Saturday, December 23, 2006

Flying Mall Santas!

Sears Store, Bridgeport, CT - 1955

In honor of the holidays, here's a bunch of flying shopping center Santas! Years ago it was quite common for Santa to make his official arrival at the local shopping centers and malls via helicopter (and sometimes parachute!), and these old newspaper ads prove just how common a thing it was (it still goes on from time to time today, but not nearly as much as it used to).

Most of these ads are from the '60s and '70s. The ones that aren't dated would be from somewhere around there as well. Happy Holidays and happy flying, Santa!

Gateway Shopping Center, Lincoln, NE - 1973

Country Fair Shopping Center, Zainesville, OH - 1970

Country Fair Shopping Center, Zainesville, OH - 1976

Sheffield Shopping Center, Lorain, OH - 1968

Southgate Shopping Center, Heath, OH

Charleroi Shopping Center, Charleroi, PA

Downtown Elyria, Elyria, OH - 1979

Von's & Shopping Bag supermarkets, Santa Susana, CA - 1971

Southgate Shopping Center, Heath, OH

Montgomery Ward, Reno, NV - 1970


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um... WOW!

Sat Dec 23, 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

I love the fact that Southgate Malle had to fly in Mrs Santa Claus, because Santa himself was busy, apparently.

Alas, I only got tank-driving Santa who scarred me for life.

Sat Dec 23, 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Kangoon said...

Thank you for this great post! I live in Bridgeport, Connecticut so I can tell you a few things about this add. First of all the Bridgeport Telegram was the morning news paper. At the time Bridgeport, the largest city in Connecticut had three news papers, the Telegram, the Post and the Herald.
The helicopter pictured is a Sikorsky S65. It was probably manufactured a few blocks from the event at Sikorsky’s South Avenue plant.
The Location of the store was adjacent to the Hotel Barnum, named after PT Barnum a Bridgeport resident and former mayor! The Barnum had a cocktail lounge named the Pink Elephant Room.
Downtown Bridgeport was legendary as a retail hub. On Thursday nights the streets were packed with shoppers. There was an early version of a mall in the Post Office Arcade which featured two floors of shopping under a glass ceiling.
Across the street from the Sears Location was Holland’s Department Store. It sat on what was once the most valuable block in New England. I once won Honorable Mention in Holland’s cute baby picture contest. Read’s Department Store was also close by. Reads was the home of the very first Walden Books. The store had a lending library and an incredible toy department.
Sears became an anchor store in the now departed Lafayette Plaza Mall which was built
In the late 60’s a block away from the main shopping street. Gimble’s was the other anchor until it was replaced by Reads.
I have searched the net for images of the Lafayette Plaza mall and have found none. Therefore, I will make it my task to get some and put up a post here about this departed mall.
Thanks for the chance to share what I know about Bridgeport retail history.

Sat Dec 23, 06:39:00 PM  
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