Moving pictures that will move Buffalo: Pathe posts entire newsreel collection on-line

By Steve Cichon | steve@buffalostories.com | @stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY – It’s an amazing treasure trove.

Pathe (pronounced {path-AY’}) News, one of the leading producers of the newsreels shown in movie theatres around the world from the 1920s through the 1960s, has posted it’s entire 85,000 video clip collection on YouTube.

blizzard37-1
Dateline: Buffalo! The old Pathe newsreel service posted 85,000 news and lifestyles films to YouTube, including ten showcasing some part of life in Buffalo. These newsreels, featured in movie theatres before the feature shows, were the “evening newscasts” of the time. (Buffalo Stories screenshot from “British Pathe” YouTube Channel video)

Think of the ways the world changed in that time, and know that you can easily watch clean, first generation videos of those changes as they happened, online. It’s an incredible digitization effort, and it’s even more incredible that it’s available to the world for free.

While the scope of the project is impressive, my parochial interests took me not in search of the Hindenberg, the liberating of Paris, or the first manned space flight. I, of course, searched “Buffalo.”

Many videos came up in the search, but there were ten relevant items which prove to be flabbergasting glimpses into Western New York’s past.

What follows here are links to those videos, with brief descriptions and screen shots taking a look back.

The Dodgers! A Prohibition Sidelight From Buffalo (1931)

Border police inspecting cars, looking for “the good stuff” at what appears to be the Peace Bridge, but I’m not sold on that– Booze smuggling was a growth industry in our border town while the US was forcibly on the wagon during Prohibition.

Buffalo, US (1939)

Curtiss Aeroplane test pilot Lloyd Child hits 525 miles an hour, faster than man has ever gone before, while testing the French Hawk pursuit plane.

Blizzard In Buffalo (1937)

Three people were killed in what was, at the time, the worst December snow storm in history. Great snow footage and scenes from around Buffalo.

 

Skiing Behind Plane Buffalo (1938)

The Red Jacket Ski Club does what looks like water skiing… But on snow instead of water, and a plane instead of a boat. Wacky!!

President Johnson’s Quick Tour Of New York & New England (1966)

President Lyndon Johnson visits Buffalo. The first scene is great– people at the Buffalo Airport, then a Niagara Square rally for the President. From there, it’s on to Lake Erie, where LBJ, surrounded by local dignitaries (like Mayor Frank Sedita and Deomcratic Chairman Joe Crangle) is shown a pail of filthy, contaminated water from Lake Erie. It would become the beginning of movement in the efforts to clean up the lakeshore in Buffalo.

Us Women’s Golf Championship (1931)

With The Country Club of Buffalo in Williamsville as the backdrop, beautiful flapper women vie to become the US womens golf champion.

Snow Scenes In States (1962)

A perefct example of the over-the-top writing and delivery that has become associated with newsreels. Snow swept across two-thirds of the country, including many places that usually see little snow. The whole two minute piece is fun to watch, but there are a few quick shots of Buffalo starting at :46.

 

Striking Schoolteachers U.S.A. (1947)

Buffalo Public School teachers shown on strike at schools across the city… Also featured: The smiling faces of dozens of children, happy to be out of class.

Bell Helicopter (1944)

The brand new Bell helicopter on display inside the Buffalo (Connecticut Street) Armory.

Oh – This Spring Weather (1926)

Cold and snow hits Buffalo during the brutal spring of 1926, when we had a freakish St. Patricks Day storm. This is video from all of the ships paralyzed in Buffalo Harbor.

Buffalo’s Blizzard of ’77: Newspaper, radio & TV broadcasts bring the storm back to life…

By Steve Cichon | steve@buffalostories.com | @stevebuffalo


BEN29jan77BUFFALO, NY
 – It was the benchmark storm by which we measure all storms in Western New York. In killing 29 of our Western New York neighbors and cutting us off from the world (and heat, and food) for a week, this storm also gave Buffalo a greater dose of respect for the power and cruelty of what winter can bring; it’s a lesson that has become a part of our DNA. While we scoff at snow and predictions of snow, deep down, we know what’s possible.

We haven’t had an event like the  Blizzard of ’77 since, and we are nearly certain to never repeat it. While we’ve been striken with weather with elements of that watershed snow storm– a blizzard in 1985, 7 feet of snow in 2000, The October Surprize storm– we as a people and a society learned from that first one and each successive one. Our civil authorities, police, fire, road crews, public weather forecasters, commercial forecasters– everyone is ready to make sure that we remain safe during potentially deadly winter weather events.

