Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Biz Grove Booked for Mary Lee Tucker Show – Nov. 29, 1962

On Monday's post, it was noted that the popular Cleveland TV personality Mike Douglas was going to be emceeing the Mary Lee Tucker Christmas Benefit Show.

Well, as I noted, the rest of the Mary Lee Tucker performers were usually made up of local talent. That included the musical group that would provide backup where needed for the various acts, as well as appear as an act themselves. 

As usual, the Biz Grove Orchestra was that group. As noted in the caption accompanying the photo above, which appeared in the Journal on November 29, 1962, "The Biz Grove Orchestra will perform at The Journal's annual Mary Lee Tucker Christmas benefit, produced by the City Club of Lorain on Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. at the Palace Theatre. Leading the 14-piece band is Chuck Bizgrove [sic] at center. Members are: John Byers, piano; Bob Gawn, bass; Bob Aukerman, Mel Gymorie, Vic Kubiak on trumpets; Dick Reed, drums; Gary Potter, and Bill Sheppard and Dick Cooley on trombones; Paul Kumler, Jack Ruth, Ed Nemecek and Frank Katrick saxophones.

The Biz Grove Orchestra has been mentioned on this blog before, including when it performed at the 1960 Mary Lee Tucker show.
Anyway, I've mentioned before how my older brother Ken and I were members of the Biz Grove Orchestra in the 1980s. Many of the same band personnel from the 1960s were still with the group twenty years later.

I'll be writing some personal reminisces about that experience in an upcoming post very soon. (You know, just like I did with the Pueblo).

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Blue Law Enforcement Confusion in Amherst – Nov. 1962

On Election Day 1962, Issue 1 – the amendment sponsored by Lawson's that would have enabled the chain to keep its stores open in Ohio on Sunday – was defeated by the voters. As a result, the various city police departments in Ohio began to enforce the existing blue law that outlawed Sunday sales.

It quickly turned into a big mess statewide, with spotty and selective enforcement. Some stores cooperated with the Sunday mandatory closing, others did not.

Here in Lorain County, there was much confusion, with shoppers not sure which stores were going to be open. The article below details how things were going for Amherst merchants.

As the article noted, "It was business as usual for those Amherst merchants who traditionally open for business on Sunday, but Sunday's business wasn't quite up to the usual volume most merchants reported.

"Ray Grocott, manager of Ray's IGA on Park Ave., which is open on Sunday mornings and part of the afternoon, reported that his business was not up to par and said he believed it was because of the uncertainty of the public that stores would be open.
"The Lawson Milk Co. store on Cleveland Ave. reported that business was poor in the morning and that the store received several phone calls from customers asking if it was open for business. But business picked up and was normal in the afternoon and evening, the store's manager reported.
"Mischa's Restaurant on Park Ave., an ice cream parlor which does a brisk Sunday trade, reported that business was slow Sunday night.
"The city's two drug stores, Lessiter's Pharmacy at 187 Park Ave. and Kamody Drugs at 101 Main St., open only a few hours on Sunday and then for the main purpose of filling prescriptions.
"Police Chief A. H. Koppenhafer said he visited stores in Amherst which opened Sunday for business and observed the businesses but did not take the names of the clerks or in any way try to enforce the Sunday closing law."
As we will see in an upcoming blog post, the situation in Lorain would soon get tense regarding the enforcement of the blue law.
Strangely enough, the photo accompanying the article about the Amherst merchants is of Gang's Food Fair in Sheffield Lake, which has turned up a few times on this blog (including here and here).
Here's the building today, courtesy of Google Maps.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Mike Douglas to Host Mary Lee Tucker Show – Nov. 1962

Do you remember Cleveland TV personality Mike Douglas?

If you're a Baby Boomer, I'm sure you do. For years he hosted a popular daily variety program on TV that actually had its start in Cleveland before being syndicated in other markets. (You can read more about the history of the program and why it had to move to Philadelphia here.)

