Buffalo in the ’60s: Bowling was a big business in Buffalo

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

We Buffalonians don’t bowl anywhere near as much as we used to, but just like we still consider ourselves a blue-collar town (even though most of the blue-collar jobs have been gone for decades) we still sentimentally feel a link to the game our parents and grandparents enjoyed over pitchers of beer in leagues all across the city.

Sattler’s and bowling– two entities that made Buffalo great in the 1950s. (Buffalo Stories archives)
Buffalo Stories archives

While for many bowling was a game that was as much about smoking and drinking and socializing as it was about rolling a ball down the lane, it was also serious business in Buffalo.

There was a time when Channels 2, 4, and 7 all aired local bowling shows– and Channel 4 had two shows– “Beat The Champ” with men bowlers and “Strikes, Spares, and Misses” with lady bowlers. WBEN-TV’s Chuck Healy was in homes six days a week for two decades as Buffalo’s bowling emcee as host of those programs. This 1971 ad describes “Strikes, Spares, and Misses,” which aired daily at 7:30pm, as “Buffalo’s most popular show.”

When local TV bowling was at its zenith in the 1950s, even radio stations promoted their coverage of the sport. Ed Little, who spent 62 years working in radio, most of them in his hometown of Buffalo, read the bowling scores on WEBR Radio before he took the drive down Main Street to host live broadcasts with the stars performing at the Town Casino.

WEBR’s Ed Little with bowling highlights weeknights at 6:30. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Buffalo’s best bowlers became celebrities– well known from their exploits as televised. Nin Angelo, Allie Brandt, Phyllis Notaro, and scores of others became some of Buffalo’s best known athletes.

Sixty years later, families still beam with pride when relating the stories of their family’s greatest athletes, even when an elder has to explain most of the fuzzy details. All-American Bowler Vic Hermann’s family still proudly talks about the day Vic rolled the first 300 game in the history of “Beat the Champ.”

A Courier-Express photo illustration bringing together many of Buffalo’s great bowlers of the late 1950s. (Buffalo Stories archives)

We live in an era where we’re watching the numbers of Western New York bowlers and bowling alleys dwindle rapidly. But five or six decades ago, it wasn’t just bowling alleys that were plentiful: The sports pages of The Buffalo Evening News and Courier-Express were regularly filled with ads for the all the accouterments of  bowling.

Bowling was big, and judging by the pages of the city’s newspapers, there was big money to be made as well. The run up to league time in 1960 saw no fewer than five decent-sized ads for custom bowling shirts…. because it wasn’t just about your score, it was about looking good at the social event of the week at your neighborhood bowling alley.

Bowling shirts from Al Dekdebrun, who became famous in Buffalo as a quarterback for the Buffalo Bills of the All-America Football Conference of the 1940s. (Buffalo Stories archives)
Laux Sporting Goods sold bowling shirts from their original location at 441 Broadway on Buffalo’s East Side. (Buffalo Stories archives)
One of Buffalo’s biggest sellers of custom bowling balls was on the city’s West Side at Buffalo Rubber & Supply, Niagara Street at Pennsylvania. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Polish Buffalo in the 1930s: Gramps on Easter & Dyngus Day

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Long before Dyngus Day was the celebration of Buffalo culture it has become over the last decade, it was, as most know, a day of celebration and fast breaking in the Polish community.

My grandfather, Edward Cichon, was the seventh of ten kids born to Polish immigrants who lived in Buffalo’s Valley neighborhood (nestled between South Buffalo, The First Ward, and The Hydraulics.)

Grandma & Grandpa Cichon. Edward V. Cichon and Marie T. Scurr-Cichon.

His memories of Easter and Dyngus Day went back more than 70 years when I interviewed him for a news story back in 2006. He’s giving us a first-hand account of Dyngus Day in Buffalo in the ’20s & ’30s.

Born in 1926, Gramps grew up on Fulton Street near Smith on a street that was, at that time, half Irish and half Polish. Most of the men on the street, including my great-grandfather and eventually Gramps himself, worked at the National Aniline chemical plant down the street.

On Dyngus Day, he’d go behind his house along the tracks of the Erie Railroad—the 190 runs there now—and grab some pussy willows to take part in the Dyngus Day tradition of swatting at girls on their heels, who’d in turn throw water at the boys.

