Sunday, December 31, 2023

"Don't Meet '64 Head On!" Safety Ad – Dec. 28, 1963


Well, it's New Year's Eve – so I'd better post this before everyone heads out for a night of fun and frivolity. "Don't Meet '64 Head On!" is the theme of the annual, full-page safety ad, which ran in the Journal back on December 28, 1963.

No Grim Reaper this time, which is fine with me, as he made enough grisly appearances in these things over the years. The image of the wrecked cars is pretty effective on its own.

Looking at the list of sponsors, I was hoping that there would be a few businesses from 1963 that were still around. But as usual, only a few successor companies (banks, car dealerships and utilities) managed to survive the last sixty years. I'm just glad I have!

Anyway, as the ad says, "Don't have a smashing New Year!"

New Year's Eve 1953

Seventy years ago, the year 1953 was coming to a close.

The Lorain Journal celebrated the occasion with a detailed month-by-month recap of Lorain news over the past year with its "City News Parade of 1953" feature. It's a pretty fascinating read (with many of the stories appearing as the subjects of blog posts here over the past year). Nine of the year's top news photos were also featured.

As to be expected, in the same New Year's Eve edition there was the obligatory "Don't Drink and Drive" full page sponsored ad. As I mentioned on a previous post, the image of the merrymakers seems to be at odds with the safety theme.

The traditional "First Baby of Lorain" contest was featured in a two-page spread. That's a lot of goodies!

Lorainites didn't have to wait very long to find out the winner. On the front page of the January 1, 1954 Journal, the first baby was revealed to be the as yet unnamed son of Dorothy and Aloysius Prosak of 2602 Elyria Avenue.
In a nice touch, the front page also featured photographs of three "First Babies" of previous years (much like they followed up a year later on my brother Ken, the First Baby of 1958).

Saturday, December 30, 2023

New Year's Eve 1943

Eighty years ago, the year 1943 was drawing to a close. The United States was still engaged in World War II, and this was reflected in the way New Year's Eve was observed in the Dec. 31, 1943 Lorain Journal.

The ad above, "Saluting the New Year with a Pledge to Victory," is the only full-page ad with sponsors to be found in that particular edition. The roll call of Lorain businesses contains many well-remembered firms.

Our old pal Reddy Kilowatt was featured as a gun-totin' patriot in an Ohio Public Service Company ad. (Ohio Public Service Company wouldn't become part of Ohio Edison until 1950.) In the ad, the company pledged to "continue to keep flowing a dependable supply of power to all homes, stores and war industries in the area served by our company, to the end that the war shall be terminated as speedily as possible." 

So was there the traditional "First Baby Born in Lorain" contest at that time?

There sure was, as noted in the full-page ad below.
Note that the parents both had to be residents of Lorain, and the baby must have been born within Lorain city limits.

And in the next edition of the Lorain Journal, the January 3, 1944 front page revealed the winner: Baby Girl Stanziano, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dominick Stanziano of 318 W. 23rd Street.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas!

Christmas 1966
Here's wishing all of you a most meaningful and Merry Christmas!

Above you see a photo of my younger brother and I visiting Santa Claus from Christmas 1966. Midway Mall had just opened a few months earlier, so I kind of think that's where it was taken. (I seem to be missing a few teeth, so I guess I gummed Christmas dinner that year.)

I have a few more photos from the Brady archives, but first I'd better post the obligatory full-page sponsor ad from the Journal. This one is from 1963 and ran on Christmas Eve that year.

As usual, successor banks and cemeteries seem to be the only businesses that are still around. 

Here's another charming full page ad from the same 1963 edition of the Journal, this time for Lorain Telephone.
But now on to some more photos from Brady Christmases of the past.
My sister was the only Brady kid in the house in this photo from Christmas 1957. Note that she's wearing an authentic Annie Oakley cowgirl getup.
I don't know what color scheme her outfit was, but it was one of these two, most likely.
A year later, my older brother Ken (the first baby in Lorain of 1958, which I wrote about here and here) celebrated Christmas 1958 with his sister.
And by the time Christmas 1959 rolled around, I was on the scene.
My siblings look pretty happy to get matching hoodies. Note the sack of something to the left of Ken. What is it? Why, a Sifo's Mailbag of Blocks!

