Friday, November 28, 2014

That Bee Looks Familiar

Bee-lieve it or not, the above ad for PM Blended Whiskey – which ran in the Lorain Journal on November 16, 1949 – caught my eye. I'll explain why in a little bit – but first, a little background.

The ad was a black and white version of a full color ad that was part of a full series of wonderful magazine ads for PM Blended Whiskey. Here's the color version (below), as well as others that appeared as part of the "Clear, Clean Taste" campaign .

The product was bottled by National Distillers Products in Cincinnati, Ohio (and in case you're wondering, the "PM" originally stood for Penn Maryland). The PM brand – which seemed to be very popular in the 1940s and 50s – seems to be dormant now, and its parent company was guzzled up by Jim Beam Company in the late 1980s.

Even thought the whisky is no longer around, that great-looking bee in the ad is still around – which is why the ad caught my attention.

Today, he apparently serves as the advertising mascot of the Tropical Blossom Honey Company, advertised as Florida's Finest Honey. Here he is (below) as he appeared in the book Character Trademarks (1990) by John Mendenhall, which is why I recognized him in the first place. The logo is circa 1951, a couple years after the PM Blended Whiskey ad. He's traded his flower for an orange!

And here he is in full glorious color (below) as he appears today on the Tropical Blossom Honey Company website, which you can visit by clicking here. The company is in its eighth decade of business and has an online store.

I have no idea which company was the first to use that distinctive bee for their mascot.
Did you know this bee also has a cousin who lives in the Great White North? 
A greatly simplified and appealing version of him in this same pose (below) served as an early mascot for Billy Bee Honey, the number one honey in Canada. The company has been around since 1958.

The above artwork was reproduced from a label on vintage Billy Bee jar that I found in the spouse's Canadian grandmother's garage during one of our annual visits to her home in North Bay, Ontario.
Here's a similar jar and label that I found on the internet (below).
Courtesy Etsy
The Billy Bee mascot's design has been modified through the years. He eventually lost his gloves – as well as his arms! Here he is on a set of collectible glasses with a sports theme that often pop up on Ebay.

The spouse's grandmother would only buy Billy Bee Honey – the creamed, spreadable version – and she saved all her empty Billy Bee plastic tubs to store her leftovers in. The empty containers looked exactly like this (below).

After many years of trips to North Bay, we got hooked on the spreadable honey as well, and today it's the only kind of honey the spouse will eat, which is not too surprising since she's still a Green Card-carrying Maple Leafer. We bring some Billy Bee home from Canada whenever we go there. For a couple years, we could even get it at the Sheffield Lake Apples grocery store in a smaller container for the American market (below), but it seems to have disappeared from its shelves. I guess most Americans didn't know what to make of the sticky stuff.
We haven't been up to Canada for a little over a year, and have had to resort to buying some online from the Canadian Favourites website. Strangely enough, on the latest packaging (below), Billy Bee has grown his arms back!

Anyway, click here to visit the Billy Bee Honey website.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving at the Castle – 1954

Eating Thanksgiving dinner out at a fine restaurant is not a new concept. Back in 1954, many Lorainites undoubtedly enjoyed their holiday meal that day at the Castle.

Photo circa 1953
(The Castle has been featured on this blog many times, including as the subject of a three-part history (here, here and here), a 1952 Sixth Anniversary ad, a 1958 Halloween ad, a 1967 ad, and a 1975 Bill Scrivo article.)

And what sort of sumptuous fare did the iconic Lorain restaurant serve on that Thanksgiving 60 years ago today?

According to the above ad, which ran in the Lorain Journal on November 24, 1954, it was quite a feast. For appetizers: oysters on the half shell, fresh jumbo shrimp cocktail, tangbrosia fruit cup and a choice of chicken noodle soup or tomato juice. After a salad (with roquefort dressing) was the main course: roast young tom turkey (with Theresa's Special Dressing), cranberry sauce, whipped hubbard squash, candied yams and a choice of buttered green peas or whipped potatoes. Finally, for dessert, patrons enjoyed country fresh apple cider, fresh pumpkin pie (with apple butter and whipped cream), hot mince pie (with brandy sauce) followed by Pierre's French Ice Cream or Sherbet.

Oh, I almost forgot the after-dinner mints.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Ads – November 1954

Here are a couple 1954 Thanksgiving ads that feature a realistically drawn turkey.

The first ad – for Ande's – appeared in the Lorain Journal on November 22, 1954. As the ad noted, Ande's was located at the O'Neil – Sheffield Center, and at the time was Lorain County's only drive-in beverage store.

The second ad is for Avon Lake Food Center, located at Stop 65 in the Avon Lake Shopping Center. The ad ran in the Lorain Journal on the same day as the first ad, and features the very same great turkey art.
But let's talk turkey about that turkey. Despite the turkey's perky expression, he's fairly ugly, with wattles and a snood.

What's that? You don't know what those things are? Better head over to this website so you can see photos of the (ugh) real thing and read an informative explanation.

