Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014 - where has the year gone?.......

Merry Christmas to all our fans, members, and followers - your input is much appreciated.
from Dave and his entire family at Hot Rods and Jalopies

We are adding this little Christmas film that my son Jay produced a couple of years ago. (It was originally shown in 2012)  It is very special to me and I would like to add it once more.  Click on the bottom right hand corner of the picture below to view it full screen.

Also a big thank you to all who send or supply photographs and stories that make this blog site what it is all know who you are.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Season Post #4 - Roger's Childhood Christmases 1948-62 here in Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario......

All of you may recall that last Christmas I did a few posts as well, one featuring my good friend Roger Rickards and all the wonderful toys he received when he was a child here in Fort William, Ontario.  Have a look again at last years post (link below) then come back to see more of Roger's childhood at Christmastime.
Last Years Christmas Post - Roger
....then scroll down for some more photos and we will decipher what is under the Christmas tree as well as a surprise way down at the end of this post.

Here is Roger in 1948 about 1 year old and under his family's Christmas tree opening up his treasures..... In Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario back then, times were simpler, and of course as a child you had nary a care in the world....but like any child then and now, you could barely wait until Christmas to open up your presents.

The first of the toys Roger unwrapped was this wooden toy...I think every child must have had one of these at one time or another.  They were made by many manufacturers as well and called a toy lawn mower, clickety clack toy or whatever.
Be sure again to click on all the photos in this post once or twice to enlarge....
In this next 1948 photo Roger has many more toy presents opened including a whistling top, a riding steam engine and a wagon full of great treasures....some to be explained below....

The following collage is that of a number of riding steam engine toys of the era, and none of which were actually identical to his....

...Then the whistling top.....every child had one or more of these in their lifetime....

I have always appreciated vintage ornaments, especially the blown glass ones.  The vintage pine cone ones shown below were quite common for their day, but when my kid brother Corey was little, our parents put only plastic decorations on the bottom two feet of the tree, because there would be none left intact by the time Christmas came.

Here's Roger looking totally content riding on his train.... and look at all the wonderful items in the background....The American Beauty wagon, the tree light reflectors, the vintage (likely Zenith) upright radio that the family gathered around to listen to Christmas music and shows, and the toys inside the wagon.
Lastly, the icicles on the tree (we called them tinsel) that actually had lead content.
My uncle Wally had the most perfect tree of anyone I ever knew.  year to year he would actually iron the tinsel so they hung perfectly straight.  It would take him weeks to finish decorating the tree.

Below is a colour photos of what the American Beauty wagon would look like, and in the wagon was this fantastic little Ferry Boat toy complete with little 1940's plastic toy cars.  We're not sure exactly what the other items in Roger's wagon are.

The next two items are fairly close to what is shown in the black and white photo above.  Here we have a Zenith upright radio, which was an absolutely beautiful piece of furniture in the day, where the family would gather round every evening, sit together and enjoy all the excellent broadcasting that was available in those days.  Then there were the light reflectors (metal of course).  You would unscrew a bulb, place the reflector over the base of the bulb and screw the bulb back in.  I was always leery about getting an electric shock from these babies....and as I recall my dad did once or twice.

In this next photo, we are jumping ahead to 1953....Roger's brother Bob was just an infant (I don't see any toys for Bob...I guess Roger got all of the incredible toys shown here.  Bob was even too young for an abacus....well maybe the Bobo Clown was his....LOL
Their dog Panda also raked in a ton of his favourite canned treat "Pard Dog Food".'s the abacus and the slush cast RED tractor, likely by the Tootsie Toy Company.

.....and here is the Junior Doctor Kit, the Binoculars and the Bobo Clown which might have been Bob's...

Finally from the picture above we get to the PARD dog food....I'm thinking....could this be Roger'stoo?  Roger said his dog's name was Panda, but I don't see any dogs in any of the photos.  
                                              Forgive me Roger, I couldn't resist.... :-)

For these final few Christmastime photos and graphic items we jump to 1962...Roger would be about 15 years old, smack dab in the age of adolescence. we have colour photos.  
I truly loved the decorating in that era here in the Lakehead cities of Fort William and Port Arthur.  I remember my parents home looking almost exactly the same inside...similar nick-knacks, furniture and draperies.
BUT.....look what is just to Roger's left on the chair... It's an AMT model kit.....not just any model kit, but George Barris' New for 1962 Ala-Kart double the Ala-Kart and the stock model A in one kit.....WOW
We all loved our model car much so that I still build 1;25 scale model cars to this day.

OK....there is one more photo below.........SCROLL DOWN to see how we view Roger today........

WE HOPE YOU ALL HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS 2014 - There will only be one more small post before Christmas Day - from Dave and his entire family at Hot Rods and Jalopies!!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Season Post #3 - Go Get a REAL Christmas in Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario....and more

Well here it is...that time of year again when you have to make that BIG decision..."Artificial or Real".  
When I was a kid, there was never a was always REAL!  There were very few tree lots so we would head out to the country...usually the Oliver Lake area, trudge through 2 or 3 feet of snow to find our "wonder tree".  It was usually on the top of a 20 or 30 footer that you had to chop down first, then cut the top seven or so feet off.  Hopefully after you cut down the large tree and cut the top off, that it was as beautiful as it looked 20 feet up in the air.
It is probably one of the most important family traditions I ever remembered that we carried on through the generations.
So without further ado ...GO GET YOUR REAL TREE!!

The above art work is courtesy of Retro

Of course this sign at the left is not real, but it sets up the post for a few family photos taken this time of the year throughout the ages.

To those of you who don't know me personally, our last name is pronounced "sanno" with a soft "c" like in the word celery......surprised?

