Once familiar sights now hard to find

Published 9:05am Monday, January 9, 2012

Some people and events from 1940 inspired my column this week.

One wavering thought was a dinosaur logo or emblem on gas pumps. Do you remember that? It was the Sinclair Dinosaur. I don’t see any of these stations in our area today but I understand some can be found in the Midwest.

Another brand of gas was WOCO Pep which Dee Gibbs distributed when he operated Sherrill Oil Company.  That distributorship was located on Wilson Avenue.

As I wrote five years ago this was the gasoline my dad used at our service station in Perdido in the early 1940s. I can remember coming to Atmore with my dad when he settled his account with Dee. And, that pretty young secretary in his office always handed me a mouth-watering, tasty, piece of hard candy. That pretty girl  was Kathryn Esneul (now Mrs., Charles Lowery).

There were several well known gasolines back then. I am sure you remember the big round bright orange sign used by Gulf and the familiar star on Texaco emblems.

Texaco sponsored many well known radio shows back in in the 40s and 50s. Fred Allen, Milton Berle and Ed Wynn were headliners during the years of their popularity.

Cities Service was a popular fuel and was distributed here by Gray Oil Company. That gas company sponsored a long running radio show in the 1940s-1950s. It was called “The Band of America” with Paul Lavelle directing.  John Phillip Sousa’s spirited marches were featured on those programs.

Standard Oil, ESSO, Mobileoil, and Phillips were also popular back then. Some of these firms are still going strong today.
Other popular radio shows were Bob Hope, sponsored by Pepsodent toothpaste (…it cleans your breath….what a toothpaste…while it cleans your teeth)) and Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch sponsored by Doublemint Gum. How many of you can name Gene’s radio sidekick? Here’s a hint. He is from Alabama.

Jumping now to 1975 a local well known resident passed away. He was Minor Corman,   president of Southland Telephone Company. He had owned and operated the phone company for a number of years.

Jack Lovely, manager of TG&Y donated an assortment of merchandise to Jennifer Ashley Ward, the first baby born in 1975.

Glen Latham, head football coach at ECHS, was named “Coach of the Year” by the Birmingham Post Herald newspaper. Latham guided in 1974 team to the 3A championship. Lou Ikner, a standout on that team who later played at the University of Alabama, was named to the All-Southern High School football team. Other team members garnering recognition for their contributions included Joe Latham, Jimmy Woods and Curtis Coleman.

1975 eagle Scouts receiving awards included Brent Whitaker lll, Ken Whitaker, Rob Faircloth and Chad Daniel.

Florence Kennington retired as Atmore librarian. She served thirteen years here in that capacity.

Last week I failed to include the passing of “Cheetah” the famous chimpanzee star of the “Tarzan” movies.

The little ape was 80 years old at the time of his death December 24. He was a regular member of that 1940 cast which included Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan), Maureen O’Sullivan (Jane) and Johnny Sheffield (Boy).

In some current news I am sure you have taken notice of a shooting in the vicinity of Baptist Hospital in Pensacola a couple of weeks ago.

Other news stories also point out unsafe conditions in areas near that hospital.

Following the birth of our grandson five months ago my wife and were leaving about 10 PM escorted to our car by a hospital officer. As he took us to our car we heard very loud music, talking and laughing by what appeared to be teens and young men in the hospital parking lot. It’s a shame that such a nice hospital is located in an environment like this.

Finally, congratulations to Sammy Day, son of Joel and Louise Day, for his recognition as outstanding member of the Northview High School faculty and staff. Sammy has served  less than forty years with the Escambia County Florida school system.

Next week we will take a look at more people, places and events from days gone by.

“….yes, it always whispers to me…..those  days of long ago….”

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