Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Happy Halloween!

DeLuca Bakery ad from October 8, 1963 Journal

Here's hoping you enjoy a safe and Happy Halloween.

Over the years, I've devoted many posts to Halloween, mainly with store ads featuring their selection of Halloween costumes for sale. Here's one (below) that I've never posted before; it's for Kresge's (later renamed K-Mart) and ran in the Lorain Journal on October 22, 1953. Note the complete lack of licensed characters. 

Within a few years, things changed – namely, TV. Check out this sampling of Kresge/Kmart ads through the decades.
One of the rituals that I do around Halloween is to peruse my dog-eared copy of The Thing at the Foot of the Bed and Other Scary Tales by Maria Leach. The book – with its creepy illustrations by Kurt Werth – scared me when I first read it at Masson Elementary School, and more than 50 years later, it still scares me. Read all about it, and enjoy some stories from it, on this 2010 post.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Gray Drug & Woolworth Halloween Ads – October 1973

How do you know when you're too old to go trick or treating?

I've mentioned before how I knew when it was my last Halloween. I'd been accompanying my younger brother door to door, and we had covered a lot of turf. After hitting all the houses on Skyline Drive, we had greedily worked our way up Palm Springs Drive near Masson School. There was still a little time left, and we didn't want to waste it.

I still remember the house to this day. The homeowner took a look at me, made up like a hobo with a burnt cork Hanna-Barbara five o'clock shadow. He sneered, "Aren't you a little old to be trick or treating?" I felt like crawling into a hole. 

So by the time Halloween 1973 rolled around, my trick or treating days were over. That's why I don't particularly remember any of the costumes shown in the ad for Gray Drug above, which appeared in the Journal on October 18, 1973.

Here's a closer look.

Several Hanna-Barbara characters are front and center in the ad, including Jane Jetson, Jonny Quest, Jinks the Cat and Dum Dum, the canine sidekick of Touché Turtle. It's odd to see Jinks in there, seeing as he was the 'oldest' HB character in the bunch, with no new Jinks vs meeses cartoons made since the early 1960s.

As for photos of the costumes, the great plaidstallions.com 1970s website corn-veniently posted images of a brochure that includes just about all of them – saving me time trying to scrounge them up one at a time!

As the plaidstallions.com website notes, the 'Speed Bird" is pretty much a ripoff of the Roadrunner, right down to the Beep Beep lettering on the front of the costume!

I did find the Jonny Quest mask online. He looks like he's been gobbing on the lipstick!
Here's another advertisement from Halloween 1973 highlighting costumes. This one's for Woolworth, and it ran in the Journal on October 24, 1973.

It's an odd assortment: generic Halloween characters (a ghost, a devil, a witch); and well-known licensed characters (Fred Flintstone, Batman, Spider-Man and Scooby-Doo). One of the Groovie Goolies is there (Frankie) and there's also comic film actor Charlie Chaplin, an unusual choice since he was in his mid-80s at that point.
And here are the photos of some of the costumes culled mainly from eBay. Somehow these managed to escape the garbage can over the last fifty years.
Here's the generic Woolworth ghost. Casper he ain't.
And here's Fred Flintstone – who looks like he's been clobbered by a club-wielding Bamm Bamm Rubble.
Here's the aforementioned Frankie, one of the Groovie Goolies, a good example of cartoon drac dreck from Filmation Studios.
Here's Scooby-Doo – the ever-popular Hanna-Barbara hound, who was in his original heyday in the early 1970s. Hey, he kind of looks like the much-hated puppy Scrappy-Doo.
Lastly, here's Spider-Man. The off-model illustration of the costume in the ad doesn't exactly make my Spidey sense tingle. But in fairness to the artist, he might have been confused with the nostril holes and mouth slit on the mask.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Dr. Silkini's Asylum of Horrors at the Palace – October 22, 1953

We'll close out the week here on the blog with an ad for Dr. Silkini's Asylum of Horrors stage show, which was appearing at the Palace Theatre back around Halloween 1953. The ad above appeared in the Lorain Journal on October 22, 1953.

For many years, Dr. Silkini's "Asylum of Horrors" made an annual stop in Lorain in October, and consequently has appeared on this blog before. The 1957 edition of the show that came to Lorain had a ad similar to the above. And my blog post about the 1959 Lorain show included a capsule history of the whole phenomenon, with clippings from various newspapers spanning the early 1940s to the 1960s.

Other live (or undead?) horror stage shows visited Lorain over the years as well, including this February 1957 one with Dracula and "the materialization of James Dean."


It's interesting how every generation has its own horror icons.

When I was a kid, the sight of a stiff-legged, kill-crazy Frankenstein Monster lumbering with arms outstretched was still the very definition of horror, along with the Wolf Man and the Mummy. I guess Universal Studios had done a good job keeping these guys in the public eye (even issuing those Aurora models).

