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Future of Corporal Klinger's beloved hot dogs in doubt

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Written by JOHN SEEWER, Associated Press   
Monday, 13 June 2011 08:23
Tony Packo’s was a Toledo, Ohio, landmark long before the café gained national recognition on ‘M-A-S-H.’ This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) – A family feud slathered with accusations of financial misdeeds is threatening the future of an Ohio restaurant whose hot dogs were made famous by cross-dressing Cpl. Max Klinger on M-A-S-H.

The fight centers on the ownership of Tony Packo's, a corner bar and grill that grew out of the Great Depression and whose chili-topped hot dogs, stuffed cabbage and roast beef platters continued to please fans even after the iconic TV show ended its run three decades ago.

“If you're ever in Toledo, Ohio, on the Hungarian side of town, Tony Packo's got the greatest Hungarian hot dogs,” Jamie Farr's character Cpl. Max Klinger said on an episode in 1976.

The son and grandson of the restaurant's namesake have been trading accusations for nearly a year, and each is trying to buy the company. The restaurant's lender foreclosed on its loans, and a judge put a third party in charge of the restaurant while he sorts out the mess.

Both sides were in court Friday, when a Lucas County judge heard arguments on a number of pending motions.

The character played by Toledo native Jamie Farr put Packo's on the map when he portrayed a homesick U.S. soldier in the Korean War who longed for Packo's hot dogs and wore dresses in hopes of convincing the Army he was crazy and should be discharged.

Packo's was mentioned in six of the 250 episodes of M-A-S-H – notably, in the final episode in 1983, which until last year's Super Bowl was the most-watched TV show in history.

The original Packo's – there are five outlets around Toledo – remains a destination and is decorated with M-A-S-H memorabilia, including glass-encased hot dog buns autographed by celebrities ranging from Bing Crosby to Alice Cooper.

It's still common to see out-of-state license plates in the parking lot and visitors snapping photos inside and out.

The family for years resisted offers to expand, although it does sell Packo's hot dog sauce and pickles in stores across the nation, including some Kroger stores in the Midwest.

The restaurant first opened in 1932, when Tony Packo and his wife got a $100 loan from relatives.

Trouble among the owners surfaced in 2002 when Nancy Packo Horvath, daughter of the founders, accused her brother, Tony Packo Jr., of trying to force her out of the business. They settled their differences and agreed to reorganize the company's management structure.

Packo Horvath died a year later, leaving her share of the business to her son, Robin Horvath. All seemed fine until July, when he sued Tony Packo Jr., and his son, Tony Packo III, accusing them of blocking him from looking at company financial records after he began questioning them about company spending.

Horvath claimed he found $400,000 in unauthorized payments dating to 2006. He said his cousin, Tony Packo III, used company money to repair his wife's car, pay for construction at his mother's home and buy golf balls and golf shirts without providing receipts.

The Packos have denied any wrongdoing. They countered in court documents that Horvath had not been involved in day-to-day operations for years and had little knowledge of the business.

Since then, Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp has foreclosed on almost $4 million in loans to the restaurant and seized about $100,000 Horvath had at the bank. It also foreclosed on properties that Horvath owns next to the restaurant, trying to reclaim personal guarantees he made on the business loans.

A bank attorney said in February that Packo's lost a lot of money last year – he did not say how much – and that its future was in doubt if it continued business under the court-appointed third party. An attempt to resolve the dispute with the help of a mediator failed this spring.

James Rogers, an attorney for the Packos, said they haven't closed the door on reaching a settlement. He wouldn't discuss what is at the root of the differences.

“Family business disputes can be complicated situations,” Rogers said.

The Packos have not talked publicly since the dispute arose. Messages seeking comment were left with Horvath and his attorneys. Horvath told The Blade newspaper in January that he didn't think Tony Packo Jr. misappropriated the company's funds but was trying to protect his son.

The upheaval doesn't appear to be hurting business – at least judging the number of cars filling the parking lot recently.

Customers say they can't imagine Toledo without Packo's – the hot dogs are what cheesesteaks are to Philadelphia and deep-dish pizza is to Chicago.

“It's too big of a name,” said Jim Zywocki, who lives in the suburb of Holland and stopped in for lunch because he was working nearby. He took home a map for some out-of-town co-workers who wanted to stop in, too.

“Tony Packo's is Tony Packo's,” he said. “It's a landmark.”

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-06-10-11 2057GMT


Last Updated on Monday, 13 June 2011 09:23

Redesigned Rock Hall opens exhibit on The Beatles

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Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 09 June 2011 10:26
The I.M. Pei-designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Jason Pratt of Pittsburgh, Pa., licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland has opened the world's most comprehensive collection of items from The Beatles as part of the first redesign in the facility's 15-year history.

