Finally found: “As long as you’re coming to Kmart, don’t forget the film”

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Like many other commercial jingles from the late 70s through the early 90s, this one streams through my head regularly.

But unlike just about every other one of them, I couldn’t find this one online, anywhere. In fact, there aren’t even very many mentions of it without the audio or video accompaniment.

The jingle goes, “As long as your coming to Kmart, don’t forget the film.”

I thought maybe I had mis-remembered the lyric somehow, and one day shortly after my friendly neighborhood Kmart closed its doors for the last time, I decided to dig deep and see if I could find more about the jingle I remember, but apparently no one else does… at least enough to write about it online.

Nothing on YouTube, which lead me to believe it might have been a commercial campaign that ran on the radio only. After some intense searching, I finally found the jingle on an upload of an in-house Kmart music tape from the summer of 1990.

That makes sense, because I grew up only a five-minute walk away from a Kmart store, and spent many early-adolescent days just wandering around the store, where that jingle would have certainly seeped into my consciousness.

Anyway, to help out any other poor soul in search of this jingle, I created a YouTube video and a Google-trolled blog post to hopefully connect a memory with a bit of audio from a no longer existent store, about the long-anachronistic process of film developing.

Pittsburgh Plate Glass, Local 660 and Grandpa Coyle

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Pittsburgh Plate Glass was on Erie Street near the waterfront when this photo was taken in the early ’50s.

Today, the spot is WNED | WBFO’s parking lot (Erie St. runs behind the building.)

That’s my grandpa, glazier Jimmy Coyle, in the middle with the checked jacket where the rip is taken out of the photo.

He was a glassworker and later the Business Agent for Local 660, and a member of that union for more than 50 years.

 

No, there wasn’t a secret tunnel. There just wasn’t.

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

I get questions about purported secret tunnels around Buffalo constantly, like from the well-intentioned person who sent this email.

People are obsessed with tunnels. Tunnels from Prohibition. Tunnels from the Underground Railroad. Tunnels between neighbors houses.

No one has ever been in any of the tunnels they email about—or even seen evidence of their existence— but the rumors are hot and people want to believe them so bad. But we are humans, not moles.

There are very few tunnels— statically NO tunnels compared to the numbers of rumors.

Of course, there are tunnels. Lots and lots of tunnels. But SECRET tunnels? There are secret tunnels only on Scooby-Doo.

But people will still email me about tunnels, and I will still gently try to tell these emailers that there probably wasn’t a tunnel, and they won’t believe me, and the beat goes on.

All-time Buffalonian Mark D. Croce, Jan. 24, 1961 – Jan. 9, 2020

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Rest In Peace Mark Croce, who died in a helicopter crash last night.

Aside from being one of Buffalo’s leading restaurateurs and club owners, without him, the Statler Hotel property would be a parking lot right now. He literally saved it from the wrecking ball. I was also privy to many of the really great things he quietly did for people just because he could.

The world has lost a good man who cared about this city and it’s people.

I ran across this Joe Cascio photo today of Mark Croce holding court with me and the rest of the media on the steps of the Statler Ballroom in 2011.

He didn’t have to buy the Statler. After years of crazy schemes and a handful of less-than-ideal out-of-town owners, the city was pricing out demolition.

His commitment to Buffalo by saving one of our storied landmarks was one of the small handful of events which helped Buffalonians see light coming from around the corner. I don’t know if we’d be wearing “Keep Buffalo A Secret” t-shirts without Howard Goldman’s having worked on Mark to buy the old hotel.

Ironically, it was on this same day that Mark and Mayor Brown were making a big announcement about the future of the Statler, that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg answered a question about a lack of classrooms, road maintenance, and housing in New York City by throwing a shot at Buffalo.

“There’s an awful lot of free space in Buffalo, New York, if you want to go there. I don’t think you do,” Bloomberg said.

Mayor Brown, who can be seen all the way to the right over Mark’s shoulder answered Bloomberg’s comments– right there in the Statler lobby– with the most tenacity I’ve ever seen from him in 15 years as mayor. “I’m pissed,” he said, several times, before demanding an apology.

Standing there, in this saved building, with our usually even-keeled mayor boldly standing up for our city’s honor– it was tough to not stand a bit taller as a Buffalonian.

