CLEwind: What Went Down in C-Town During the Splashdown

Welcome to our first CLEwind (Cleveland/Rewind), where we look back on what was going on in the past! 99% of the time we’ll be looking retrospectively at the Cleveland region, but expect us to mix things up once in a while! ~STH

I’ve been greatly enjoying many of the stories and tributes that have been popping up this month for the 46th Anniversary of the Moon Landing.

Most of them have concentrated on the astronauts getting to the Moon – a feat I am still awed by. But I haven’t seen much said about the fact that they had to come back.

On July 24th, 1969 the families of our plucky space explorers had a true Christmas in July when their capsule landed safely.

Part of me started wondering: There may not have been much to do in that capsule, but what were people down here in Cleveland up to while that trio of trans-atmospheric travelers were on their way back down?

Well, what easier way to find out than for me to dig up one of my many old newspapers – the July 25th, 1969 edition of The Plain Dealer.

Front page of the July 25th, 1969 edition of The Plain Dealer. All images are taken from my copy of this paper, and copyrights belong to their respective holders. Used in the intention of Fair Use.

Front page of the July 25th, 1969 edition of The Plain Dealer. All images are taken from my copy of this paper, and copyrights belong to their respective holders. Used in the intention of Fair Use.

Travel along with me as I pick out the articles and ads that caught my eye! Feel free to click on the thumbnail images to view larger versions.

Oh, Disclaimer, while all of this is intended as Fair Use, if The Plain Dealer or any copyright holder objects to the use of their material, just let me know!

Ah, yes, Second Disclaimer, I have gone through and scrubbed all the phone numbers I could find. If you think I missed one, please let me know!

Everything That’s Old Is New To Me

When I first started flipping through my paper, I was initially a little overwhelmed. Since I wanted to concentrate on Cleveland-region happenings, I skipped the front section of international news.

Not being a native Clevelander some things were easy for me to recognize as important, such as a weird Higbee’s ad which was…advertising the best way to blend into tall grass?

I also snagged a quick bit about the Bay Village council raising its own pay, a Summer Arts Festival announcement, and a congratulatory column about two young women who received Harpole Awards.

Basically, my thinking was “snag ’em all and let my editor sort it out” – which is not a terribly helpful way of thinking when you are your own editor…

Can You Throw Shade At An Entire Industry?

Slowly I started to find my focus, concentrating more on things that caught my interest and would be found amusing.

I laughed out loud when I took in the brazenness of The First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Cleveland‘s ad. I won’t spoil it, you just have to see it below.

I could then only feel bad for The Third Federal Savings and Loan Association of Cleveland, whose ad ran on the page directly opposite. When you’re not at the top I guess you have to stoop to offering information to readers…and, also, American flags.

It’s All About The People…The Female People, Specifically

PD7By this point I’d realized I’d mostly taken pictures of advertisements that could have been published practically any time, so I started searching out more human interest stuff.

Unrelated to my decision to look for such articles, I came upon the Plain Dealer Women’s Pages, with Harry West as the Women’s Editor.

I originally was going to gloss over how Mr. West was the Women’s Editor, until I Googled Harry to confirm whether or not it was short for Harriette and turned up an interesting tidbit.

In 1970 Mr. West applied for membership in the Ohio Newspaper Women’s Association and seemed honestly confused as to why his membership request was denied, saying “…we have the best women’s pages and I can’t enter.”

I’ll let you be the judge of that statement as we move along.

Now, this section brings us to the first of what I like to call “Scott Was Clearly Not Paying Attention To The Truly Interesting Part Of The Page.” Take a look at this and see if you see what I only saw after going through my images:


What the heck is that headline at the bottom? I was so tied up in thinking “Aren’t late-60s-early-70s styles ridiculous?” that I passed over what I think would have been a far more educational read.

Oh well, I already put the paper back in a drawer so that will have to remain a mystery.

Moving on, I had finally gotten back to paying attention to actual articles. As someone who always stares up at The Lonely Window on Euclid Ave. with many questions, the next article called Tall Stories was kind of fun. And after that I found Dolly’s Cashwords Offers, which I would love to still be a thing because $4,500  in 1969 had the spending power of $29,260.79 in 2015 money!

When “Missed Connections” Were Tiny Ads And Not Airport Nightmares

By this point I had made it to my favorite part of any newspaper – the comics and private ads pages. And every long moment of me carefully covering over phone numbers was worth it.

One of my favorite things in college was grabbing the local paper and looking up what random citizens were paying $.10 per word to post, and this proves that these are enjoyable regardless of the year/decade/century/millennium;

I also found Ask Andy, which I just had to include because he’s adorable and who can’t resist a good explanation of the abyssal plain? Up until the 1920s, sailors thought they were literally floating atop something that never ended.

