THE WAY IT WAS: 50 Years Ago in Euclid

Fourth in a series. Note: The following news, sports and other items were excerpted from editions of the 1966 Euclid News-Journal, the city’s former weekly newspaper.

FEB. 24, 1966 -- In response to complaints from neighbors, the Euclid Recreation  Commission denies permission for two fund-raising events at Memorial Park – a circus that was to be sponsored by the Euclid Rotary Club and the Euclid Lions Club’s “Free Fair.”

          As a result, Rotary Club President Dr. Frank Houser reports the organization is investigating other possible sites for the May 5th Mills Brothers Circus -- complete with clowns, lions, and trapeze acts. And Dr. Russell Baldwin, a long-time Euclid optometrist and past president of the Lions Club, declares: “If we can’t hold the Free Fair, then the Lions Club will ask City Council for an ordinance to abolish carnivals anywhere in Euclid.”

          The Euclid Jaycees, apparently now stuck with a $500 “Dunk the Dolly” display that the group purchased for the Free Fair, express concern that the commission’s policy might prevent use of Memorial Park for the annual Fourth of July picnic and fireworks festival. (Only long-time city residents will remember the grand July 4th events  that the Jaycees once sponsored and subsidized.)  


          At a Euclid Democratic Club meeting Bud Davison, the long-time commissioner of the Euclid Pony League, was re-elected as club president in a secret ballot --  a rebuff to city Democratic Leader Joe Whalen. Along with the four city ward leaders, Whalen had proposed a slate that had Frank Balash in line to become the new Democratic Club president.

                    Whalen, who had earlier orchestrated the move in which three Democratic councilmen broke away from Mayor Kenneth J. Sims’ Coalition Party, called for a stand-up vote. However, councilman Tony Sustarsic suggested the secret ballot.  (Sustarsic, a World War II veteran who lost part of one leg in combat, would later become mayor of Euclid.)


          A Poet in the Parking Lot … Jim Ballantyne, a former Euclid High parking lot guard with a lifelong passion for writing poetry, receives a letter from President Lyndon Johnson. Not one of those White House form letters, mind you, but a personalized thank-you note for a poem that he’d recently composed, entitled: “A Tribute to President Johnson.”

          The 75-year-old Ballantyne’s writing credits include hundreds of poems and songs, many of them written during his years as an employee at Eaton Manufacturing Co. – and more than a few while working as a part-time guard in the Euclid High parking lot. 

          During World War II, he wrote “It’s Your Job and My Job” – the production soldier’s march – as a theme song for factory workers during the war. (The founder of Eaton Mfg., Joseph Eaton, liked the song so much that he arranged to have the glee club at Warner & Swasey Co. make a recording of it.)


          With cable TV in the early stages of development, Euclid City Council considers a proposal by Telerama Inc., which seeks to install cables in Euclid to provide a 12-channel system including the three network stations and WVIZ, then best known as an educational TV station.

          On the table was a 7-page ordinance, prepared by Euclid Law Director Bill Monroe and introduced by councilman Tony Sustarsic, that would grant approval to Telerama’s request for a license to have the necessary cables installed in Euclid. Telerama’s plan was to contract with Ohio Bell Telephone to do the actual installation. The company proposed charging homeowners $4.95 a month for its 12-channel package after a $10 installation fee. The City of Euclid would receive a small percentage –up to 5% -- of Telerama’s monthly receipts.

          However Herb Fitzgerald, the city’s communications engineer, expressed dissatisfaction with the offer – arguing that Euclid should hold out for a better deal, one that would include additional channels for an intra-city network that could carry localized programs such as high school basketball games, concerts, and – no doubt – Euclid City Council meetings.

          “Personally,” Fitzgerald declared, “I’m not interested in 12 commercial channels… I don’t think Telerama is giving us anything cultural. They are not telling us that we can originate programs in Euclid for the people of Euclid.”

