Thursday, November 30, 2023

Top Value Stamps Ad – Nov. 11, 1958

Oakwood Shopping Center opened in Lorain back on November 12, 1958 with a whole slew of stores, including Foodtown Supermarket, W. T. Grant Co., Allen Cleaners, F. W. Woolworth and Gray Drug Stores.

And since Gray Drug gave Top Value Stamps with purchases, the ad above featuring our pal Toppie the Elephant ran in the Lorain Journal on the eve of the opening.

As I've mentioned many times, Top Value Stamps really utilized their goodwill promotional pachyderm to drum up interest. Besides the lunch box and thermos that is worth a fortune today (that the Brady family owned), there were many items with his likeness, including the clock below that's currently on eBay.

There was even a safety sign that schools could apparently acquire with enough filled stamp books.

There was even a toy cash register.


Many of us oldsters remember the laborious task of affixing the stamps to the pages of the books, some of which didn't get redeemed, and ended up on eBay, decades later. I remember the book design below, which dates from 1966.

 
Although Top Value Stamps has been out of business for decades now, Toppie is still recognizable to enough sentimental Baby Boomers that his image appears on such items such as T-Shirts and mugs. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Lorain Journal Front Page – Nov. 21, 1953

Well, many of us in Lorain County had our first encounter with winter weather yesterday, with snow-covered roads and bitter cold. (I didn't see as much as a snowflake during my commute from Vermilion to Oberlin, however.)

Anyway, seventy years ago about this time in November, a major winter storm struck the Midwest. As the front page article above noted, "A vicious wintry storm piled up to nine inches of snow in the Midwest today, caused at least two deaths and cut off long distance communications to 37 communities.

"Snow and sleet fell on parts of North and South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota. Up to nine inches of snow was reported in parts of Nebraska and the storm knocked out communications to at least 21 towns in Minnesota and at least 16 in South Dakota."

That wasn't the case in the Lorain area, though. A small article below the headline story noted, "Ohio's Indian summer weather is expected to go on the warpath late today, bringing an end to the pleasant temperatures and sunny days that unseasonably have been hanging around the state.

"The weather man said today that the advent of cooler air from the west, where snowfalls are predominant,  will take temperatures considerably below Friday night's readings.

"Friday night's low was 62 at midnight; high was 72 at 4 p. m."

Also on the front page, we have a nice photo of a hunter, Warren "Socks" Mowery, chief timekeeper at the Lake Terminal Railroad. The accompanying article explains that the start of the hunting season depended on getting some rain or snow to reduce fire danger. (As we know from the Nov. 23, 1953 front page I posted a few days ago, the weather did cooperate and hunting season opened on time.)

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It's somewhat depressing looking at this front page, and realizing that Americans will never again get the majority of their news from daily newspapers.

This page has unbiased reporting about happenings in other states, including the storm; international stories; news from around Ohio; specific stories from Washington. D. C.; local coverage of happenings in Lorain and Elyria. Buy a Morning Journal nowadays, and you might get a couple articles on the front page, mainly of the 'soft' or feel-good variety, such as the opening of some new store or a story about volunteers, plus a huge photo. 

What's sad is that the general public has little awareness of what is going on in other states, or the world. They rely on social media to fill them in.

For decades in the Brady household, my parents always read the paper after dinner. Mom read her portion of the paper at the kitchen table. Dad read his sitting in his chair in the living room. It was a nightly ritual and like others who read a daily newspaper, they were both pretty informed as to what was going on.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Philip Morris Cigarette Ad – Nov. 5, 1953

Cigarette smoking is something that I never tried.

I remember the day that someone put a lit one in my hand and dared me to take a puff. It was down at Willow Creek Park and I think I was in junior high school. But I was too scared. Both of my mom's parents smoked and each of them literally dropped dead of heart attacks at ages 65 and 70, respectively. 

Mom never smoked, but my father did. Salems. Not a lot, just a few cigarettes a day. He told me that he started in the Army during World War II; they even put cigarettes in the K-ration boxes. If you smoked, you were entitled to more work breaks – and that's how he started. 