And all that, because Mark Croce believed in Buffalo and put his business and his reputation on the line to make the Statler into an admittedly wobbly investment in Buffalo which acted as the basis and foundation for so many others…

Instead of a parking lot for City Hall workers.

 

Great old sign uncovered at old Record Theatre

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Since no fewer than 300 friends have called, texted, emailed, and sent telegrams about the cool sign uncovered at the old Record Theatre (thank you all!!), I took a ride over and snapped a couple of pics— featuring the vintage sign as well as the Lenny Silver Way signs.

Record Theatre renovations, 2019
Record Theatre renovations, 2019

At Bills vs. New England in 1994, Patriots fan heckles Marv Levy

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo

The NFL of 25 years ago was completely different. The Buffalo Bills were great and the New England Patriots were terrible.

Buffalo had been to four straight Super Bowls, and New England, under second year quarterback Drew Bledsoe, was in the midst of the team’s first winning season in seven years.

Facilities were different, too. When the Bills eked out a 38-35 win at old Foxboro Stadium in 1994, there was no room with a table, microphone and a logo backdrop for Marv Levy’s postgame press conference. It happened only a few feet away from the stands, separated by a tarp-covered chain-link fence.

If it had happened today, one fan’s heckling of Marv Levy on that day would have gone viral.

Instead, it remained mostly an inside joke among the reporters who were there at the press conference as well as a teen radio producer who was recording the press conference for use on the Buffalo Bills Radio Network.

Only weeks removed from the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, I hit record as I listened to the feed from New England as a Patriots fan accused Levy of being involved in the slayings. He then moved onto pointing out the Bills’ Super Bowl losses.

“Marv’s a loser,” screamed the man with a thickly barnacled New England accent, sounding more like “Maav’s a loosah!”

“0 for 4, you’re a joke,” he continued, referring to the string of championship game losses.

Throughout my years as a sports talk show producer in the ’90s and 2000s, I would use pieces of the clip on the air – especially the throaty ranting, “Marv’s a loser” – more to make the host laugh, than to entertain listeners.

With Bulldog on WBEN and later Mike Schopp and Howard Simon on WNSA, I’d occasionally play the clip in reference to the serene nature of Boston sports fans. Later, working at Channel 4, I was excited that videographer Jeff Helmick had captured the event, and that producer Mike Courtney had saved it on the station’s file tape.

Howard Simon can be seen on the video, and in a longer version of the audio, the current Voice of the Bills John Murphy can be heard asking, “Hey Buddy, can you quiet down?”

The screaming fan was escorted away from the fence before Levy even showed up for the press conference. Drew Bledsoe lead the Patriots to a playoff berth that season, while the Bills went 7-9.

Nine years after his death, the world needs Jim Kelley more now than ever

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Nine years ago today, I wrote:

My good friend and Hockey Hall of Famer Jim Kelley died today. When we last spoke a few weeks ago, he knew it wouldn’t be long. I told him I love him, and he said it back. I’m glad we had that conversation. I wish more friends could/would. God bless you Jimmy, and your family.

Jim Kelley, October 26, 1949 – November 30, 2010

I started out in the “real world,” with an adult job in an adult environment at the age of 15, surrounded by an amazing cast of people who made me think the world was made of great men like them.

There were many, but none was better than Jim Kelley.

He was a hockey writer, but more than that he firmly believed and professed that there was truth and falsehood. Further, he believed that anyone who tried to make gray out of black-and-white was probably up to something and as a citizen and a journalist, it was his job to figure out what.

I miss him personally as a friend, and more broadly as the kind of guy this world needs more of… now more than ever.

Sabres Goalie Andrei Trefilov offers Russian greeting

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

When he was the Sabres primary back-up goalie, Andrei Trefilov was a funny guy.

One day, I was covering the morning skate and a bunch of us reporters and media types were waiting for all the guys to leave the ice.

Not too long after Dominik Hasek roughed up Buffalo News reporter Jim Kelley, Trefilov came pounding off the ice with an angry look on his face, scowling at the assembled media.

He stopped, narrowed his eyes as he looked at us reporters and growled, “F**K YOU ALL!”

He then waited a moment, smiled, and said, “That means ‘Good Morning’ in Russian!” and walked away laughing. Hahaha.