Pages From The Past

Curated by staff librarian Brian Fulton, Pages from the Past is your outlet for regional local history stories, discussion and the treasures of the Times-Tribune archives.

Time Warp – Game show sweeps into Scranton supermarket

Time Warp – Game show sweeps into Scranton supermarket

October 1966:

“Supermarket Sweep” was on the lookout for shoppers ready to “win a chance at hundreds of dollars worth of groceries and merchandise.”
Ads in the Scranton Times invited local residents to enter for a chance to appear on the ABC network game show when it came to town to tape episodes at Food Fair in the Keyser Oak Shopping Center. Bill Malone hosted the show, which also featured announcer Richard Hayes.

The show’s 35-person crew transformed the grocery store into the game show set on Saturday, Oct. 1, setting up bleachers to hold an audience of 240 people. The tapings took place Sunday, Oct. 2, and Monday, Oct. 3. The crew filmed three shows on Sunday and two on Monday.
The show pitted three couples against each other in games where they had to guess the retail price of grocery items. Whoever was closest to the exact price won time on their clock to go on their “Supermarket Sweep,” during which they raced through the store to collect high-value products.
The show’s producers selected several couples to appear: Nancy and Bob Huylo, Regina and Jim Lewis, and Connie and William “Biff” DePalo, all of Scranton; Brenda Smith and Peter Griffin, students from Wilkes College; Linda and John McGarth of Keystone Junior College; Carol and Carl Guenst of Dunmore; and Donna and Edwin Hoefer, Grace and Michael Loyak, Bernadette and Larry Fornicola, and Donald and Judy Ace, all of Factoryville.
Returning champions Pat and Fred Lehman of Glenwood, Illinois, appeared on the shows taped on Sunday.
One of the episodes was dedicated to Scranton’s centennial. Nancy Chamoni, Scranton’s Centennial queen, helped present items during the pricing game. The items all represented Scranton’s past, present and future and included a strainer and egg poacher formed together to make miner’s cap; a honeydew melon symbolizing a friendly city; a bookstand, pencil and slide rule to represent the International Correspondence School; 6 pounds of scrapple and 1 pound of salami shaped to form a highway; and a wreath made from 12 pounds of pears.


An advertisement for ABC-TV game show “Supermarket Sweep” that appeared in the Scranton Times on Oct. 16, 1966. The show air locally on WNEP Channel 16 at 11 a.m. TIMES-TRIBUNE ARCHIVES

The Scranton-filmed episodes starting airing Monday, Oct. 17. The local ABC affiliate was and still is WNEP, Channel 16.
Supermarket Sweep returned to television during the 1990s and early 2000s, appearing on the cable network Lifetime and later on PAX.
In 2020, the show was rebooted again, this time back on ABC starring “Saturday Night Live” alumna Leslie Jones. The show will return for its second season in the fall on Sunday nights.

Time Warp – Singer Johnny Mathis entertains University of Scranton audience

Time Warp – Singer Johnny Mathis entertains University of Scranton audience

April 15, 1969:

Singer Johnny Mathis and the Craig Hundley Trio performed at the Long Center at the University of Scranton.
Two-thousand people attended the Tuesday night concert, including special guests of the university. The school treated 15 campers from the Youth Forestry Camp, a state institution for juvenile delinquents at Hickory Run State Park, to the show. James Moore handled the arrangements for the campers on behalf of the university’s student government.

two men

TIMES-SHAMROCK ARCHIVES Scranton Times Entertainment Editor Sid Benjamin, left, interviews Johnny Mathis before the singer’s April 15, 1969, performance

Prior to his performance, Mathis told Scranton Times Entertainment Editor Sid Benjamin that he was excited to be back in the city and performing at the Long Center.
“Boy, was I delighted to see this place,” Mathis said. “When I was in Scranton three years ago, it was awful rough singing in that hall (the Catholic Youth Center). I sang so hard I got hoarse.”
Mathis was referencing his Feb. 9, 1966, performance at the CYC. He had arrived in Scranton the night before, the same evening the city was celebrating its 100th birthday at the Jermyn Motor Inn. Hearing that Mathis was in town, the celebration’s organizer dispatched Scranton Patrolman Earl Kugler to find the singer and ask if he would make a brief appearance at the dinner. Kugler found Mathis at a restaurant in the city, but the appearance did not happen. The scheduled speaker for the dinner, meanwhile, was U.S. Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy.
Benjamin then asked how the current tour was going for Mathis.
“Well, let’s say I’ve learned to live with it,” Mathis replied. “What I try to do is work one week and then take two weeks off. I’ve just returned from skiing in Switzerland. Before that, I was in Mexico. Then along came income tax times, and I decided a short tour wouldn’t be a bad idea.”
Mathis said he didn’t want to give people the wrong idea about why he scheduled a performance in Scranton.
“I was just kidding about the income tax,” he added. “Actually, I’ve wanted to get back here. ”
Benjamin finished the interview by asking Mathis about his setlist for the show, wondering whether it was “just an accident or is it by design that there are no protest songs in your repertoire?” Mathis laughed.
“Protest songs? I have nothing to protest,” he said. “I’m very happy with things the way they are.”