The exhibit announced Wednesday features nearly 70 items, including several that are being displayed for the first time, such as Paul McCartney's handwritten arrangement for the song Birthday. Visitors also can see guitars played by John Lennon and George Harrison, the logo drum head from the kit that Ringo Starr used on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964, and notable clothing worn by each group member on tour or on film.

"For many years now, we have been fortunate to have a great relationship with Yoko Ono, which enabled us to have many John Lennon artifacts,'' said Jim Henke, vice president of exhibitions. "This time around, we were able to work with Ringo Starr and with George Harrison's estate, so they are well-represented in the exhibit. We also worked with some collectors who had other key Beatles pieces, and before we knew it, we had an absolutely incredible collection.''

The items have gone on display as part of a museum redesign that is funded by part of the Rock Hall's $35 million capital campaign and is expected to be complete by next year. It includes technology upgrades and changes aimed at presenting the history of rock and roll more chronologically. Visitors can learn more through interactive kiosks and listening stations, new exhibits and oversize images of inductees like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. The Hall of Fame also got a bit of the Hollywood treatment with a 50-foot (15-meter) red carpet welcoming visitors.

The facility expects to have the final upgrades, including a new video wall, in place before the Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies in 2012.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 09 June 2011 10:42

A 20-year-old surprise arrival for baseball card collector

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Written by O.K. DAVIS, The (Ruston, La.) Daily Leader   
Tuesday, 07 June 2011 10:52
Front view of 1991 Upper Deck #494 Kevin Reimer baseball card. Image courtesy of RUSTON, La. (AP) - Neither rain, nor snow or gloom of night can keep the United States Postal Service from delivering the mail, even if it's more than 20 years late. Just ask Jeremy Telford.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the former Ruston High School and Louisiana Tech University pitcher was into collecting baseball trading cards big time.

He would work odd jobs, from mowing yards to washing cars, to save up enough money to buy the latest pack of cards that would arrive at Baseball Card Mania on Ruston's Mississippi Street.

Telford and I.A. Lewis classmate Derek Schorsch would bicycle down to the shop and check with Owner Mark Cramer about the latest collectibles.

"Mark was always willing to talk to us about cards and such and I know I probably drooled more than a few times looking and dreaming about the day I had enough money to buy cards like a Nolan Ryan rookie, a Mickey Mantle card and others,'' Telford said.

But such superstar cards were too expensive for Telford and Schorsch, so they settled for lesser known players and did so often via a Beckett's Price Guide, considered the "Bible'' of sports collectibles.

"The Beckett's Price Guide included addresses of players, and Derek and I talked about how we should send cards, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope, to see if we could get some autographs through the mail,'' Telford said. "We figured that our chances might not be as good if we sent them to well-known players like a Ryne Sandberg, Barry Bonds or Cal Ripken, Jr. So we chose to send our requests to the lesser known players on each roster."

Players such as Kevin Reimer.

One day in 1990, Telford enclosed a card of the Texas Rangers' outfielder-designated hitter in an envelope, along with an SASE, and mailed it from his home.

Then he waited.

"I can remember sitting in the house, looking out the window and getting nervous when I saw the mail truck,'' said Telford.

While cards of other players eventually made their way to his home, the one bearing Reimer's signature didn't.

The years would pass and Telford would marry and become a successful businessman - the owner of Dowling's Smokehouse B-B-Q in Ruston.

He never knew what happened to that Reimer card _ until just recently.

"I am working with my crew during lunch at Dowling's Smokehouse,'' he said, "and one of my employees walks in the back and tells me that a lady is at the front counter claiming to have mail for me.''

It was a woman who had moved into Telford's childhood home.

"She tells me that a letter had recently come to the house and that whoever had sent it obviously didn't know that I hadn't lived there for over 12 years,'' Telford said. "That was how long ago she had bought the house and moved in.''

Telford immediately recognized the envelope.

"It was mine because I used to write much more legibly when I was younger than I do now,'' he said.

This particular envelope had the logo of the Texas Rangers on it.

"I guess I looked at it for what seemed like an hour, wondering what treasure might be inside,'' he said.

The 29-cent stamped envelope carried a Seattle postmark and was dated May 21, 2011.

And inside was a signed, mint condition 1991 Upper Deck Kevin Reimer card.

"I am still in shock over it,'' he said.

Reimer, a Macon, Ga., native made his debut with the Rangers in 1988 after being selected in round No. 11 of the 1985 draft. He retired in 1993 after playing for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The value of the 1991 Kevin Reimer Upper Deck edition is listed just below $2.50.

No matter. To Telford, it's priceless.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's the best autographed card I have ever received,'' he said.