BEN31jan77This page is being published as the snow is beginning to fall during “Winter Storm Vulcan,” which has prompted the NationalWeather Service to issue a Blizzard Warning for Western New York. We don’t use the “b-word” lightly here. While it’s the second blizzard warning of this unusually snowy and extremely cold winter of 2013-14, this winter marks the first blizzard warnings in 20 years.

With today’s snowfall in mind, if Jimmy Griffin were with us today, he might modify that famous advice he gave during the Blizzard of ’85. Sure, he’d still encourage us to stay home and grab a six-pack, but he might also encourage us to enjoy some time online, remember some long-gone names, faces and names, and remember that it could be much worse that what we’re experiencing today.

From the Buffalo Stories audio vault:

For this tremendous collection we are indebted to longtime radio enthusiast Tom Taber, who spent the night of January 29, 1977, tuning around the radio dial at his home in Albion, NY. Much of the audio is scratchy and fades in and out, but I think that helps paint a better picture… of sitting in your bedrooom, playing with the radio while watching the snow pile up outside the window.

Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com

Buffalo’s Blizzard of ’77: Newspaper, radio & TV broadcasts bring the storm back to life…

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY – It was the benchmark storm by which we measure all storms in Western New York. In killing 29 of our Western New York neighbors and cutting us off from the world (and heat, and food) for a week, this storm also gave Buffalo a greater dose of respect for the power and cruelty of what winter can bring; it’s a lesson that has become a part of our DNA. While we scoff at snow and predictions of snow, deep down, we know what’s possible.

We haven’t had an event like the Blizzard of ’77 since, and we are nearly certain to never repeat it.

While we’ve been hit with weather that had elements of that watershed snow storm– a blizzard in 1985, 7 feet of snow in 2000, The October Surprise storm– we as a people and a society learned from that first one and each successive one. Our civil authorities, police, fire, road crews, public weather forecasters, commercial forecasters– everyone is ready to make sure that we remain safe during potentially deadly winter weather events.

This page is being published as the snow is beginning to fall during “Winter Storm Vulcan,” which has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Blizzard Warning for Western New York. We don’t use the “b-word” lightly here. While it’s the second blizzard warning of this unusually snowy and extremely cold winter of 2013-14, this winter marks the first blizzard warnings in 20 years.

With today’s snowfall in mind, if Jimmy Griffin were with us today, he might modify that famous advice he gave during the Blizzard of ’85. Sure, he’d still encourage us to stay home and grab a six-pack, but he might also encourage us to enjoy some time online, remember some long-gone names, faces and names, and remember that it could be much worse that what we’re experiencing today.

From the Audio Vault…

For this tremendous collection we are indebted to longtime radio enthusiast Tom Taber, who spent the night of January 29, 1977, tuning around the radio dial at his home in Albion, NY. Much of the audio is scratchy and fades in and out, but I think that helps paint a better picture of sitting in your bedrooom, playing with the radio while watching the snow pile up outside the window.

Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com

The late, great B-kwik Food Stores

By Steve Cichon | steve@buffalostories.com | @stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY – In the 1950s, grocery shopping was done primarily at what we’d now consider small-to-medium-sized grocery stores like A&P, Park Edge, Mohican, Red & White– along with small neighborhood corner stores, many of which had been in operation for decades.

As the suburb helped create the supermarket to replace the smaller stores, many of the more successful smaller scale operators became players in the Buffalo supermarket business. The owners of Super Duper, Bells, and Tops all had years of grocery experience before opening the larger stores.   The same is true of Wegmans, which didn’t come to Buffalo until the late ’70s.

The only Buffalo name to last is Tops. Tops Friendly Markets grew into a Western New York institution by expanding through franchising, first with Tops Markets, then with B-kwik markets, then with Wilson Farms stores, bringing three different levels of grocery service to Western New York.