As I recently reminisced with my older brother, we first saw the movie Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein on one of our family camping trips Out West. Whatever city we were camping in was showing it on TV late one night, and we all stayed up late to see it. 

I still remember how scary it was near the end of the movie. Dracula had been planning to transplant Costello's brain into the Frankenstein Monster, and both of them were strapped to hospital beds in the laboratory, in preparation for the operation.

The scene where Abbott is rescuing his partner by frantically untying him from the gurney, with the Monster at the same time angrily bursting through his straps only a few feet away, still gives me goosebumps.

Here's the trailer for this classic movie. If you've never seen it, you're missing a great movie – probably Abbott and Costello's best.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Reddy for Halloween – October 1962

Here's an appropriately Halloween-themed ad for Ohio Edison featuring our pal Reddy Kilowatt. The ad ran in the Journal back on October 23, 1962.

It's kind of an odd ad. Are those trick-or-treaters in the illustration? Or real ghost kids hovering overhead? Either way, their mother endorses electric drying.

At first I thought Reddy was getting into the (no pun intended) Halloween spirit, dressed like a desert sheik. But apparently his unusual garb was supposed to reinforce the idea of dry heat. Here's Reddy in another ad in the campaign, wearing the same duds. This one ran in the Journal on October 16, 1962.

This ad isn't just odd. It's fairly bizarre, with the happy housewife firing an antique cannon at some huge, anthropomorphic clothespins – female ones at that, with lipstick and false eyelashes. And they don't seem to mind being under attack.

Here's another ad with Reddy, this time with a fall theme. It appeared in the Lorain Journal back on October 12, 1953.
After a quick look online, I determined that there seems to be a lot of Colonial Premier lamps that have survived over the years (unlike the company). Unfortunately, I couldn't find any lamps that looked like the ones in the ad.

Seeing the little image of Reddy at the bottom of the ad reminded me of something that Mom told me. She said she remembered Grandpa Esterle (my father's grandfather) telling her once during a visit that he saw a little man come out of the electric outlet – like a leprechaun or something.
Could Grandpa have been a Reddy fan like me?

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Lorain's First Newspaper – October 29, 1878

It's pretty impressive that the Morning Journal is still around in 2023. 

Of course, it's not really a Lorain newspaper any more. In order to survive, it has to appeal to the surrounding communities, and that means that other cities such as Avon and even Westlake get equal time. Nevertheless, it's still amazing that the paper manages to stay in business.

Trying to establish a timeline for its history, and that of its competitors & predecessors, can get pretty complicated. The Lorain Journal started publication in 1921, and bought out its competitor, the Lorain Times-Herald, in 1932. 

So when it became necessary for the Journal to say how long it had been in business, it merely appropriated the starting date for the Lorain Daily Times, one of the Times-Herald's forerunners. That set the date as 1879. Thus the Lorain Journal celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 1939 (which I wrote about here).

It became the Morning Journal on October 1, 1990, when it ceased being an evening newspaper and began publishing in the morning.

Recently, I noticed on the Morning Journal Wiki page that the 'new' founding date is 1876. What does it base that on? I'm not sure.

Anyway, this is all a lead up to an interesting article from the October 23, 1953 Lorain Journal with the story of Lorain's first newspaper – The Lorain Monitor.

First Newspaper of Lorain Rolls Off Presses 75 Years Ago; Publisher Only 15


A 15-year-old boy founded Lorain's first newspaper. From this auspicious start the young man went into the legal profession and real estate business. At 26 he was dead.

Irvin D. Lawler's publication was called The Lorain Monitor. He began printing it by hand when he was 15. Four years later he had borrowed money for a press and was turning out a regular four-page bi-weekly tabloid.

When he was 23 Lawler began practicing law. His office was located at Erie Avenue and Broadway. He sold the paper to A. E. Rowley who changed its name to the Herald.

It was from Rowley's mother that Lawler had received his loan for the press. After graduation from Lorain High School Lawler studied law as an apprentice.

By the age of 26, he was a highly successful attorney and real estate operator. He was married and the father of two sons. His wife, Marcia, was expecting a third child.

It was on s September day in 1889 that Lawler, his brother, Edward, and seven other Lorain businessmen took a trial run in Lawler's new yacht, the "Leo." Enroute to Cleveland a storm broke. The boat went down off Rocky River. Two weeks went by before all the bodies were found. Lawler's was the last to be found. It had drifted to the east side of Cleveland.

From the burned condition of the bodies it was assumed that the craft had blown up, perhaps after being struck by lightning.