Information from: Ruston Daily Leader,

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Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Front view of 1991 Upper Deck #494 Kevin Reimer baseball card. Image courtesy of Back of 1991 Upper Deck #494 Kevin Reimer baseball card. Image courtesy of
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 June 2011 08:57

Kentucky city would like to have part of Coca-Cola museum

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Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 06 June 2011 08:59
Sheet metal crossing guards sponsored by Coca-Cola protected children walking to school during the mid-1900s. Image courtesy of Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Collectibles. ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP) – A tourism official in Elizabethtown is hoping she can keep some of a valuable Coca-Cola memorabilia collection headed for auction together as part of a permanent local display.

Sherry Murphy, executive director of the Elizabethtown Tourism & Convention Bureau, has approached the head of the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia about the possibility of donating some items for a display at the Hardin County History Museum.

The museum's collection is valued in the millions and includes one-of-a-kind posters, rare serving trays, century-old lithograph calendars, unique bottles, colorful jewelry, lighted signs, vending machines and toys. The Schmidt family recently closed the museum and decided to auction 80,000 items piecemeal, beginning in mid-September.

Murphy said the tourism bureau has received numerous calls about the museum since it closed. Murphy told the News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown that the Schmidt family was receptive to the idea of putting part of the collection in the history museum.

“The museum would be willing to give them space,” said Susan McCrobie, president of the Hardin County History Museum's board of directors. “That was an important industry (for many years).''

McCrobie said she planned to meet with Murphy today.

The family collection started in the early 1970s when Bill Schmidt, a third-generation Coca-Cola bottler, picked up some memorabilia to decorate offices at his bottling plant in Elizabethtown.

Schmidt, who died four years ago, and his wife, Jan, amassed a treasure trove rivaling the company's own vast collection. Their items fill a museum and warehouse covering 32,000 square feet.

The museum drew about 30,000 visitors annually before closing in April. The family plans to create the Schmidt Family Foundation, which will give to local and national charities.

Mayor Tim Walker said the exhibit is appropriate to honor the Schmidt family's contributions to the city.

“I believe it keeps a part of the Coke museum in the community, and we could tell a little story that (illustrates) the history of the museum,” he said.


Information from: The News-Enterprise,

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-06-04-11 1617GMT


Sheet metal crossing guards sponsored by Coca-Cola protected children walking to school during the mid-1900s. Image courtesy of Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Collectibles.
Last Updated on Monday, 06 June 2011 10:12

Jerry's Speakeasy basement is never 'dry'

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Written by JOHN TRUMBO, Tri-City Herald   
Thursday, 02 June 2011 10:22
United Electric Clock Corp. of Brooklyn, N.Y., produced this ‘Repeal’ Prohibition clock in the early 1930s. It stands 13 1/2 inches high. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and William J. Jenack Auctioneers. KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) – Imagine the year is 1931, Chicago.

It's not illegal to drink alcoholic beverages, but making booze or transporting it in bottles and barrels is a federal offense thanks to Sen. Andrew Volstead and the 18th Amendment.

Fast forward eight decades and 1,925 miles west to Kennewick and a well-kept home in Canyon Lakes.

Descend into Jerry Johnson's inner sanctum, his Prohibition-era poolroom, and sneak a peek into the world of gangster Al Capone.

Here are mementos of ax-wielding Carrie Nation, who delighted in smashing up saloons, and “Revenuers,” also known as agents of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

And there are FBI wanted posters for George “Machine Gun” Kelly, John Dillinger, “Baby-Face'' Nelson and “Pretty-Boy” Floyd.

Johnson spent more than half a year creating the specially decorated poolroom, using artifacts representing the era from 1920 to 1933.

Among the items hanging on the walls are a replica Thompson submachine gun and shadow boxes with paraphernalia from the dry days when the only legal way to obtain alcohol was with a federal government prescription.

Johnson said he converted what had been a spare room in the basement about four years ago and added a pool table.

When guests started dubbing his poolroom Jerry's Speakeasy, Johnson quietly started the remodeling project.

Using his cabinet-making skills, Johnson spent nearly nine months crafting and installing wainscoting, adding faux finish paint to the walls, installing lighting appropriate for the period and acquiring collectibles to display.

He also created what is the room's most talked about feature – the point of entry.

This basement speakeasy not only has no windows, but it also lacks a door.

That's not to say it has no entrance. It simply has no traditional point of entry.

First-time visitors heading to the poolroom go down the stairs as directed, then usually pause to look at Johnson's model railroad layout before noticing a small workroom at the end of the short hall. A built-in bookcase is on the adjacent wall, but there appears to be no other place to go.

“I tell them to go into the pool room, and they ask, ‘Where is it?’” Johnson said.

He then gives a gentle push, and the floor-to-ceiling bookcase swings into the poolroom.

“It's heavily over-engineered and has heavy-duty hinges and a caster to help distribute the weight,” said Johnson, who is director of information technology at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland.

Most people are fooled, he said.

The secret entrance makes a good impression, but his collectibles are equally impressive.

