By Steve Cichonsteve@buffalostories.com@stevebuffalo
The essence of Buffalo Stories is defining and celebrating the people, places, and things that make Buffalo… Buffalo.
That’s Buffalo’s pop culture heritage-– and that’s what you’ll find as you scroll through these stories or search the collected works of one of WNY’s most prolific pop culture historians of the last decade for something specific…
For decades, it wasn’t unusual for former Buffalo mayors — or even sitting Buffalo mayors — to face criminal charges. Accusations of bribery and corruption were commonplace in Buffalo politics, and the top office wasn’t immune.
Fifty-five years ago this week, former Mayor Steven Pankow was on trial in a bribery case.
“Mrs. Pankow’s bank deposit is on record in paving trial”
“A bank deposit slip showing a $2500 cash deposit in the account of former Mayor Pankow’s wife was introduced into the trial of paving bribery charges against five defendants during Monday’s session.”
It’s difficult for many of us to believe, but as of right now, parts of the 1990s were 25 years ago.
While the very beginning of the decade was filled for hope for Western New York, and seeds which were planted then are now the strongly rooted foundations of Buffalo’s resurgence, the 1990s were still a decade of growing pains. The direction, however, was usually the right one.
Outlook is upbeat after bruising 80s
“The ’80s was the great paradox,” said Common Council Majority Leader James W. Pitts. “It was a time when the city perhaps began on the road to recovery, while at the time traveling backwards.”
The 1970s saw the closure of Buffalo’s last two big, traditional breweries. While the names Iroquois and Simon Pure lasted even after the East Buffalo institutions closed, both were being brewed by the Fred Koch Brewery in Dunkirk. By 1979, even the names were gone from the market, and Buffalo had had its last Iroquois and Simon Pure.
Koch’s main offerings– Golden Anniversary, Holiday Beer and Black Horse Ale– all did reasonably well in Buffalo.
For most of the 70s, however, it was another “almost-local” brewery that held the largest market share when it came to the still-blue-collar, still shot-and-a-beer, still-neighborhood-tavern Buffalo.
At the start of the 1980s, Rochester’s Genesee Brewery brewed the beer that Buffalo drank more than any other. By the time the calendar rolled into the 1990s, Genesee had been supplanted by Labatt.
Koch’s, Genesee and Labatt were all on sale this week in Buffalo during the week of December 15, 1979. Chances are pretty good that 35 years ago this week, most of our fathers or grandfathers bought a case or two for the garage fridge, getting ready for the big family Christmas party.
At Bells, it was yellow labeled no-name beer on sale.
Two signs you were in Buffalo in the 1970s: Black Horse Ale and the Buffalo Stallions at the Aud.
Super Duper had Genny, Genny Light and Genny Cream Ale six-packs on sale.
Despite rumors to the contrary, Koch’s Holiday Beer was a different recipe than Koch’s Golden Anniversary. It wasn’t just a label change at Christmas.
Labatt beer (still not officially “Labatt Blue”) and 50 Ale (which was Canada’s most popular beer through the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s) were both on sale at Tops.
Consumer’s Beverage also had two more Buffalo favorites on sale: Old Vienna and Schmidt’s. And, of course, Consumer’s had its own branded 10-ounce glass bottles of pop on sale, as well.
With the country in the grips of an economic crisis and inflation crippling Buffalonians, Hills, “The Anti-Inflation Department Store,” was opening two new stores in Western New York.
The ribbon was cut at the Sheridan/Bailey location by Amherst supervisor and former WEBR Traffic reporter Jack Sharpe. The store became Ames in 1999 and closed in 2002. Walmart opened on the site in 2011.
The same day, a Hills store was opened on Lake Avenue in Blasdell, between South Park Avenue and the New York State Thruway. That store remains vacant.
“Hills Department Stores scored a second ‘first’ in the Buffalo area today. For the second time, the chain opened two new department stores on the same day.”
BUFFALO, NY – In the 1960s and ’70s, Buffalo’s WKBW Radio billed itself as “one of America’s two great radio stations.” Never was that more on display than on Halloween night.
While Program Director Jeff Kaye might be best remembered for that deep resonant voice which he used like Horowitz on a Steinway, he was also perhaps the greatest producer and writer– that is to say, the greatest radio mind– of the generation.
He found superb vehicles not only for his own talent, but also put the stars of KB in situations where they could shine brightest. These Halloween productions are brilliant examples. The writing and production stands up almost 50 years later, and gives the listener a true sense of the talent that went into “playing the hits” on KB.
Most of these recordings played several times through the years, starting in 1967 and running through the late 70’s.
You hear the voice, writing and production of Jeff Kaye; the engineering and production of Al Lafler, Dan Kreigler, and many others; the voices and writing of Dan Neaverth, Jim McLaughlin, Don Berns, Stan Roberts, Sandy Beach, Jack Armstrong, Shane Gibson, Joe Downey, Ron Baskin, Henry Brach, Jim Fagan, Don Lancer, Irv Weinstein, and others.
Three different versions of the war of the Worlds appear. The primary difference in each is the news guy, disc jockey and the music at the start of the show. Sandy Beach was in the original broadcast in 1968, Jack Armstrong was in the 1971 version, and Shane in 1973. In 1974, Jeff Kaye became the afternoon drive host on KB’s competitor WBEN, effectively ending any future reworking of the “covering of the invasion” half of the show– which remained mostly unchanged through the different broadcasts.
Jeff Kaye, Dan Neaverth, Stan Roberts and the K-Big DJs added gasoline to the “Paul is dead” fire with “Paul McCartney is alive and Well… Maybe?”
Jim McLaughlin introduces Halloween 1973, and reminds you…Don’t turn around.
Dan Neaverth narrates People… places… things.
Jeff Kaye narrates with the KB Players in The Darkness.
Dan Neaverth narrates The Bed.
Jeff Kaye narrates with the KB Players in The Monkey’s Paw.
Jim McLaughlin narrates Vampires.
War of the Worlds 1968: The original broadcast featuring an intro by Dan Neaverth, Joe Downey-KB Radio News, and Sandy Beach- KB Radio Music.
War of the Worlds 1971: The broadcast featuring an intro by Jeff Kaye, Joe Downey-KB Radio News, and Jack Armstrong- KB Radio Music.
War of the Worlds 1973: The broadcast featuring an intro by Jim McLaughlin, Ron Baskin-KB Radio News, and Shane!- KB Radio Music.
Read the coverage of the scare created by the 1968 and 1971 broadcasts from the Associated Press, as printed in the Lockport Union Sun-Journal.
After 78 years in downtown Buffalo, it was announced 55 years ago today that the J.N. Adam department store would be closing its doors — only to have the doors immediately reopened as the new home of AM&A’s.
Within months, it was an amazing sight to see as thousands of items were carried from the longtime home of AM&A’s across Main Street to the building it would call home until the flagship downtown store and all other locations were sold to Bon-Ton in 1994.
J.N. Adam and Robert Adam — the Adam of Adam, Meldrum and Anderson — were brothers who came to Buffalo from Scotland. It was the grandnephew of J.N. Adam and the grandson of AM&A’s founder Robert Adam who, as president of AM&A’s, facilitated the move on Main Street.
“AM&A to occupy J.N. Adam store”
“Some time next year J.N. Adam & Co. will discontinue its operations.
“Its store at Main and Eagle Sts. will be leased by Adam, Meldrum & Anderson Co. Inc. It will be remodeled and air-conditioned before occupany by AM&A.”