I remember that he would smoke a few cigarettes when he took my brothers and I fishing. It was kind of shocking and I worried that he would get cancer someday.

In later years, he would sneak a few puffs on the side of the house. I think he did it just to have something that he could keep from Mom, although I don't think she was fooled one bit with his ever-present candy mints. When he finally stopped driving and was stuck at home, I went out and bought him his Salems. An eventual heart attack finally made him quit. He never had cancer, but the damage to his body and heart had been done.

For a while in the 1980s, a woman I dated smoked for a while. Guess what brand? Salems!

All of this is just a lead up to the ad below, which ran in the Lorain Journal on November 5, 1953. The ad positions Philip Morris as "The cigarette that takes the FEAR out of smoking!" 

But the fear isn't about dying; it's the fear of 'irritating vapors.' The exclusive ingredient Di-GL in Philip Morris Cigarettes apparently prevents those vapors, leaving only the 'rich flavor and aroma.' The ad copy even notes, "Only Philip Morris offers you this record of safety."

It would be another ten years or so before the US Surgeon General would issue his warning about smoking.

Today, it's hard to believe people still smoke. Many people at my work – people that I like – still smoke, and head outside several times an hour for a smoke break. I feel kind of sorry for them, and I'm glad that I never got started.

But I gotta admit, I liked the smell of Salems.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Admiral King's 75th Birthday – Nov. 1953

Seventy-five years ago this month, Lorain's most accomplished citizen – Admiral Ernest J. King – was celebrating his 75th birthday.

Above is the front page of the November 23, 1953 Lorain Journal marking that milestone with a special cartoon, front and center.

"Resting quietly in his home in Washington, D. C., Lorain - born Admiral Ernest J. King today was the recipient of many cards of congratulations as he observed his 75th birthday.

"It was on Nov. 23, 1878, that the admiral who led the nation's naval forces in one of the country's greatest crises was born in an unpretentious white frame house at 113 Hamilton Ave.

"He graduated from Lorain High School in 1897 and from the U. S. Academy in 1901 to begin a long naval career climaxed by his appointment as commander-in-chief at the United States fleet and chief of naval operations.

"The appointment was made by President Franklin D. Roosevelt shortly after Pearl Harbor and came after Admiral King had advanced through the grades to the rank of rear admiral, received in 1933, and the rank of admiral, received in 1941.

"A frequent visitor to Lorain until his serious illness a few years ago, Admiral King never failed to visit his old friends and classmates when here.

"On one of these visits, as honored guest for Lorain's Victory Day celebration at the end of World War II, Admiral King, although on a crowded schedule, took time to pay several personal surprise calls to families of Lorain men who lost their lives in naval action during the war.

"Another well-remembered visit to his hometown was in 1947 when he helped former fellow schoolmates celebrate the 50th anniversary of their graduation from Lorain High School.

"Although known as a strict disciplinarian in the line of naval duty, there has always been a twinkle in his eye when chatting with fellow Lorainites, exchanging anecdotes recalling the days of his youth here.

"Admiral King has been in ill health since suffering a severe stroke a few years ago. He returned to his Washington, D. C. home after several months in the naval hospital at Bethesda, Md., but still reports back to the hospital periodically for a check=up.

Admiral Ernest J. King has been the topic of many, many blog posts here over the years. I'm still unhappy that the most famous, successful and important person that ever came out of, or will ever come out of, Lorain, Ohio – my hometown – has no sign at the city limits making it known that he was born and raised here. I'm also disappointed that his name is no longer attached to the high school, but perhaps it's just as well, since his incredible accomplishments are completely unknown to the younger generations and, increasingly, even the general public.

Anyway, a quick glance at the rest of the Journal front page might give you a feeling of déja vu, with China involved with drug trafficking, and Israel defending its retaliatory military actions in Qibya.

The good news, though, is that Ohio's hunting season "opened today with partly cloudy skies and the threat of forest fires greatly alleviated."

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By the way, you might be wondering about the men shown 'working' in the photo at the bottom of the page. What were they doing? A quick look at page 17 revealed that they were judging potential acts for that year's edition of the Mary Lee Tucker Christmas Benefit Show.