Three months after the tragedy, Mrs. Lawler gave birth to her third child, a girl. The daughter is now Mrs. Hazel Bellamy, 63, 19 Newton Street, Norwalk, Her brother, Clifford, lives in Saginaw, Mich. the other brother, Irvin Ray, now deceased, resided in Detroit.

Their mother later married a William Charles. She died last July in Painesville. the Lawler home in Lorain was at 15 Oberlin Avenue.

Lawler was a native of Bay City, Mich. As a boy he lived in the vicinity of what is now Washington park. His father, Jerome, was a contractor. In addition to his brother, Edward, Lawler also had two sisters, Lena and Cynthia.

The future barrister's newspaper pages were eight and three-quarter inches wide by 11 and three-quarters inches deep. Each column was nine and a half inches deep and two and a quarter inches wide. Each page had three columns.

Issues came out every other Tuesday. In October, 1878, 500 readers were paying 15 cents for three-month subscriptions. Advertising rates were five cents per line for the first five lines and three cents for each subsequent line. Space rates were "35 cents per square, 25 cents per half square."

In his paper of October 29, 1878, Lawler wrote, "By measuring this copy with the last issues you will find that the columns are considerably longer than in back numbers. We will enlarge the Monitor as our subscription list admits of."

The first page carried a piece of serialized fiction, "Two Minutes Too Late," presumably authored by Lawler. It was about a girl telegraph operator whose engineer boy friend was about to be involved in a monstrous train wreck if she didn't do something about it. On page 2 there was an editorial addressed "To the Citizens of Lorain and Vicinity." In it Lawler urged his readers to patronize hometown merchants.

He said, "Why deaden the place, dishearten the value of your own property by doing your trading elsewhere when you can buy goods just as cheap as home."

Largest display advertisement in the Oct. 29 issue was a one column by two and one-eighth inch space telling of A. M. Baldwin's Lorain Billiard Parlor where choice wines and liquors were constantly on hand. Baldwin also ran a bowling alley in connection with the billiard parlor.

The rest of the ads were one inch by one inch and all, including Baldwin's, appeared at least three times. The other sponsors were Mrs. T. A. Burton, House Plants; S. A. Andrus, Old Drug Store; F. J. King, Grocery Store; J. B. Linderman, Dry Goods, and Mrs. Kelly, Ladies and Gents Furnishing Goods. 

A news story told of some confusion between boats coming into port. Two schooners, the Red White and Blue and the Penokee, collided during a storm, resulting in slight damage. A tug went out to tow the Bightie into port. The tug missed the boat and ran into the east pier. The Bightie sailed in unescorted and rammed into the Penokee, breaking a yardarm and tearing rigging. Cargoes included coal, stoves, and wood.

Among the personal notices were: "Quail shooting commences Nov. 1... Apples are nearly all gathered... Mr. Gawn is grading the hill around his house. A ball was held in the Ried Tuesday evening. Everything passed of pleasantly...Winter has come... Thanksgiving in a few weeks... The Monitor has moved its offices to the fourth door north of the post office."

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Roy Radin's Vaudeville Revue Visits Lorain – October 1973

Remember when Roy Radin's Vaudeville Revue would make an annual appearance in Lorain? It was a popular fundraiser for the Lorain Fraternal Order of Police that ran for several years.

Above is the ad that ran in the Lorain Journal on October 2, 1973 promoting the show, which was usually held at a local high school auditorium. 

The revue usually included a variety of Hollywood stars and other entertainers. The 1973 edition that appeared in Lorain included actor and comedian Red Buttons, Frank "Crazy Guggenheim" Fontaine, Laugh In's Jo Anne Worley, and singer/dancer/comedienne Donna Jean Young, "East McKeesport's Sex Symbol."

I wonder if Frank Fontaine remembered his earlier visit to Lorain, Ohio? He had been the emcee of the Mary Lee Tucker Benefit Show at the Palace Theater in 1957 (which I wrote about here). 

Kids loved the Crazy Guggenheim character. I remember the sequences he appeared in on The Jackie Gleason Show, interacting with Gleason as Joe the Bartender. First came the comedy bits, followed by a song featuring Fontaine's excellent voice.

And here's a commercial that Mr. Fontaine did as Crazy Guggenheim for Malt-O-Meal.

Roy Radin's Vaudeville Revue came to Lorain annually for many years. In 1972 the lineup included bandleader Cab Calloway, the New Kingston Trio, singer/actress Pat Suzuki and musician/satirist Allan Sherman (who did the 'Camp Grenada' song).

The October 1974 revue had an impressive lineup, featuring impressionist Frank Gorshin as the headliner, comedian George Gobel, singer Tiny Tim, Frank Fontaine (again), actor/singer George Jessel, and the Ink Spots.