Ken did get at least one cool toy that Christmas: a Mirro Satellite Explorer Space Helmet.

I did pretty well that Christmas too. Here I am with my holiday haul.
Note to my right is a Charlie Brown Hungerford figure. Highly collectible today! I wrote about it back on this post, which also features some other photos from Christmas 1959. The Koo Zoo seems to have been a rather bizarre toy, sort of like a menagerie encased in amber.
As usual, I'll be taking my annual break from blogging for the next few days so that I can enjoy the holidays. (I'm sorry, Don – but maybe you can crank out another tome to keep busy.) But I'll be back just before New Year's Eve (most likely with the usual gruesome 'don't drink and drive' public service type ads). See you then!

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Lorain Journal Front Page – Dec. 24, 1973


Fifty years ago, this was the front page of the Christmas Eve edition of the Journal on Dec. 24, 1973.

For years, the Journal dependably featured the special illustrative border of the Three Wise Men approaching the manger with the Star of Bethlehem overhead. What's interesting is that this is a slightly redrawn version of the border that Journal cartoonist Gene Patrick had created, that was used roughly from 1968 to 1972. This one is credited to "Wilson."

As was the custom, the Journal ran a final report on the Mary Lee Tucker Clothe-a-Child campaign.


Today is longtime regular blog contributor Alan Hopewell's birthday! Be sure to leave a birthday greeting for him here or, even better, on his Facebook page. Happy Birthday, Alan!

Friday, December 22, 2023

Lorain Journal Front Page – Dec. 24, 1963


Sixty years ago, this was the Christmas Eve edition of the Journal on Dec. 24, 1963.

The big news, of course, was the impending merger of Thew Shovel Co. and Koehring Co. In 1964, Thew would become the Thew-Lorain Division of Koehring Company.
Otherwise, the front page of the Journal was dominated by a beautiful illustration of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus. Beneath it is a seasonal poem written by news editor William E. Scrivo entitled The Christmas Star, with the two Christmas stories from the Bible on each side.
Also of interest is the sidebar with Christmas stories from around the world, including reports from Bethlehem, Berlin, Washington, D. C., Korea, Dallas and Cleveland.

Lorain Journal Front Page – Dec. 24, 1953


Three days after the front page featured on yesterday's post, Lorain Journal readers were greeted with the Christmas Eve edition shown above on December 24, 1953.

Front and center is an incredibly cute photograph of little Cynthia and Martha Moir, daughters of Alan and Billie Moir, getting a snack ready for Santa Claus consisting of a cup of cocoa and some cookies. They

Christmas 1953 was going to be a snowless one, with warmer temperatures predicted and a possible high of 35 degrees. 

As for Christmas Eve, it was one for the (crime) books, with the night manager of the Victoria Hotel at 11th and Broadway beaten by a burglar; two residents of a Camden Avenue home bloodying each other for no particular reason other than they both had been drinking; an Elyria woman who, during her arrest, assaulted two deputies, a Lorain policeman and her employer; the story of a dragnet of state highway patrolmen who apprehended a trio of Cleveland men in a stolen car; and the owner of Jax Men's Store, after two break-ins the same week, "suggested to burglars that they patronize some other place for a while."

But it wasn't all bad news. The Postmaster of the Lorain Post Office promised that "every piece of Christmas mail – cards and packages – which was in the Lorain Post Office by 8 a. m. today will be out of the post office and delivered to the receivers before the day is over."

And a little puppy that had been trapped in a well in Carlsbad, New Mexico was rescued and became a Christmas present for the children of one of the men who rescued her.


Sadly, Cynthia Moir passed away in March 2018.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Lorain Journal Front Page – Dec. 21, 1953


Seventy years ago today, this was the front page of the Lorain Journal on Dec. 21, 1953. As we can see by the little cartoon in the lower right hand corner (remember those?), there were still three shopping days until Christmas.

