Thursday, March 22, 2018

Casey’s Drive-in Ad – March 23, 1968

This blog is still one of the few places on the internet where you can find any mention of Casey’s Drive-in, the Northeast Ohio hamburger chain with the baseball theme that had restaurants in Lorain, Elyria, Vermilion, Rocky River and North Royalton. (I’ve done many posts about it since 2009.)

Well, here’s another vintage newspaper ad to add to the growing collection of online Casey’s memorabilia.  It ran in the Lorain Journal on March 23, 1968 – fifty years ago this month.
It’s a clever promotion, giving away kites in the windy month of March with the restaurant’s great Casey mascot on it. But more importantly, it has the one ingredient that is missing from most fast food restaurant marketing campaigns today: fun.
Today’s fast food restaurants try to convince potential customers that their food is the freshest, or that you can get your meal exactly how you want it, as if you made it yourself in your own kitchen – with local ingredients. 
My thought is that if I wanted that, then I would buy the ingredients at my local grocery store and make it myself for a lot less money.
I much prefer the days when fast food was a treat, and something fun.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Reddy for Action in the 1960s

Last week our old pal Reddy Kilowatt, my favorite advertising mascot of all time, electrified one of Gene Patrick’s "The Passing Scene" comics with a cameo appearance. This week, Reddy’s back as I feature two of his March appearances from ads that ran in the Journal during the month of March in the early 1960s.

After appearing seemingly every day in the newspaper in the 40s and 50s, Reddy's career as a spokesman for electricity began to dim a bit in the 1960s. Perhaps consumers were more sophisticated by then, having already embraced the many modern conveniences available in the post-war period.

But Reddy still had a job to do for Ohio Edison in the war against gas appliances. Here he is in a March 3, 1963 Journal ad promoting electric ranges.

(Looking at this ad, it occurs to me that some of my younger readers may not recognize the chalkboard and erasers in the illustration.)
Here’s Reddy in an attractive rendering a year later in a March 30, 1964 ad. He’s still pointing out that cooking with electricity is cleaner because it’s flameless.
I’m not convinced that the cleanliness factor was a strong enough advertising point to make the case against cooking with gas.

A better angle might have been to point out that “You’ll never blow up your kitchen with an electric range.” After all, there's at least two Laurel & Hardy movies where attempting to light a gas stove had explosive results.

Here’s the hilarious scene from Blockheads (1938).
In case you’re wondering why Laurel flicked his thumb a few times after discovering he didn’t have any matches, it’s because earlier in the movie he demonstrated a bit of white magic: using his thumb as a lighter. It worked with a pipe; too bad it didn’t work with the stove.

It’s also unfortunate that they didn’t take Reddy’s advice.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

United Polish Club – Part 2

The United Polish Club was celebrating its 50th Jubilee in 1963 with a big banquet scheduled for October. But the fun started much earlier than that.

A queen had to be selected to reign over the anniversary. Thus beginning in the summer, the Lorain Journal featured photos of Polish beauties vying for the title.

The first photo (below) ran in the Journal on July 12, 1963.
As the article noted, “Applicants for the Polish Club’s 50th Jubilee queen began rolling in today."

“First to enter the contest was Barbara J. Sakowski, 20, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Sakowski, 1233 W. 38th Street. The second contestant is Judy Ann Kapron, 18, daughter of Carl Kapron, 1214 W. 20th Street.

“The contest is open to all girls of Polish descent who are 17 to 24 years of age, married or single,” noted the article. “Applications for the contest are available at Polish organizations in Lorain and Elyria and must be accompanied by a picture. Registration closes Aug. 10."

Another photo ran on August 12, and this time the newspaper included more information about the selection process, as well as the prizes. (Note: one of the young ladies in the photo below would eventually be a member of the Jubilee Queen’s court!)
The article noted, “Every girl entering the contest will be awarded a trophy. Winners will receive additional prizes including savings bonds, wrist watches, charm bracelets, photos and other prizes."

“The crown and trophies for the winner and runners-up are on display at the M. O’Neil Co.

