Buffalo in the ’50s: The closest Buffalo’s ever come to a presidential debate

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

During the 1952 presidential campaign, both the Republican and Democratic candidates visited Buffalo’s Memorial Auditorium for rallies on back-to-back days.

Buffalo News archives

Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, the hero of World War II and Republican candidate, drew a crowd of 20,000 at the Aud. The photo shows the future first lady, Mamie Eisenhower, along with former New York Gov. and 1948 Republican nominee Thomas Dewey, on the Aud stage. At the time, it was the largest-ever crowd in the building.

The day before, Gov. Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic candidate, spoke to about 13,000 at the Aud.

The Courier-Express called the two days of campaigning “Buffalo’s Great Presidential Debate.” Judging by the numbers of supporters who showed up for each event, Eisenhower won the debate — and the White House. He served two terms, with Mamie as first lady, from 1953 to 1960.

Buffalo in the ’70s: Up in the Oranges, hanging on for dear life

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

As hockey season gets underway in Buffalo, inevitably someone will wax poetic about the great old days of watching the Sabres at Memorial Auditorium.

Buffalo News archives

While the memories might be sweet, the modern hockey fan might not last even one period without complaint.

This 1973 photo shows the extreme pitch of seats in the Orange section of the Aud as compared to the grade in the Upper Blue section just below.  Even the most thrilling fights on the ice were often outmatched by the hundreds of people fighting vertigo after standing up too quickly from their perch in the Orange section after a beer or three.

The photo also shows one of The Aud’s features which even the most nostalgic fan has a hard time recalling with warmth. Look at the legs underneath the lighted sign, and remember the obstructed Upper Blue seats, from which fans watched a good portion of the hockey action on ancient television sets dangling from the underside of the Oranges.

The plastic-backed orange seats date to the 1971 expansion of The Aud, when the roof was raised to make room for the upper level.

The wooden blue seats—which before the expansion were gray—dated back to the original construction of Memorial Auditorium in 1940.

The Aud closed in 1996 as the Sabres (as well as the Bandits and Blizzard) moved into Marine Midland Arena (now First Niagara Center.)

Memorial Auditorium was slowly dismantled in 2009, and the site is now covered with canals replicating the original Erie Canal. The canals are open for paddle boats in warmer weather, and ice skating when frozen. A marker in the canal points to where The Aud’s center ice faceoff dot once was.

Buffalo in the 90’s: Ice and the Hammer at the Aud

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Hammertime!

Buffalo Stories archives

“Exclusive” sticker patches from Kiss 98.5’s Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer concerts from the early 90s at Memorial Auditorium.

Vanilla Ice played Buffalo March 7, 1991 and MC Hammer played the Aud on October 13, 1990.

These were in the drawer of the desk I inherited down the hall from Kiss 98.5.

Milt Ellis, Norm Wullen, Joe Byron, and the sounds of The Aud

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

miltellis
Milt Ellis

Buffalo, NY – He was so understated, you didn’t miss him until he was gone.

But there’s no doubt I’m not the only one who can’t help myself when I’m in an echoey room– I have to break loose with a Milt Ellis tribute.

1st Buffalo Goal, his second of the season, scored by number 20 Brent Peterson. assists to number number 7 Dale McCourt, and number 23 Hannu Virta. Peterson, from McCourt and Virta. Time of the Goal, 13:22.

Every Buffalo hockey fan past a certain age has a Milt Ellis impression, whether they know it or not. Milt is a Buffalo institution– although he’d be the last one to say so. He’s the most humble, sincere, honest man you’ll ever meet.

The Aud Complete with scoreboard, overhang Oranges, and "Cigarette Butt" Sound Baffles hanging fromt he ceiling.
The Aud: complete with scoreboard, overhang Oranges, and “Cigarette Butt” Sound Baffles hanging from the ceiling.
Stan Barron
Stan Barron

Milt’s Memorial Auditorium public address career started with the AHL Hockey Bisons in the mid-60s. His friend Stan Barron was the PR man for the Bisons, and they needed a new PA announcer. Stan called Milt and Milt continued to be the voice of goals, penalties, and New York State Smoking Regulations until 1997 (yes, he worked for two years in the then-Marine Midland Arena.)

Longtime Leafs PA Announcer Paul Morris
Paul Morris

A hockey fan long before the Sabres skated into Buffalo, Milt has always held a place in his heart for the Leafs. When he was growing up, he could get the Leafs games on the radio and TV. Though he’ll tell you he really doesn’t consider himself having a “style,” has has said that he’s always admired the work of longtime Leafs PA Announcer Paul Morris.

Sabres broadcast crew, Mid-80s, in the Memorial Auditorium Press Box. Mike Robitaille, Jim Lorentz, Rick Jeanneret, Ted Darling
Sabres broadcast crew, Mid-80s, in the Memorial Auditorium Press Box. Mike Robitaille, Jim Lorentz, Rick Jeanneret, Ted Darling

The Milt Ellis Jukebox is filled with Milt’s Public Address announcements, as well as other ephemeral sound from a night at The Aud.

Many will remember Milt introducing “The National Anthem, with Tenor Joe Byron and organist Norm Wullen.”

Selections from both men are programmed into the jukebox… Also included are a full length interview Mike Schopp conducted with Milt at WNSA Radio in 2001, and a portion of a show from WDCX– The Christian Station that was Milt’s “Day Job” the entire time he was the Sabres PA announcer.

Also a brief clip from one of the men Milt looked up to as a PA Announcer… The Voice of Maple Gardens, longtime Toronto PA man Paul Morris.

miltjukebox


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