Buffalo in the 80’s: B-kwik Markets & RC Cola

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Buffalo Stories archives

The B-kwik Food Markets chain was a part of the Tops Friendly Markets family.

The stores were medium sized markets, between the large Tops stores and the small Wilson Farms stores.

My grandma lived a block away from the Seneca Street b-Kwik, my dad worked there when it was Food Arena. Living in North Buffalo, I shopped often at the Hertel b-Kwik, which was bought out by Dash’s.

Buffalo in the 70’s: John Corbett & Mr. Yuk

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Mr. Yuk is mean, Mr. Yuk is green.

Buffalo Stories archives

WBEN-TV’s John Corbett with Mr. Yuk in 1975.

Corbett anchored newscasts on Channel 4 through the 60’s and 70’s, and was a fixture on WBEN Radio hosting midday shows live from Hengerers, as well as afternoon drive show “Car and Kitchen.”

Mr. Yuk stickers were meant to warn small children about dangerous chemicals around the house– but wound up being something that some kids were attracted to instead of repulsed by.

Buffalo in the 1910’s: Steamers on the Great Lakes

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Buffalo Stories archives

It’s hard to fathom that so many big work, pleasure, and ferrying ships were steaming in and out of Buffalo not all that long ago.

Who wouldn’t love to “cruise” from the foot of Main street!

This is the Steamer Western States in steaming into Buffalo Harbor around 1900-1910.

Made in Buffalo, 1951: Manufacturing in Buffalo from Fortune Magazine

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY – For the second half of the twentieth century, industry was on a steady decline in Buffalo– but it was really at it’s height when Fortune Magazine did a 10-page cover story on manufacturing and the industrial might of Buffalo and Western New York in its July 1951 issue.

cover-1The Frederick Franck painting of Buffalo’s waterfront and downtown is great by itself, but the 27 photos of humming industry, almost half in color, and the rich accompanying text show the general sense of optimism about the future of the Niagara Frontier just after World War II.

There’s even a reference to one corporation deciding to build a factory elsewhere because there just weren’t enough people looking for work in Buffalo.

Outside of a few big names, many of the mid-sized factories that came and went here are all but forgotten to the collective memory. Buffalonians often use “Bethlehem Steel and GM” as shorthand for the providers of thousands of blue collar jobs that were once plentiful in Western New York.

And while those two giants may have employed 30,000 men here at the height of it, there were more hard working Western New Yorkers punching a clock in dozens and hundreds of other smaller factories. Large corporations and mom and pop outfits.

As you’ll read below, ‘the 200,000 factory workers (of Buffalo) make everything from pig iron to pretzel benders.’ It also says that Buffalo is heavily Polish, mostly Catholic, and anti-Red.

Just like many of you, my own family history is reflected in these photos. My great-grandfather worked at Westinghouse, my grandfather scooped grain at General Mills. My father-in-law worked for Hooker Chemical.

Of course, the mere mention of Hooker is a reminder of what a truly mixed blessing the high paying jobs of dirty industry was in so many cases. Western New York became ground zero for one of the first disasters to call attention to the disposal of toxic waste. The the company was found negligent, along with the City of Niagara Falls, in what was to become known simply as ‘Love Canal.’

Enjoy this look at Buffalo’s “fascinating industrial kaleidoscope,’ and make note that the photographer on this story was Victor Jorgensen, more famed for his V-J day shot of a sailor and nurse kissing in Times Square.

page1madeinbuffalo-1

 

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 Old Latin Mass: Following along in church Pre-Vatican II

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Buffalo, NY – As the Catholic Church gets ready to make the first major changes to the Mass in a few generations, we now look back at the mass before the last big change, the granddaddy of ’em all… Those made at The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, usually known as Vatican II.

priest
There were many important, substantive changes made at that series of meetings held in Rome from 1962-65, but the one that had the greatest, most immediate effect on every day Catholics, was the introduction of vernacular languages into the Mass.

