WHERE WE’VE BEEN: A nostalgic black & white photo journey through America’s past


Motley News

Nostalgia…. What a flood of memories many of these pictures bring to most adults and baby-boomers.  A little journey through our childhood via some incredible black and white photos gathered from the internet.  A brief description provided when available.  Sadly, I am unable to locate the source of these photos.

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Remembering Little Oscar (Oscar Mayer Meat Co.)

George A. Molchan (June 5, 1922 – April 12, 2005)  an American spokesperson, most famous for his work as Little Oscar for the Oscar Mayer meat company.

Molchan grew up in the Gary, Indiana area; as a young boy, he received hormone treatments to try to make him grow taller. His lack of height was a concern to him; a local theater manager who sympathized with his worries managed to contact Meinhardt Raabe, who was “Little Oscar”, the spokesman for the Oscar Mayer company. Raabe met with Molchan and assured him that if he continued his education, he would have a bright future ahead.[1]

Molchan took his advice, earning both an accounting degree from his local junior college and a degree in communications from Chicago’s Columbia College. He went to work as a bookkeeper for Pepsi-Cola, staying with the job until 1951. Oscar Mayer had plans to expand its promotion of the “Little Oscar” character. The company decided to put more than one Wienermobile on the road to travel the United States, which meant they were in need of more spokespersons to do the same work Raabe did. Raabe contacted Molchan and suggested he apply for one of the positions. Molchan was hired and was based in Chicago; the other additional Wienermobiles were based in Los AngelesPhiladelphia, and Madison, Wisconsin, the company’s home.[1][2]

He traveled the United States in his Wienermobile for 20 years, making appearances at parades, shopping centers and grocery stores. At each appearance, Molchan gave away plastic “wiener whistles”, which were shaped like a hot dog with the company’s logo on them that whistled the Oscar Mayer tune when blown. During many of these cross-country trips, he was accompanied by Stan and Denise Stanley, both of whom were responsible for various roles, ranging from driving the Wienermobile to distributing toys. As a result of the Stanleys’ efforts during the early 1980s, they were recognized during both the 1982 and 1983 year-end reports. After the company phased out the Wienermobiles, Molchan remained on the job for them. He relocated to Orlando, Florida for a job as “Little Oscar” in the Oscar Mayer restaurant at Disney World in the mid 1970s. Molchan worked at Disney for 16 years, retiring in 1987. Upon his retirement, Oscar Mayer also retired the “Little Oscar” character that began with Meinhardt Raabe in 1936.[1][2]

After retirement, Molchan did some part-time character work, but was always recognized as “Little Oscar”. He eventually moved back to Indiana to be near family members. When Molchan was buried in a Merrillville, Indiana cemetery on April 16, 2005, Oscar Mayer sent one of the Wienermobiles to the cemetery, where it was parked near his gravesite during the ceremonies. Molchan’s mourners also sang “Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener”, and followed it with wiener whistle toots of tribute.[1][2]

Died April 12, 2005 (aged 82)
Occupation Actor


Posted by on April 24, 2017 in culture, nostalgic



 “Old Falstaff Beer Commercial” 

 “Old Falstaff Beer Commercial” 

The Falstaff Brewing Corporation was a major American brewery located in St. LouisMissouri. With roots in the 1838 Lemp Brewery of St. Louis, the company was renamed after the Shakespearean character Sir John Falstaff in 1903. Production peaked in 1965 with 7,010,218 barrels brewed, and then dropped 70% in the next 10 years.[1]While its smaller labels linger on today, its main label Falstaff Beer went out of production in 2005.[2] The rights to the brand are currently owned by Pabst Brewing Company.


Doorway of the former Falstaff Brewery building in New Orleans with the “Falstaff” name and logo, as well as post-Hurricane Katrina floodlines

Falstaff Brewing’s earliest form was as the Lemp Brewery, founded in 1840 in St. Louis by German immigrant Johann Adam Lemp (1798-1862). Over the next 80 years, the Lemp family was devastated by personal tragedies as it built its beer empire over the caves of St. Louis. It adopted its famous “Blue Ribbon” moniker quickly, as an 1898 trial proved when it took the Storz Brewing Company of Omaha to court for tying blue ribbons on its bottles, and won.[3]The Lemp Brewery company closed in 1921, and sold its Falstaff brand to the then-named Griesedieck Beverage Company. Griesedieck Beverage was renamed the Falstaff Corporation and survived Prohibition by selling near beersoft drinks, and cured hams under the Falstaff name.[4][5] Falstaff Brewing was a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange, which was rare for a brewing industry in which families closely guarded their ownership.[5]o

When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the first two cases of beer to be made by the brewery were airlifted from nearby Curtiss Stienberg Airport to the governors of Illinois and Missouri.[6]After Prohibition, the company expanded greatly. Its first acquisition was the 1936 purchase of the Krug Brewery in Omaha, which made Falstaff the first brewery to operate plants in two different states.[2] Other facilities bought in this period included the National Brewery of New Orleans in 1937, the Berghoff Brewing Company of Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1954, the Galveston-Houston Brewing Company of Galveston, Texas, in 1956, and the Mitchell Brewing Company of El Paso in 1956.[4]

The Falstaff Brewery located in the north side of St. Louis.

Falstaff was the third-largest brewer in America by the 1960s, with several plants across the country. The 1965 acquisition of another company, the Narragansett Brewing Company of Rhode Island, proved disastrous, with the state government of Rhode Island pursuing an antitrust case against them. The Supreme Court found in Falstaff’s favor in United States v. Falstaff Brewing Corp. (1973),[7] but the company never recovered.