Well, back in 1962 the major component of the Mary Lee Tucker charity program was still the benefit show that featured local talent on the bill. As I noted back on this post, there was usually some well-known regional and even national talent as master of ceremonies, such as Lynn Sheldon (TV’s “Barnaby") (1950), Leo DeLyon (1954), Bob McFadden (1955), Frank Fontaine  (better known to many as Crazy Guggenheim on the Jackie Gleason Show) (1957), Don Webster (1964), and Houlihan and Big Chuck (1968).
And to add to this pantheon of talented performers, we can add Mike Douglas for the 1962 edition of the show. The front page of the Journal of November 20, 1962 tells the story.
"Roll out the carpet, Lorainites, one of Cleveland's most personable TV stars will hit Lorain for a one-night stand early in December.
"Show time is nearing, Dec. 5 showtime that is, when Lorain will play host to everyone's favorite at The Journal's Mary Lee Tucker Christmas Show.
"A Chicago-born Irishman with a gift of song, Mike Douglas, well-known Cleveland TV star, was named today as master of ceremonies for the Christmas benefit show, produced and directed by The City Club of Lorain.
"Douglas, the star of a 90-minute variety show each day, was signed by members of the City Club last week to emcee the Christmas extravaganza on Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. at the Palace Theater.
"Formerly a featured singer with the Kay Kyser Orchestra, this polished professional is well known to the people of Lorain.
"He is ready with a quip. a question or a song at the drop of a hat and is at ease with a local housewife or a famed guest star.
"Douglas' show, which has been on the air less than a year, has been called "the most ambitious programming ever attempted by an individual station."
Elsewhere on that front page of the Journal is an update on the tensions between the United States and Cuba, and a story about a Minnesota man who claimed to have the biggest ball of twine in the world.

Friday, November 25, 2022

2-Day Blizzard Ends – Nov. 27, 1950

Although it's been downright balmy during the past couple of days, we had some pretty cold weather a few weeks ago in Lorain County. I think it caught us all by surprise to see snow on the ground so early. (The day that I needed a scraper to get the snow and ice off my car's windshield, I remembered that all of mine were snug and warm inside my storage unit at the former Lorain Drive-in.)

But at this time back in November 1950, the city was digging out from a true two-day blizzard. Below is the front page of the Journal from November 27, 1950.

As the article notes, "Still stunned but slowly recovering from the shock, Lorain and the rest of Ohio continued digging out from the worst blizzard of modern times which completely paralyzed transportation and business and slowed communication and industry to almost a standstill over the week-end.

"More snow felt today as weary street crews continued a battle which began at 2 a.m. Saturday to clear at least main traffic arteries of the 12 to 20 inches which fell Saturday and yesterday and which was whipped into drifts as high as 10 to 12 feet by strong winds.
"Snow flurries were predicted for the next 24 to 26 hours, forecasters said, but no appreciable fall is expected."
The snow was not restricted to Ohio. Another article on that same page observed, "Life for most of the eastern seaboard's millions was getting back to normal today, 48 hours after the great Appalachian storm spread death and destruction from South Carolina to Maine.
"Most power, traffic and telephone service torn up by the storm was restored yesterday but many areas still were cut off – mostly suffering from power failure.
"Thousands still shivered from lack of heat and met the darkness with candles – if they were lucky enough to have them."
Elsewhere on that same page were other snow storm related stories: an article about how the storm "had choked off milk supplies" in Lorain, since farmers couldn't get their product to market; and a report of how two "Good Samaritans" helped a Columbus man get his stalled car going – and then stole it! 

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Journal Front Page – Thanksgiving 1962

Sixty years ago, there was a lot going on across the front page of the Thanksgiving edition of the Journal.

To the uninformed (like me), the headline seems to refer to the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds and some trading deadline. But it was actually referring to a war that took place between China and India. You can learn more about it here.

As usual,  there was the expected, warmed-over holiday fare about the history of Thanksgiving. There's also a lighthearted observation about Santa Claus arriving four times in the next few days, at Hills (mentioned in yesterday's post), the O'Neil - Sheffield Shopping Center, Oakwood Shopping Center and Downtown.

In the seasonal lock-up report, the prisoners were feasting – not on bread and water – but on turkey (in the Lorain County Jail) and chicken in the Lorain City Jail. Interestingly, the Dew Drop Inn was supplying the poultry repast for Lorain's cellmates.

