Friday, February 2, 2024

Groundhog Day in the Journal – 1934, 1944, 1954 & 1964

Here's wishing you a Happy Groundhog Day! It's a nice little bit of fun and whimsy to break up the bleak winter. It's achieved greater prominence in the news in recent decades because of the popular 1993 movie (one of my favorites).

Here on the blog, I've done so many posts about it that it has earned its own label. (Consider visiting some of my old posts for that authentic 'Groundhog Day' deja vu experience! I've also featured so many vintage groundhog postcards that it's a challenge to find a new one each year.

Anyway, I like to see how the holiday played out in the Lorain Journal over the years. Sometimes the paper ignored it, other years it's front page news.

Groundhog Day 1934 included this great front page photo.

Apparently that isn't specifically Punxsutawney Phil in the photo. The article notes, "The groundhog's decision depends on what part of the map he chose to pop out of his hole.

"So far as Lorain is concerned, there were no shadows, the sun being covered by thick clouds throughout the day."
Ten years later on Groundhog Day 1944, the Lorain Journal gave Phil's wartime forecast front page coverage.
Fast forward another decade to Groundhog Day 1954, and the Lorain Journal didn't bother to mention Phil by name. But the forecast was the same: six more weeks of winter.
But by the time of Groundhog Day 1964, Punxsutawney Phil was back in the limelight in the Journal's coverage – and with the same forecast.
An official Punxsutawney Phil postcard portrait


Buster said...

I wonder when he became known as "Phil." I note he is almost never called by that name in the old news reports.

Don Hilton said...


I have a subscription to A search of its content from 16,142 publications from over 3,464 cities from all over the world shows the phrase "Punxsutawney Phil" first showing up on Groundhog Day 1961 in articles all over the U.S.

"Punxsutawney Phil was named after "King Phillip," the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club states online — without further elaboration. Prior to being called Phil, he was called Br'er Groundhog, according to the club."

Anonymous said...

I was watching Betsy Kling from WKYC Channel 3 Cleveland and she doesn't really dig the whole Groundhog Day tradition as Punxsutaney Phil has only been correct 3 out of the last 10 years.

Buster said...

Don - Thanks for the information! "King Phillip?" I thought Pennsylvania considered itself a commonwealth, not a monarchy.

Don hilton said...

Phil’s right about 40% of the time.

A Commonwealth, for sure, but still one of the original colonies!