Friday, August 14, 2015

Lenell cookies a new lost icon, just like Magikist lips or Empire Carpet guy

“If you like the cookies, the story I’ll tell,
About a fine baker, named Maurice Lenell.

“He came here from Sweden, to bake and to sell,
The wonderful cookies, of Maurice Lenell.

“One taste will tell, that Maurice Lenell, cookies are just simply … good!”


Soon to be no more!
Now, it’s just an advertising jingle relegated to the junk yards of our minds that are cluttered with all sorts of trivia collected through our lives. Maurice Lenell cookies will soon be no more.

The company that has been producing them in recent years has decided it’s no longer financially worth their time or effort to do so.

THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE reported Thursday that the current supply of Lenell-brand cookies in places like The Cookie Store and More are it – there will be no replenishment of supplies once they run out.

Although it should be pointed out that the Lenell family that founded the company in the 1920s with a bakery that expanded greatly throughout the years sold their financial interest back in 1985. The new owners closed the iconic company’s factory on Harlem Avenue in suburban Norridge in 2007.

Which for one summer back some three decades ago I actually lived near. It always shocked me to learn the number of people who thought it cool to live near the real-life Maurice Lenell factory. Yes, I am old enough to remember the smell of the cookies baking when one passed through the neighborhood.

It has been quite a while since Lenell cookies were something you could easily find on your store shelves. They had become something that certain people would scavenge stores for – just like Faygo root beer – to bring back some sort of childhood memories.

How do people give directions now w/o the Lips?
MY OWN MEMORY of the company go back to that advertising jingle that was featured in television spots that aired on many programs that were geared toward Chicago-area children.

Such as Ray Rayner or Garfield Goose. Or as my brother, Chris, recalls, a sizable supply of Lenell-brand cookies were among the prizes offered on Bozo’s Circus for those individuals fortunate enough to get a chance to play the Grand Prize Game (I went to grammar school with one such girl – she washed out on Bucket Number Three).

Which is why, as I write this, I can’t get that jingle out of my head. I may have to torture myself with something by Culture Club or the 1910 Fruitgum Company to force it out of there.

It has been awhile since we've seen Hauldren's real image on television
Perhaps it is just a desire to hang on to portions of the Chicago of my youth – some of which probably make no sense to the younger generation. Just as how I always expect to see that whitewashed brick colossus as I approach 35th Street on the Dan Ryan Expressway – only to realize Comiskey Park was torn down 25 years ago.

THE JINGLE WILL go along with another iconic image that used to exist on the Dan Ryan – the Magikist carpet cleaning company that hasn’t been in business since 2001.

Remember those giant red lips that lit up there, along with locations along the Eisenhower and Edens expressways? How many people used to give directions to their homes by telling people how far they lived from the lips?

Which would make us think those people were imbibing a bit too much on the cooking sherry, until we drove into their neighborhoods and suddenly saw those giant lips hovering over us? Then, it made sense.

I’ll have to confess to sensing a gaping hole, of sorts, at 85th Street when I no longer see those lips looking down on me as I pass by on the Dan Ryan.

JUST AS IT also seems odd whenever we see the animated image of Lynn Hauldren in the television commercials for Empire Today. The real-life Hauldren when he was alive was the Empire Carpet Guy, whose company could easily be reached at 588-2300.

Bring back real Sanders image?
In fact, I suspect most of you had no clue who I was talking about until I gave the company’s telephone number – which you’re probably now singing in your own minds.

Yet another iconic image from Chicago’s past that continues on.

Although definitely not as lame (my brother insists “creepy” is the proper word) as actor Darrell Hammond’s attempt bring life to Col. Sanders. That would be one image we’d all be better off forgetting!


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