Andy and Soos clearly shop at the same Mystery Shack.

Andy and Soos clearly shop at the same Mystery Shack.

I’m scared enough going into large bodies of water I know have a bottom; I can’t even fathom how I’d feel thinking it was just endless water.

On a day that celebrates the return of adventurers who just floated around in a ship which was one technical glitch away from floating off into actual infinity, can we think about the pre-1920s sailors who thought gravity was trying to pull them down into the same thing? Except drowny? And they still sailed out on boats over it? Yeesh!

Now, I need to have a word with West End Lumber.

Look, guys, I’m sure that at some point you overheard the phrase “sex sells.” And I suppose, while you were mulling on this miracle of marketing insight, you thought “What is sexy?” and the answer of “a woman in lingerie” popped into your heads.

What am I even supposed to make of this? Seriously?

What am I even supposed to make of this? Seriously?

Now, let’s understand that I’m not disappointed in you for putting a scantily clad woman in your ad (well, actually, I am but we’ll table that discussion for now). What I’m truly disappointed about is that you are carpenters and should know that you can’t just place a nail on a board and claim you’ve built a coherent structure. Similarly, you can’t just put a woman in lingerie atop a map to your location and think you’ve built a coherent advertisement.

At least give her a hammer or saw or some proper context. This is just sad.

Let’s Hear It For That Local Sports Team!

I don’t know anything about sports. I don’t know anything about it now, and I certainly don’t know anything about it 13 years before I was born.

What I do know is that the “Astronauts’ Final Score” line on the first page of the sport’s page is freaking hilarious, and that sports commentator Chuck Heaton is the father of actress Patricia Heaton.

And now we come to the second installment of “Scott Was Clearly Not Paying Attention To The Truly Interesting Part Of The Page.” Contestants, if you’ll please take a look:


If you thought to yourself “Whether the tour retsrns [sic] with all 89 energetic youngsters in tow remains to be seen.” is a concerning way to end an article headlined 89 Catholic Pupils Start Tour, then congrats! You win!

Timely Things That Are Actually Timely

Okay, aside from the Sports Section, almost everything I’ve found thus far really could have happened at any time during the year. So why don’t we turn to the … What the hell is this:


Oh, it’s simply a terrifying drawing of Lawrence Welk who was visiting Cleveland at the time.

I mean, I have no issue against Mr. Welk himself. It’s just that this image…

The longer I stare at his forehead…

My freedom of will sapping…

Sense of self draining…

WOAH! What happened? Where did all these bottles of champagne suddenly come from?

Anyway, inside the pages of pd action tab is a bunch of insights into what Clevelanders were up to at this time.

Peter, Paul, and Mary and The Union Gap were tearing up the stage at Blossom. The Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival was being awesome — as it is to this day. Euclid Beach Park was advertising its 10 cent ride night. And the New Geauga Lake Park was advertising its bargain weekday prices of $2.75 (keep in mind that $2.75 in 1969 had the spending power of $17.88 in 2015 money).

And then I nearly slipped down the rabbit hole – the movies section.

Oh. My. God. I just don’t have words for the…variety of entertainment available. All I can do is post the pages and let people have their own internal monologue.

I love that, by film poster rules, this means that knowing that Walt Disney made "The Love Bug" was as important as knowing that  Raquel Welch is in "Fantastic Voyage."

I love that, by film poster rules, this means that knowing that Walt Disney made “The Love Bug” was as important as knowing that Raquel Welch was in “Fantastic Voyage.”

I was also pleased to see a box for the Aut-O-Rama, a drive-in movie theater that Amanda and I have really enjoyed since moving out here.

Now, we’re in the home stretch of the paper (and this blog entry). We’ve made it into the music section of pd action tab, which was especially fun to flip through. It was very interesting to read about the Flats being the bastion of social activity during this time in Cleveland’s history.

It was even cooler to find an article by a young Jane Scott, who took the time to outline all the new dance moves the local kids were doing that were inspired by the Moon Landing. There are such classics as the Neil Armstrong Step Down, the Side Step in the Capsule Spin, and of course the Buzz Bounce.

And that, dear friends, is what is called “coming ’round full circle!”

Yes, I totally planned starting the article about the Moon Landing and ending it on a tangentially related subject. It was totally NOT something I realized just as I was writing this.

Always End On A Lesson

So that is a brief glimpse into what was up in Cleveland as the astronauts were coming down. It looks like there was a lot of great fun to be had when one wasn’t watching history in the making. I hope you had as good a time looking back on all of this as I had.

And, in order to meet the educational requirements of this blog, I want to leave us with an example for West End Lumber for how one should, and only should, use a lingerie-dressed woman in an advertisement.


Body English?

Meh, the more you know.

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