The 1975 show featured dancer/comedian/entertainer Donald O'Connor as the headliner, with singer Johnny Ray, The Ink Spots, comedian Morey Amsterdam, and Paul Baron's Harmonica Rascals.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Busy Fall Day at Mill Hollow – October 7, 1963

Yesterday was the perfect day to head down to the Vermilion River Reservation to see how the fall colors were coming along at Mill Hollow & Bacon Woods. There was some great fall foliage here and there, but it's not quite peak color yet. 

Heading down there on a Sunday to enjoy the autumn color was on a lot of people's mind too – sixty years ago, according to the article below, which appeared in the Journal back on October 7, 1963.

According to the article, "At Bacon Woods (Mill Hollow) Reservation in Amherst, a record attendance of nature lovers was reported. Exactly 8,668 persons took advantage of this "golden day" to take a last look at the glory of God's creation.

"According to Henry L. Minert, director-secretary of the Lorain County Metropolitan Park District, this attendance was the highest ever reported at the park in its three-year history.
"Many of the people at Mill Hollow Sunday were picnickers, some were nature lovers and others just wanted to appreciate a day away from the house.
"Some were part of the thousands of sightseers who crowded country roads driving slowly to see the shades of reds, golds, browns and greens in the trees of the landscape.
"Some drove most slowly lest they miss a particular oak or maple tree. Their children scrambled out of the car at intervals collecting beautiful leaves for an exhibit at school.
"Sunday was one of those days when nothing bothered anyone. The beauty of God's universe was reflected in the faces of His children."
There were no records set down there on Sunday. In fact, while I was there (from late morning to early afternoon) I saw about ten people – most of them walking dogs.
With few people there, I was free to wander around, enjoy the beautiful weather, and capture some shots with my camera phone.
Since there still was a lot of green, I'll have to revisit the park soon – before some windstorm strips the trees of their leaves, which is often the case.
Mill Hollow and its history has been a favorite topic on this blog, which is not surprising since the park is one of my favorite places.

Some of the nicest fall color that I found on Sunday was literally in my own backyard – around the old quarry that's behind my condo.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Hunting for More Hunting Ads – October 1953

From the October 7, 1953 Lorain Journal.
I thought I'd close out the week here on the blog by taking a shot at posting some more hunting ads. As one commenter observed on an earlier post, hunting was a big part of the lifestyle back then in areas such as Lorain County. It's reflected in these ads, which all ran in the Lorain Journal back in October 1953.

Above is an ad for the Lorain Surplus Center, with locations at 515 Broadway and 2836 Pearl Avenue in Lorain. (You might remember the excellent 2018 post by blog contributor Rick Kurish about the military surplus stores.)

In the Lorain Surplus Center ad, there's everything you need for hunting: rifles, shotguns, knives, boots, mitts, gloves, ammunition, hunting caps, hunting bows and duck decoys.

The items that caught my interest were the Lohman Duck, Crow & Squirrel Calls. I'd heard of duck calls (from watching Daffy Duck cartoons) but the crow and squirrel calls were new to me. Lohman still makes squirrel calls; this one 'reproduces the squeals of young squirrels in distress." I wonder what the intention was of the squirrels being bamboozled by the call. Were they going to offer aid and comfort to another squirrel? Or rob him of any nuts he might have been carrying before his misfortune?

As for squirrel calls, it reminded me of something from my college days. Squirrels were all over the Ohio State campus, and my roommates and I used to make clicking noises to get their attention. Many times they would come a-runnin' as if to say, "Hey, that kid is speaking my language!" Others would approach slowly, trying to figure out what was going on. But the funniest incident I remember was when my roommate Hoob was doing the tongue clicking thing, and one squirrel came closer... and closer... and closer... and then LUNGED AT HIS LEG! I still remember Hoob trying to get that thing off him!

But back to the ads.

Here's one for Stroh's Bohemian Beer featuring a comely huntress and her retriever. It ran on October 13, 1953. I like the illustration in the background. 

The ad would be very appropriate today (according to the articles in my issues of American Hunter), as women make up a large portion of those buying guns for the very first time, as well as increasingly participating in the sport of hunting.

The bottle of Stroh's looks unfamiliar to me as I've never been a Stroh's drinker. Here's a closer look at the bottle from that era. It's on eBay right now.

Lastly, here's an ad for Sears specifically promoting the J. C. Higgins Model 30 .22 Automatic Rifle. It ran in the paper on October 7, 1953.
Looks like the squirrel in the ad is not long for this world. 
And speaking of things that aren't around any more, that would include Sears stores. While at one time there was one in Downtown Lorain, today there are only ten in the entire mainland USA. Unbelievable!
As for the J. C. Higgins Model 30 .22 Automatic Rifle shown in the ad, they are pretty popular with collectors. Here's a nice color photo of one.

Courtesy MaynardsFineArt.com