As was the case back then, page one of the Journal was crammed with national and local news.

The standout article was the posthumous awarding of the Silver Star award to Pfc. Isaac Horton for "gallantry in action." According to the article, "Horton was killed while helping to ward off a strong enemy attack in the vicinity of Mundung-ni, Korea. The Silver Star award, one of the nation's highest, was given to his mother, Mrs. James Horton, 3804 Canton Avenue, in a simple ceremony Sunday by Chaplain Floyd H. Buckland, pastor of the First Baptist Church.

"A former Lorain Golden Gloves champion, Horton was cited by the award to have "never wavered from his determination to repel the foe. His unfailing sense of duty was a tremendous inspiration to his comrades and his aggressive, indomitable spirit contributed immeasurably to the successful repulsion of the hostile foe. The gallantry and unending loyalty demonstrated by Private Horton on this occasion reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Army.

"At the time of the attack, Horton under heavy fire, moved to an exposed position where he could deliver "more effective fire," the award citation read. Lorainites will remember that Horton also displayed the same kind of courage in his Golden Glove fights that netted him the heavyweight championship in the city.

Elsewhere on the front page: Pay raises were on the agenda for the Lorain City Council meeting that night; Lorain vice squad officers had recently uncovered an alleged basketball pool operator; the city of Detroit was hunting down escapees from Southern Michigan state prison; more freezing temperatures were in store for Lorain; Cleveland Police arrested the three 'adhesive tape' robbers, so named because they usually taped the mouth, wrists and ankles of their victims; and Lorain Police trapped a burglar in Middendorf's Drug Store on Broadway.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Reddy With Christmas Gift Ideas – 1953

Ad from Nov. 20, 1953 Lorain Journal

Nothing too shocking here on the blog today; just our annual Christmas visit with our old pal Reddy Kilowatt, who's helpfully generating some holiday gift ideas.

As noted on past posts, Reddy was usually willing to shill for electrical gifts from Westinghouse. Indeed, in this ad, it's an all-Westinghouse lineup. Here they are, with their prices in today's inflated dollars: a Food Crafter mixer ($517); a Roaster Oven ($506); Electric Blankets ($459 and $344); and a Pop-Up Toaster ($263).

It's funny how today, we have very different expectations for what we are willing to pay for the same type of items. I have a feeling that the 1953 products were built to last; why else would so many be on eBay today? 

Here's two toasters similar to the one shown in the ad. They're actually quite beautiful. 

I wouldn't say the same thing about my crumb-filled model with a plastic outer body. It's got a mind of its own, sometimes burning something on the lowest setting, other times barely browning something at all on the middle setting. Consequently I eat my toaster pastries raw.

Anyway, the Ohio Edison ad has a nice layout with some interesting typography at the top. (I originally thought that was some errant hair or fuzz on the 'C' in 'Christmas' – but it's part of the letter.)

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Gift Books For Your Shelf to Put Next to the Elf

Matthew J. Weisman
I know Christmas is only about a week away, so it might be a little late for me to suggest some gift ideas. So why not buy a gift for yourself, and add one (or both) of these fine books to your shelf?

Those of you who appreciate the great real-photo postcards of Willis Leiter will undoubtedly want to add Lorain County Through the Lens of Willis Leiter to their library. 

While the first Leiter book, The Real Photo Postcards of Willis Leiter, focused on Lorain, this new book expands its subject matter to include the rest of Lorain County. Thus, you'll find rare, eye-popping historic images of Amherst, Avon, Elyria, Oberlin, LaGrange, North Ridgeville, Vermilion and more, all through the lens of Willis Leiter. The book is by Bill Jackson, Dennis Lamont, James D. MacMillan, Paula Brosky-Shorf, Bruce L. Waterhouse Jr., and Matthew J. Weisman. 

I had the pleasure of attending the book signing at the Lorain Historical Society near the end of October and getting my (free) copy autographed by Matt, Bill and Bruce.

