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A smiling Mayor James D. Griffin bolts up one of the signs that appeared all over North Buffalo and were a sort of Rorschach test for zoo-goers throughout the '80s as they tried to decide which animals were depicted on the signs. Note also the cast iron yellow and black "BUS STOP NFT” sign directly below. Those were soon replaced with small, blue and white sheet metal sig…

For someone in Buffalo to be able to hear the Republicans pick Calvin Coolidge as their nominee for president, live from Cleveland, was still a pretty big deal in 1929. It was such a big deal, in fact, that the local crew that made it happen posed for a News photographer to mark the occasion. Radio was still in its infancy in mid-1929. WGR, Buffalo’s first viable commerci…

It was the height of Prohibition, and Mayor Frank X. Schwab owned the Broadway Brewing Company. As mayor, he was fined $500 for illegally brewing and possessing beer when federal agents found beer at his factory. Reporters quarreled with the mayor about some long-forgotten scandal regarding a then-prominent Buffalonian as “the mayor shouted, ‘Don’t bother me with that r…

While he’d been acting in karate films for some time, Chuck Norris was becoming a bonafide star in his own right in 1979, touring the country promoting his new movie, “Good Guys Wear Black.” Buffalo Evening News sports writer Larry Felser’s description of Norris isn’t necessarily in line with the “hard-as-nails” pop culture meme people now think of at the mention of the…

Every few years, someone says, “There ought to be a law about collecting political signs!” So then, every few years, a law is proposed and then shot down when fellow politicians are reminded about the tomfoolery and hijinks that ensue in politics. In 1979, Ellicott Council Member James Pitts said dirty tricks could lead to fines that could “break somebody,” if a law prop…

Seventy years later, remembering D-Day with smiles seems almost ghoulish. But fifty years ago, the middle-aged men who’d been to hell and survived — unlike so many of their mates — got together to remember. They likely talked more of the camaraderie than the trauma. After 20 years, it was still too soon. Many of these men fought through the painful memories like they did…

History

As the Sabres' playoff run moved them ever closer to the Stanley Cup 15 years ago, the joy hockey fans felt was reflected in dozens of  great stories like this one from Donn Esmonde. He spoke at length with the widow of Sabres founder Seymour Knox — and probably the team’s biggest cheerleader — Jean Knox. "For Sabres' first lady, it’s all about love" “More than hockey, t…

History

A decade ago, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote in a Buffalo News op-ed piece that growing the arts in Buffalo would help grow the city’s economy. "A creative approach to Buffalo development" “I believe Buffalo is well poised for arts-based growth. This city has ample talent, first-class museums and beautiful buildings waiting for renewed purpose. Buffalo also has a stro…

One of America’s “greatest generation,” Warren Spahn went from Buffalo’s South Park High School’s baseball team to being the greatest left-handed pitcher of his era. Like many ballplayers of that time, Spahn missed three years at the height of his ability to fight for America in World War II. "Hero on and off field, News League graduate Spahn cited by legion" “During Wo…

The News ran a UPI wire story on the front page about “Arizona resident” and “alleged Mafia kingpin” Joseph Bonanno -- aka "Joe Bananas" -- being turned away by Canadian authorities. Later in 1964, Bonanno disappeared and claimed he had been kidnapped and was being held hostage in Niagara County by the Magaddino family.  While the story was unsubstantiated and wasn't beli…

Stagflation was well-entrenched in Western New York in 1979. A stagnant economy mixed with inflation was amplified here by the drain of manufacturing jobs. As seems to be the way since the mid-1970s, rising gasoline prices put a very immediate and harsh face on any economic crisis. A retailer’s group came to one solution to help drivers, even if it was against state law.…

Teeny-boppers worldwide were captivated as four long-haired English boys swept onto the musical scene.  Four months after debuting on the "Ed Sullivan Show," the Beatles were the biggest music sensation for kids and, perhaps, the biggest headache for many adults. "Tonight at 9:30: UB Round Table on 'Why the Beatles?' " “This week, a teenager is admitted to The Roundtabl…

Politicians and paisanos of a past era filled Chef’s on the day when News reporter Anthony Cardinale stopped by with a notebook to absorb some of the feeling of a landmark. Thirty-five years later, Chef's is still going strong. "Around the table at Chef’s" “ 'My restaurant’s success is in his memory,’ Lou Billittier says when he’s asked about the chef after whom his …