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Many Christmases ago ...

December 13, 2008
By Howard Riley

It was a sad Christmas season in Saranac Lake in 1967 because the beautiful, beloved St. Bernard's Church was destroyed by fire on December 5.

Of all the words written then about the fire from many of us on the staff at The Enterprise, none came close to the eloquence of my friend and colleague, J. Ripley Allen. He devoted his editorial page column to the fire and a page-one story with this lead:

"Two pigeons cut in from the northeast against a sharp blue sky this morning, came to an accustomed landing on the grey stone sill at the entrance to their belfry home, strutted between wisps of smoke, then flew away."

Article Photos

An advertisement from a 1967 issue of the Enterprise

But enough has been repeated about that sad event over the years so this week's space will be occupied with names and places from the 16-page (twice the usual size) special Christmas edition of the Enterprise a mere 41 years ago.


Remember these places?

Marine Midland Bank ran a half-page ad promoting "charge cards" that could be honored in these businesses. Most of us had never heard of what became known as credit cards, and the bank explained the card use this way: "You have the option of payment in full in 30 days or paying 5 per cent of your merchandise balance - minimum $10 per month."

The partial list: in Saranac Lake - Altman's, Clinton J. Ayres Inc. (maybe one could buy a house with a charge card?), Bob's Atlantic Station, Brewster's Gulf Station, Casier Utilities Inc., Fred Everett, Inc., CBS Furniture, Gladd & Leaper Buick-Pontiac, Harvey's Book Store, S. Curtis Hayes, Inc., Hilltop Motel Inc., Hoffman Pharmacy, E. J. Kennedy, Inc., Bill Mansion's Hardware, National Army Store Corp., Post Office Pharmacy, G. Carver Rice Inc., Pro Shop Saranac lake Golf Club, Saranac Lake Jewelry, William G. Scheefer Jeweler, Smith-LaRose Insurance Agency, Inc.

In Tupper Lake - Aseel's Jewelry, Fortune's Hardware, Ginsberg's Department Store, Jackman's Emperial Motel, LaRoque's Department Store, Mademoiselle Dress Shop, McCarthy's Clothier, Rickamer's Jewelers and the Tip Top Sport Shop.

In Lake Placid-Adirondack Photo Service, Bloch's The Continental Shoppe, Golden Arrow Motor Inn, Holiday Motel, Mountain Motors, Inc., Placid Atlantic Service Station and James C. Sheffield Insurance.


Let's look at the bargains

A new, frost-proof Frigidaire refrigerator at Casier's for $299. How about a 14 inch portable color television set from $299 at McCrea's Radio-Television Sales & Service at 47 Broadway?

What about buying any one of these name brand portable typewriters: Smith-Corona, Olivetti, Underwood or Olympia for $72.50 at J.M. Munn's Business Machines located at 34 Broadway.

Newberry's had a Thursday night special where ladies' sweaters, 100 percent wool turtle necks were selling for $7.77 and a 24 midget light set in multi colors sold fro $2.47. Men's sports shirts were 2 for $5.

Ask Red Wilcox if he remembers from his days at the National Army Store when this event took place anyone could come in and register without buying anything and win a color television set and 50,000 S&H Green Stamps; the drawing was held on Dec. 22. Hockey skates were selling for $8.99 and a .22 rifle for $19.95.

The A&P store had whole chickens for 24 cents a pound, and Charlie Green was selling two pound fruitcakes for $1.25 which later, I understand, were often used for years as door stops.


Other events

Paul Newman was starring as Cool Hand Luke at the Palace Theater in Lake Placid, and these girls from Brownie Troop 39 in Saranac Lake enjoyed a skating party at the Olympic Arena in Lake Placid: Sally Ferree, Valerie Duso, Laurie Kent, Linda Sheldon, Merry Anne Sheldon, Tina Gladd, Cindy Wells, Kathy Catillaz, Gail Stiles, Dorothy Ward, Brenda Ward and Theresa Evans.

The Pontiac Theater was running what must have been a B minus movie with this lead-in to the title when you've got it made, "Don't Make Waves", make love, with actors unnamed.


What's on television?

Here is a sampling of popular television programs in 1967: "The Mickey Mouse Show," "The Rifleman," "Montreal Magazine," "TV Bingo," "Ripcord," "Sgt. Bilko," "Trails West," "Hazel," "Wyatt Earp," "The Virginian," "Petticoat Junction," "Mr. Fixit" (was that Phil Lalande?), "Dr. Kildare," "Perry Mason, Patty Duke," "The Beverly Hillbillies," Ben Casey, Dick VanDyke and Danny Kaye.



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