For Easter, Babcia would cook all the Polish delicacies like golabki, pierogi, and kielbasi.

The sausage, Gramps explained, was all homemade. “Pa” (as gramps always called his father) would get two pigs, and they’d smoke them right in the backyard on Fulton Street. The whole family would work on making sausage at the big kitchen table, and then hang the kielbasa out back—but they’d also butcher hams and other cuts of meat as well.

While he was in the frame of mind, I asked him about the Broadway Market, too. In the late ‘20s, His mother would wheel him the two miles over to the market in a wagon, and park him next to the horses while she shopped for food and across the street at Sattler’s.

Reading these stories is great, but listening to Gramps tell them is the best.

What It Looked Like Wednesday: Christmastime at Sattler’s, 998 Broadway

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

For generations of Buffalonians, Christmas didn’t begin without the Sattler’s Christmas parade and a visit to the Toys Annex across the street from good ol’ 998.

1951 ad

1951 ad

Starting in 1947, Sattler’s played host to a Santa Claus parade up Broadway that was patterned mostly after the New York City Macy’s parade — featuring gigantic balloons tethered by ropes and the big man himself as the grand finale.

image from the 1962 parade.

Image from the 1962 parade.

It was estimated that 40,000 people lined the parade route on a cold, snowy November Saturday for the parade in 1962. That year, there were 40 large balloons and about 20 marching units —including the Buffalo Police marching band.

from the 1962 parade

Image from the 1962 parade

The 1964 parade was announced by WKBW’s Danny Neaverth and featured Buckskin Joe and the Fantasy Island Stagecoach.

14-nov-1964-sattlers-parade

Click to enlarge 1964 ad

In 1967, Santa arrived at 998 via helicopter, greeted by WWOL’s Ramblin’ Lou.

sattlers1967

Of course, seeing Santa was great—but the real thrill was shopping for the toys which Santa might bring.

1954 (Buffalo Stories archives)

Even once you outgrew toys — Sattler’s always had plenty to fill your Christmas list, like this 1963 record album list including “The Singing Nun” and “Best of Joan Baez.:

sattlers1963

The store’s odd and interesting array of bargains, big events like their Christmas parade and that first-of-its-kind “Shop and Save at Sattler’s, 998 Broadway” jingle made the store a destination for people from all over Western New York.

Buffalo Stories archives

Through the 1960s, Sattler’s became an anchor tenant in a handful of Western New York’s new shopping malls.

The Boulevard Mall Sattler's, 1980. (Buffalo Stories archives)
The Boulevard Mall Sattler’s, 1980. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Sattler’s went out of business in 1982, but the landmark Broadway-Fillmore store was stripped of the Sattler name a year earlier. For its final 13 months, it was known as the 998 Clearance Center. It carried castaways from the Main Place, Boulevard and Seneca Mall locations.

Sattler’s was one of many stores anchoring the Broadway-Fillmore shopping district in the mid-60s. Buffalo Stories archives

The 998 location was torn down in 1988.

Torn-Down Tuesday: Sattler’s at 998 Broadway

Despite having been gone for almost 35 years, Buffalonians still have only one thought when they hear the address 998 Broadway.

randomDec21014

Buffalo News archives

This photo of Sattler’s location at 998 Broadway was taken the day founder John G. Sattler died in 1941. As a teenager, Sattler opened a shoe store in the living room of his mother’s home at 992 Broadway. His business would grow and add product lines, becoming a marketing juggernaut and the backbone of the Broadway-Fillmore shopping district.

Buffalo News archives, 1978.

Buffalo News archives, 1978.

The store’s odd and interesting array of bargains, big events like their Christmas parade and that first-of-its-kind “Shop and Save at Sattler’s, 998 Broadway” jingle made the store a destination for people from all over Western New York. In the 1960s, Sattler’s became an anchor tenant in a handful of Western New York’s new shopping malls.

The Boulevard Mall Sattlers, 1980. (Buffalo News archives)

The Boulevard Mall Sattler’s, 1980. (Buffalo News archives)

Sattler’s went out of business in 1982, but the landmark Broadway-Fillmore store was stripped of the Sattler name a year earlier. For its final 13 months, it was known as the 998 Clearance Center. It carried castaways from the Main Place, Boulevard and Seneca Mall locations.

