HIDDEN HISTORY: Classic Daily News ads of the past
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HIDDEN HISTORY: Classic Daily News ads of the past

Jun 3, 2012

Checkerboard ad 1950

Checkerboard ad 1950

Clipping of ad for Checkerboard Restaurant, 1950


Posted: Sunday, June 3, 2012 1:00 am | Updated: 11:47 pm, Sun Jun 3, 2012.

It's a warm Saturday evening in the summer of 1950. You and your date have just seen a movie at the Dipson Batavia Theatre downtown.

You're hungry for a late-night snack, so you drive out to the Checkerboard on Route 5, just a mile outside the city. The restaurant is open nightly until 1:30 a.m.

You park in the spacious lot and instead of walking into the restaurant, a cheerful waitress comes out to greet you.

You quickly scan the menu, which includes ''tasty sandwiches of all kinds'' and a variety of soft drinks, milk shakes and other beverages.

You order a couple of charcoal broiled Arpeako hot dogs and two glasses of creamy root beer. The waitress quickly returns with your order on a special tray that attaches to the driver's side of your vehicle.

It's called ''car-hop service'' and it was the way ''fast food'' was served 62 years ago at local eateries like the Checkerboard.

How do I know all this? I read about it in a 1950 advertisement the Checkerboard published in The Daily News.

It's among several such ''classic'' ads that caught my eye while looking throughout microfilm copies of The Daily News. Here are several others. I've also included clippings of each of the ads:

SWIMORAMA AT BATAVIA DOWNS, AUGUST 1955 — Nearly 9,000 people packed the Batavia Downs grandstand on the evening of Aug. 7, 1955 for arguably the biggest entertainment extravaganza in Batavia's history.

''Swimorama'' was a nearly four-hour live show that paid tribute to Batavia teenager Greta Patterson for her successful swim across Lake Erie on July 4, 1955. The event also raised funds to build a new municipal pool in the city.

The evening featured performances by some of the best-known entertainers of the time, including the Chordettes and Les Paul and Mary Ford. Hollywood actress Julie Adams also made an appearance and numerous other local and regional acts took part.

It was a memorable evening and by the time the final note was sung, more than $6,000 was raised for a municipal pool, which eventually opened in the early 1960s.

DUKE ELLINGTON AT THE MANCUSO, 1948 — Speaking of great entertainment, I was intrigued to find that the legendary Duke Ellington and his orchestra performed at the former Mancuso Theatre for two days and nights in September 1948.

Ellington and his talented band of musicians and singers gave two performances each day on the Mancuso stage — one from 3:21 to 5:42 p.m. and then from 8:03 to 10:24 p.m. (exactly two hours and 21 minutes for each show).

The theater was billed as ''The Entertainment Center of Western New York'' and was ''comfortably air conditioned,'' which was still a big deal in 1948.

How much did it cost to see a live performance by Sir Duke and Company? Just 55 cents a ticket for the matinee shows and 95 cents (tax included) for the evening performances.

Now that's a deal.

FREE COCA-COLA WITH GASOLINE PURCHASE, 1966 — Some local gasoline stations would do almost anything to get you to buy their product back in 1966.

Caruso's Atlantic Service Station at 504 Ellicott St. in Batavia offered a free ''king-size'' six-pack of Coca-Cola with every purchase of eight or more gallons of Atlantic gasoline.

It was part of the station's Spring Festival over the long Memorial Day holiday that year. Back then, gas averaged about 32 cents a gallon and you could fill your tank for about three bucks.

DIPSON THEATRE WIDE SCREEN, 1954 — The Dipson Batavia Theatre's ''wide vision screen system'' opened to much fanfare (and a full-page Daily News ad) on June 4, 1954.

The new screen extended across the stage and from the ceiling to the floor and allowed moviegoers to see ''3-D movies as you've never seen them before.''

The first attractions under the wide screen format were showings of the sci-fi movie ''It Came From Outer Space,'' along with round-by-round highlights of the Rocky Marciano-Jersey Joe Walcott heavyweight title fight and a 3-D featurette of Nat ''King'' Cole singing with the Russ Morgan Orchestra.

The wide-screen 3-D format proved to be only a temporary fad, and most movie theaters returned to more traditional movie viewing formats within a few years.

NU LAKE REOPENS, 1965 — Nu Lake was another of those artificially created lakes that arose in the 1950s and early '60s, along with the original ''Darien Lake'' and the lake at Darien Lakes State Park.

The Wortendyke Road site was considered Genesee County's newest recreation resort in 1965 and included a sandy beach, picnic area, refreshments, tent campsites and fishing.

The lake is still around today (not quite as ''Nu'' as it was in 1965) but is now considered private property.

CARROLS CLUB BURGER, 1972 — I've mentioned the former Carrols Restaurant several times in previous ''Hidden History'' columns, but I couldn't resist this 1972 ad which shows a picture of the former Batavia restaurant's signature Club Burger. The three-decker treat looks positively gigantic in this ad.

Eat your heart out, McDonald's and Burger King. 

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