Thursday, February 12, 2009

vintage metropolitan detroit ad of the day - detroit edison

Vintage Ad #709: One of Summer's Worst Pests
Not quite the "LOOK UP!" safety ads with Isiah Thomas that ran frequently when I was little. Anyone who has lived through a Detroit/southwestern Ontario summer can testify to how humid it can be come mid-July.


Over the holidays, I purchased a large number of magazines about Detroit, dating from the late 1960s through early 1990s. For each ad excerpted from this batch, I'll spotlight features from each magazine and a random Windsor restaurant review.

Also in the August 1984 issue of Metropolitan Detroit:

* Cover story on emergency health care in Metro Detroit. Tip: it's more important to carry a card listing your medication allergies while on the way to the ER than wearing clean underwear. Minimum user costs for an emergency ranged from $35 (Detroit Receiving) to $122 (Henry Ford).

* An interview with Robert Altman, who was in Ann Arbor filming Secret Honor: The Last Testament of Richard Nixon and teaching the odd course. When asked about being an artist, Altman noted "the artist is the only person who I think you can really trust. The artist—or at least the artistic part of a person—doesn't have an ulterior motive. A real artist isn't trying to buy a yacht or get a bigger house or a Mercedes-Benz or anything like that...And the artist isn't making art out of an altruistic sense either. He's doing it because he wants to. He says, "Hey, what does red look like when it's up against green?"

* A review of Jim Harrison's novel Sundog.

* A feature on amateur astronomers.

* An article declaring that "computing is a lifestyle, not a fad," as Detroiters discover they can use PCs to do everything from tally weekly bowling league scores to assisting blind lawyers.

* "Grilling: More than Macho"

Random Windsor Restaurant Review
Orient Express *** (out of 4)
188 Pitt W (at Ferry)

Review: "Out to make a lasting impression in one way or another, the OE is smashingly and very expensively outfitted, with rich upholstered chairs, chandeliers, and Rosenthal China. The menu is fairly smashing too—Oriental, naturally, with Chinese provinces addressed, as well as Japan with sushi, sashimi and Teppan tableside cooking. An early evening of sushi and champagne is a sensual, once-in-great-while pleasure you owe yourself—right?"

Have I Ever Been There?: Once. Dad liked to take me along to readings whenever authors swung through Windsor in the late 80s/early 90s. Usually they were at the main library branch or South Shore Books, but when Timothy Findley was in town, the reading was at the Orient Express. I still have a signed copy of Last of the Crazy People from that evening. All I remember was the atmospheric interior, yummy spring roll samples and Dad explaining what "gay" meant in terms of human relationships (he thought it was sweet that Findley's partner William Whitehead was in the audience).

Is It Still There?: No. The building was razed along with the neighbouring Norwich Block in the late 1990s to make way for One Riverside Drive, home to Chrysler's Canadian headquarters. Fallout from the city's expropriation of the Norwich Block went on for ages.

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