This photo is one of my all time favourite seasonal photos.  I believe it was taken in around 1940 by my father.  This is a picture of my uncle Henry straddling the hood of my dads Studebaker Erskine.  They were obviously out in the bush somewhere near Fort William and Port Arthur, Ontario getting Christmas trees for the whole family.

Here's my father back in 1958 loading a few wonderful Balsam trees in the back of his new Bel Air company car...I remember it being green and pretty much matching the trees loaded in the back.
My grandfather hated Spruce trees with the short needles, because they would dry out in no time and the needles would be all over the place.  He did prefer the Balsam which when watered properly would last much longer than the spruce. He had a Slovak name for the spruce trees that I can not mention here ☺.  The Balsam choice continued for a few generations.
My grandfather never drove a car in his life so my dad and I usually with a few uncles along would pick up trees in the bush for everyone.
I loved those wonderful times that are rarely forgotten especially at Christmas.

NEXT we jump a generation and a bunch of years to about 1980.  My youngest son was pretty young, so he and my wife were likely in the van to keep warm.  Here is my eldest son Darren, his cousin Jason and Jason's sister Colleen cutting trees at a tree farm just south of Kakabeka Falls .....always fun times with warm hot chocolate for everyone later.
Click on all the photos once or twice for enlargements.
This one is fantastic....cut-r-down!
Darren and Jason riding in the old trailer with our
Christmas trees!

One of the sights I remember as a child was heading down to the old Fort William City Hall during the Christmas season to check out the beautiful light display there.  One particular year, I remember the city workers made huge ice block cut-outs and placed lighted trees was spectacular.

A beautiful art piece showing a family heading

home with their recently harvested Christmas 

tree...the children couldn't wait to set it up and
breathe in the pine aroma.
This young person can't wait to get 

the tree home to decorate - what a

sweet picture!

The "Charlie Brown" tree is probably the best known tree of all time, next to the Rockefeller Center tree.  "A Charlie Brown Christmas" has been synonymous with the Christmas Season.  Be sure to check it out below.

The next few photos of "getting the Christmas tree" are the tongue in cheek ones from the movies we love the most this time of the year. on

After all that.......Ralphie still gets to see dad set up and decorate the tree, and all is forgiven!  One note about The Christmas Story is that it is pretty factual to the times during the early 50's.  Every time I watch this film, I see something I hadn't noticed before.

Christmas Vacation is another of the far out films of the season....we've all seen it....It's a film we all love and hate at the same time....well that's my opinion anyway ☺.  The important part is that the Griswold's went out to get their Christmas tree as a "family".  
Click on!

What a truly great photo from the turn of the century....hauling trees from the country for Christmas by horseback to sell in the city.

.....and finally of course the iconic "It's a Wonderful Life" ....showing the family Christmas Tree and a perfect ending.

OH...just one more.....we can't forget Alvin, Simon and Theodore under their Christmas out and get your REAL Christmas tree and relive your wonderful childhood days....Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas Season 2014 Post #2 - Classic Christmas Music and Advertising.....

During the Christmas season, HR&J enjoys and publishes a nostalgic look at this festive time of the year and takes a little detour from the "mostly car and local history" information that you usually see here.  You may see a vintage car or two however.  We hope you enjoy it.

The following are a few vintage pop Christmas sheet music covers...ones I'm sure you'll all remember.  When I was a kid taking music lessons, these were my favourite pieces to play over the holiday season.  I would purchase them from my music teacher or from Heintzman's Music store on the corner of Syndicate and Victoria Ave. (long gone now) or from Coran's music store further west on Victoria Ave.  The top three I still have today.


Click on Jimmy Boyd below to hear "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"
Then click on Bob Hope below to hear "Silver Bells" from "The Lemon Drop Kid"

These next two images are from a 1954 Esso brochure (thanks to Dave Howarth).  Many Esso retailers would have the identical brochure and put their stamp or print on them.  This one shows Esso Triangle Service which was on the corner of Fort William Road and Memorial Ave back then. The photo scans show the front cover in and out, the music pages then the back cover in and out.

The rest of the photos are mostly magazine advertisements from the earlier part of the 20th Century which I hope will tweak a memory.  My grandmother had a Victrola something like the one in the following advertisement....I wonder where it went.  They are both advertising the record players for Christmas........

You could not talk about Christmas advertising and not have at least one of Sundblom's Coca Cola Santa ads........this very colourful example was printed in numerous magazines through the years.

If you were in the money back in 1928, you may by your wife a new Silver Anniversary Buick, as THE Gift for the Christmas season.
...or if you weren't well off, you may purchase your wife or child a pair of Barney & Berry skates for Christmas.

If your great-grandfather purchased a RAY Camera back in the early 1900's into the 1920's, you would have one of the rarest cameras in your possession.  This particular ad shows that Fryer Studio sold these at one time.  This camera is worth hundreds of dollars today.
The next ad shows the late President Ronald Reagan advertising Chesterfield Cigarettes during his acting days.  Mr. Reagan actually had Alzheimer's disease and died from Pneumonia, not from lung cancer as some people think.

The 7UP bottling company always had some of the most colourful magazine advertisements, and this next one is no exception....with the famous green bottle, the swimmer/diver on the side and a total of 7 bubbles on either side of the 7up logo.
To the right is a very interesting health insurance ad saying that you could have an "easy mind" and spend more at Christmas knowing that you have insurance....

Last but not least is a tongue in cheek ad saying that after you make every one else happy at Christmas, you need to make yourself happy and purchase a new Colt Revolver.....WOULD YOU???...well maybe...the world is getting rough out there, but leave it 'til after Christmas, and don't put one under the tree.....
Thanks for checking out Hot Rods and for more Christmas posts soon!!