Time Warp – City-wide checkers tournament draws in players of all ages

Time Warp – City-wide checkers tournament draws in players of all ages

April 1932:

Shouts of “king me” came from all corners of Scranton as players practiced for the fourth annual checkers tournament sponsored by Scranton’s Department of Recreation.

group of people

Players in the Scranton Recreation Bureau’s fourth annual checkers tournament gather during the preliminary matches in April 1932. They are, from left, seated: George Carlonas, Thomas Nimmo, Anthony Smolskie and John Comtess; standing: Thomas Irving, Emlyn Davies, Thomas J. Sheppard, William Lucas and Frank McCanna Jr. TIMES-TRIBUNE ARCHIVES

The tournament began April 5 with 67 players at the Chamber of Commerce auditorium. The players were divided into two groups: junior (up to age 17) and senior (17 and older). Sixteen employees of the Scranton Post Office enrolled in the tournament.
On the second night of play, April 8, all participants played again. Winners in both groups stayed in Division A, while the losers moved to Division B. During the third night, April 15, 33 players were left. That night, Frank McCanna Jr. eliminated Adolph Mackaliunas, who had eliminated him in 1931 and went on to become that year’s checkers champion.
The kings of checkers were crowned on April 22 at the final matches at Weston Field. McCanna won Group 1, Division A, and William Lucas was runner-up. Emlyn Davies won Group 1, Division B, and Thomas J. Irving took second place.
John Comtess won Group 2, Division A, with Thomas Nimmo as runner-up. George Carlonas topped Group 2, Division B, and Anthony Smolskie landed in second place.
The Division A winners received an engraved gold “City of Scranton” medal, while the winners of Division B took home engraved silver “City of Scranton” medals. The runners-up received the checkers boards from their final match.
The city checkers tournament started in 1928. Tournaments also took place during the summer in association with seasonal playground activities the Scranton School District sponsored.

Time Warp – Junior League welcomes Captain Kangaroo for music program

Time Warp – Junior League welcomes Captain Kangaroo for music program

May 26, 1962:

Captain Kangaroo hopped on over to Scranton to share his “Fun with Music” program with the pre-school and elementary school children of the area.
The captain, aka Bob Keeshan, entertained children for many years. First, he portrayed Clarabell the Clown on “The Hoddy Doddy Show” until 1952, and then three years later, he started the “Captain Kangaroo” show on CBS.

TIMES-TRIBUNE ARCHIVES From left: Television’s Captain Kangaroo; Mrs. Harold A. Doud, president, Junior League of Scranton; Mrs. Stephen Jewett; and Ellis and Richard Oppenheim, Scranton Dry Goods Co., program co-sponsor, meet on May 26, 1962,

His “Fun with Music” program helped introduce younger children and elementary school students to classical music. The Junior League of Scranton arranged for the television star’s first visit to Northeast Pennsylvania to share the delights of Mozart, Bach and Beethoven with local youngsters. His appearance was part of the league’s ongoing effort to provide children’s educational programming in Scranton.
The Scranton Philharmonic Orchestra – under the direction of Skitch Henderson, who also was the band leader of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” – joined Captain Kangaroo that Saturday at the Masonic Temple. Proceeds from ticket sales for the two performances went to the orchestra and the Junior League’s Community Trust Fund. Tickets were available for purchase at Scranton Dry Goods Co. and from Junior League members.

man and moose

Bob Keeshan brought ”Captain Kangaroo’ and his friends to television in 1955. It became one of the best-loved children’s shows of all-time. Keeshan died Friday, January 23, 2004. He was 76. (AP File Photo)

Prior to the concert, five girls and five boys were selected to appear on stage during the show with Captain Kangaroo and help him lead the orchestra in a performance of the song “76 Trombones” from the musical “The Music Man.” The helpers were Diane Arnold, Brad Batten, Jodie Belin, Ricky Doud, Tari Eckersely, Gary Friedman, Carol Jewett, Ricky Marquardt, Ellen Morgan and John Oppenheim. The kids came to Masonic Temple the morning of the performance to meet Captain Kangaroo and practice their portion of the show.
Captain Kangaroo continued entertaining and educating children until 1984, when the award-winning show ended after 29 years on CBS.