Tops had only been on the scene for 6 years early in 1969, when Niagara Frontier Services took out a full page ad in the Courier-Express, looking for new franchisees, and bragging about the new stores that had been built in the previous few months.
These are the photos of the Tops, B-kwik, and Hy-Top Pharmacy stores which were built in the second half of 1968, along with the brief franchising pitch.
bkwikdelavan
B-kwik Delavan Ave at Humber

B-kwik Main St, Delavan NY

B-kwik Delevan Ave
B-kwik Delavan Ave at Humber

 

bkwikensminger

B-kwik, Ensminger Rd, Tonawanda

bkwiksenecast

B-kwik, Seneca St. This store was on the corner of Kingston Street. It moved to the current Tops location several years later when B-kwik took over several area “Food Arena” stores.

bkwikwalden

B-kwik, Walden Avenue, Buffalo

bkwikwilliamst

B-kwik William St, Buffalo

hytopmainplace

Hy-Top Pharmacy, Main Place Mall

hytopmaplenforest

Hy-Top Pharmacy, Maple at North Forest

TopsChalmersAve

Tops, Chalmers Ave, Buffalo. Across the street from the Central Plaza

topsclintoncheektowaga

Tops, Clinton Street, Cheektowaga. Current site of Consumers’ Beverage

topslockport

Tops, Lockport-Olcott Rd. Currently Family Dollar, across the street from current Tops.

TopsMapleNorthForest

Tops, Maple at North Forest. Was VIX, now vacant.

topsmedina

Tops, Medina, NY

NFS nfsgrowing pitch
This post originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com

 

 

The Barcalounger: Buffalo-made laziness & sloth

By Steve Cichon | steve@buffalostories.com | @stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY – Maybe the same grandmother who always called the living room “the parlor” also referred generically to any recliner as a “Barcalounger.” The big comfy chair was originally built here in Buffalo, as a product of the Barcalo Manufacturing Company on Louisana Street.

During World War I, the company bragged that their forgings were battle tested (see below.) For years, they made tools, beds, and lounge chairs in the Old First Ward until the late 1960s when the company filed for bankruptcy.

The name lives on, on chairs produced elsewhere, but when– with the pull of a handle– a man can go from a seated position to a relaxing nap position, he can thank hard working men from the Ward for blazing a new trail in family room sloth.

barcalounger52
1952 Barcalounger ad
The Barcalo Manufacturing plant in 1918.
The Barcalo Manufacturing plant in 1918.
Buffalo-made Barcalounger, 1952
Buffalo-made Barcalounger, 1952
Encouraging children to use hammers.
Encouraging children to use hammers.

Encouraging abandoning your child in a Buffalo-made cage, 1910s.
Encouraging abandoning your child in a Buffalo-made cage, 1910s.

This post originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com.

Wild & Vicious 1960s Cheektowaga Street Gangs

By Steve Cichon | steve@buffalostories.com | @stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY – Seriously.  In September, 1960, Western New York faced a new kind of problem, namely Cheektowaga street hoodlums.

“Let this serve as a warning to other rowdies… we’ll throw them in the pot.”

This story originally appeared on TrendingBuffalo.com

Even Old Buffalo Looking New: Ch.4’s 1960’s Buffalove

By Steve Cichon | steve@buffalostories.com | @stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY – My friend Libby wrote something the other day which made me think. She was talking about the cold and the gray and the snow, and how we don’t even realize how the darkness of it all creeps into our personality.

“Honestly do not even realize I am depressed, until the sun comes out and everything is sunshiny and I feel the depression lift!”

skyway
I read this amidst my going through my collection of old radio and TV trade magazines. In the late 50s and early 60s, these magazines were filled with ads from local radio and TV stations looking to appeal to national advertisers. They talk about how great the station is, but also how wonderful the city and it’s people are– a great place to sell your stuff.

There are plenty of great ads from Buffalo stations. It’s like a Buffalo version of the wacky creative efforts you might see from the guys on Mad Men.

WBENTVbuildings

I’ve used these old magazines as a resource for years. Decades even. This time, however, the feeling was different, and Libby’s exaltation helped me put my finger on what made some of these ads better than they were the last time I looked.

These ads look better and more interesting, because there is hope and brightness in Buffalo like we haven’t seen here since the late 50s.

These ads, from 1958 and 1964, show WBEN-TV’s excitement for Buffalo and what is to come, and are meant to showcase the “just-over-the-horizon New Buffalo” that was on it’s way.

These ads feel fresh and great, because while there was a 60 year lag, that New Buffalo really is just around the corner this time.

WBENTVgrainelevators

When we were filled with gloom and darkness about our city, we would look and read these, and point to the empty, rotting grain elevators as a vestige of a vanished industry.

We’d look closely on the Skyway image, and see the beams marked with the logo of Bethlehem Steel. It was a bridge built to get 15,000 men from the city to their jobs in a plant that’s been cold for 30 years.

