Just in time for Ann Arbor’s 190th anniversary, AADL is pleased to release - for the first time! - I Remember When, a seven-part video series made during the city's sesquicentennial celebrations in 1974 "to tell the story of the important events that have happened in Ann Arbor's 150-year-old history."
In the first show, host Ted Trost says, "...the entire series will be recorded on videotape so that future generations of Ann Arborites may see and hear what it was like, way back when in 1974 - the year Ann Arbor celebrated her sesquicentennial.” And today, 40 years later, all seven episodes are available at aadl.org/irw for streaming and downloading!
I Remember When was sponsored by the (at that time) Ann Arbor Public Library, in conjunction with the Ann Arbor Sesquicentennial Commission, and produced by students in the University of Michigan’s Speech Department.
Valentine greeting cards have been around since the second half of the 19th century, and popular with local collectors, and the topic of museum exhibitions. One of the most endearing collection is that of Ellen Gould, with some items dated back to 1917, from her former students.
Over the last 50 years, the Ann Arbor News has focus its coverage on how area children and families observed the holiday.
Valentine's Day was also a reason to celebrate for local businesses especially for florists and confectioners.
For the serious-minded, academics and researchers were consulted on the subject of romance.
Bill talked with AADL about taking over the shop from the Seyfried family, the longevity of the store, how selling jewelry becomes a lifelong relationship with the customer and the changes to retailing in Ann Arbor.
In 1927, Ray E. Collins bought the Blue Front Cigar Store at the corner of Packard & State, and the rest, as they say, is history. Ray was a legend in Ann Arbor, sitting behind his counter stacked with newspapers, gruffly answering questions and keeping his eyes peeled for ne'er-do-wells. Ray had some troubles with the law himself, getting cited over the years for fire hazards that were a result of his commitment to carrying every newspaper he could find and putting it anywhere he could find.
Ray died in 1974, willing the Blue Front to his long-time employee Jill Warren. Jill kept the Blue Front pretty much the same, widening the aisles a little, organizing the papers a bit more but leaving the hanging bulbs, thank you. In 1981, Jill sold the Blue Front to William Graving while maintaining ownership of the building. Ray started out as an employee of the Blue Front, so did Jill, and later employees would continue to have a fierce loyalty to the store and its traditions.
We may never know how the Blue Front got its name (Ray didn't know). We know the name was first used in the 1922 Polk City Directory. We were able to trace ownership back to 1908 when 701 Packard first appears in the City Directory with James R. Reed, News Depot followed by Davis & Konold in 1913, Clinton H. Davis in 1915, and Ernest C. Rumbelow in 1916. In 1921 it became Reynolds & Webb Cigars, the first time cigars overtakes newspapers in the store's name. In 1922 R. M. Housel bought the store, hired Ray sometime after that, changed the name to the Blue Front and then sold it to Ray. Goodbye, Blue Front.
Dave Strack, a star player and later coach of the University of Michigan basketball team, died Jan. 25 in Tucson, Arizona. He was 90. Strack coached the Wolverines from 1960 to 1968, leading the team to three consecutive Big 10 championships, two consecutive appearances in the NCAA Final Four, including a championship game against UCLA. Strack came to the University of Michigan as a player and lettered in 1943, 1944 and 1946. He took a leave from the team in 1945 to serve as a Marine captain during World War II. He received a bachelor's degree and a master's degree at Michigan. After working as an assistant coach at Michigan and head coach for a year the University of Idaho, Strack replaced Bill Perigo as Wolverines head coach.
Strack's teams led by All-American Cazzie Russell won the Big 10 championship in 1964, 1965 and 1966. The team went to the Final Four in 1964 and 1965. In the 1965 UM went into the final game ranked No. 1 in the country to face the No. 2 ranked UCLA Bruins coached by the legendary John Wooden. UM lost the game 91-80, a hard end to an amazing season. In addition to Russell, Strack's players included high-scoring Bill Buntin, team captain Oliver Darden, George Pomey and Larry Tregoning. Strack was named UPI coach of the year in 1965. Russell, a highly recruited Chicago high school player, was won over by Strack to attend UM. He went on to set scoring records and win praise as one of the best players of his time. In December 1964, the Wolverines faced off against Princeton, a showdown between Russell and Princeton's Bill Bradley. With two minutes remaining in the game, Michigan was behind by 10 points, Russell took command of the game to lead Michigan to an 80-78 victory. Bradley did score 41 points in the game. But Russell and Buntin combined for 51. Russell and Bradley would late become teammates on the NBA champion New York Knicks.
Dascola Barber Shop has been a fixture of downtown Ann Arbor since 1938 when Dominic Dascola first struck out on his own as a business owner. Bob Dascola, his son, has been a part of this tradition for the past 45 years, keeping shop first in his father's original location on E Liberty St and now in his own space on S State St. In that time, he's grown from being one member of the family business to being a small business owner, then a community leader, and now a candidate for City Council in the 3rd Ward. When Bob sat down with us, we talked about going into the family business, how a community member can make a difference, and the things he's learned just by talking with people who come in and sit down in his chair.
In 1953 an Ann Arbor institution opened, Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger. When Jim Shafer was ready to sell the business in 1992, a Blimpy’s grill team veteran, Rich Magner, took over the most famous burger joint in Tree Town.
Rich sat down with AADL to talk about the history of Krazy Jim’s, the famous order line, what makes a great burger and the origin of the Snow Bears.
Gary Grimshaw, Michigan’s iconic poster designer whose imaginative rock ’n ’roll art defined an era of Detroit culture has died today, aged 67, after a lengthy illness.
Grimshaw exemplified a spirited generosity that made him a beloved friend and mentor to many in Southeast Michigan; and through his many associations and projects during the 1960s and 1970s - including the Detroit Artists Workshop; Trans-Love Energies, as Minister of Culture for the White Panther Party and Rainbow People's Party - Grimshaw’s illustrations of concerts, rallies, and numerous such events, made an indelible mark on the counterculture of this generation.
The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Sunday at MOCAD, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, at 4454 Woodward in Detroit, with a reception following at the Scarab Club. Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m., Saturday at MOCAD.
This week Radner, who died in 1989, was back in the news, in the guise of her most famous comic alter ego Roseanne Roseannadanna. On SNL's Weekend Update, Roseanne would respond to the complaints of a Mr. Richard Feder of Fort Lee, N.J. This week the New York Times writer Matt Flegenheimer wondered what Richard Leder would think about the controversy over the closing of the George Washington Bridge that connects Fort Lee with Manhattan. The closings have ensnared New Jersey governor and presidential hopeful Chris Christie in a scandal.
Mr. Feder is a real person, the brother-in-law of an SNL staff writer. He never wrote letters to Roseanne, but mock complaining letters in his name and Roseanne's withering replies became famous. In one skit quoted in the Times Mr. Feder complained about his attempts to stop smoking, "I gained weight, my face broke out. I'm nauseous, I'm constipated, my feet swell, my sinuses are clogged, I got heartburn, I'm cranky and I have gas. What should I do."
"Mr. Feder, you sound like a real attractive guy," Ms. Roseannadanna said. "You belong in New Jersey."
As it happens, Mr. Feder was caught in the massive traffic jam around the bridge. Radner's brilliance at creating wild and yet endearing characters first came to life here in Ann Arbor.