Throwback Thursday – Swimming at Lake Lincoln

Throwback Thursday – Swimming at Lake Lincoln

As we look to cool off from this summer heat by taking a dip in a swimming pool, take a look back at these Scrantonians in the early part of the 20th Century cooling off in Lake Lincoln at Nay Aug Park.



The line was long on June 16, 1930 to try out the new attraction at Lake Lincoln, a water slide. TIMES-TRIBUNE ARCHIVES



Undated photo of swimmer at Lake Lincoln in Scranton. TIMES-TRIBUNE ARCHIVES



Undated photo of a group of boys swimming at Lake Lincoln in Scranton. TIMES-TRIBUNE ARCHIVES



The cool water of Lake Lincoln were a draw from Scrantonians on July 8, 1925 due to the summer weather – hot and humid. TIMES-TRIBUNE ARCHIVES



Young Scrantonians take a moment from their fun at Lake Lincoln to pose for a photo on June 16, 1930. TIMES-TRIBUNE ARCHIVES


Time Warp – Home, garden shows brighten up spring in Lackawanna cities

Time Warp – Home, garden shows brighten up spring in Lackawanna cities

April 27 and 28, 1962:

At 11:30 on a Friday morning, gardeners gathered in the auditorium of the Scranton Chamber of Commerce Building on Mulberry Street for the opening of the annual Chamber of Commerce/Laurel Garden Club Garden Show.
Herman Kerber, former Scranton superintendent of parks; Pauline Poinsard Kiley; Mrs. Harold Phillips; Charles Stockel and John Wanger served as judges. Organizers presented the awards during the opening ceremony. Laurel Garden Club took home top honors in the non-commercial division, while Savage’s Gardens was best in the commercial division.
The Scranton Bird Club, DeSandis Greenhouse, Lackawanna County Agriculture Extension Service and the Lackawanna County Beekeepers Association also received honors. The Pennsylvania Game Commission and Dan Rankin, Gravel Pond nurseryman, each received a blue ribbon for their entries.

The show was open Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 5p.m. and 7 to 9p.m. and on Saturday from noon to 5p.m. Visitors had a chance to win door prizes each hour.
In the upper part of the county, meanwhile, the Greater Carbondale Chamber of Commerce held a home show April 26 to 28 at 5p.m. at the Crane Armory. It included educational displays from area businesses such as Eastern Wood Products, Pennsylvania Gas & Water Co., Century Brick Co., Bloxham Building Materials, Bell Telephone, Carney’s Drug Store and the Globe Fashion Shop.
The home show also featured live entertainment. On April 27, the teens of Carbondale were invited to come to the armory and participate in a “Twist” contest. The people who danced the best to the wildly popular Chubby Checker cover of the song won awards.

Time Warp – Floral displays delight local audiences

Time Warp – Floral displays delight local audiences

Nov. 14, 1953:

As the weather outside started to turn chilly, the weather inside the Nay Aug Park greenhouse was just right for the annual chrysanthemums display.
The event started in 1934, but from time to time the greenhouse had “mums” on display as far back as 1911.


From left: Marylyn Kramer and Dorothy Witkoski, co-captains of Central High School’s cheerleading squad, and Joanne Fischi, Central’s lead baton twirler, blend in with the blossoms of the traditional football-game flower, chrysanthemums, at the Nay Aug Park greenhouse in November 1953. The mums were display to the public. TIMES-SHAMROCK ARCHIVES

William Farmer, Nay Aug Park gardener, said the 1953 display featured 2,500 chrysanthemums representing 25 varieties. The chrysanthemums arrived at the park in March and were planted outside until late June, when they were transferred into the greenhouse. The flowers came in red, yellow, pink, two tones and pure white, and Farmer said they ranged in size from pompom all the way to 8 inches in diameter.
H.M. Kerber, superintendent of parks, reported that some 7,000 people visited to the greenhouse to see the display on Nov. 14 and 15. It was expected to stay up until Nov. 22, and the flowers then would be distributed to local hospitals and nursing homes.
A sneak peek of the Nay Aug chrysanthemums was given at the annual Scranton Florist Show that took place at the Hotel Casey from Nov. 4 to 6. The show was in its third year and was organized by the Scranton Florist Club and the Tri-County Growers Association.
In addition to Nay Aug’s chrysanthemums, the show featured exhibits from 24 local florists and displays of orchids, roses and carnations from the DeSandis Greenhouses in Daleville. Approximately 1,000 people visited the show on opening night.
There was no admission fee for these two horticultural events.

Plates from the Past  – Franco’s

Plates from the Past – Franco’s

During the pandemic, I discovered a pizza place in Wilkes-Barre called Franco’s. 

I was drawn with an Instagram post for a sub called the Cadillac Lou. The sub had a pound of deep fried meatballs covered in vodka sauce, asiago and mozzarella cheese topped with waffle fries served on garlic bread. 