Friday, November 24, 2023

On Area Movie Screens – Nov. 4, 1953

November's starting to wind down, so I'll close out the week with a peek at what was showing on Lorain area movie screens back in 1953. The page above is from the Lorain Journal of November 4, 1953.

I watch a lot of GRIT TV, the channel that shows almost exclusively Westerns, so the ad that leaps out at me is the one for Devil's Canyon (1953), showing at the Ohio Theater. It stars Virginia Mayo and Dale Robertson, a favorite of mine since I watch Tales of Wells Fargo on GRIT every day. Also appearing in the movie is screen bad guy/thug Stephen McNally. 

It's not surprising that the ad should leap out, since the movie was showing in 3-D on the Ohio's "New Curved Wide Screen."

The movie starts out as a conventional Western, but Dale Robertson's good-guy character gets sent up the river on some trumped-up charges and the firm becomes a prison flick. Grizzled Arthur Hunnicutt is there for some comedy relief. 

This posed promotional photo for the movie is pretty hilarious. Dale Robertson looks like he just took a cold shower (which might be appropriate since lovely Virginia Mayo is the only female on the grounds of the all-male prison). Virginia Mayo is actual the moll, but comes around to the good guy's side by the end of the movie, which features a massive prison break attempt, thwarted by Dale Robertson's character wielding a Gatling gun.

Anyway, it's a pretty good movie that shows up on GRIT quite regularly.
Next on my hit parade is Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, showing at the Avon Lake Theater. Here's the trailer and poster for the movie.

I remember watching this on Saturday afternoon on one of the Cleveland UHF channels. While it wasn't as good as the movie in which the comedy duo met Frankenstein and the Wolfman, it was pretty scary as well as funny. 
I still remember the ending decades later. Dr. Jekyll has been vanquished, and all the loose ends are tied up – until some of the Scotland Yard constables turn into Dr. Jekylls too (after being bitten) and chase Abbott and Costello off for a closing gag.
What about some of the other theaters?
The Tivoli had A Perilous Journey, starring Vera Ralston, David Brian and Scott Brady (no relation); the Tower Drive-in (on then-State Route 57) had Silver City, and The Golden Hawk with Rhonda Fleming and Sterling Hayden; the Palace had Sabre Jet and Shoot First!
Shoot First is interesting because the British spy thriller stars Joel McCrea, star of so many great Westerns, in his only postwar non-Western role.
Hey, you can watch the movie right here and now! So pour yourself another bowl of Golden Crisp and enjoy the day after Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's hoping all of you enjoy a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

It will be strange for me to celebrate it without my mother, who passed away back at the end of February. But I'm very thankful that she lived so long (almost 96 years), and that I was able to celebrate just about every Thanksgiving with her. That's her at the top of this post, putting a bird in the oven on Thanksgiving 1973 – 50 years ago.
And here's the 'after' shot. Love the giant fork and spoon on the wall.
In the photo of Mom at the top of this post, I noticed the salt and pepper shakers on the back of the stove. Mom was not one to have any kind of knick knacks around the house, but she did have those little birdies out when I was a kid. (They were her mother's.)
Anyway, she gave them to me years ago, and I display them occasionally. I can't help but smile when I look at them.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Ohio Edison Thanksgiving Ad – Nov. 6, 1953

One of the challenges on Thanksgiving is finding room on the stovetop and in the oven for the preparation of the feast: cooking the turkey, preparing all the side dishes (mashed potatoes, dressing, etc), making gravy and anything else associated with the meal. It seems like the stovetop is perpetually cluttered with pots and pans (which the male of the species has to wash) with no room to do anything.

For many years, the house I lived that was located in Sheffield Lake had both a gas stove (left by the previous owner and moved to the basement by us) and an electric one in the kitchen. It was very convenient and perfect on Thanksgiving. 

I still don't know how my mother managed to prepare both a duck and a capon on Thanksgiving with one oven. Her kitchen wasn't all that big either.