“The girls will be judged at the UPC street dance on 17th St. between Long and Oakdale avenues on the evening of Aug. 30. The queen will be announced and crowned on Sept. 2 at the UPC annual picnic at Michael’s Locust Grove.”

The last batch of contestants featured in the Journal appeared in the August 21st edition.
Finally, on August 30, 1963, United Polish Club began its big celebration. An article by Joanne Petticord in the Journal the next day noted, “More than 3,000 persons turned out Friday night to kick off the 50th Anniversary celebration of the United Polish Club at a street dance and to view the judging of the Jubilee Queen contest."
“Long Ave. and W. 17th Street was the scene jammed with cars and people as Polish music blared through the PA system for the first few hours of the celebration.”
Here’s the photo that ran with the article on the front page.
“Highlight of the evening was judging of the 17 contestants in the Jubilee Queen contest.
“Results of the judging were “locked” up for the night, and will be revealed at the Labor Day picnic of the UPC at Michael’s Locust Grove.
“However, it was announced that Miss Ohio, Bonnie Ann Gawronski of Toledo, will come to Lorain Labor Day to crown the Jubilee Queen and the two runners-up at the picnic.
“According to UPC officials, a Lincoln Continental, owned by Ralph Mitchell of the Merritt, Chapman and Scott corp will leave for Toledo Monday morning to drive Miss Ohio here. The car was donated by Mitchell.
“A “Parade of Cars” which will include Miss Ohio and UPC officials will leave for the picnic Monday at 2:30 from the UPC Club and will travel through Lorain.
“The entire 50th Anniversary celebration of the UPC will continue until Sept. 29, when Jubilee Week will begin.”
So who was crowned Queen? The Tuesday, Sept. 3, 1963 edition of the Journal revealed that Elaine Skolnicki, 21, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter J. Skolnicki, was the winner.
The front-page article written by Joanne Petticord noted, “Seventeen lovely girls in fresh summer smocks in a caravan of automobiles, led by the beautiful Miss Ohio, Bonnie Ann Gawronski of Toledo – this is the sight that greeted the 6,300 persons Labor Day at the 50th anniversary picnic of the United Polish Club.”
“But the highlight of the afternoon was the crowning of Elaine Skolnicki, 21, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter J. Skolnicki, 1114 W. 23rd Street.
“A senior at Ohio University, Miss Skolnicki, a charming blonde, is active in various university clubs and is majoring in home economics.
“As queen she will reign over all festivities of the UPC up to and including the banquet on Oct. 6.
“Runners-up in the contest were Cathy Muzilla, 21, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. J. Muzilla, 4040 Broadway, a junior at Ohio State University, and Sharyll Kay Megyesy, 18, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Megyesy, 910 N. Central Dr., an employee of Aldens Catalog Store Sales.
“The remaining 14 charming young ladies received trophies and pins from the UPC committee and will also reign as ladies-in-waiting to the queen and her court of two attendants.
“Mayor Woodrow Mathna presented the keys to the city to Miss Ohio and welcomed her and all the contestants to the picnic on behalf of Lorain."

Monday, March 19, 2018

United Polish Club – Part 1

The view this past Saturday
1968 Journal ad
One of the St. Patrick’s Day ads I posted on Friday was for United Polish Club, which was located at 17th and Long in Lorain. For decades, the Club was symbolic of Lorain’s rich ethnic heritage, and was one of many such organizations that collectively defined this working-class city.

Today the defunct club’s headquarters (above) is a forlorn site. The landmark building was declared a nuisance to public health by the Lorain Demolition Board of Appeals back in October 2013 (as reported by the Morning Journal here).

Since then, the iconic structure has been the subject of many interesting photo studies, including a great but heartbreaking series on the website, which includes links for both inside and outside shots.

Here’s another shot from Saturday.

But rather than be depressed, let’s look back at some happy times at the Club.