The Cadillac Lou from Franco’s – Meatball sub with vodka sauce, asiago and mozzarella cheese topped with waffle fries served on garlic bread. BRIAN FULTON/STAFF PHOTO

One bite and I was hooked on Franco’s. 

 Here are more images of their culinary creations – 

 Franco’s is located at 198 S. Main St. in Wilkes-Barre. Their phone number is 570-822-2168. The business has a robust Facebook ( and Instagram pageS (, give them a follow to stay up to date on their culinary creations.

Previous Plates from the Past – 

Call Your Mother

B3Q Smokehouse


Bar Pazzo 

Time Warp – Young Bob Hope entertains on Scranton radio

Time Warp – Young Bob Hope entertains on Scranton radio

April 30, 1931 –

Radios in homes, shops and speakeasies were most likely tuned to WQAN, Scranton Times Radio, 1:00p.m. for the weekly Scranton Times/Ritz Theater broadcast for shut-ins.

On this date, though, the program at the Ritz on Wyoming Avenue was something special: it featured well-known songwriter and Broadway producer Joseph E. Howard, singers Mary Olcott and Amy Carswell, the Dixie Four and a young comedian named Bob Hope.
The Ritz Theater orchestra, under the direction of Willie Creager, provided the music, kicking off the show with the Irving Berlin hit “Putting on the Ritz.” The Dixie Four – twin brothers Charles and William Emmet, Herbert Benson and C. Fisher – then performed two original numbers.
Hope, then an up-and-coming comedian, took the microphone next and gave listeners a little bit of his routine along with a song.


TIMES-SHAMROCK ARCHIVES Songwriter and Broadway producer Joseph E. Howard

Howard, known for such hits as “Goodbye My Lady Love” and “Honeymoon,” followed with soloist Olcott. The pair performed a medley of old-timey hits. Contralto Carswell then performed “Alice Blue Gown.” Hope returned to the mic with a few more jokes followed by a spiritual hymn from the Dixie Four before the Ritz Orchestra closed the program with selections from Ziegfeld’s musical comedy, “Sally.”
In addition to vaudeville acts, the Ritz Theater also was showing the film “It’s a Wise Child,” starring Polly Moran, James Gleason, Marion Davies and Marie Prevost.

news clipping

Advertisement from the Ritz Theater for the week of April 27, 1931. The theater featured songwriter Joseph E. Howard, comedian Bob Hope, singing group the Dixie Four and the film “It’s A Wise Child.” TIMES-SHAMROCK ARCHIVES

The vaudeville radio performances for shut-ins started on WQAN in late 1930 and ran until April 1932.
Hope went on to become one of the biggest entertainers in the world. In addition to his films, radio and television programs, he toured the world to entertain military personnel for almost 50 years with the United Service Organization. Hope died on July 27, 2003, at 100.

Related – 

Time Warp 1934 – George Burns, Gracie Allen keep Scranton audience laughing 

Time Warp 1931 – Cowboy band entertains on stage and radio during Scranton visit

First Broadcast of WQAN

May the Fourth Be With You

May the Fourth Be With You

May 1999

A long time ago at a movie theater in Scranton, young Jedi knights, Rebel fighters and Sith apprentices lined up along Lackawanna Avenue to buy tickets for the local premiere of “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.”
Fans started queuing at United Artists Theatre, Lackawanna Avenue, on May 11, and tickets went on sale the following day at 3 p.m. Tickets at United Artists Theatres in Scranton and Dickson City cost $7 for adults and $5 for children, seniors and matinees.

“The Phantom Menace,” the first new “Star Wars” film in 16 years and a prequel to the original trilogy, opened May 19. It introduced audiences to a young Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi and the trouble starting to brew within the Galactic Republic. Despite mixed reviews, the film made $431 million at the box office, according to

On Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016, another chapter begins with the opening of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” This film takes place between the action of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” and “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope.” It centers on a group of Rebels tasked with stealing plans for the Empire’s Death Star, according to

Updated – Since Dec. 15, 2016, there has been several more stories in the Star Wars galaxy. On Dec. 17, 2017, there was “Episode VIII – The Last Jedi” and two years later the final film in the Skywalker Saga – “Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker” on Dec. 20, 2019.  In addition to these two film, there was another stand alone story called “Solo” that was came out on May 25, 2018.

On November 12, 2019, the new streaming service Disney+ premiered a new Star Wars story – “The Mandalorian.”  This story is set in the time between “Return of Jedi” and “The Force Awakens.”

All of Star Wars movies plus more content is available on the streaming service – Disney+.

Also you may want to Google ‘Star Wars’ today for a surprise.

May the Fourth Be With You.