We imagine what Buffalo would have looked like if we didn’t build highways and downtown office buildings for 2 million expected Western New Yorkers, and we lament the buildings that were lost because too much of downtown was torn down too quickly for the wrong reasons.

But now, with the sun out here for the first time in generations, we look at these images and see progress and what’s to come. We now recreate under the Skyway, with promise of more to come. Grain elevators and malt houses are becoming the avant-garde, up-and-coming spaces that the next generation of Buffalonians realize are incredibly unique to us alone, as moves are made to re-imagine and re-purpose what makes us unique.

WBENTVskyway

And with cranes and scaffolds up in dozens of places around the city, the thought of “new building” isn’t necessarily followed by “oh no.”

As the sun shines, and us Buffalonians feel the depression about our city lift, we’re beginning to figure out how to make our dynamic past, part of our dynamic future.

And we’re getting excited about seeing how the same ol’stuff starts to look different with some sunshine on it, warming the face and the soul.

Back to the glory days of 3¢ beer in Buffalo!

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Everyone loves a cheap beer, right?

Buffalo-Beer-wars-Buffalo-photo-Copy-300x211

But 3¢ beer? Now that’s news!

As newspapers around the country struggle, maybe they need to take a page from the 1935 Courier-Express, and report the news the people want– Namely, find the city’s cheapest schupers and kimmelwecks, and print that. Print it everyday.

Buffalo-Beer-wars-Buffalo-N

After reading this, I’ll never pay a nickel for a beer again!

This page originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com

UFOs on the Niagara Frontier

Are we alone out there? While many of us still ponder that question, it’s no longer a question that receives the sort of mainstream media attention that it once did. At some point, we stopped thinking of UFO sightings as news. Maybe it was around the time society started thinking of people who see UFOs as fringe kooks. But through the 1950s and 60s, everyday people made reports– and those reports were in turn, put in print.

Buffalo-NY-Courier-Express-1951-a-6082

A joking paragraph in 1951 Courier-Express article

Here are a few of those reports from Buffalo area newspapers. They show the cross-section of opinion with a mix of straightforward reporting, sensationalism, and skepticism.

Since conspiracy theories abound,  rest assured the only edits made to these images were, in some cases, taking the date and name of the newspaper from the page on which the story occurred,  and resizing it and pasting it to the top of the story. Nothing else was changed from the microfilmed copies of the newspapers.

 

Buffalo-NY-Courier-Express-1952-8442
This story was about DC, and made no mention of Buffalo.

Buffalo-NY-Courier-Express-1950-2451

Buffalo-NY-Courier-Express-1950-3518

Buffalo-NY-Courier-Express-1952-7923

Buffalo-NY-Courier-Express-1952-8752

North-Tonawanda-NY-Evening-News-1966-a-Grayscale-3653

Lockport-NY-Union-Sun-Journal-1967-1664

Niagara-Falls-NY-Gazette-1968-Jun-Grayscale-0249

Niagara-Falls-NY-Gazette-1971-Sep-1

Niagara-Falls-NY-Gazette-1971-Sep-2

Courier Express, 1969

 

This page originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com

Black Friday shopping in Buffalo…1968

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Even before it was called Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving has long been the day where people decide they need to get their behinds in gear for Christmas present shopping.
Sattlers close thanksgivingThis year’s big Thanksgiving retail controversy surrounds the many stores which have decided to open on Thanksgiving day, taking employees away from their families and friends on one of the last vestiges of humanity left in our God-forsaken country. I think that’s how I heard the whole thing described.  Anyway, it seems the whole world is against this move, calling it unprecedented. Most would point to the notion brought forth in this Sattler’s ad from 1968, wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, and asking them to stop by after the holiday.

For decades, I worked in the radio and TV industry, which can’t shut down for holidays. Even when you hate holidays, hate your family, and have no friends, it’s still awful working on a holiday when the rest of the world isn’t.

There’s always a very small number of people who’ll say, “I’d rather work!” Those people need to find better ways to deal with their problems. Just like the people who are excited about being able to leave their families on Thanksgiving to go buy worthless, consumery presents for those same people they are leaving.

Even if you hate your family, you should still spend time with them. Sitting in an intoxicated stupor on the couch in the same house counts as spending time with your family. At least I hope so.

Anyway, Thanksgiving 2013 is NOT the first Thanksgiving where Buffalonians could leave their homes and shop on the big day itself. In 1968, IDS Department stores advertised their 4 area locations were open on Thanksgiving Day. Could that be part of the reason no one has ever heard of IDS 45 years later? Hmmmmm.