There are several photos of Al Capone showing the gangster socializing with his associates, and a large picture of agents dumping a barrel of whiskey into a New York sewer in the early 1920s, while the deputy police commissioner looks on approvingly.

Another photo of a parade in 1931 from Newark, N.J., has dozens of young men carrying signs that declare “We want beer.”

They got their wish two years later when the Volstead Act was repealed.

The speakeasy walls also have a framed front-page article from the Dec. 6, 1933, Chicago Herald Tribune declaring “20 Million Gallons in Canada Ready for Delivery.”

One of the speakeasy's most unusual items is a genuine prescription for liquor, written on a federal Treasury Department order form.

There are postcards and pins, protest items and memorabilia from the “Drys” calling for continuation of Prohibition.

“I made so many trips to Michael's (craft store), I had a personal framer,” Johnson said.

An antique wet bar, with a selection of liquor bottles line up in front of the ornately framed mirror, and a working desk telephone from the 1930s, complete the decor.

A descendant of Swedish immigrants, Johnson said he chose to focus on Chicago and Prohibition because his parents grew up in Chicago during the Depression.

“This is my way of getting back to my family's roots,” he said.

Just for fun, visitors who are allowed to enter Jerry's Speakeasy have a special surprise to take home.

Johnson had special double-shot glasses made with the image of a gangster holding a shotgun, and a message: “I've been shot at Jerry's Speakeasy.”


Information from: Tri-City Herald,

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-31-11 1720GMT

United Electric Clock Corp. of Brooklyn, N.Y., produced this ‘Repeal’ Prohibition clock in the early 1930s. It stands 13 1/2 inches high. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and William J. Jenack Auctioneers.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 June 2011 10:52

Amateur archaeologists unearth Pensacola's past

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Written by REBECCA ROSS, Pensacola News Journal   
Friday, 27 May 2011 09:49
The empty bottles left and center are from Crystal Pharmacy in Pensacola and D'Alemberte's Pharmacy, Pensacola, respectively. The tall soda pop bottle is marked ‘Drink Try-Me’ and is from Northport, Ala. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Flomaton Antique Auction. PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) – Chad Fitzgerald and Frank Phillips aren't your typical treasure seekers.

Instead of dusty tombs or vine-covered temples, they explore their own yard. Armed with buckets and spades, they dig, unearthing bits and pieces of Pensacola's past.

If one man's trash is another man's treasure, these amateur archaeologists are rich beyond measure.

Their story begins, as all good mysteries do, with a clue.

Fitzgerald and Phillips bought their home – in a modest, older neighborhood off Pace Boulevard – in 2005. The house had sat empty for three years; broken glass was strewn across the front yard.

“I thought, ‘What a shame, so much littering.’” Fitzgerald, 45, recalled. “But when we picked up the fragments, we could tell they were pretty old.”

The mysterious glass turned up again when Phillips, 60, tried to install fencing in the backyard.

“I couldn't get any post holes dug, because I kept hitting bottles,” he said, shaking his head. “I felt bad about breaking them, but I really didn't know what we were dealing with.”

Phillips couldn't have guessed where those old bottles would lead them. Or how deep.

For the last 15 months, the couple has unearthed a staggering variety of objects on their property.

An enormous mound of colorful glass and pottery shards – an estimated three tons – dominates their backyard. Inside the house, vintage bottles – nearly 2,000 intact specimens have been found – line the walls. Cabinets and tables display curious collections of found objects including buttons, bullets, pipe stems, wooden toothbrush handles and crystal bottle stoppers.

There's even a gun – a heavy, battered revolver.

“It's kind of taken over,” Fitzgerald said, with an impish grin. “But we love it.”

And they love “fitting the puzzle pieces” almost as much as finding them.

According to local archaeologists, the digging duo's neighborhood was most likely built on a former city dump site.

“They suspect it might have been part of the old W Street dump, which closed around 1940,” Fitzgerald said. “But we kind of question that, because we haven't found anything ‘younger’ than 1915.”

The exact origins of the dump site may be murky, but probably not too unusual.

Elizabeth Benchley, the director of the Archaeology Institute at the University of West Florida, said her teams uncover dump sites at many of their local digs.

“Just about every house in downtown Pensacola had a trash heap in its backyard,” she said. “People threw it out back in a heap, or down old wells and outhouses.”

Many of Fitzgerald's and Phillip's finds date from the mid- to late 1800s to the early 1900s.

One of their most delicate treasures, a tiny gold medallion from a rosary, bears the date of 1850. Fitzgerald, who painstakingly unearthed and cleaned the object, handles it with reverence.

“It makes you wonder about the people who owned these objects,” he said. “Each piece has a story.”

But with so many pieces, the couple wants to share their good fortune. They are inviting the art community to make use of the glass and pottery shards – out back in the “Shard Yard” – for a mere $7 per pound.

