Saturday, December 22, 2018

Thoughts of Christmas Memories in our Hometowns of Fort William and Port Arthur and a little more.

Merry Christmas to all, and let it be said that I have neglected my blog pages terribly this past year for many reasons(no excuses), but like others have spent way too much time on my Face book page.  There are some great things there but to me its not as personal as these my blog pages.  I have many new stories to post here including more old local racing and city history that I will get to in the new year.
     So without further ado, here is a little lengthy Christmas post for 2018.  It has some history, some memories of our past and a few other tidbits of interest.  I hope you enjoy it.
     The first item of interest is my tongue in cheek "fake news" Hot Rods and Jalopies magazine cover for this year.  This is my 11th cover and if you want to see all the others, I posted the 10  together last year.  Here is the link, and don't forget to come back -
As you can see, my concentration is on Laurel and Hardy.....the two comics who started when there was no sound at the movies, just sub-titles as its called today.  They have been known world-wide for over a century, and people still can't get enough of them.  There are annual world-wide conventions for their fan club which still exists.

You can't beat Stan and Ollie for best comedy....

Considering Stan and Ollie literally destroyed copious amounts of Model T Fords in their films and even had some custom built for some of their films, I thought it nice to make up a little card showing some Christmas Winter Scenes.  Kudos to the fabulous artists who created these impressive images.

Moving along here and obviously on a Christmas theme, this is an advertisement from a mid 1950's magazine, I believe Post.  Reynold's Aluminum company didn't only make tin foil (I don't have a clue why people call it that because it's not tin at all.)  Reynold's also sold as shown here, 7-foot Aluminum Christmas trees, which of course you could never run a string of electric Christmas lights upon, as they would likely short out or electrocute you.....It's interesting to see how they were lighted.


Here is the Color or as we say in Canada Colour Wheel.  It would be illuminated by a mere flood light and the light circle would turn changing the colours on the aluminum tree.  You could decorate it as you like but again NEVER any electric light sets.  Here's a close-up of the light wheel...then scroll down to see how the wheel would change the tree colours.  I actually miss these trees, but are pretty difficult to get one let alone picking up the colour wheel.

Us car show guys in the 1960's would abscond with our father's colour wheels and use them with our car show displays.  We would put angel hair on our show cars and have the colour wheel give it a psychedelic look.

We will talk about Christmas drink mixers next.

 Coca Cola versus Pepsi Cola.  For well over 120 years, the rivalry continues for these two the point where Coke actually changed the look the typical Santa Claus had in the 1800's to what children presently comprehend.
Pepsi continued with the Santa challenge as well.  So here they both are.....and in my mind, and I even thought this when I was a kid.  All these Santa's were depicted as rosy cheeked drunks.  They all look like they added a few shots of rum to their bottles let alone the "coke in coca cola".....but if they make the kids happy, well what the hay.
Santa is Santa no matter what, and if you don't believe in a little magic at Christmas, you may as well crawl into your cellar and sleep 'til the end of the season.
All in all, I love these advertisements and have collected them for years......other Christmas mixers next.

Oh...sorry, one more Pepsi Cola tidbit here.  Here's a cute little card that you may have found in your 6 pack of Pepsi in the 1940s.  The bottles actually had paper labels and if you own one's considered a premium find as a bottle collector.  When Pepsi went from a 7 oz bottle to a 12 oz bottle...Coke did the same, but Pepsi had the best jingle to add to their Radio Commercials.  Think about it and see if you can remember the jingle or any part of it before you scroll past the card below.  The complete Jingle will be there.

"Pepsi Cola hits the spot
 12 full ounces that's a lot
 twice as much for a nickle too
 Pepsi Cola is the drink for you."

Now 7-up (a clear lemon-lime beverage) and Canada Dry (the king of ginger ales).

7-UP's advertising was incredible.  they were very elaborate and during the Christmas Holidays would spend millions of dollars on extra fancy ads like the one here, sometimes taking up the whole center section of a Post or Life Magazine.
This was a December 1954 Life Magazine ad.

 A Christmas Canada Dry Ginger Ale advertisement is almost as elaborate as the 7UP one and is from a December 1952 LOOK Magazine.

We always needed 7-UP and Ginger Ale for a great mixer for our Rye Whisky, and Coke and Pepsi for our Rum beverages.