Elsewhere on the page was a report of a hunting accident in Amherst, a mysterious gas leak in Sheffield Township and the upcoming second Sabin Oral Vaccine Sunday.

And of course, Today's Chuckle.

Happy Thanksgiving 1962 Style

Here's wishing all of my readers a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Sixty years ago, the Journal ran the full page ad above on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 1962. As usual, the fun is seeing what companies and organizations are still around today.

Strangely, the ad is top-heavy with ads from our friendly neighbor to the south, Elyria, making it even less likely that I recognize a business that somehow survived until now. In fact, I don't see that any of them are still around. 

I'm just thankful that I'm still around.

Long-gone companies listed on the ad include the Elyria Travelodge, Giant Tiger, Will-O-Lee Nursing Home and Lorain Aluminum.

Anyway, here's hoping you have much to be thankful for on this day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Santa Lands at Hills – Nov. 22, 1962

For many years, the traditional arrival of Santa Claus in Lorain was on the Friday after Thanksgiving, officially kicking off the Christmas shopping season.

I've posted many such ads over the years: for O'Neil-Sheffield Shopping Center (19591963, 1968), Downtown Lorain (194619601968), Oakwood Shopping Center (1958); and a Saturday arrival at Hills (1963).

That's why it was surprising to see that in 1962, Santa was scheduled to arrive at Hills right on Thanksgiving, according to the ad below which appeared in the Journal on Wednesday, November 21st.

The Thanksgiving arrival is somewhat downplayed in the ad, which notes that that the store would be open on that day "for family convenience." At least Santa's arrival was scheduled at 9:45 am, so as not to disrupt the family get-togethers that would be centered around dinner.

This ad ran in the paper on Thanksgiving, reminding shoppers that Santa was arriving that morning.
At our house, Thanksgiving morning would mean that we'd be watching the Macy's parade on TV, suffering through an endless procession of so-so marching bands and dancers, just to get a glimpse of the "real" Santa Claus, bringing up the rear.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Journal TV Page – November 3, 1962

Today we have a myriad of choices when it comes to watching movies or shows in the comfort of your home (via all of the streaming services, cable, over the airwaves, etc.). But sixty years ago, it was very simple to decide what to watch: you had your choice of channels 3, 5 or 8. (No UHF channels like 43 or 61 yet).

And that's what we find on this TV page from the Lorain Journal of Saturday, November 3, 1962. (Click on it for a readable view.)

I always find it pretty interesting to peer at and peruse this programming pages.

Saturday night seems to include the same choices that were still on well into the late 60s: Lawrence Welk and Jackie Gleason. And Captain Penny was hosting his Clubhouse on Channel 5 on Saturday night as well. Man, the good Captain must have worked every day of the week.
Sunday morning has the well-known children's favorite Woodrow the Woodsman on Channel 3, followed by Popeye cartoons a little later. And hey, Channel 5 carried another Woodrow: namely, The Woody Hayes Show, and what I assume was a replay of the Ohio State - Iowa State game of the day before.
Of course the stars of the whole page were Lassie and Timmy. According to the photo caption, Lassie was in its ninth season at that point, and enjoying renewed popularity. 
I know we watched the show in the Brady household. I even had a stuffed Lassie (see below). I hate to post a second photo of myself in only a matter of days, but, oh well, it's all in the name of journalism blogfoolery.
I have custody of that afghan on the sofa
And by George, there's one of these Lassie dolls on eBay right now.

Monday, November 21, 2022

New Home for Salvation Army – November 1962

I've only seen one Salvation Army bell-ringer so far this fall, outside of Walmart in Lorain this weekend. But right after Thanksgiving, they'll very likely be all over the place, and the sounds of the bells will be a cheery sign of the season.

Other years, the Salvation Army seems to have started its campaign much earlier. Was there a decision made this year to start later? I don't know. But I'm glad that the kickoff seems to be closer to the actual beginning of the Christmas season, so we don't get tired of it. Putting something in the Salvation Army kettles is always a special part of the holiday. 

And sixty years ago, the Salvation Army in Lorain was dedicating its new home on Broadway, as noted in the full-page of articles and ads below from the November 3, 1962 Journal.