          Council tabled the legislation for two weeks to allow time to consider possible amendments. (And in the long run, Herb Fitzgerald, who operated his own telecommunications business on East 185th St., was proven to be a man with great foresight... Now, 50 years later, his name is still affixed to the front of  his old East 185th store, though the building has appeared to be vacant for some time.)


          A restaurant at 22350 Lake Shore Blvd., next to Gornik’s Clothing in the Shore Center shopping strip, advertises that it has changed hands and is now “Lenny & Max’s Restaurant and Lounge” – under the management of Max Kurtz and Leonard Loving. It  soon became known for its delicious sandwiches.


          Larry Whalen, a student at the University of Kentucky who holds several Euclid High track records, wins the college division mile run in the Mason-Dixon Games held in Louisville, Ky. He is also the champion miler of the Ohio Valley Conference.


          Heading into the sectional wrestling tournament at Mayfield High, Euclid Coach Clarence Eckert is hopeful that two of his matmen – Jim Orazen (154 pounds) and Tom Seddon (175) will prove successful against stiff competition. Orazen, a sophomore who went undefeated against junior varsity competition, was recently moved up to the varsity to replace a wrestler who quit the team. One potential opponent in his weight class is Orange’s Dave Cameron, who boasts a string of 20 straight dual-meet wins.

          “If Orazen can place in the sectional,” says Coach Eckert, “he’ll get his varsity letter.”

          Seddon, who takes a 7-2 record into the sectional meet, is in the same weight class as the defending state champion – Cleveland Heights’ Paul Bergman. (Seddon had come close to scoring an upset against Bergman in an earlier dual meet.)

          Also competing in the Mayfield sectional are Coach John Storey’s St. Joseph Vikings, whose hopes rest heavily with Jim Roberts (103), Kerry Volkman (154), Don Heibel (165), and 270-pound heavyweight Ron Tumbry who sports an unbeaten 6-0-2 record.


          In basketball, St. Joe’s and Euclid are both heading to the sectional tournament at Eastlake North. The Vikings, seeded No. 4, carry a 12-6 mark into their game against the host Rangers. A win would advance them into a semifinal clash against Euclid, which received a first-round bye.

          “We’ve been coming along,” says Viking Coach Bernie Guilfoyle, “but I’m not sure we deserve the honor of being seeded.”

          In St. Joe’s game a week earlier, a hectic 62-55 victory over Geneva,  guard Jim Slusser – filling in for an injured player – scored 15 points, made six steals, and connected on three clutch free throws in the final quarter. “We call him ‘Mr. Ice,’” Guilfoyle says. “Pressure doesn’t seem to bother him. He shoots foul shots like he was relaxing at home in his parlor.”


          Ted Theodore, an assistant track coach and art teacher at Euclid High, is named director of the Ohio Track Classic meet, an all-star event slated for June in Toledo. In addition, with the assistance of EHS audio-visual director Roy Hinch, Theodore created the artwork and title for the 1965 Ohio state track meet film that is made available to coaches throughout the state.


          An ad for Fritz’s Tavern at 991 East 185th, points out that the bar-restaurant features music and dancing on weekends. The music on Friday nights is provided by the Tom and Lou Trio and on Saturday night by the Norm Novak Trio. (Fritz’s, a popular eatery famous for its fish fries, was  located in the building that now houses  the East 185 Bistro.)


          Rev. Francis J. Kenney, S.M., director of the Marianist   community at St. Joseph High, is scheduled to conduct an “evening of recollection” on March 1 for the women of the Court of Mary of HolyCrossChurch. His topic is: “A woman’s role in the home, the church, and the present-day world.”  Father Kenney was appointed director at St. Joseph in 1965. He has also served as a chaplain and a faculty member.


          Jackshaw Chevrolet on East 185th St. advertises slightly used 1965 factory officials cars for just $1,695. Sales include the remaining balance of the new-car warranty. (Not only is Jackshaw no longer in business, but the building that it occupied has been razed.)


by John Sheridan


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Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 12:28 PM, 07.10.2016