But seventy years ago, our old pal Reddy Kilowatt had the answer: a Westinghouse automatic electric range with two ovens. As the Ohio Edison ad below from the Nov. 6, 1953 Lorain Journal notes, "With a Westinghouse automatic electric range to take over the cooking cares, mother can visit with guests and really enjoy thanksgiving with complete freedom from potwatching. The oven, of course, is completely automatic, turns out the turkey and all the trimmings just the way you want them."

"Two Ovens for greater convenience in cooking complete meals with utmost freedom from kitchen cares."

I love the illustration of the nattily dressed couple in the ad as they greet their unseen Thanksgiving guests at the door. (Notice how the art is cropped and the top of the man's head is as flat as a Dick Tracy villain's noggin.) Meanwhile, Chef Reddy happily slaves away in the kitchen.

I'm just not sure if I would have trusted the automatic electric range to handle everything with little oversight. I've seen enough 1950s and 60s TV shows to know that something always goes wrong (like on the Dragnet episode "The Big Weekend," when Officer Gannon leaves a duck roasting in the oven too long).

Officer Bill Gannon has his partner Sergeant Joe Friday over for dinner, and is about
 to cut into a very overdone duck with disastrous consequences on Dragnet

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Reddy was riding the range on Thanksgiving 1945 back on this 2012 post.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Lorain Telephone Thanksgiving Ad – Nov. 23, 1953

Here's a quaint reminder of how things used to be, in a much simpler time.

It's an ad for the Lorain Telephone Company with a Thanksgiving theme that ran in the Lorain Journal back on November 23, 1953. The ad suggests giving loved ones a call on the holiday, and provides a handy out-of-town rate chart for calls from Lorain, Amherst, Avon and Vermilion to variety of cities in Ohio and other states.

Calling from Lorain to Elyria during the day would cost 10 cents; Cleveland, 25 cents; Columbus, 65 cents; Chicago, a buck; Washington D. C., a dollar and five cents; and San Francisco, two dollars and thirty-five cents.

Of course, nowadays, people don't have to wait until a major holiday to call a loved one or friend. With cell phones, you make the call without any sort of thought about the cost, whether it's during the day or evening. But you pay dearly for it; I cringe whenever I make my monthly Verizon payment, but at least Verizon's customer service and coverage is much better than my old Trashphone Tracfone.

Lastly, seeing the little illustration of an operator makes me feel wistful. It's been a long time – probably the 1980s – since I've spoken to an actual operator while trying to get a phone number of someone. I remember how several old Ohio State dorm-mates tracked me down a few years after I graduated, since my number was listed. Now, no one's cell phone is part of a massive listing, so you're pretty much out of luck if you don't know someone's number. 

I'm having a hard time getting used to not having a land line. I still get home from work, looking for the answering machine that isn't there, wondering if anyone called, or if my virus protection expired, etc.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Sugardale Ham Thanksgiving Ad – Nov. 24, 1953

Do you have your Thanksgiving menu all set yet?

Just like last year, I know several people that are having ham for their feast on Thursday instead of the typical turkey. Since most of them are in their 20s, I assumed that it was just an example of the rebellious youth thumbing their noses at tradition. 

But as you can see from the ad above for Sugardale Ham, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on November 24, 1953, this particular preference for pork has been going on for a long time.

The ad features our old pal, Sugardale mascot Hamlet all decked out in Pilgrim attire. As usual, the porcine traitor follows the directives of his corporate overlords by promoting the serving of his own kind.

The "Ham Hints" in the ad are kind of interesting. One includes a recipe for a white sauce that includes chopped peanuts (which potentially could be deadly to someone with a peanut allergy); the other suggests pan-broiling leftover ham and serving it on Melba toast with Welsh rarebit.

I wonder if the current generation of youth, who grew up eating chicken fingers and Lunchables, even know what Welsh Rarebit is?

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I've mentioned several times how the Bradys didn't have turkey on Thanksgiving when I was a kid. For many years, Mom made two birds: a capon and a duck.

Duck for Thanksgiving? Hey that reminds me of this great Daffy Duck cartoon!

Friday, November 17, 2023

Marathon Gasoline Ad – Nov. 6, 1953

Did you know that Marathon Petroleum Corp. has its headquarters in Findlay, Ohio?