“The possibilities are endless,” Fitzgerald said. “Stepping stones, mosaics, you name it.”

Bill Clover, a Pensacola State College professor of art and ceramics instructor, was an early customer.

He plans to make molds from some porcelain dolls that the couple found.

“They're amazingly detailed,” Clover said. “I also bought some giant pottery shards to show my students. It's an amazing hoard they've found.”

Shard sales will make room for more. With one 9-foot hole excavated, Phillips and Fitzgerald are carefully shoveling their way down another.

“We've learned a lot about safety since we started,” Phillips said. “Now, we have a system.”

Benchley, who has advised the men on their pet project, cautions other homeowners against amateur yard excavations.

“Digging in unstable earth is extremely dangerous,” she said. “And, if you're living in downtown Pensacola, you could potentially dig through, and destroy, Colonial artifacts.”

Phillips and Fitzgerald are wary of their digging, but not weary. Not yet.

With the rest of their property to explore, they remain enamored of their earthy obsession. They believe they were fated to own the treasure-studded property.

“Frankie told me at the beginning, that people walk across their fortunes every day,” Fitzgerald said. “In our case, it isn't about the money. But we feel very blessed.”

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-25-11 2046GMT


The empty bottles left and center are from Crystal Pharmacy in Pensacola and D'Alemberte's Pharmacy, Pensacola, respectively. The tall soda pop bottle is marked ‘Drink Try-Me’ and is from Northport, Ala. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Flomaton Antique Auction.
Last Updated on Friday, 27 May 2011 09:59

Last cigar factory shuttered in Red Lion, Pa.

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Written by CHRISTINA KAUFFMAN, The York Dispatch   
Friday, 27 May 2011 09:09
J.C. Winter & Co. of Red Lion, Pa., also manufactured chewing tobacco. This metal thermometer advertises the company’s Happy Jim brand. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Morphy Auctions. RED LION, Pa. (AP) – Joe Jacobs, now 63, can remember the smell of tobacco curing as he drove into Red Lion as a teen.

The town's cigar factories employed most of its people, and they sold more than 10 percent of the cigars manufactured in the United States, according to local historian Shirley Keeports.

She said most current Red Lion residents can still say they know someone who once worked in a Red Lion cigar factory.

But unless they know Jacobs or his receptionist, they don't know anyone who presently works in one.

Van Slyke & Horton Inc. was the last remaining factory from the industry that built the town – and it closed production about six weeks ago, said Jacobs, who manages the place.

He and his secretary are all that remain. After an auction of most of the manufacturer's possessions, they'll be gone, too.

“It certainly is the end of an era,” said Jacobs, whose father, Clark Jacobs, owns the factory. “There were a lot of people who lived a very good life because of it. The industry was responsible for Red Lion being such a flourishing community at that time, and there was a time when most men had a cigar in their mouth. We just always thought people would smoke.”

He said Van Slyke & Horton, 49 S. Pine St. in Red Lion, was also the last operational cigar factory in York County.

The Van Slyke building began manufacturing cigars in 1910 under then-owner J.C. Winters, Jacobs said.

It had about 60 employees in the height of cigar popularity and was producing millions of cigars per year.

Things had been “rolling downhill” for cigar manufacturers for decades, but the passage of a new tobacco tax a few years ago and the economic recession “pushed us over the cliff,” Jacobs said.

The factory made nearly a million cigars last year, selling them to locations all over the world. Workers would condition the loose tobacco and feed it into 20 machines that rolled cigars, and then they'd pack and ship them. But orders slowed and the handful of remaining employees were let go around two months ago, Jacobs said.

The machines were sold to an operation in Nicaragua and, on Thursday morning an auction was conducted to disperse decades worth of equipment and memorabilia, Jacobs said.

Items sold included labels and bands, antique hand-rolling items such as cutting boards and knives, cigar molds and 250-capacity trunks in which cigars were packed, he said.

The building is not for sale, and Jacobs said he's not sure what will come of it.

The cigar industry was so strong in Red Lion by the 1920s that the town was the richest place, per-capita, in the nation, said Keeports, who directs the Red Lion Historical Society's museum.

“I don't think there were many households that didn't do some kind of cigar manufacturing,” she said. “You could start stripping tobacco in your own home, and you were called a stripper. Most of the women were strippers, stripping the stem from the leaf.”

The town's opera house and theater were built on cigar profits. So were the lives of the townspeople.

Workers wrote songs and poems about the factories, and they treasured their jobs enough to fight for them. In 1934, cigar workers afraid of losing work to machines went on strike. State police were called to control rioters. Women lay down in front of delivery trucks. One Red Lion man was blinded by tear gas, and, according to Keeports, had to make brooms for the rest of his life.

Keeports said she's “greatly upset” by the last factory's closure. She planned to attend the auction and use Historical Society funds to buy and preserve as much of the memorabilia as possible.