I think shopping on Thanksgiving is a terrible idea, and, like every good American should be, I will drunk on a couch–not shopping on Thursday.

So here is that IDS ad, and the first of about 60 others to come over the next few days… A quick visit back to some of the cool things you could buy… and some of the cool places you could buy them in. Black Friday 1968 in Buffalo. As you’re reading, keep in mind that government data says that a 1968 dollar is equal to $6.71 in 2013 money. Enjoy!

openThanksgiving

The IDS stores in Buffalo’s Central Park Plaza, Union Rd-Cheektowaga, Union Rd-Orchard Park, and Niagara Falls Blvd were open 10-5 Thanksgiving Day 1968.

admiral radios

Admiral radio’s AM/FM radio is $106.55 in today’s dollars

am&as corningware

Classic Corningware from AM&As

am&as dolls

AM&As

AM&As kids

AM&As massagers and curlers

Gifts for the lady from AM&As

am&as toys

More AM&As toys

am&as windows

come see the AM&As windows downtown…

bells can opener

Bells helping men buy presents for their wives…

Bergers by floor

LL Berger’s, six floors of holiday savings downtown

bergers CE

LL Berger’s and the Courier Express

boulevard mall

capecod junk

Junk from the Cape Cod store

capecod stores

century catalog

Century: one of Buffalo’s great catalogs used to pick your own gifts!

Century junk

Some of the junk available from Century

Hengerers James Bond racer

From Hengerer’s

hengerers iroquois lighter

Hengerer’s offered this great Iroquois Beer can lighter for only $2. Smoke ’em if you got em!

GEX

Half of a GEX ad… GEX was located where the Walden flea market now stands.

gutmans charge acct

Hey girls! Open your Marine Change at Gutman’s!

hengerers gifts mean more

Hengerer’s had about 10 pages of ads in the paper.

hengeres hottiesHengerers hotties

Hengerers

hens&kelly men

in 1960s mens ads, there was always a guy smoking a pipe, just like this Hens & Kelly ad. Always.

Don Cherry OWNED

Not an ad, but photo of Rochester Amerks Defenseman Don Cherry (4) getting owned by the AHL Buffalo Bisons. There’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Kleinhans Young men

Three Kleinhans locations

kmart blue light bargains for her'

kmart junk

K-Mart stuff

kmart toys

Toys from K-Mart

kmart

kmart blender

a subtle reminder from K-Mart that women like blenders

kmart TV

This TV and cart was at my grandma’s house. Its great to go through these ad to find the things that you remember…

Kresges phonograph

Kresges was owned by K-Mart, kinda like K-Mart, but not quite K-Mart. More like Woolworths.         Nice phonograph!!

Kobachers

Kobachers

Leader drug

Great stuff from Leader Drug

Leaders tempermental tessie

This was from Leaders. Don’t we all know women who, as girls, played with this doll a bit too much?

Main Place Mall

There used to be a mall downtown. Wait- BREAKING NEWS- there is still a mall downtown. Who knew? But when it opened, you could actually shop at Main Place Mall.

Neisners strange change toy

Was this toy at Neisner’s a result of early LSD experimentation?

Noahs Ark train

Great stuff from Noah’s Ark

Park Edge

Park Edge Grocery

Purchase radio label

Purchase Radio Label makers!!

Purchase ardaio modern pad

“For the modern pad.” Hahahaha.

sample ron burgundy

Ron Burgundy was apparently a model for The Sample

Sample santa

visit Santa at The Sample. Balloons are cheaper than candy canes, right?

sattlersmens

Sattlers has more guys with pipes

sattlers junk

From Sattlers: This stupid valet chair has been a popular item at WNY thrift stores for 30 years.

sattlers pets

Sattlers had freaking everything… Including dogs. ON SALE!!

Sears Toys

Toys from Sears…

Sears color tv

The ad is black and whte, but the big console TV is COLOR from Sears.

Sears Happy female dishwashers

More 1960s retail misogyny: Look how happy the females of the house are with the automatic dishwasher! Unloading in a dress even!

spoonley

A South Buffalo institution: Spoonley the Train Man

tankes rhymes with swanky

Tanke’s rhymes with Swanky’s. Very posh.

Town Squire

Town Squire in Allentown. This ad was on the theatre page.

ulbrichs junk

Ulbrich’s (junk)

woolworths

My mom might still have some of this Woolworth’s wrapping paper

This page originally appeared at TrendingBuffalo.com