According to this Wiki entry, the company's roots trace back to several small oil companies in Ohio that banded together in 1887, forming the Ohio Oil Company, which was based in Lima. It was acquired by the Standard Oil Trust, but later became independent once again (thanks to anti-trust laws) – and started expanding outside of Ohio. 

Ohio Oil Company bought the Transcontinental Oil Company in 1930, also acquiring the Marathon brand name in the process. The company would change its name to Marathon Oil Company in the early 1960s. Marathon Petroleum would be spun off from Marathon Oil in 2011.

But in 1953, the Marathon name was still just a brand of gasoline, and that's what we see below in the ad that appeared in the Lorain Journal back on November 6, 1953.

It's an eye-catching ad, with its strong visual right out of Jungle Book promoting its "Cat" Gasoline. The ad copy cleverly cautions drivers that filling up with Marathon "Cat" gasoline may lead to the temptation to speed. 

Of course, the most interesting thing about the ad is the old Marathon logo consisting of a scantily-clad runner.

But even then, Marathon was using its great "Best in the Long Run" slogan.

Today, the Marathon Petroleum website notes that the company operates the nation's largest refining system. Pretty impressive for a company based in Findlay, Ohio (where Old Dutch Beer was brewed for many years).

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Meet George Pankratz – Nov. 1953

The same Nov. 12, 1953 edition of the Lorain Journal that included a profile of E. J. Kelley (that I posted yesterday) also featured a story about another elderly Lorain character with a strong work ethic who spent some of his life on Lake Erie. His name was George Pankratz and he had an interesting story to tell, written for the Journal by Joe Gilmore.

As the story at the top of the page notes, "Few people in Lorain, or anywhere, can look back to the turn of the century and remember experiences as clearly as if they happened only last year. George Pankratz can. But he is only 71, a youngster in the ranks of the city's pioneers.

"George Pankratz, who fires tugs in the harbor, is not an extraordinary man in his accomplishments. He modestly refers to himself as "only a laborer." He has never skippered any famous lake freighters, never carved a city out of a wilderness and never made a great mark in the annals of Lorain history.

"Still, there's something about the sparky little man that denotes strength, vitality, spirit and character. Perhaps it [is] because he just won't quit.

"Well past the retiring age, according to national working standards, Pankratz has no intentions of retiring from his job. "I figure on working until I can't work anymore," he said.

"A marine engineer by trade, Pankratz came to Lorain in 1895 as a boy of 14, finished his schooling here and went to work. His starting pay was six dollars a month. "I used to deliver meat for Bill Ashbolt when he had a meat market on Broadway, remember running around on the muddy streets in a cart pulled by a small pony." At the time he worked at the meat store, Broadway was the only paved street in town. All the rest were dirt – mud in rainy weather.

"Pankratz spent most of his life on the lakes. He worked on tugs for a while in 1911, then began fishing commercially. His most vivid recollection is when the bottom fell out of the fishing tug Saturn in 1922. He and five other crew members aboard the boat left the vessel minutes before it sunk. He was serving as engineer.

"He has been working at his present job since 1940, after he retired from engineering jobs. He has served aboard many of the lake freighters, tugs and barges, always a part of Lorain's marine activities.

"During the building of the breakwalls of the harbor, Pankratz worked on a tug named George Pankratz. Although the name is the same, he doesn't know the man for which the tug is named. "It belonged to some fellow in Wisconsin. No relation to me."

"During the winters of his years on the lake, Pankratz worked at the American Shipbuilding Company. This winter, he figures on working at his present job of repairing tugs for next summer's work.

"Pankratz now lives with his wife and two children at 1222 Ninth Street. Although he is the sole support of his small family, he insists that he does not continue to work for that reason alone. "I like my work," he said. "I've just never thought about retiring."

"On the piano in his comfortable home is a clock that has run perfectly for 40 years. Unlike its owner, the clock ceased to work a short time ago. Pankratz simply can't understand why it stopped."

****

Mr. Pankratz passed away on September 27, 1966 at the age of 84. His obituary noted that he was a retired Marine engineer and fireman for Great Lakes Towing.

"He was born in Russia and lived here 70 years. He was a member of St. John United Church of Christ, Eagles Lodge 343 and Tugmen's Association."