Up until 1967, Catholic Masses were still said in Latin, and were mostly said by a priest facing away from the congregation, and facing the tabernacle. The decisions made at the Vatican II opened up mass for more lay participation in the service, and allowed a greater number of people to take an active part by being able to listen and understand the Mass.

This missal, obviously meant for children, gives some great illustrations, the basic outline and explanation of the old Mass, and many of the old Latin responses that were changed to the ones that are about to be changed again now about four decades later. The book was necessary, because, again, nearly everything was said in Latin, and a young child certainly wouldn’t be able to follow along.

Remember Your Sunday Mass Missal? In a plastic binder like this one, you could carry a rosary, scapulars, prayer cards, and your missal
Remember Your Sunday Mass Missal? In a plastic binder like this one, you could carry a rosary, scapulars, prayer cards, and your missal

Note that the last page is a prayer to be said for those being persecuted in Russia. These prayers were added to the mass by Pope Pius X, and it was ordered that they be said in prayer for those in Soviet Russia by Pope Pius XI in the 1920s.I’m not sure where I picked up this particular book, but it was originally owned by George Clemens, who made his communion at Annunciation Church, Lafayette Avenue in Buffalo, in 1962. There was a George Clemens born in Buffalo in 1954, and died in 1987, living in the same zip code as Annunciation Church, so that could very well have been him. Again, I don’t exactly remember where this book came from, but it was likely with a pile of other things.

Why the Change?

In 1963, The Vatican Council decreed the following:

“[T]he rite of the Mass is to be revised … the rites are to be simplified, due care being taken to preserve their substance. Parts which with the passage of time came to be duplicated, or were added with little advantage, are to be omitted. Other parts which suffered loss through accidents of history are to be restored to the vigor they had in the days of the holy Fathers, as may seem useful or necessary. The treasures of the Bible are to be opened up more lavishly so that a richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God’s word … A suitable place may be allotted to the vernacular in Masses which are celebrated with the people … communion under both kinds may be granted when the bishops think fit…as, for instance, to the newly ordained in the Mass of their sacred ordination, to the newly professed in the Mass of their religious profession, and to the newly baptized in the Mass which follows their baptism…”

The next year, biblical readings and the prayers of the faithful where introduced in local languages, as were the ‘Our Father,’ and other chants and parts of the Mass in which the people participated.

In 1967, the canon of the Mass was allowed to be said audibly, and in vernacular languages, and several of the vestments previously required of priests were made optional.

The Mass was further changed, to the service now familiar to most Catholics, in 1970.

Read more in a very thorough wikipedia article on The Tridentine Mass, also known as the Latin Mass.

Here at staffannouncer.com, we have dozens of church anniversary booklets, and other items from churches all over Western New York “on the pile” of great items to shared right here at your home for Buffalo’s pop culture memories.


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 in the 60’s: Jimmy & Johnny– The Dialing for Dollars Band

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Do you know the Count and the Amount?

Buffalo Stories archives

Jimmy and Johnny were the house band on WKBW-TV’s Dialing for Dollars through the 60’s and 70’s.

Jimmy Edwin was on the drums, and Johnny Banaszak played the accordion. Johnny was also the guy inside the Promo the Robot suit on Rocketship 7.

Roby & Kelley: WNSA’s The Sharp Shooters

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY (staffannouncer.com) – Quite simply, the most fun I’ve had in nearly two decades of working in radio and television. Bar none. And six years later, people still talk to me about the show. And I wasn’t even on the air.

In August 2000, Adelphia Communications completed it’s purchase of country music station 107.7 The Bullet, WNUC. Much of the staff and equipment were moved to a brand new studio, carved out of the former garage of the Empire Sports Network. WNSA Radio was born, to carry the play-by-play of the Buffalo Sabres, and to compete with WGR in the Buffalo Sportstalk game.

Over the 4 years the station was on the air, there were numerous changes at almost every on-air and behind the scenes position, save two: Jim Kelley and Mike Robitaille. Every hockey game day. Sharpshooters. Must. Listen. Radio. “Better than the game itself,” as Jim used to say, especially when Sabres ownership was in question, and the Sabres were particularly bad.