Just don't let it spoil your appetite for the big day tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bendix Ad – 1954 Lorain County Farm & Rural Directory

With all the hubbub recently about Bendix possibly moving its World Headquarters to another city (which you can read about here in the Chronicle-Telegram in case you missed it), I thought I'd post this ad. It appeared in the 1954 Lorain County Farm & Rural Directory.

The company has been at that location since 1941. (Click here to see a historical timeline.)
The directory ad is interesting to me from a graphic design and marketing viewpoint, because it includes the company's former name and logo, as well as a product logo that looks fairly modern.
But the main interest of the ad of course is the aerial photo, showing the headquarters and plant looking very much all alone on Cleveland Street. Quite a difference from this Bing Maps aerial (below) showing all the development that occurred over the last 60 years.
I've had the opportunity to visit the Bendix headquarters once or twice, as the company is a longtime client of my employer. It's a cool-looking building from the outside, but I can understand why the company feels the need to have a modern, new building to attract the best and the brightest.

Monday, November 24, 2014

N. Ridge Road Neighbors: Robert Taylor Insurance and Clearview Hobby

A few weeks ago, I did a post about the Harmon-Nielsen Company, formerly located at 2063 N. Ridge Road. Looking back now, I can see that my post was a little sloppy and light on information about the firm at that address today, as well as its neighbor to the west.

So please allow me to clarify things a little bit about the two companies that have the lunchtime pleasure of being located right across from Ilene's Dog 'n Suds.

First, the 2063 N. Ridge Road address belongs to Robert Taylor Insurance (click here to visit the company website and read about its history). As one person noted in a comment on my Harmon-Nielsen post, the insurance firm has done a terrific job of retrofitting the old sign (below) for its use. It really looks wonderful.
Meanwhile, the firm immediately to the west in its own building is Clearview Hobby / Futuretronics at 2055 N. Ridge Road. And despite what you might have thought after reading my post, it's still very much in business.
I stopped in recently on a Saturday morning to enjoy a friendly chat with Wayne Pakan, the owner.
First off, he clarified just how long his company has been at that location: 20 years. He also told me a little about his hobby store's specialty.
"Slot cars are now my core business," he informed me. Mr. Pakan is, in fact, the largest slot car dealer in Ohio, a claim that also appears in his ad that regularly runs in Cruisin' Times magazine (below).
For years, as Mr. Pakan explained, his business used to be 90% mail order and 10% walk-in. Surprisingly, he pointed out to me that those ratios have reversed in recent years – which is great, since that means that more people are visiting his store.
But despite the presence of a huge slot car track in the middle of it, the store is still an old-time hobby store. Walking around the tidy store was like going back in time. There's lots of Lionel trains, rockets, airplanes and plastic model kits. There's even an old Pac-Man machine for sale.
As you can see, Mr. Pakan's cat Chessie patrols the store, greeting slot car and hobby enthusiasts.
Click here to visit Clearview Hobby's Facebook page – and don't forget to visit the store too! It's open Monday and Thursday from 3 to 8, Saturday from 10 to 5 and Sunday from 10 to 2 (although it is suggested that you call first to make sure it's open).

You can call the store at (440) 277-8004.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Monroe House Move – November 1960

Houses that were moved from one location to another have been a favorite topic on this blog for some time now. Here's another one – this time from Oberlin (although it would probably be more at home on the Oberlin In The Past Facebook page). 

The article below is from the November 23, 1960 Lorain Journal and it tells the story of the "Old Monroe House" located in Oberlin, Ohio. (Click on it for a readable version.) The historic Italian Villa-type Century home was moved about 300 feet to make way for what was then the new Conservatory of Music. The house was the former home of James Monroe, who had quite a career in politics, as well as being a member of the Oberlin College faculty.

Today, the Monroe House is totally restored and part of the Oberlin Heritage Center and is open for tours. Click here for more information.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gary Motors Sales Rambler Ad – Nov. 24, 1954

Here's something that might have caught the attention of someone perusing car ads in the Lorain Journal back in the mid-1950s: an ad for Gary Motor Sales featuring beloved Disney character Jiminy Cricket promoting the 1955 Ramblers. It ran in the Lorain Journal on November 24, 1954.

It all makes sense when you realize that Walt Disney himself served as a pitchman for the Nash Rambler in TV commercials back in 1954. (You can read more about it here.)

What's really interesting (to animation fanatics like myself) is that Walt Disney's interest in making TV commercials with his beloved characters led him to engage his designer Tom Oreb to create modern, stylized versions of them. The results are quite unusual in some cases.

Here's a stylish Nash Rambler commercial featuring the characters from Song of the South: Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear.

And here are two more Nash Rambler commercials with a (gasp) redesigned, pointy-nosed Mickey Mouse. Pluto Pup, Minnie Mouse and (gasp again) two mousey offsprings of unknown parentage are in there too.

If you'd like to see more of Tom Oreb's redesigns of classic Disney characters, click here to visit the Cartoon Brew website.