Things might be tight, she said, because she recently “spent a lot” at the closing of Loyer's Pharmacy, another of the town's institutions.

“It's our history,” she said. “I don't like to see these things leave the town.”




Information from: The York Dispatch,

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-25-11 1926GMT


Last Updated on Sunday, 29 May 2011 11:40

Madonna donates boots to daughter's school auction

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 24 May 2011 10:25
Madonna at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival in New York. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. NEW YORK (AP) – Bale sales and raffles? So passé.

Now that it boasts Madonna as a parent, New York City's LaGuardia High School was able to auction off a pair of Chanel boots worn by the Material Mom at its spring fundraiser.

LaGuardia, the so-called “Fame” school, is a public high school specializing in the visual and performing arts. Madonna's daughter Lourdes enrolled there in September.

The Daily News reports that the LaGuardia auction also featured an item donated by novelist Jonathan Letham, who's an alum. He auctioned off a chance to become a character in his next book.

There was no information on what either of the lots sold for.

High-profile parents at some New York City schools are able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars at the schools' annual auctions.


Information from: Daily News,

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-23-11 1457GMT

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 May 2011 10:35

Christie's to sell photos of Beatles' first U.S. concert

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Written by ULA ILNYTZKY, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 24 May 2011 09:47
Meet the Beatles! Mike Mitchell’s backlighted shot of the Fab Four at a press conference is reminiscent of the Robert Freeman photo on the cover of the Beatles’ first album released in the U.S. Christie’s Images Ltd. 2011 NEW YORK (AP) – It was 1964. Beatlemania ruled. Two days after their momentous debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, the Fab Four boarded a train from New York for Washington, D.C., for their first U.S. concert. An enterprising 18-year-old Mike Mitchell was there, a press pass in hand, shooting photographs just feet away and even jumping onto the stage for the group's brief pre-concert press call.

Forty-seven years later, Mitchell has made 50 silver gelatin prints from his negatives of the event on Feb. 11, 1964 at Washington Coliseum and of the band's Sept. 13, 1964 performance at the Baltimore Civic Center. He's offering them for sale at Christie's New York auction house on July 20. The total presale estimate is $100,000; the images will be sold individually.

Mitchell laughs when he describes the scene at the indoor arena that night – not only of screaming fans but also of his unrestricted access to the stage. No cordoned-off media pens, no tight security.

“It was a long time ago. Things weren't that way then,” the 65-year-old said in a telephone interview from Washington, where he lives and works as an art photographer. “It was as low-tech as the concert itself. The concert was in a sports venue and the sound system was the sound system of a sports venue.”

Equally astonishing is how few other photographs from that first concert exist. Simeon Lipman, Christie's pop culture consultant, said it's not clear why, but he said Mitchell's black and white photographs were remarkable for their quality.

“They're very close-up, very animated. The light is very interesting. They're very intimate shots,” Lipman said

In addition, Beatlemania was at its peak, so much so that the Beatles stopped performing live in 1966 – their last concert was in Candlestick Park in San Francisco – “because they couldn't hear themselves sing. The girls were so hysterical,” Lipman noted.

Mitchell stored the negatives all these years in a box in the basement of his home. For the silver gelatin prints in the auction, he used digital technology to do “much better ‘darkroom’ work that could ever have been done in a traditional darkroom.”

The batch of prints, showing the Beatles in their early signature mop hairdos and suit and tie outfits, also will have a nearly invisible “secret moniker” that will not be used for any other of his images, he said.

The highlight of the sale is a backlit photograph of the band with light halos around their heads that Mitchell shot at the press call while standing directly behind the group. Christie's has not yet determined what it's expected to fetch.

But Cathy Elkies, Christie's director of iconic collections, explained that the auction is pricing the collection “in an attractive way” for two reasons: Mitchell was not an established photographer at the time and the auction house wants to appeal to a wide base of fans and collectors. But she expected bidding to exceed the estimates, saying, “Beatles fans are fierce. To uncover this trove of images that's never been published will really excite people.”

Mitchell said he had not thought much about the photos until now because he has been focused on developing a body of photographic work about light that took him on a different aesthetic journey. And until recently, he said, the images “couldn't be restored to the extent that they have.”

“They benefit from a historical perspective,” Mitchell added.

He said he got the press pass for the Beatles' first concert from a small Washington magazine that had a short life and for which he did some work.

The Washington Coliseum stage was a boxing ring, which meant the Beatles were constantly turning around so they could face all of the fans. Ringo's drums were set on a lazy Susan-type platform. The press was allowed to move freely around the stage, Mitchell said.

In addition to jumping on the stage during the press call, he hurled himself up after the concert ended. Even though the Beatles made a swift exit after performing such favorites as Roll Over Beethoven, From Me to You and All My Loving, Mitchell said, “the crowd was so boisterous” that he feared for his safety.