Fortunes declined throughout the 1970s as consolidation swept the beer industry, and the company was bought in April 1975 by the S&P Company, owned by Paul Kalmanovitz. In the interim, Chicago White Sox announcer Harry Caray endorsed the brew in live TV commercials, many times with a glass of beer in his hand and sipping it. Kalmanovitz also owns General Brewing, PabstPearlOlympia, and Stroh’s.[4]That year, the company ranked 11th in sales nationally,[5] and the original St. Louis plant was closed. Subsequent closures included New Orleans in 1979, Cranston and Galveston in 1981, and Omaha in 1983.[8] After the 1990 closing of the last Falstaff brewery in Fort Wayne, the brand name became a licensed property of Pabst, which continued to produce Falstaff Beer through other breweries. Having sold only 1468 barrels of the brand during 2004, Pabst discontinued production of the Falstaff label in May 2005.[9][10]




I am offering you three versions  now of the origin:

Here is The First Version:

First of all,  the word barbeque  is misused.  When you  cook steaks, hot dogs and hamburgers (and whatever else you want) on the grill, well hello…..guess what? That is called Grilling!

Cooking meat over an open fire has been around since the cave man. But the cave man didn’t BBQ. Why? Because he had no sauce. LOL! Actually, as far as we know, the cave men just grilled over an open fire.

So just what is barbequing?  Now pay attention. It will probably end up being a question on “Jeopardy” someday! <wink>  

To barbeque (going to use BBQ from now on since it’s so hard to type) is slow-cooking meat at a low temperature for a long time over wood or charcoal.  Not gas!  Although, most of us without a discerning culinary palette (like me) don’t know the difference.

BBQ began in the late 1800’s during cattle drives out West.  The men had to be fed (cowboys) and the boss (cattle baron) didn’t want to feed them the good meat. So, other disposable cuts were used to feed the men. The main choice for this was Brisket, which is a very tough, stringy piece of meat.  However, the cowboys learnt that if you left this brisket to cook for a long period of time (5-7 hours) at approximately 200 degrees (although I don’t know how they  knew the temperature over a fire?) that wha-la!  A super yummie meal was to be had.  Besides Brisket,  other meats that they found to BBQ well, were pork butt, pork ribs, beef ribs, venison and goat.

The basic BBQ grill is a cooking chamber with an offset firebox or a water smoker.  The average Kmart gas grill is not for BBQ, but for grilling.  Today BBQ is a hobby — or passion with some — and enjoyed by millions of Americans each year.   I guess it’s one of the things we as Americans can claim as “authentic” and part of our culture and not a cooking style that has been brought from another country.

To BBQ is to truly cook American (although its original origin debatable and argued to not come from America at all.)

You know what they say? “When in Rome…do as the Romans.” This can apply to BBQ also.  Different areas of the country have different meat priorities and preparations.  For example, in the Southeast, pork is the preferred meat to BBQ.  Digging a pit (to concentrate cooking heat and smoke) goes back to European culture. Then it was forgotten until the Jamestown colonists arrived.  Since pigs were running around freely to fatten themselves up, (only to be captured and eaten later) pork became the sustenance meat of Virginia and later the southern states.  This also was a blessing when crops didn’t produce as they should for whatever reasons.

Texas seems to love beef barbeque, which seems logical due to all the cattle in the region.

And, it’s my own personal experience that the West coast, especially Californians, seem to love chicken or seafood to BBQ.  When I lived in California, I know the popular beach BBQ was to let swordfish marinate in a dish filled with a teriyaki mixture overnight and then BBQ the next day.  In Santa Barbara, on the 4th of July, it’s a traditional custom to go dig a pit on the beach to party in and BBQ in.

Below I have some traditional BBQ recipes.  But, the sauce is what seems to define a BBQ chef or restaurant.  In the South they seem to like thinner BBQ sauces, with a more vinegary tone.  Other parts of the US prefer the thick, sweet, tomato BBQ sauce.  But in Texas they season their beef with a dry-rub mixture of seasonings.

There are even quirky BBQ’s in some restaurants or areas of the United States.  In the early 1900’s, New Yorkers loved turtle BBQ. I think that got replaced by New York pizza or cheesecake?  I recall vacationing in Wyoming a few years back and coming across a restaurant that offered BBQ Buffalo meat.  (BTW I tried it and it was delicious!)

There is also some argument that clambakes are nothing but a spin-off of traditional BBQs because they are cooked in a pit.  Others claim that the BBQ idea evolved from the fisherman’s clambakes. So which came first, the BBQ or the clambake?  

It’s undeniable that BBQ is popular and well-loved in American society. But, BBQ tastes and cooking differ.  Real BBQ purists claim that a restaurant that offers its customers a grilled piece of meat slapped with some sauce later isn’t eating real BBQ at all.  Others say it is, as long as the sauce is there, then it’s BBQ!

Every year the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) sponsors barbecue competitions all over the US. The biggest one of all is the American Royal (sounds like a rodeo huh?) held every October at guess where? Yup, Kansas City.   I’ve never attended, but rumor has it that you can’t find a steak, hot dog or hamburger there. Nope, it’s nothing but real cuts of meat. And, I will assume shrimp, buffalo, turtle, snake, venison, elk, etc?

(Information  source for the above information on BBQ  is from  posts I read on the American Cooking Bulletin Board and my own personal experiences.)

Read The Second and Third Versions


Posted by on April 24, 2017 in historic, nostalgic



Re-visit:  An “Old-time Soda Fountain in Oregon” 

artist: Elbert Mcgran Jackson

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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in nostalgic






 “Sock Hop” 


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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in dance, nostalgic



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