Monthly Archives: July 2018

Vintage WTRF TV-7 Matchbook Covers

“W-where ya been, North Video Guy?”

Yes, I’m still around. The long (well, long-ish) absence has been due to my Wi-Fi at home being extremely spotty. Like, only working 1/4 of the time spotty, and when it does go, it’s generally only at night when I just don’t feel like assembling anything resembling a cohesive article to my eight loyal readers. Plus, I’ve been busy with other idiotic projects and whims and so ons and so forths. You know how it goes.

But, the Wi-Fi, as of this moment, seems to be working adequately enough to try for a quick update. Don’t expect an incredibly long article here gang, but luckily, there’s only so much I can say about the subject(s) at hand, so it’s unintentionally kinda fortuitous.

As is evident from my last post 17,000 years ago, I love promotional television memorabilia. I’d say the older the better, but frankly, things from the 1960s to 1980s time span are what I prefer to search for. (Not that I’d turn away anything older or newer, mind you.) And on that front, I recently, as in just last week, obtained some incredibly cool pieces. Did you look at the title of this article? Look at the title.

A recent trip to a nearby thrift store presented me with a big honkin’ bag of old matchbooks, most from long gone local locations, but also plenty from vacation destinations around the U.S. Assuming they all came from the same person originally (as opposed to the store merely throwing a bunch together to entice suckers like me), this party apparently enjoyed traveling and had a burning desire to get a unique matchbook from every square inch of their journey. This was ultimately to my benefit, because even though the bag was sealed up tight, I could see several matchbooks just on the outside that told me this was worth the purchase, including one featuring the logo of WTRF TV-7. And so, here we are.

WTRF is the CBS affiliate for the Steubenville, Ohio / Wheeling, West Virginia area, and while my personal location in this country of ours means that I’m infinitely more familiar with the Cleveland/Akron television market, I do have some experience with WTRF. Enough to get me fired up when I saw the matchbook, anyway. (Read all about WTRF on Wikipedia.)

I found lotsa good stuff in the bag, and there were actually two WTRF matchbooks included, both of which we will now take a look at. Both also featured advertising info for Elby’s Restaurants, which either was or eventually became part of the Big Boy chain, on the opposite sides. Because I’m on a time limit of unknown duration (Wi-Fi, you know) and because I couldn’t get acceptable pictures of those sides on my phone (flash, you know), I’m going to forego those aspects of the matchbooks and keep the focus on the TV-stuff. They’re more conducive to the purposes of this blog as a whole, anyway.

This book here was the second I found in the lot, buried deep within its confines and thus not visible from the outside. According to the WTRF page on Logopedia, it’s the older of the two, and as such, is also my favorite of the two. Logopedia sez this exact style of logo was only used from 1972 to 1976, though a similar one was present from 1967 to 1972. It’s either old or older, and either way that’s mega cool winnins for yours truly.

I really like the “7” in the TV-like border, but you know what makes this one? It’s the slogan: “The colorful TV station.” That’s just such a cool reminder of the time in which it hails; when stations could still play up the whole “we’re in color!” aspect. I don’t know how much longer channels could get away with that (wasn’t color the de facto norm by the 1970s?), but its presence here instantly marks this matchbook as a true product of a bygone era in television broadcasting. I dig it!

Now, this second matchbook is actually the first one I found; it was the one visible from the outside of the bag in which the entire lot was housed. Seriously, I pretty much bought a hundred or more matchbooks for this one alone. (Well, this one and the promise of more neato finds to be had – a promise that was eventually fulfilled!)

When it comes to WTRF, this was the logo I was most familiar with. (Remember, my familiarity with channel is relatively limited in scope.) That “7” featuring the Ohio-West Virginia-Pennsylvania borders within is ridiculously clever, and the “Call it home” slogan apropo; lotsa people from different territories finding common ground in one aspect of life. Or something like that (it plays out more articulately in my head).

Logopedia sez this particular style of identification was long-lived, lasting from 1980 to 1999. As such, this one is a bit harder to date than the other matchbook. But, compared to the other covers in the lot, I’m inclined to say this one hails from earlier in the 1980s than from later. But heck, even if it came from the extreme of 1999 (highly unlikely), it’s still promotional television advertising, and thus worthy of inclusion in my collection of…stuff.

So there you have it. Not a long update, but an update nonetheless, and one featuring some very cool TV-related pieces to boot! Like I said before, most of my expertise (ha!) resides in the Cleveland-Akron television markets (and to an extent, Canton, too). As such, stations that also reside (or at least air) in Ohio but are out of my reach tend to have an almost “exotic” feel to me, and I mean that in absolutely the most complimentary way possible. These matchbooks certainly qualify, and I count myself fortunate to have stumbled upon them.

There! Maybe I’ll update again sometime within the next 20 decades! We’ll see!

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