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Note that on that same page of the November 12, 1953 Lorain Journal is another celebrity Blue Bonnet wearer: Mrs. Johnny Mize, wife of the famed ballplayer who at that time was winding down his baseball career.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Meet E. J. Kelley – Nov. 1953

Every city that has been around for a long time seems to have had least a few colorful characters – citizens who happily marched to their own beat, attracting attention in the process. They often lived alone and were seen as eccentric, but were very much a part of the community nevertheless.

A good example is the gentleman profiled in an article above, which appeared in the Lorain Journal back on November 12, 1953. It's the story of E. J. Kelley and it ran in the paper on his 73rd birthday along with two photos of him.
The article notes, "Today is the birthday of one of Lorain's loneliest men. He's 73 today, but he doesn't really think he's so lonely.
"E. J. Kelley lives in a sturdy little shack on Colorado Avenue. He built the shack – part living quarters and part workshop – by himself out of scrap lumber he picked up in the course of business. Kelley sells firewood to Lorain area and Cleveland citizens. In fact, to anyone who happens to wander onto his small plot of ground.
"Familiar to most Lorainites as an "odd job" man, Kelley has been at his present location for five years. Before that, he had two locations at two separate times on East Erie Avenue. "One lot was sold and I just didn't do any business on the other."
"His present location, sheltering a home-made saw constructed from a weird collection of machinery and wood and a 1929 "A" Model Ford engine, and about four or five piles of cut lumber, provides him with a meager living, supplemented by an old age pension check.
"Possessed with a marvelous sense of humor, Kelley looks at death in a somewhat philosophical way. Although he enjoys living, he chuckled as he said, "I been on the death list for the past six years. Be dead now except for old Doc Patterson. He referred to Dr. F. R. C. Patterson, who has an office at Broadway and 13th St.
"Kelley was born in Lorain, married a woman from Perrysburg, and has spent most of his life either in that city and here. His wife died in 1933. He is the sole survivor in a family of 13 children.
"His odd jobs – beyond his wood yard – include killing rats, working on breakwaters and various labor jobs around people's homes. "One week I killed 35 rats in one woman's house. Boy did she have the rats. They came from all the houses around." Asked about his system of killing the rodents, Kelley presented a sly look and said "I got a real potent poison. I put it on bread and stick it in the rat holes. The next day, I give them another slug and 'bingo' they're dead.
"Like most oldsters in Lorain, Kelley has served time working on the lake.
"I sailed on the E. D. Carter, the Watson and the Wilkinson. I was chief engineer on the Wilkinson and second engineer on the Watson."
"The old man admits that living alone gets pretty lonely at times, but he forgot about it while showing his handywork in building his small frame shack. Actually, the shack is cozier and warmer on the inside than it looks like it would be on the outside.
""Come around tomorrow, Kelley said, "I'll get the saw hopped up and we'll saw some wood.""
Edward J. Kelley finally did make the death list a few years later on July 2, 1957 at the age of 80.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Buckeye Motors Ad – Nov. 1, 1973


Yesterday we saw how back in November 1973, Manners hoped to lure kids (and their families) into its restaurants by sponsoring a coloring contest. Today's post shows how Ford Motor Company tried the same approach: appeal to kids in hopes of getting the parents through the door – in this case, the door to the auto showroom.

Above is an ad for Buckeye Motors on Kansas Avenue that ran in the Journal back on November 1, 1973. The ad highlights the new 1974 Ford LTD, with an invitation to the public to "come in and see it for yourself."

The bait for kids was the opportunity to "take home our soft cuddly type."

Type of what? What is that thing?

Although it looks like a McDonaldsland reject, or something that you fished out of your bathroom drain with a coat hanger, the ad copy provides some hints. "You can drive me around," it notes. "No matter what you want me to do, I can handle it. (heh, heh)."

It took me a little while to get it. It's a puppet. A hand puppet. And it can handle it. That's a joke, son. And it's supposed to be a car. (Perhaps a car that would be right at home as part of the Carhenge roadside attraction).