The photographs will be displayed at Christie's London galleries on June 11-12, and then at several other London venues before being shown July 11-20 at Christie's New York prior to the auction.



Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-20-11 1623GMT


Meet the Beatles! Mike Mitchell’s backlighted shot of the Fab Four at a press conference is reminiscent of the Robert Freeman photo on the cover of the Beatles’ first album released in the U.S. Christie’s Images Ltd. 2011 George Harrison. Christie’s Images Ltd. 2011 Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Christie’s Images Ltd. 2011 Ringo Starr. Christie’s Images Ltd. 2011
Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 May 2011 10:56

Comic stores hope superhero movies help sales

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Written by PETER PANEPINTO, Carroll County Times   
Tuesday, 17 May 2011 09:35
Thor, pictured on the cover of ‘The Mighty Thor No. 136,’ has been a smash hit at the box office. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Pioneer Auction Gallery. The Mighty Thor and all Marvel characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks & Copyright © 1966 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved. WESTMINSTER, Md. (AP) – A Westminster business is hoping Thor, Captain America and the Green Lantern can help generate sales this summer. After all, this business is selling products with the superheroes' faces on them.

Gotham Comics owner Keith Forney stocked up on Green Lantern, Thor and Captain America comics, graphic novels, T-shirts, action figures and posters, and he's hoping the hype surrounding the upcoming films can generate more business this summer.

“I'm looking forward to the release of the movies and hopefully they do well,” Forney said. “And if they do, I anticipate they will generate more business for me, but, more importantly, I hope the movies are good and everyone enjoys them.”

Thor opened in theaters on May 6, Green Lantern opens June 17 and Captain American: The First Avenger opens July 22. Forney doubled his stock of Thor and Captain America comics and graphic novels. He usually has about 11 different volumes, but he now has more than 20 in stock. He's also increased his stock of Green Lantern comics and graphic novels by 50 percent, and he stocked up on back issues in case a reader wants to catch up on a series before a movie is released, Forney said.

Sometimes comic book adapted films have a positive impact on business, Forney said, but sometimes they do not.

“It really depends if it's a good movie or not,” Forney said. “If it's a bad movie, there's very little chance it's going to motivate people to come in the shop.”

For Forney, the most recent biggest impact a film had on business was in 1989 when Batman, starring Michael Keaton was released.

“That was a well-received movie with an all-star cast,” Forney said. “It was also darker and grittier than previous superhero movies, so that kind of gave way to new possibilities for comic book movies.”

More recent films The Watchmen and The Dark Knight also increased sales at Forney's store. The movie trailer of The Watchmen, shown before The Dark Knight, drove customers to Forney's shop, and the demand for the graphic novel skyrocketed, he said.

The Dark Knight boosted graphic novel sales by 50 to 100 percent in summer 2008, Forney said. Prior to the movie, the shop was selling five novels per week, but after the movie was released, Forney began selling 10 each week. The shop was selling one or two Watchmen novels per month, but after the trailer debuted, it sold about two or three per week, he said.

Comic book fan Samantha Weaver, 19, is planning to see both Thor and Green Lantern when they come out in theaters.

“For the comic books, Thor is great because it has really strong villains and Green Lantern is neat because of all the abnormal powers,” Weaver, of Westminster, said while shopping earlier this month at Gotham Comics. “If the movies are good people might be pushed to read the books.”

Sam Robinson, store manager at J&M Comics and Games in Eldersburg, said comic book movies help business, but more so leading up to the movie rather than after it.

“We see a lot of people coming in and trying to get the older books for whatever movie is coming out and we're seeing a lot of that for Green Lantern right now,” Robinson said. “People definitely like to refresh themselves on the story so they're all ready when they go to the movie.”

Other comic shops in Maryland and Pennsylvania are also stocking up on items to supply new and old customers.

When Iron Man was released in 2008, comic sales increased by 10 to 20 percent, said Charles Fitzsimmons, store manager of Cards Comics and Collectibles in Reisterstown. The shop was selling 30 Iron Man comics per month, but after the movie debuted the shop began selling 35 to 40 per month, he said.

With Thor and Green Lantern debuting soon, Fitzsimmons is expecting the store's stock of action figures to fly off the shelves.

“They are definitely going to sell,” Fitzsimmons said. “I think Thor could have the most impact because noncomic book fans may be interested in the mythological aspect of it.”

Comix Universe in Hanover, Pa., has added five to 10 Thor-based comics and graphics novels to its normal supply, said Rob Bream, co-owner of the comic shop. This summer, Bream said he is expecting a jump in comic and graphic novel sales because Thor and Captain America both tie in to next summer's release of The Avengers.

“Every year more and more people are getting interested in these movies,” Bream said.

In preparation for the Green Lantern, the store will be receiving a special collection of five comics, with each one showcasing a main character in the movie, Bream said.