As the article notes, the new headquarters on Broadway was "the first new building for the Salvation Army since 1932 when it moved to the present building at 202 W. 7th St."

And sixty years later, the Salvation Army still calls the location on Broadway home, demonstrating that not everything in life has to change. 

Friday, November 18, 2022

Fire Poster Contest Winners – November 1972

Fire Prevention Week has been traditionally observed each year during the week of October 9th (in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which started on October 8th, 1871). 

In Lorain County, for many years there was an annual poster contest for school children sponsored by the Ford Motor Company. As I mentioned back on this post about the 1971 contest, I was one of the winners of the 1972 competition.

And here's the (yellowing) photo that ran in the Journal back on November 9, 1972 about the twelfth annual contest.

As the caption notes, we all received a $50 savings bond. I believe we were also given a tour of the Ford Plant as well, and a trophy which had a fireman on the top of it.

The Chronicle-Telegram's coverage (it ran a photo of the winners as well) noted that more than 400 posters were submitted by school children from Lorain, Amherst and Vermilion school systems. 
The competition was my introduction to the concept of art direction. Masson Junior High's art teacher was Chuck DeBracy, and he was the one who suggested to me the winning layout and theme of my poster, that of Uncle Sam wearing a fireman's hat and uniform, with the theme I WANT YOU TO PREVENT FIRES (or something like that). I remember having trouble drawing the pointing finger. I can't believe I didn't save the poster.
What I'm trying to remember is: what did I do with that $50 savings bond? 
Sorry folks, I was a mile from my condo on my way to work this morning when I realized I hadn't posted this! Sorry about that, Chief!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Final Sunset for Crystal Beach – November 1962

Although Cedar Point is well-known nationally as an amusement park, fewer and fewer people these days remember that Vermilion, Ohio once had one of its own for more than half a century. 

Crystal Beach Amusement Park was a very popular destination since 1907, with a variety of attractions to amuse and entertain its visitors. But it all ended sixty years ago in October - November 1962 when the landmark park was sold and its rides auctioned off.

Below is the announcement of the sale of the park on the front page of the October 30, 1962 Journal.

The article notes, "In the transaction, permission was granted for the amusement park owners to retain possession of the rides, which will be dismantled and moved from the site." The Friday, November 9, 1962 Journal included the article below about the upcoming auction.

"Everything which is the property of the park's owners will be sold on the spot," the article points out. "Probably the most fantastic item ever to be offered for auction will be the giant roller coaster which has been enjoyed by millions since its erection in 1925."

Ten days later as reported in the November 19, 1962 Journal, the auctioneer's gavel came down, and the roller coaster rolled away forever for $400.

Today, Crystal Beach is honored with a marker (which I wrote about here) at the site of the former amusement park.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

A Moo-ving Story of the Jerzee Moo Cow Creamer

Have you ever seen one of these cow-shaped containers, designed to hold milk or cream?

Sure you have, especially if you've ever done any antiquing. I first saw one in use in a Mom and Pop restaurant many years ago, but didn't know anything about the history of it. 

That's why I was happy to see this ad for Jerzee, which ran in the Lorain Journal on October 25, 1972 with the Jerzee Moo Creamer as a promotional item. 

So what was Jerzee anyway? 

The product is described in the ad as being made from fresh skimmed milk blended with (ugh) vegetable fat, with the result that it is "so rich it whips." So it was a milk or cream substitute.

Jerzee was manufactured by Defiance Milk Products in Defiance, Ohio, which explains why these creamers are so ubiquitous around here. You can read a comprehensive history of the company here. It's interesting that the firm's roots were in the brewery business, before expanding into an evaporated milk condensory.

The creamer was manufactured by Whirley Industries of Warren, Pennsylvania.

Anyway, there's a whole herd of these Moo Cow Creamers on eBay right now, so let's mooooove'em out!

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

W. T. Grant Ad – Nov. 8, 1962

Remember the dime stores, like Woolworth's, Ben Franklin, and W. T. Grant

Of course, by the time many of us became acquainted with these stores in the 1960s, the pricing had moved well beyond a mere nickel or dime. But the stores were still a lot of fun to poke around in if you were a kid, especially during the era when they were still selling turtles in the pet department.