Anyway, before I figured out that it was a puppet, I had scoured the internet looking for one of these things, using search terms such as "Ford plush doll" and the like with no success. Once I added the word 'puppet' to the mix, I discovered that there are at least three of them on Planet Earth that managed to escape the trash can in the intervening years since the ad.

I also discovered that it's blue and has FORD emblazoned on its, er, body. Here's an ample sample. 

I still think it looks like something that would follow Ronald McDonald around, mute and menacing. 

This series of photos gives you a better look at its car-like features. The big white stripe or bar is the bumper, and the hood opens like a mouth.

The father of one of my high school buddies worked at Ford, and they had an LTD. But I don't think the offer of one of these puppets had a hand in the selection of that model.

Get it? Hand? That's a joke, son!

Monday, November 13, 2023

Manners Thanksgiving Coloring Contest – Nov. 1973

Thanksgiving is next week. Unbelievable! It seems like it was just Halloween.

Nevertheless, if you haven't already, it's time to start thinking about the upcoming holiday. And to put you in the mood, here's a Thanksgiving-themed ad for Manners that pretty much took up a whole page in the November 5, 1973 edition of the Journal. As noted in the ad, it's the Second Annual Manners Thanksgiving Coloring Contest page.

It was a pretty nice promotion. Kids could bring their finished coloring pages to their local Manners, where their drawing would be put on display. If they brought their Mom and Dad along (presumably to eat dinner there) the young artist would receive a free Big Boy.

Each Manners restaurant would select a winner in each of three different age groups, with $10 Manners gift certificates as prizes. Then the three winners from each location would compete for seven special prizes, with the Grand Prize consisting of a $100 gift certificate from Clarkins department store. 

It's an interesting cross-promotion with Clarkins, especially since the one in Lorain had just opened in April 1973, and was just a few miles from both westside Manners locations.

Anyway, the illustration for the kids to color is quite nice, with plenty of details. What's unusual is that the turkey is rendered realistically, snood and all.

The Manners version of the Big Boy is appropriately decked out with a Pilgrim hat. I still prefer the design of this Big Boy, with his slingshot hanging out of his back pocket, to the more obese version that eventually replaced him. (I explained why there are two different Big Boy mascots to this very day back here.)

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Click here to visit the 'national' Big Boy website and enjoy a very well-done history of the brand. And here is the link to the Frisch's Big Boy website and its history page

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If all of this Big Boy talk has put you in the mood for the iconic double-decker sandwich, there are still some Northern Ohio locations, including: 12920 Brookpark Road, Brookpark, Ohio; 1701 E. Perry Street, Port Clinton, Ohio.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Lorain Journal Front Page – Nov. 11, 1922

Tomorrow, November 11, is Veterans Day – originally Armistice Day, which marked the day the fighting ended in World War I in 1918. The agreement to stop fighting took effect at 11:00 AM, "on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month."

Armistice Day was later changed to Veterans Day. It's kind of a shame, because the original meaning of the day – honoring the fallen of World War I, the "War to End All Wars" – has basically been forgotten by the general public, like so much of American history.

Nevertheless, I thought it would be interesting to look at an early Armistice Day front page of the Lorain Journal. The oldest one available was the 1922 edition, which was the fourth anniversary, and that is what you see below.


"CITY PAYS SILENT TRIBUTE TO DEAD ARMISTICE DAY" is the heading of the story acknowledging the remembrance. "Today at 12 noon, everyone in the city on the fourth anniversary of Armistice day, paused for two minutes and stood in silence as a tribute to the American soldiers who lost their lives in France during the World War.

"In celebration of the fourth anniversary of the signing of the armistice, the American Legion held a flag raising of the Oberlin avenue plant of the Ohio Public Service Co. at 2:30 this afternoon.

"Following the dedication of the new flag and flag pole at the Ohio Public Service Co. plant, the members of the American Legion marched to the monument at the corner of 5th street and West Erie avenue where they laid a wreath in honor of their fallen members as three volleys rang out from the firing squad.

"The Veterans of Foreign Wars held a smoker at the Moose lodge to commemorate the day.

"Elsewhere in the city American flags were displayed in honor of the day."

