Thursday, August 29, 2013

1940: 1500 Cleveland

Another in a series of posts based on the tax reassessment photos of 1940. Learn more here.

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Sears Roebuck and Company was the merchandiser of everything from Jitterbug pajamas and Royal Purple nylon stockings (French heels, extra fine seams, dainty picot tops) to Kenmore vacuum cleaners and Craftsman electric saws (the modern way to build – eliminates tedious hand sawing), from Silvertone tabletop radios (with a cabinet of solid polished walnut and newest type automatic tuning) to Elgin deluxe bicycles (Tail light flashes RED the second you apply the brake!) to ready-to-build Sears Modern Homes (The Fulton – a regular blue-blood of American Colonial design.)

Thirty years earlier New York newspaper columnist Franklin Pierce Adams had written a brief poem titled "Baseball's Sad Lexicon," about the Chicago Cubs' double-play combination of "Tinker to Evers to Chance." The Kansas City Blues' answer the past two seasons had been "Rizzuto to Priddy to Sturm." The league-champion Blues were built on speed and defense, and these guys were being called the greatest double-play combination in the minors.

Sears made use of these local sports celebrities for a summer advertising campaign. Shortstop Phil Rizzuto, second baseman Jerry Priddy and first baseman Johnny Sturm all modeled new Fashion-Tailored All-Wool Tropical Worsted summer suits from the men's department. The coolest suits in town ... the best looking! The fabric is sturdy, resilient, pure virgin wool that requires little pressing ... ingeniously woven with thousands of tiny little holes to catch the breezes and "air-condition" your body!

If you were in the market for a new summer suit you could choose from three-button, single-breasted drapes, double-breasted or conservative models. The best double-play combination in the minors probably received theirs free, but you paid $15.95. If you made a small down payment Sears would let you pay as you wore it. There was no charge for alterations.

Like the suits, the store was fully air-conditioned and it was open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays. You had to remember that streetcars no longer ran to Sears, having been removed from Fifteenth street in March. But you could ride one of the new trolley buses, or you could drive. The free parking lot held more than a thousand cars.

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