From Day One, til the station became 107.7 The Lake, everyone knew the two hours leading up to Sabres pregame would be the most informative and entertaining radio they’d hear all day. These guys, Kelley and Roby, were old friends, old pros, and two of the funniest people you’d ever want to meet. Two legends in their own time.

The show was hosted by Mike Schopp at first, and later, by Howard Simon, I was the guy who pushed the buttons, and played the occasional sound effect, and Ricky Jay, Chris Atkins, Neil McManus, Jay Moran, Doug Young, Zig, and probably a few others did sports ticker updates during the time slot. But the show was Mike and Jim. They really brought out the best in one another. It truly was better than the game itself.

I’ve heard Roby say over and over again for the 30 years he’s been talking hockey on radio and TV, that if you have a good defense partner, that your comfortable with, it’s like stealing money on the ice. Each guy knows where the other one is going to be, what his next move will be.

That’s what listening to those to guys together, every hockey game day for 4 years, was like. It was pure, and it was raw, and it was great. They transcended sports talk, and even radio. I’m not speaking in hyperbole here, but for me, listening was like watching ballet or listening to great music. Masters, but not arrogantly erudite. These two Buffalo hockey greats… talking on the radio, made everyone listening feel like they were in on the conversation.

It’s been a long time since that show was on the air. Since then, I’ve spent hours talking with Roby, Jim Kelley, Schopp, and Howard about what a great time we had with that show, and how people still talk to us about it. Jim, God rest his soul, was the most vocal about it. For all his accomplishments in his professional life (He’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame, for crying out loud!) I know he counted his time on the Sharpshooters as some of the best spent of his journalistic life. there are thousands of fans who agree.

I was blessed to hear just about every episode of the show from the catbird’s seat in the control room, and got to hear and be a part of the even better, somewhat more R-rated show that went on during the commercial breaks. I saved dozens and dozens of hours of sharpshooters shows, and I’m glad I did. I’m also glad that I can share some of them here.

So sit back and enjoy some Sharpshooters, some Jim Kelley, and some Mike Robitaille. Its interesting to hear the gameday specifics from a decade or more ago, but listen past it for the joy that was had and shared on this show.


Remembering Jim Kelley

Jim Kelley 1949-2010

Longtime Buffalo Sports writer and Hockey Hall of Famer Jim Kelley died after a long fight with cancer. He spent decades as a no-holds-barred unforgettable writer and media personality. He was the kind of columnist that when he wrote in the Buffalo News, you felt like you should cut it out and keep it.

Whether in the paper, on the radio, or on TV over the last three decades, Kelley capsulized EXACTLY what you were thinking, but did it with razor sharp English and that wise-guy grin that was a trademark of his South Buffalo repetoir.

At his heart, Jim was a South Buffalo kid who spent his childhood sneaking into the Aud to watch the AHL Bisons. That guy was always there. But also there, was his amazing ability to connect with every day people, and unparalleled ability to turn a phrase that always seemed to fit perfectly. The combination of those assests, and working like a brute, allowed him to climb his way up from News copy boy, to general assignment sports reporter, to Sabres beat reporter and then sports columnist.

Having and known and worked with Jim for close to 20 years, I can tell you there may not be anywhere else in media someone more loyal, more knowledgable, more hilarious, more credible, and more brutally honest than was my friend Jim Kelley. He never pulled a punch.

I had the great pleasure of doing Jim a personal favor about 7 years ago, which I would have likely long forgotten, had he not brought it up every time we talked. “I owe you,” he’d say, even as he underwent treatment for cancer, and even as he was coming to the realization the treatments weren’t helping, and the the end was near.

I owe you, he’d say. Jim, we all owe you. I don’t know that he could have packed more into a life cut way too short. All I can say is I’m glad to have known him, and that I’m a better man for it.