Tomorrow’s post will feature some of the happy hoopla surrounding the selection of the queen to reign over the United Polish Club’s 50th Jubilee, which was celebrated way back in 1963.
Another Journal ad from March 1968

Friday, March 16, 2018

St. Patrick’s Day Ads – 1964 & 1968

Well, St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow so that means it’s time for the annual bit o’ blarney here on the O’ Brady Blog where I post vintage ads with that theme.

I’d been a-diggin around in the Journal microfilm from 1964 (looking for Chicken Delight ads), so the first two ads are from mid-March that year.

First up is a portion of a large ad for The Reidy-Scanlan Company. It features a nice illustration of a leprechaun pulling wads of “green” out of a shamrock-covered piggy bank.

The ad also includes details on a neat round-trip for two contest that was a tie-in with the 1964 World’s Fair.
Next up is this wee ad for Heilman’s, who was serving up the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage, as well as Mulligan Stew. That’s a pretty stylized leprechaun.
By 1968, St. Patrick’s Day restaurant ads in the Journal featuring leprechauns seemed to be much rarer. Perhaps it was the tempo of the war-torn times.
But good old Harvest House Cafeteria out at Midway Mall (a favorite topic on this blog) included a small leprechaun brandishing a shillelagh in their ad that ran on March 16, 1968. 
The menu included a Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner and – in case you didn’t like Corned Beef – Roast Turkey with Hot Giblet Gravy, Baked Celery Dressing, Cranberry Sauce, Creamy Whipped Potatoes, Choice of Vegetable and Warm Roll and Butter. (Like I said before, it was always Thanksgiving at Harvest House!)
Other perennial blog favorite Vian’s skipped the clip art altogether.
So did United Polish Club, which will be featured on a blog post next week.
Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Passing Scene – March 1968

Here’s something I haven’t done before: present a whole months’s worth of Gene Patrick’s "The Passing Scene” cartoons in one post. All of March 1968’s strips from the Journal are presented here for your nostalgic enjoyment.

Gene seemed to really be on a roll this month with some really great, funny commentary about what was going on at that time in Lorain and the surrounding area.

It seems that at that time, Lorain was unveiling proposal after proposal of various projects (including a new civic center and arena). Gene must have been getting pretty tired of it, since nothing ever seemed to get built. The March 2, 1968 strip (below) includes a rare bit of opinion in the first panel.
The strip from March 9, 1968 (below) contains a rare instance of Gene crediting someone with the suggestion of a gag used in the strip. In this case, his fellow Journal coworker – Staff Writer Dick Panania – apparently contributed the funny mannequin gag in the second panel.
The March 16, 1968 strip (below) is unusual in that a self caricature of Gene Patrick himself appears in the last panel, in which Gene good-naturedly pokes some fun at his pal Dale Scherfling. The strip also includes a reference to the article about the proposed Sheffield Lake rec center that I mentioned here on the blog a few days ago.
The March 23, 1968 strip (below) is really great. It includes not only a spot-on caricature of Robert F. Kennedy, but a cameo appearance of our old pal Reddy Kilowatt. 
Lastly, the March 30, 1968 strip (below) ends the month with some good, old-fashioned funny gags, as well as a reference to L’Auberge du Port, a French restaurant in Vermilion.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Elyria Landmark Falls – March 1964

Here’s something that might be interesting to longtime Elyria residents. It's a photo of the stately home of Elyria lawyer King E. Fauver on Washington Avenue, being demolished to make way for an apartment complex. Another home on Washington also came down around the same time for new apartments, radically changing the neighborhood forever.

The photo and accompanying caption appeared in the Lorain Journal on March 18, 1964.

The history of the house can be traced back to at least as early as the 1920s, when it was the home of Theodore T. Robinson, the Chairman of the Board of Elyria Savings and Trust. He and wife lived there right up until around the early 1940s, when King and Annie Fauver began living there. 
This page on the Fauver, Keyse-Walker & Donovan law firm's website provides a nice capsule history of the original Fauver law firm, with photos of family members including King Fauver.

Interestingly, there's also a fast food connection with the Fauver family. John King Fauver, son of Annie and King Earle Fauver, was president of the former White Tower restaurant chain.

Today the former King Fauver property is the home of Carriage House Apartments.