From Left: Bill Jackson, Matthew J. Weisman, and Bruce L. Waterhouse Jr.

Next on Santa's list is a book written by author Don Hilton, one of the regular contributors to this blog through his daily witty comments. But unlike his most recent, historical non-fiction books, his newest tome The Vanishing of A. E. Leehman is a small-town murder mystery.

Don Hilton
As the book's description notes, "Everyone thought they knew A.E. Leehman, right up until she disappeared in July of 1953. Follow County Detective Bert Williamson, who’s keeping secrets of his own, as he calls upon the talents of old Army buddies to help him wend his way through a case well beyond his ability. 
"Working with one cock-sure reporter while barely tolerating another, bucking the district attorney, and forced to surrender the matter to State Police, Williamson discovers there’s far more to the story than anybody else realizes. Based in true-crime with sparkling characters, great dialogue, a twisty-turny plot with a jigsaw of facts: faith, love poetry, word games, librarians, and a surprising but logical conclusion all play their part in The Vanishing of A.E. Leehman."
Don honored me by naming a character in the book after me. But imagine my surprise when the character turned out to be a big jerk – who even gets beat up by the main character! Gee, Don – was it something I said (or blogged about)? Just kidding.

Don may have to market a special reinforced bookshelf (autographed and engraved for a small, exorbitant fee) to hold the rapidly growing Don Hilton Library. 

Visit Don's website for information on all of his books. Be sure to explore the various media links, which include his appearances on Cleveland television. 

Monday, December 18, 2023

On Area Movie Screens – Dec. 22, 1953

Seventy years ago this month on December 22, 1953, there weren't any particularly interesting movies showing on area movie screens – but there's other things of interest on the page shown above.

As for the movies, the one that pops out is movie cowboy Randolph Scott in Thunder Over the Plains (1953), showing at the Palace. I'm not sure if this one airs on GRIT TV, but if it hasn't, it probably will sooner or later. GRIT had held several all day Randolph Scott marathons, as his body of work is huge. 

Here's a better look at the image on the movie ad.

Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea
in Ride the High Country
Randolph Scott is always great. Like John Wayne, he chose his movies carefully and maintained an image of a rugged, upstanding individual throughout his career. It was only in his last movie, Ride the High Country (1962) with fellow cowboy star Joel McCrea that he played a somewhat unscrupulous character. But he redeemed himself at the end of the movie, and wrapped up his cinematic career on a high note.

Speaking of Joel McCrea, an article on the page shown above notes that McCrea was a real cowboy with a ranch to tend. That's why he was reluctant to star in a TV series at that time. He eventually did give in, starring in a series called Wichita Town, but by that time there were dozens of Westerns on TV and the show got lost in the sagebrush shuffle. Plus, Wichita Town aired too late at night for kids to stay up and watch, and it ended up getting cancelled.

I have no idea what Lady Godiva Rides Again was about, but the ad says it was 'Spicy' and 'Saucy.' Sounds like they're talking about a spaghetti sauce.

It's a British film, so no wonder it's a little bawdy.

At the bottom right of the movie page, there's a little box advertising a 'Vacation Special' at the Palace on Christmas Eve, for the kiddies who were on break from school. It featured twelve cartoons (at least one with Bugs Bunny, I hope) as well as the Our Gang classic comedy Birthday Blues (1932). That's the one where Spanky, Stymie, and Dickie Moore bake that huge cake full of 'valuable prizes' (like a hairbrush, a mousetrap, etc.) that makes the strange "weeeemmm wommmm" sound.

As for the rest of the page, there's other things that stand out.

