Sunday, September 08, 2013

From the Detroit Memories Email Inbox

Fr. Joseph Marquis as J.L. Hudson's Santa
Dear Eileen,

I just discovered your “Detroit Memories” web site this evening.

Thanks for bringing back some of the warm recollections of Metro Detroit.

I continue to treasure the fond memories of portraying Santa for J.L. Hudson’s Thanksgiving Parade back in “the good old days.” I remained with the Detroit parade for several years following the closure of our beloved J.L. Hudson’s store (until around 1990). The attached photo is from around 1977 or 1978. Tom Ryan continued the Santa role until only recently. 

Frankly, this will be my 42nd Christmas conducting the St. Nicholas Institute with Santas arriving from all over the United States (Sept. 30th – Oct. 3rd). Part of the event is a gala Awards Banquet at which we present each student with a framed Certificate of Achievement. We also honor persons from several walks of life who live the Christmas spirit 365 days a year.

During the Wednesday, October 2nd 2013 St. Nicholas Institute Awards Banquet we will present special recognitions to several outstanding persons: Art VanElslander, Dr. Adam English, Rev. Rennie Kaufmann, Dick Purtan and ex-Detroit Lion, Tony Semple for their outstanding work.

This year, we’ll also will also confer a special “Christmases Past, Present & Future Award” to Virginia Patton Moss. She portrayed Ruth Dakin Bailey (the sister-in-law of George Bailey; a.k.a., Jimmy Stewart) in the Frank Capra classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

Banquet reservations are available to the general for $40 per person. The evening will include musical entertainment and an atmosphere that will evoke memories of Christmases long ago.

2013 Awards Banquet Reservation Information

Once again, keep up the great work. I loved reviewing your Detroit Memories web site and look forward to exploring it further!

With warmest best wishes…

In the Spirit of St. Nicholas,
Fr. Joseph Marquis

VIDEO: Boblo Memories


Furniture designer Charles Pollock

June 20, 1930 - August 24, 2013

The Michigan-raised designer of the famous Pollock Executive Chair that became ubiquitous in offices in the mid-20th century has died in a fire at his New York City home. Charles Pollock was 83.

Pollock was raised in the Detroit area, worked part-time on the assembly line at Chrysler while attending Detroit Cass Technical High School. After graduation, he attended the School of Art & Design at Pratt Institute in New York.

He introduced his chair in 1963. Set on rolling wheels, the chair was visually distinctive with tufted upholstery and an aluminum band around its edges. In following decades, Pollock moved away from furniture design.

He returned to it recently. After being sought out by Jerry Helling of Bernhardt Design, Pollock created a lounge chair that debuted last year.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press


Writer Elmore John Leonard Jr.

October 11, 1925 – August 20, 2013

After graduating from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School in 1943, Leonard joined the Navy, where he served with the Seabees for three years in the South Pacific. 

Enrolling at the University of Detroit in 1946, he pursued writing more seriously, entering his work in short story contests and sending it off to magazines. He graduated in 1950 with a degree in English and philosophy. A year before he graduated, he got a job as a copy writer with Campbell-Ewald Advertising Agency, a position he kept for several years, writing on the side.

Leonard had his first success in 1951 when Argosy published the short story "Trail of the Apaches." During the 1950s and early 1960s, he continued writing Westerns, publishing more than 30 short stories. He wrote his first novel, The Bounty Hunters, in 1953 and followed this with four other novels. Two of his stories were turned into movies at that time: The Tall T and 3:10 to Yuma.


Actress Julia Ann "Julie" Harris

December 2, 1925 – August 24, 2013

One of Broadway’s most honored performers whose roles ranged from the flamboyant Sally Bowles in “I Am a Camera” to the reclusive Emily Dickinson in “The Belle of Amherst,” died Saturday at her West Chatham, Mass., of home of congestive heart failure. She was 87. 

Born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, the daughter of Elsie L. (nĂ©e Smith), a nurse, and William Pickett Harris, an investment banker. She graduated from Grosse Pointe Country Day School, which later merged with two others to form the University Liggett School.

READ MORE in The Detroit Free Press

From Frank W. Gesinski:

Julie Harris, the actress who passed away a day or two ago, was proud of being from the Detroit area. I was part of UofD's Singing Titans choir at the 1964 World's Fair in New York City. At the Michigan Day Breakfast, the MSU Marching Band played played(!), and the guest speakers were Republican presidential nominee hopefuls including George Romney and Nelson Rockefeller. The emcee was Arthur Godfrey. Also, a speaker at that table was Julie Harris.

Detroit's Own Casey Kasem

Listen to Detroit's own Casey Kasem
in these weekly replays of his classic American Top 40
radio shows on Premiere Radio Networks.

For radio listings in your area: 

Kasem was born in Detroit, Michigan, and is a graduate of Northwestern High School and Wayne State University.

Walled Lake Casino


We are in the process of producing a television special remembering
Walled Lake Casino in the 50s & 60s.

Were you there?
Do you have a remembrance or story?
Would love to hear from you!

Here's an excerpt from my book about that iconic place
and those halcyon days. 

Lee Alan

Motown luminaries honor the legendary Maxine Powell

She taught the Supremes how to get in and out of a car gracefully in a tight chiffon skirt, coached Motown’s singers to smile and keep their eyes open while singing, and is responsible for much of the polish associated with Motown acts.

On Monday evening, the Motown Historical Museum and many of the label’s artists, including Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, Duke Fakir of the Four Tops and Cal Street of the Velvelettes honored Maxine Powell at a reception for friends and supporters of the museum at 2648 W. Grand Blvd. in Detroit.

Bowling for Dollars 2013

More than 100 people gathered at Allen Park's Thunderbowl Lanes,
the original home of
Bowling for Dollars to watch the taping
for a special that aired June 16 on WADL-TV in Detroit.

A ratings monster in the '70s, Bowling for Dollars episodes
sometimes pulled in half of Detroit's TV sets,
according to original host Bob Allison.

This kick-off show contains a lot of clips from the past.