The 998 location was torn down in 1988.

Buffalo in the ’50s: Stoking the flames of uranium fever at 998 Broadway

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

In July 1955, a group of Ohio housewives had prospecting fever, after a friend in Canada mentioned they found what they thought was uranium in an abandoned mine. The women, Geiger counter in hand, traveled to a spot 200 miles northeast of Toronto, found radiation, and staked their claims to millions.

Trying to angle in on the hopes of Buffalonians, within weeks of write-ups in all the papers and magazines about the discovery, Sattler’s had a full array of radiation detection equipment available.

Make no mistake, buying the equipment to check your own property for uranium—or to run up to the Canadian brush to stake a claim there—wasn’t cheap. The featured $149 machine would roughly cost $1,300 in 2015 dollars according to federal government calculators. The scintillator, which gives more advanced breakdowns of radiation, was $4,400 in today’s money.

But for $29.95, (2015-$250), a base model Geiger Counter was “perfect for weekend 49ers.”

As the jingle famously reminded us, “shop and save at Sattler’s, 998 Broadway.”

Back to School 1960: Where girls were shopping

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Fifty-five years ago this week– the last week of August, 1960– The News’ special back-to-school section featured articles on the latest in education inside and outside of the classroom, and, of course, plenty of back-to-school ads.

Goldin’s at Broadway-Fillmore and Thruway Plaza, featured “The Goldin Twins” and S&H Green Stamps in this 1960 ad. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Clothes shopping was a much more gender-specific endeavor in 1960 — while many larger department stores and discount stores obviously offered accouterments for both sexes, there were also plenty of specialty shops that catered to only boys or girls.

Hengerer’s, 1960. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Girls were looking for dresses and skirts as they found new school clothes 55 years ago; most schools banned girls from wearing slacks.

Kobacker’s, 1960. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Goldin’s, Morrisons and Oppenheim Collins all catered to women and girls.

Morrison’s, Main Street downtown, Broadway/Fillmore, and North Tonawanda. 1960. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Hengerer’s, Kobacher’s, Neisner’s, Sattler’s and the Sample sold men’s and women’s fashions.

Neisner’s. Main Street Downtown, Broadway near Fillmore, and Bailey Avenue. 1960. (Buffalo Stories archives)
Oppenheim Collins: Main at Huron, Thruway Plaza. 1960. (Buffalo Stories archives)
Sattler’s, 998 Broadway, 1960. (Buffalo Stories archives)
The Sample. Hertel Avenue, Walden Avenue, Seneca Street, Lockport. 1960. (Buffalo Stories archives)
Ulbrich’s. 386 Main, 17 W. Chippewa, University Plaza, Sheridan Plaza, Southgate Plaza, Thruway Plaza, Hamburg. 1960. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Buffalo in the ’40s: Orphans & eye strain

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Most of what was written in the paper in 1944 had to do, in some way, with World War II. Even if not directly about the fighting, the backdrop of the war was apparent in every day-to-day task in Buffalo and around the country.

Thomas Webster was an orphan of the London air raids, and he moved into his uncle’s home on Weyand Street off Seneca Street in South Buffalo.

April 28, 1944: Boy who lost parents in raid likes new home

“Deprived of parents by the Germans’ ruthless bombing of London …”

Sattler’s, meanwhile, was offering ideas for helping those with eye strain brought on by second jobs for the war effort.

April 28, 1944: A second front for your eyes!

“If your eyes are feeling the results of extra wartime use …”

The Golden Age of Buffalo’s Great Retailers

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY  – The outpouring was amazing.

After agreeing to give a lecture at Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery about some of the city’s great retailers of the past, I was deluged with people offering up their memories, and thirsty for the memories of the stores of Buffalo’s grand old stores.

Consider this page a taste of the Golden Age of Buffalo Retailing talk that’s been seen by thousands of Western New Yorkers (and can become a part of your next meeting or event. )

Take a stroll down memory lane, and play some classic jingles while looking over some images of Buffalo’s by-gone retailers.


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