There's an ad for Lorain Telephone with Santa using what might be the first mobile phone; a blurb about a Lorain man who fell and cut himself on a piece of glass; an announcement that the Salvation Army was prepared to help families with food and toys for the holidays; and a promotion for one of those annual holiday newspaper serial stories, with a character (Sammy Claus) who looks like the model for the killer-puppet Chuckie from the Child's Play horror flicks
What's odd is that the story with Sammy Claus didn't run in the Lorain Journal. But here's a screen grab of part of one chapter of the story so you can get an idea of what it was about.
Lastly, there's an ad for Stone's Grills, a previous topic on this blog. Note the listing of Mogen David as one of the wines, which was always a popular wine in the area. 
Recently my youthful co-worker was telling me about some wine she had enjoyed recently, and I asked (tongue in cheek – as usual), "What kind was it? Mogen David?" She looked at me strange, since she'd never heard of it.
Oh well.

Friday, December 15, 2023

A Slice of Christmas Cheesecake – 1953 Edition

Yesterday's post about Woodrow the Woodsman was kiddie-oriented. Today's post is directed more for men – specifically bachelors.

That's right, it's time for my annual parade of cheesy cheesecake-type ads with a Christmas theme. The Journal ran these types of ads during the holidays, from the 1950s right into the 1970s. The year 1971 was particularly fruitful; and this post featured a multi-pack of ads from 1959, 1967 and 1968.

But sorry, guys – there wasn't much of a parade of ads around Christmas 1953 that would be seen as sexist today. In fact, there was only one piece of clip art that seemed to be used over and over. 

And here it is, first used in an ad for Atkinson & Williams Ford A-1 Used Cars. I suppose the idea was that shopping for cars was man's work. The ad ran on December 3, 1953.

The leggy Santa's helper turned up again on December 10, 1953 in this manly ad for Oros & Chevers Sport Shop. I like the typography at the top of the ad, but the small picture of the pointer in the 'O' makes the company name look like Ros & Chevers. 

Lastly, our Santa Baby made one last local appearance in this ad for K. D. Construction Company which ran in the paper on December 18th. At least the Journal layout artist spaced out his usage of the artwork over a few weeks so readers wouldn't get too used to it.

Unlike the second ad (where the woman has nothing to lean on) at least this one uses the clip art properly.
I've mentioned before how I started my career as a paste-up artist at an old printing and mailing firm in Downtown Cleveland in 1985. We had tons of clip art on file, including some stuff like this. But I don't think our art director would have approved my using it, especially since we had a lot of stuffy clients such as the Cleveland Rotary Club.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Woodrow the Woodsman Plays the Palace – Dec. 1963

Woodrow the Woodsman
(Courtesy Akron Beacon Journal)
Woodrow and Barnaby
Baby Boomers that grew up in the Cleveland area have pleasant memories of the many talented TV personalities that hosted or appeared on children's shows. Seeing them on TV regularly performing their gentle antics was quite comforting, and naturally kids began to think of them as friends. 

Several of them – Captain Penny, Jungle Larry and Barnaby – have been featured on this blog many times.
But another one that was a hit with the kids was Woodrow the Woodsman, played by Clay Conroy. His show went in the air in 1961 and was actually a spin-off from Barnaby.
By 1963, Woodrow was popular enough on his own that when it came time for the annual Mary Lee Tucker Christmas Show, the City Club arranged for a special matinee show at the Palace featuring the axe-wielding entertainer. Below is the front page Journal article of December 2, 1963 making the special announcement.
And here's an article that ran in the Journal the next day, that undoubtedly drummed up even more enthusiasm and excitement for the matinee.

Both articles appropriately include a mention of puppeteer Lawson Deming, the man behind the lovable woodland sidekicks, including Freddy the Alley-Crock, Tarkington the Owl and Voracious the Elephant.
Of course, the Mary Lee Tucker Matinee show was a big hit with the youngsters, as reported in the article below from December 5, 1963.
Like many other kids, my siblings and I watched Woodrow on Channel 3. I remember the alley-crock, and the fact that all you could see of the elephant was the trunk dangling into the scene. I also seem to recall that he showed those cheapie made-for-TV Popeye cartoons that featured the spinach-eating sailor battling an obese 'Brutus.'
Anyway, Clay Conroy revived his famous character on TV briefly in the late 1990s. Here he is making a cameo on the Big Chuck and Little John Show, popping in on Soupy Sales who was filming a special intro for the program.