it. The article below, which appeared in the Journal on December 24, 1971, tells the story of how the judge ‘went to the movies’ to see for himself if the films were obscene.

After the theater closed for the night, the manager was arrested and the films confiscated.

The funniest line of the article is the last paragraph. It reads, “Throughout the filming, people drifted in and out of the theater. The judge and the people with him seemed surprised when an elderly couple ambled down the aisle and took seats up front."