Listen to The Sharpshooters

Sharpshooters
December, 2001 Mike Schopp, Jim Kelley, Mike Robitaille. On this show, the guys are looking through piles of old hockey cards from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and talking about the memories that came up with each name and each card. My favorite part of this show, and watching Roby pull a card, laugh quietly to himself, and put the card off to the side. we were treated to some great stories in the commercial breaks this day. Jim and Roby both in fine story telling form. I’m glad I didn’t embarrass myself, hearing my voiceover on the open to the show.

More on the audio above:
Sharpshooters 2001: Mike Schopp with Roby & Jim. This is a great show, just thinking about what’s missing from hockey “in today’s game.” The guys share some of their thoughts, and interact well with callers as well.

Sharpshooters 2001: Mike Schopp with Mike Robitaille and Jim Kelley. This show was not only about hockey, and not only about sports, which was one reason why the show was great. Here’s classic Kelley, railing against the political lethargy is Western New York. I told Jim more than once, I’d quit my job to work for his campaign. 

Sharpshooters, November 2002: Howard Simon, Jim Kelley, Mike Robitaille. Howard and Roby argue about a lack of player moves on the Sabres, and Roby explains, to the merriment of Jim, that one can’t suck and blow at the same time.

Sharpshooters, November 2002: More from Howard, Jim and Roby… This time as they join Fan TV for a segment. I don’t think I have any video of the Sharpshooters on Empire, which is really too bad.

Hockey Night in Buffalo, April 1995: This one is from the first time Howard, Jim and i worked together… Then-WBEN Sports Director Howard Simon hosts Hockey Night in Buffalo on WBEN, with then-Buffalo News Hockey Writer Jim Kelley, on the day the Sabres debuted the black and red uniforms at the Aud.

Remembering Jim Kelley: December, 2010 This is a marriage of two Jim Kelley obituary stories I produced, which ran the day after Jim passed away.


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

Ted Darling and The 1975 Sabres

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY- As the Buffalo Sabres celebrate the team’s 40th Anniversary season, staffannouncer.com celebrates the voices that have brought us Sabres hockey for those four decades, over televisions connected to an antenna, TVs connected to a satellite dish, or from a transistor radio under the pillow for a late night West Coast swing in Winnipeg or with the Golden Seals.

The 1980s Sabres Broadcast Team:Rick Jeanneret, Ted Darling, Mike Robitaille, and Jim Lorentz. (Buffalo Stories archives)

On this page, we bring you the Voice of the Buffalo Sabres, Ted Darling, as he narrates the story of the 1975 Sabres Stanley Cup Season, featuring his own play-by-play calls and those of his broadcast partner Rick Jeanneret.

Ted Darling’s smooth voice and exciting yet still authoritative call of Sabres Hockey was heard on radio and TV from the team’s inception in 1970, through 1991, when illness forced him from the booth. Rick Jeanneret, who for generations of Sabres fans is the voice most associated with the excitement of Sabres Hockey, will to this day demur when called the ‘Voice of the Sabres,’ explaining that title belongs only to Ted Darling.

Prior to becoming the Sabres first play-by-play man in 1970, Darling was the studio host for the English-language Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts of the Montreal Canadiens games. His genuine excitement for what he was seeing on the ice, and the stunning pace with which he delivered the play-by-play certainly added to the buzz and excitement of NHL hockey as it was played in Buffalo’s Memorial Auditorium. This was true especially in an era when a play-by-play man’s description was vital: only a handful of games were televised, and the opening day capacity of the Aud before for the oranges were added was in the 10,000 range.