Douglas Cathro, an employee at Beyond Comics in Frederick, said the shop has stocked up on Thor hammers and helmets, and Green Lantern mask and ring light up sets.

“Thor and Green Lantern are the two big ones right now,” Cathro said. “We're expecting a lot of new and old customers.”

Last month, a customer came in who read the Thor comic books when he was younger, Cathro said, and he purchased the older books when he learned the movie was being released. Other older customers came in and purchased copies of the Thor comic books for themselves and their children, he said.

Some new customers come in because they want to learn the history of a certain character, Cathro said.


Information from: Carroll County Times of Westminster, Md.,

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewrittin, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-12-11 0126GMT


Thor, pictured on the cover of ‘The Mighty Thor No. 136,’ has been a smash hit at the box office. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Pioneer Auction Gallery. The Mighty Thor and all Marvel characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks & Copyright © 1966 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 09:58

Baseball tickets from 1870s are diamonds in the rough

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Written by TONY DOBROWOLSKI, Berkshire Eagle   
Monday, 16 May 2011 11:55
Currier & Ives published the lithograph 'The American National Game of Base Ball' in 1866, about the time Colin Twing's tickets were printed. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) – At a local auction, Colin Twing bid $60 on what he thought were two 19th century railroad tickets, figuring each might be worth that much apiece.

As it turns out, the Pittsfield man acquired a pair of baseball tickets that two researchers are calling rare finds for the national pastime.

Twing, who has been shopping at auctions for 10 years, is now the owner of what looks like a season ticket from the late 1860s or ’70s to the Athletic Club Base Ball Club of Philadelphia and a ticket to the 11th annual National Association of Base-Ball Players convention that took place in Philadelphia on Dec. 11, 1867. The ball club and the association were precursors to the modern organizations.

“They are earlier than the earliest tickets that we have in our collection, and they date from 1871 to 1874,” said Tim Wiles, the director of research for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Wiles examined scanned images of the two tickets that Twing sent him via email.

But Wiles said he doesn't know if they are the earliest baseball tickets that exist. “We don't know what is in other private collections,” he said.

Wiles said it's hard to tell what price the tickets would fetch on the open market. The Hall of Fame doesn't appraise baseball items.

Twing has brought the tickets to the attention of some auction houses.

“Everybody's got a different opinion,” Twing said. “The auction houses are saying that it's hard to put a value on these because there's no precedent.”

The tickets are printed, but each ticket bears a handwritten, “Philadelphia Inquirer,” suggesting both had some connection to the newspaper at the time.

Renowned baseball historian John Thorn discovered Pittsfield's 1791 town bylaw banning “base ball” – currently the earliest known reference to the sport in North America – seven years ago. Thorn says the earliest known ticket having something to do with baseball is a social gathering given by members of the Magnolia Baseball Club on Feb. 9, 1843.

Thorn also examined Twing's tickets through pictures, and called them “very rare.”

“I've never seen a ticket to a National Association meeting before,” he said.

At the 1867 convention, the National Association's nominating committee banned black teams from joining the group, which marked the beginning of the color line in baseball, Thorn said.

“So it's definitely an historic ticket,” Thorn said. “It's the real thing.”

Thorn said he believes that the Athletic Club of Philadelphia ticket is most likely a season pass, because it contains perforations that indicate each time it was presented, the number of games was punched.

Thorn also believes the pass may date from the early 1870s because it appears similar to season ticket passes that were issued in 1874. The Athletic Club of Philadelphia is not related to the Philadelphia Athletics, the major league team that exists today as the Oakland A's.

Twing, who buys and sells antiques, rare books and musical instruments, said he didn't realize how significant the tickets were until he returned home from Fontaine's Antique Auction Gallery in Pittsfield and examined them in greater detail. He bought them in what's known as a box lot.

John Fontaine, owner of Fontaine’s Antique Auction Gallery, said he was unaware of the tickets and that they were likely included in a box lot.

“I looked at what was on the tickets, and I saw the date, 1867, and I said, ‘Oh, boy,’” he said. “So I did a little research of my own, then I called the Hall of Fame.”

“It's a piece of good fortune,” he said. “You look for these kinds of things. You go to estate sales and you look for things that are really going to pay off. You settle for things that you can buy for $50 and sell for $100. But if you can buy something for $50 and sell it for $5,000, that's what you look for. It happens two or three times a year.”

Twing said he plans to sell the tickets – “I'm not financially well off where I can donate these things” – but would be interested in selling them to someone who was willing to donate them to the Hall of Fame. The Hall only displays items that are donated or on loan.

The tickets are “worth what someone is willing to pay” for them, Thorn said.


Information from:

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


AP-WF-05-14-11 0403GMT


Last Updated on Monday, 16 May 2011 12:36
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