Finally, the last beverage is basically for the kids....some people might use it for a mixer, and some of the coolers today even mimic the soft drinks from our childhood.
Sun Crest orange as well as Orange Crush was always a staple drink for us kids in the day.  This is a nice little Christmas ad for Sun Crest.

I've noticed on Face book.....there's been a lot of talk this year over icicles or tinsel as we called it.  As a kid my father, his brothers and all my uncles on the mom's side always did the Christmas Tree tinsel.  I had an uncle that was so into it that he actually ironed each strand and meticulously layered and folded them onto the tree, and once Christmas was over, gently removed them all for the next year.  That was fine with lead tinsel but as years progressed and lead tinsel was removed from the market in 1972 due to lead poisoning scares.  I was told that some are still available today from the black market or on line from people who bought and never used them over the years.  I did a search and saw prices at about $100. for a package....YIKES.
I don't even know if the plastic type which came our after 1972 are even available today.  They were so full of static electricity that if you, your cat or your dog would walk within 1 foot of your Christmas tree, that it would miraculously jump off the tree and onto you.  LOL
So...the next two photos are of a box of icicles(tinsel) from that era and also a picture of yours truly in about 1950 in our newer home with our carefully decorated and lead tinseled Christmas Tree.  With all pictures on this post you can click on them to view them larger.

This next group of photos is not so much Christmas, but the bitter cold we experience and will experience for the next few months brought to mind a wonderful memory of my childhood days which I believe at least anyone my age or near my age will remember.
With only one income in the late 1940s and 1950's and the fact that clothes dryers then were only affordable by the rich, our parents would hang our clothing on the outside clothesline, down the basement or in the porch.
My father wore those one piece thermal underwear with buttoned openings or flaps where you could access important body parts.  My mother found that they would dry much quicker even in the winter months if you hung them outside.....something to do with sublimation or something like that.  When it was time to bring them in they would be as rigid as a cardboard box, then slowly sag to the floor like a dead body...LOL  This photo is the closest I have to show you what this looked like.....and the following photos would just add a Christmas tone to it all.  Next..My mother's best Christmas gift ever.   Scroll down.

Shortly after I was born and actually I had remembered it when I was about 4 0r 5, my mother had a used Maytag gas engine washing machine....I think if she had an all year accessible river nearby she would have actually beaten the clothing with a rock to clean them rather than using her Maytag.  With one kick it would start up in the porch, and while running would dance back and forth across the porch until done...then use a hand powered ringer to get most of the water out.

In about 1952 and from Santa Claus Jonnie, she got her Beatty Electric ringer washer....this is the actual photo with the red bow I coloured up for this post.  She loved this machine with all her heart and was actually sad when she had to part with it years later when she finally got her first spin dry washer and electric dryer.....I know she's up there laughing her head off as I tell this story.        

Here is a couple of Christmas time advertisements that I recall from my Childhood days.  I remember in about 1955 getting our first Dumont black and white television set which looked pretty much like the one in the photo, but had a decent picture quality.   When the test pattern came one, my father would play and play with the settings to get it the best he could.
The Quaker State snowman advertisement was very typical of advertising winter products in the day.
 These are a couple of Christmas related magazines from my very young childhood days.  The Collier's was from December 1952 and the Post from December 1949.  The art work is marvelous on these and all the magazine covers from those final very funny post below.

 I believe this was a Christmas Postcard from Germany in the day, but I re posted it and added new wording.....but still it's showing kids drinking booze, a baby holding a bottle and the brother pulling his sister back from drinking it.  This is truly weird stuff for the early 1900's 
 I hope you enjoyed this post.....A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS FROM
                                                    DAVE AND HIS ENTIRE FAMILY.....STAY SAFE OVER THE

Friday, December 14, 2018

We Need a Little Love This Christmas in our Home Town of Thunder Bay - City Fathers Please Consider This.......

A small Christmas post to encourage The City of Thunder Bay, formerly Fort William and Port Arthur Ontario to erect a huge Christmas Tree on the City Hall property as they used to do, "in the good ol' days".

The following 6 photos with thanks to their photographer back in about 1969 is a fabulous memory we once had when The Hydro Electric commission would erect a giant Christmas tree on our City Hall property.  This would be similar to what they do annually at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

This could easily be made into an annual event with Christmas carols and local entertainment.  This could also be done in a prominent spot in the Intercity Area or anywhere else where people would gather.  