Tim Horton, perhaps now better known for coffee, was a veteran defenceman for the Buffalo Sabres when he died in February, 1974, after a traffic accident on the QEW driving back to Buffalo from Toronto, following a game with the Leafs. Horton was a mentor for many of the young defencemen on the Sabres, including Mike Robitaille and Jim Schoenfeld. The year after Horton’s death, the Sabres made the Stanley Cup Finals. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Like only few other voices, Darling’s is one that uniquely brings Buffalonians back to a different time. Just like hearing Irv, Rick or Tom… Or Van Miller… Or Danny Neaverth… there’s that feeling like home when you hear Ted Darling. His voice is like the gentle whirr of the AM&A’s escalator, or the taste of a Crystal Beach loganberry. If you close your eyes, it’s one of those things that can actually take you back through time for a few moments…

Ted was an original. Ted was a good man and a good friend. Though some in the press reprehensibly said that he was forced from the broadcast booth by alcoholism, it was actually Pick’s Disease, a rare form of dementia which manifests itself similarly to Alzheimer’s Disease, which lead Ted to leave broadcasting. He died from the disease in 1996. Those who knew him, love him. Those who listened to him, loved him. Buffalo loves him still.

Close your eyes now, for a moment, and remember Sabres hockey the way it was…..

Listen to Ted Darling!

 Narrated by Ted Darling, these two tracks are Side One and Side Two of an album put out by the Sabres and WGR Radio celebrating the Sabres 1975 season.

Side One is a recap of the regular season.
Side Two is a recap of the 1975 playoffs, including the Stanley Cup Finals vs The Flyers.

You also hear Ted’s voice along with Rick Jeanneret and Stan Roberts on “Memorable Sabre Highlights,” the 45rpm single record put out by WGR Radio following the 1975 season.

The highlights were on the “B” side of Donna McDaniels’ “We’re Gonna Win That Cup.”

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

Stan Jasinski on WKBW, Christmas Day 1954

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

The view of Seneca Street from the Cichon’s porch on Fairview Place. The building to the left is Heidi’s Tuxedo, since burned down. My great grandfather lived in an apartment in the yellow house on the right.

BUFFALO, NY  – For me, hearing the name ‘Stan Jasinski’ conjures up images of my grandfather, sitting on his South Buffalo porch listening to cassette tapes of polka radio shows he had taped the previous weekend. Ed “Edziu” Cichon would sit out there, looking at the comings and goings on Seneca Street with a serene smile on his face, enjoying the music, his grandkids, and life in general.

It was a great break for Gramps, from his numerous jobs- from tinsmith at Buffalo Color and National Aniline, to ticket taker for the Bills and Sabres, to bet taker at Buffalo Raceway.

For most of my generation, I would imagine thoughts of Stan Jasinski beckon thoughts of grandparents, and this is true for Edmund Haremski as well.

Stan Jasinski, WKBW, circa 1955.

His family owned Lucki-Urban Furniture, sponsors of Jasinski’s broadcasts from the 50s-90s. He remembers playing the two transcription records from which these audio clips came in his grandma’s basement as a little guy.

The half hour program was recorded on these transcription records, sometime before Christmas Day 1954, for playback on that date. The program is completely on Polish, save the opening and closing voiceover by an WKBW staff announcer, perhaps Larry Brownell.

For those who remember listening to Jasinski near the end of his broadcast career as I do, his cadence and voice is amazingly consistent, sounding virtually identical, and very much recognizable, 40 years earlier.

You’ll hear Stan speaking between the songs, and if you’re like me– with a very limited understanding of Polish– The only words you’ll understand are a few numbers, and the words “Lucki-Urban’ and “Stromberg-Carlson,” the latter being a manufacturer of some of the finest radios of that era.

You’ll also hear ‘Stas’ singing along with the Paderewski Singing Society, working Lucki-Urban into Polish Christmas carols, including a Polish version of Jingle Bells.

  • Pada Snieg-– Polish Jingle Bells.
  • Stan Jasinski’s Complete Christmas 1954 broadcast on WKBW Radio,  with the Paderewski Singing Society.  

Buffalo in the 40’s: This is not Cheektowaga

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Um, no?

Buffalo Stories archives

The postcard company obviously put the wrong image on this 1949 postcard. The only mountains in Cheektowaga are made by the old clothes and sneakers left in the mall parking lot by Canadian shoppers.

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