I remember the W. T. Grant store in the Lorain Plaza pretty well. We just called it Grants, and that's what it's called in the ad below, which ran in the Journal back on November 8, 1962.

According to the ad, besides the Oberlin Avenue location, there were outlets at Westgate, Oakwood Plaza and in Elyria on Broad Street.

The items shown in the ad are a mixture of Grants products (like the tricycle) and well-known brands (like the Etch-a-Sketch). I see a little nurse kit for one dollar that kindled a long-dormant memory; my older sister had something similar that had little containers of candy pills in it.
Of course, the thing in the ad that caught my attention the most is the toy with Fred Flintstone riding Dino, his pet dinosaur (actually he was a Snorkasaurus). Those of us that watched the show know that Dino wasn't that big, and that the toy was probably based on the scene in the show's opening credits where Fred is working in the gravel pit.
The Grants ad reads, "TV's favorite, Fred Flintstone has Dino in rein. Both jog along in a funny way. Sturdy metal construction, purple plush skin.
"Dino gurgles!" is listed as one of the toy's attributes. (Maybe from drinking too much Welch's Grape Juice?)
Amazingly, many of these toys have survived and are all over the internet. Here's an ample sample.
I'm kind of surprised that we didn't have one of these in the house, considering that we had the Flintstone Play Set (by Marx!), Flintstone Checkers and the large Knickerbocker dolls.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Kaminski Grand Opening Ad – November 7, 1962

Sixty years ago this month, Kaminski Oldsmobile celebrated the Grand Opening of its new dealership on Henderson Drive. Above is the full-page ad that ran in the Journal back on November 7, 1962.

Exactly five years earlier, the business had held a Grand Opening at its first location at 2950 Broadway (the former home of Vogt Oldsmobile). Kaminski must have set a goal of a brand new facility in five years, and stuck to it.

Ad from the Nov. 8, 1957 Journal
My parents bought their first Olds at the Henderson Drive dealership, launching a love affair with the brand that lasted right into the 1990s. That car was a 1963 or 1964 F-85.

We had that car well into the 1970s, as it was my dad's work car. I also remember driving it a few times after I had just gotten my license. It had those little vent windows that were such a nice feature.
Speaking of F-85s, here's a vintage Kaminski ad from the October 3, 1962 Journal for that particular model. It just might have been the ad that made the Bradys an Olds family!

Friday, November 11, 2022

On Area Movie Screens – Nov. 10, 1962

While many (most?) people prefer to stream movies in the comfort of their own home these days, sixty years ago you had to head out to the theaters to see your favorite stars.

So what was playing on area movie screens back then? This page from the November 10, 1962 Journal tells the story. 

As usual, there was something for everyone – and here's a sampling from the listings.

It may have been November, but the drive-ins were still open. John Wayne was starring in three features at the Lorain Drive-in: North to Alaska (1960), Blood Alley (1955), and The Wings of Eagles (1957) 


Not exactly "Big John's" three greatest roles as the ad says, but North to Alaska is a lot of fun, and hey, any John Wayne flick on the big screen is okay with me, pilgrim.

Tower Drive-in was showing two films in the bawdy "Carry On" series: the first in the series, Carry On Sergeant (1958), and Carry On Constable (1960). There was also Hayley Mills in Whistle Down the Wind, which was probably low on the bawdy meter.

Carry On Sergeant actually looks pretty funny, kind of like a British Stripes. In fact these "Carry On" movies remind me of the Bowery Boys.
The latest Walt Disney animated feature, Lady and the Tramp, was being held over at the Ohio.
Although we saw a lot of Walt Disney movies, I don't recall seeing Lady and the Tramp, although it was one of the stories in my Walt Disney Story Land book, which I still have. (It was a gift from my parents on my fifth birthday.)

At the Palace was What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, the horror thriller that revived the careers of its stars, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. 
Slightly more appealing to me than What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? was the documentary We'll Bury You! showing at the Tivoli.
With the way things have been going in the world these days, maybe this documentary should be re-released. 

Oh, and the Carry On movies too. We could use some good laughs.