Thanks to Gary Spence (Thunder Bay Memories) for helping me re-locate these photos.

Monday, August 6, 2018

More of the 1950's at the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition Race Track in our home towns of Fort William and Port Arthur

It's difficult to believe that fully organized racing began here in our Lakehead cities as far back as the 1920s, but the Hotrods and Jalopies Generation in my mind started in 1952 with a race held in Murillo in August and the first race of the Lakehead Stock Car Racing assoc. started at the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition in the late fall of 1952.
So as we start a brand new blog post months overdue, we have donated photos from Glen Kettering's album, Cindy Patton's album (Wally Prokosh's daughter) and Glenn McKinnon's photos.  Thanks to all those who have taken the time to donate photos for our use.  This fall and into winter we have numerous more photos and news clippings that I will share with you, both on early racing and Fort William and Port Arthur history.
To start off, the first photos are mementos of the very first Lakehead Stock Car Racing Association's program and race day which took place on October 6, 1952.

The first LSCRA program with thanks to Glen and Miriam Kettering
 This next piece is the 1952 Roster.  Do you recognize any of your friends or relatives that raced that first race?  Be sure to click on all the photos and brochures to view screen size.

The next two are Times Journal clippings of the historic event.  You can vividly see the old animal barns that were at the south end of the track in turn 1 & 2.

Here is an interesting photo of the #34 Kam Motors car driven by Onorio(Canary) Trevisan and Bill Chepil.  This then and now photo was taken from the original Kam Motors used car lot on Leith st facing towards the garage.  It is now a taxi business.
With much thanks to Glenn McKinnon we have this full color slide to share with you.  This is a circa 1956 photo taken from the Grandstand towards the judges stand and I believe during fair week.  The old wooden fence circling the track is visual as well as a few elevators along the waterfront.  The track would encircle what was also once the golf dome with is now gone as well.  Wouldn't it be great to build the track in its original place again.....not likely.

As I drove by Current River and Current River park the other day, I was remembering The Casino Dine and Dance which was just adjacent (south of) the Current River dam which eventually burned to the ground.  It was a favorite of my parents to have a nice dinner together and spend a night on the dance floor.  Oddly enough it was never a real Casino.  As you can see they even sponsored a stock car in about 1953.

I always like to show the close proximity of the track to where the Coliseum Building is today, and this one is no exception.  With thanks to Wally Prokosh's daughter Cindy Patton we have a number of new clippings and photos which will be brought out over the coming months.  In front and possibly in the last lap is #49 Conrad Trombelli just ahead of #87 Tony Massaro as they pass the gate and the Coliseum building.

The next photo is of Conrad Trombelli taking the checkered flag in front of a packed grandstand and off to the right, the mezzanine area which was the uncovered portion of the grandstand to the north.  Yours truly is somewhere in the crowd selling cokes to get into the races for free.

This is a a very interesting photo of my hero Barry Kettering with a seriously damaged #47 car circa 1953.  Barry's #47 cars were sponsored by Bud Heidrick.  One day when Bud was at the shop and Barry wasn't around, roller skates were welded to the top of his car.  Bud had told Barry that he would have to leave the roller skates on his car until he stopped rolling over.  Obviously Barry did, lost the roller skates and went on to much bigger and better things until his very sad and untimely death years later.  The red rectangle shows the roller skate on his car.

 Here's a typical photo clipping from our newspapers in the day.  We always had great racing coverage which made for record crowds on race days.
 Another clipping from Cindy Patton to enjoy.

In 1957 Barry and Glen Kettering had built a brand new car and was dubbed #57 for the year of change.  Here is Glen and Barry with their horseshoed 34 Ford coupe named Poopsie.  This car went on to numerous wins for the Kettering brothers.
 The last clip on this post is from Cindy as well.  It was a 1958 notification that Wally Prokosh, her dad was back in the lineup with a vengeance and would also see many successful race days at the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition race track.
 Hope you enjoyed this post.  I've been busy working on my new hot rod project and recovering from some health issues, so if you liked this, let me know and I will get back on track on the blog and slow down somewhat on my Facebook page.  Thanks, Dave