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Bringing together the '80s worlds of Super Duper, Big E, and Barry's Cat's Pajamas

Bringing together the '80s worlds of Super Duper, Big E, and Barry's Cat's Pajamas

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If you lived in Buffalo in 1980, there’s no way you didn’t know Big E Bank, Barry Lillis, and Super Duper.

Barry Lillis was the zany Channel 2 weatherman from the '70s through the '90s who seemed to be in every parade and visit every school. In his first stint at WGR-TV, he was best known for doing weather forecasts while wearing t-shirts from various community events.

Super Duper was the Buffalo-based chain of grocery stores that served much of New York State and Pennsylvania through the 1990s, when most of the local Super Duper stores became Jubilee Markets.

Big E Bank was a late-'70s rebranding of Erie Savings Bank. In the mid-'80s, when Big E grew outside of the Buffalo area, the name was changed again to Empire of America — before it was tagged with a $19.8 million loss in a single quarter at the height of the national savings and loan scandal. KeyCorp bought up much of what was once The Big E.

In the spring of 1980, Big E was opening its first ATMs inside supermarkets as a convenience to customers. Barry Lillis served as emcee for the unveiling of the Metroteller ATM inside the Super Duper branch at the Abbott Road Plaza in Lackawanna.

By 1982, Big E was boasting of more than 100 Metroteller locations across the Buffalo and Rochester areas, mostly in Bells, Super Duper, and Wegmans supermarkets.

Barry Lillis left Channel 2 in 1996. Since 1994, he has been an Orthodox Catholic priest. After two years in Pittsburgh television in the early 80s, Lillis came back to Channel 2 to host the late night movie program "The Cat's Pajamas," which became an instant cult classic.

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