Gasoline logos never leave the memory

Published 9:59 pm Wednesday, November 4, 2009

By By Lowell McGill
Some weeks I find it most difficult to arrive at a theme for my column.
This is one of those weeks.
It is somewhat similar to a movie my wife and I watched on one of the cable channels recently. “Funny Farm” was the name of that movie and it starred Chevy Chase, a very comical actor.
Now, I am not giving this movie my review but I use its plot to illustrate problems writers sometimes encounter. Chase played a retired big city sports writer who, along with his wife, moved to a country home where he wanted to begin a new career writing novels.
But he found it difficult getting his thoughts together in that country atmosphere and was really never able to kick start his new career. Moreover, his efforts inspired his wife so much that she, indeed, became the novel writer.
Unfortunately I was unable to get any help for my wife with this column so I decided to insert thoughts and ideas as they flowed through my mind.
But, as usual I knew that I could always write about people and events from the yesteryears.
One thing that zipped into my wavering thoughts was a dinosaur logo or emblem on gas pumps years ago. Do you remember that? It was on Sinclair Gas pumps. 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 almost three 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. I told you in that same story that that the 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.
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.
Our good friend Phillip Rawls was the editor of the Advance in 1975. After leaving here he went on to become a very reliable and respected writer for the Associated Press. I see his articles popping up all the time on internet news sites.
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.
In some current news I have learned that we may be doused with heavier than normal rainfall this winter. My source says it is because of the positioning of the “El Nino” in the western Pacific. That could mean bad news for farmers-I hope not, however. I remember ‘training rains” occurring back in the early 1980s. I worked numerous flood claims in Louisiana and Mississippi back then. In fact, I can still see Christmas gifts floating in homes filled with high water.
Incidentally, I completed my final flood claim last week and brought to a close 30 years of work with The National Flood insurance Program. I met many interesting people and was able to travel to many states over those 30 years. After a while age begins to tell on us -doesn’t it?
Now, what did I say in my opening paragraph? It was just one of those weeks when I could not come up with anything to write about. Perhaps next week will be better.
Oh, in answer to our last mystery question, there were four shows on those Saturday matinees, the cowboy feature, a class B mystery (a.l.a Boston Blackie), a cliffhanger serial and a relaxing cartoon. I bet they don’t have Saturday shows like that today.
More next week.
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at

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