Capital Region Scrapbook: Horsing around

Budweisers' majestic Clydesdales paid a four-day visit to Schenectady in July of 1952. They delighte

During the 1950s, talking beer mugs Schultz and Dooley helped sell Utica Club beer. Carling’s hired Mabel, the pretty barmaid who heard “Mabel, Black Label!” from folks at the bar.

Budweiser’s advertising ambassadors didn’t speak. They marched.

The beer brand’s famous Clydesdale Horses strutted into Schenectady during the summer of 1952. Eight horses with the traditional feathered legs arrived on Saturday, July 12, with nine handlers, a Dalmatian dog named Buttons and a Sicilian donkey. The donkey was a key component — the draft horses refused to go anywhere without him.

The majestic employees of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Co. in St. Louis received the royal treatment. Special stalls were built at Mohawk Chevrolet at 738 State St., which the beer horses used as headquarters. On Sunday, the animals met their public during an open house.

Each horse stood nearly 6 feet tall and weighed about 2,000 pounds. The average age was 8 years.

Budweiser officials told reporters the Clydesdales, still seen in Budweiser advertisements today, were smart. Each animal answered to his name, the same way a well-trained dog would. But only when a handler or someone closely connected to him made the call. “When they are in the stalls, the driver can call the roll — and each horse will lift his head as his name is called,” the Schenectady Gazette reported.

The animals were on the job Monday and Tuesday, parading through Schenectady’s downtown. On Monday, they attracted a large crowd during an early afternoon visit to the Sears Roebuck Co. on Erie Boulevard. Sears used the appearance to sell sets of pilsner beer glasses for $1.44.

The horses didn’t seem to mind the heat — Schenectady sweltered in 97 degrees that day, then the hottest day of the year.

They probably had the king of refreshment — buckets of water — waiting for them at Mohawk Chevrolet.

Categories: Life and Arts

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