Buffalo in the ’70s: Sabres sign draft picks Carriere and Schoenfeld

By Steve Cichon

With the world’s finest 18-year-old hockey players descending on Buffalo last month for the NHL Entry Draft at First Niagara Center, hockey fans here remain excited about the potential of the players drafted by the Sabres.

Buffalo News archives

Buffalo News archives

If the Sabres top picks of 2016 turn into the level of players drafted by the Sabres in 1972, fans will be plenty happy. The August, 1972 photo shows defensemen Larry Carriere and Jim Schoenfeld—the Sabres top two draft picks—in Buffalo to sign their contracts.

Schony was a 200-pound lefty who played junior hockey for the Niagara Falls Flyers with 20 goals and 29 assists. He was the fifth pick overall in the 1972 draft.

Larry Carriere was the 25th overall pick, and started the season with Buffalo’s AHL farm club, the Cincinnati Swords. His NHL break came when fellow defensemen Schoenfeld and Mike Robitaille went down with injuries and he was called up to the big club.

He was with the Sabres through the 1975 Stanley Cup season, but Carriere was traded to the Atlanta Flames.  He returned to the Sabres for seven games in 1978, but after a two-game stint with the Leafs in 1980, his playing days were over.

Carriere returned to the Sabres again, this time in the front office. He started as a scout, and worked his way up to Assistant General Manager under Darcy Regier. Though he still lives in Buffalo, he holds that same Assistant GM title in Montreal with the Canadiens.


You Love To Hate Them: The Best of the Worst in 1980s Buffalo TV Commercials

By Steve Cichon

BUFFALO, NY – It’s an amazing transformation that happens somewhere in our brain. At some point, judging by the numbers of hits they receive, the terrible TV commercials once hated and vilified, become that for which we search YouTube.

There were a few local television ads that we really remember fondly, especially when they involve two WNY institutions we don't hear as much from anymore, like Danny Neaverth and Bells Markets. (Buffalo Stories archives)
There were a few local television ads that we really remember fondly, especially when they involve two WNY institutions we don’t hear as much from anymore, like Danny Neaverth and Bells Markets. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Many things annoy us about the spots by which we are regularly bombarded. The seeming ubiquity when they are on radio, TV, billboards, print. The fact that many are cheaply or poorly produced, or just based on an asinine idea that shouldn’t even have been written on the big sheet of paper in the brain storming session, let alone the idea that will not haunt hundreds of thousands of memories into perpetuity.

Perhaps worst is when, for no one particular good reason, the spot is just plain annoying.

The problem becomes, love them or hate them, they become familiar, a little warm. Annoying, but somehow comforting, in that it’s always there. And then, sometime, even decades after they go off the air, you get a yearning to love and hate them all over again. The hatred for the ad in question turns to hatred for the internet when you can’t mine that nugget you are trying so desperately to remember, so you can properly forget again.

The classic example of this is the Kaufman’s rye bread commercial. This jingle ran over and over on Buffalo TV for 20 years.

Whenever I give a talk about Buffalo, I play that, and people smile and sing along. They hate it, but love it. That jolly little baker is the perfect animated definition of frienemy. Almost scary happy smiles while people say, “I hate that!”

But they love to hate it. We all do. We love to hate terrible commercials. Don’t make me list the commercials you hate today that you will one day search for on the 2037 version of YouTube.

All of this came to mind when I was going through some video recently for a friend, and found some commercials that if you lived through the 80s in Buffalo, you will certainly remember them. And maybe even enjoy watching them once before going back to hate.

I found one of the more popularly hated and loved commercials of the 70s and 80s when i was doing research on the book I wrote about Irv Weinstein. A commercial so popular, people who were too young to have ever seen it in the first place still say FUN WOW even though they aren’t sure why–

Amusement Parks can be especially deadly when they are trying to appeal to kids. This is one from 1989 that I just uploaded. I consider this the definitive version of the Marineland jingle, with King Waldorf singing, and the kids filling in the words.

Fantasy Island and Marineland… Fondly familiar to see those spots once– maybe not again for a while now. But here’s one you might wind up looking at again::

Two Buffalo institutions in this one, but even while WKBW morning man Dan Neaverth is shilling for Bells, he has to work in a reference to the country’s newest amusement park: Darien Lake Fun Country::

Danny of course known as a DJ, and doing Channel 7’s weather outside… He wasn’t the only 1980s spokesman to come from a different line of work to sell a product. Jim Schoenfeld sold City Mattresses for years.

A few more:

Check out the “state of the art” computer they are bragging about at Fay’s Drugs in 1981:

The sound track on this 1989 Genny Light spot is pure 80s. So are the women, as Genesee mocks the 80s trend of filling beer commercials with women in bikinis instead of beer.

Finally, here’s one that put Lackawanna on the map in the late 80s… You may have forgotten about it, and you’ll probably hate me for reminding you.

You’ll find all of these commercials and plenty more great Buffalo video on the staffannouncer YouTube channel.