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Introducing Kellogg's Sugar Smacks Cereal – Nov. 1953

November 5, 1953 Lorain Journal ad

Yesterday we were talking coffee. Today – it's cereal.

When it comes to a sweetened wheat puff cereal, did your mom buy Post Sugar Crisp or Kellogg's Sugar Smacks? They're basically the same cereal; Post was there first, with Sugar Crisp (here's the 1950 Lorain Journal ad) and Kellogg's launched their version a few years later.

And above is the ad that ran in the Lorain Journal on November 5, 1953 breaking the news of the new cereal. That's famed Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey circus clown Paul Jung in the ad and on the box.

Another ad ran in the Journal a few weeks later on November 19, 1953.

Here's an oversized box that was part of a store display. It's currently on eBay.

I'm not sure why Kellogg's utilized the circus theme. Fellow clown Lou Jacobs was featured on boxes as well. It made for a fun and memorable visual theme. 
(It's kind of sad that a campaign like this would never fly today. For decades, clowns were seen as lovable childrens' friends. But in the last 20 or 30 years, clowns have become the very symbol of evil and terror, thanks to various horror movies.)
Anyway, when it comes to Sugar Smacks vs Sugar Crisp, I think Mom was in the Kellogg's camp. While I'm too young to remember any clowns on Sugar Smacks packages, I do remember when Hanna-Barbera's Quick Draw McGraw was on the  box (and Snagglepuss was on Cocoa Krispies).

However, after the members of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon menagerie were no longer featured on the boxes, I think we lost interest in many of the cereals – Sugar Smacks for sure. My siblings and I much preferred the Cap'n Crunch lineup from Quaker Oats, General Mills' Cocoa Puffs, etc. Mom did buy a few Post Cereals (mainly Crispy Critters and Alpha Bits).

Today, I almost always have a box of Sugar Crisp Golden Crisp in the pantry. But if Kellogg's put Quick Draw back on the Sugar Smacks Honey Smacks box, I'd give it a try again. But not while the unapppealing Dig'em Frog is on there!
I mean, frogs eat flies. Ugh.


Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Hills Brothers Coffee Ad – Nov. 5, 1953

Hills Bros. Coffee remains a favorite topic on this blog – even though I don't drink it.

It was the only coffee I remember my parents ever drinking. The brand was heavily advertised in the Lorain Journal in the 1950s and 60s. Perhaps that's how my parents first became aware of it – tried it – and liked it.

They were loyal to it, that's for sure. When it was on sale at Marc's, they would buy as many as a half-dozen cans at one time. At one point in the 1990s, I counted more than a dozen cans in their basement pantry. It was like money in the bank.

In the Brady household, Dad was the one who made the coffee. He liked it strong, although Mom and Dad both put half and half in theirs. Later, after Dad passed away, Mom still made it strong – and drank it black.

When she became a widow, Mom was funny about her coffee. Since she only drank about a cup a day, she hated wasting the rest of the pot. So she poured it into a carafe and drank it over the next few days. I did my best to encourage her to make a fresh pot every day ("You deserve it, Mom!") but she didn't vary from this habit, right up to the end. But she would make a fresh pot whenever I came over.

Anyway, above is a vintage Hills Bros. ad from the Lorain Journal of November 5, 1953. The gimmick of the ad is a free "Coffee Guide" that was in specially marked cans. At first I thought the guide was a little instruction book – but it was actually a little rectangular scoop.

There are a few on eBay right now, if your Hills Bros. coffee-making is in need of guidance.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Sandstone Monument – Mill Hollow

While down at Mill Hollow last week, I saw something that I'd never noticed before: the sandstone monument shown above. 

A nearby plaque provided an explanation. It read, "This sandstone monument represents the intersection of four of the original sections of Brownhelm Township. Sections 45, 46, 51 and 52 meet here.

You can easily see that intersection on the 1874 Brownhelm Township map below.

Here's a modern view of the same area.

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Even though the fall foliage has peaked around here, there's still plenty of color to enjoy on a sunny day. While down at Mill Hollow, I grabbed a few post-peak shots. For a change, I tried some new vistas instead of my usual Bacon House and steel bridge compositions.