Thursday, March 09, 2006

Bell Brand Potato Chips

Bell Brand chips were a southern California brand. This group of photos includes some from the 50's and 60's. Nice grocery store display set ups, promo photos and behind the scenes distribution pics.

60 comments:

Tangaroa said...

Amazing photos! Thanks for sharing them...

Tangaroa said...

Hey - didn't Bell make "Granny Goose" chips? Have any bags in your collection?

Dan Goodsell said...

yeah there is a Bell / Granny Goose connection - I think bell might have made the chips and Granny Goose distributed them - I have one early bag and some 70's bags

50's Granny Goose bag

Anonymous said...

Suddenly I am craving potato chips.

Neil said...

This was great to see. My father was Bell Brand's VP Sales & Marketing in the 50's and early 60's and my first summer job was at their plant in Santa Fe Springs. Bell Brand didn't make Granny Goose chips.

Don said...

Does Bell Brand still exist? and do they still make potato chips?
Theirs were the best and I'm fed up with only finding Lays in my stores. Fortunately Albertsons is now carrying Laura Scudders, when they have stock.

Frank said...

Fantastic Photos!!!! Just shared them with my brothers and sisters. Just Like Neil, we were a Bell Brand family, living in Santa Fe Springs, CA until Dad was transfered to the Hayward plant in Northern California in 1966. Went through the aquisition of Bell Brand by Sunshine Biscuits and then by American Tobacco (which became American Brands) and 2 different packaging standards. Dad was there until 1974 as Plant Manager, when the Hayward was closed. Great memories through the photos! From what I understand Bell Brand is now a privately held company (still making potato chips) in Poway, CA, a San Diego suburb.

As for Granny Goose and Scudder chips, they were the competition. We never had them in our house! LS had a distribution warehouse in Hayward and Granny Goose had their plant in Oakland. That was as close as things got.

Anonymous said...

I worked for Bell Brand in the '80's in cost accounting. I believe Granny Goose's Oakland plant was also bought by Sunshine Buscuits & American Brands, and thus they became connected.

Anonymous said...

I was born and raised in SoCal and am happy to see this flashback. Having spent all of my childhood listening to the radio and watching television and most of my adult life in broadcasting, I have a natural interest in old logo lines from products I grew up with (like Bell Brand Potato Chips). Wasn't theirs something like, "If it's Bell, it's swell!"?

Anonymous said...

In the early 40s there was a family-run storefront take-out potato chip maker I think called Bell or Bell's Potato Chips. They were located on Huntington Drive in the East LA community of El Sareno. Does anyone here know if they were the origination of Bell Brands?

Anonymous said...

I worked there in 83 worked for a great guy named Howard langford anyone know what might have happened to him.

gil r said...

I collected the baseball cards that were given out in the chip bags from 1959-62. Does anyone have any idea how many were printed?
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Bell Potato Chips had a product placement in the movie "The Seven Year Itch". A screen shot and short video is available on Brandspotters.com.

carly said...

I loved the cheese puffs, every road trip that my family and I went on we took a detour to the Circle K, this was the only store that I remember carrying this brand. I was a chugroll back then and I could literally eat a whole bag! I'm 47 now and I'm craving them. Do they still exist??????

Anonymous said...

If you like to hear what their commercials sounded like here is a link for all you nostalgic people: http://www.voiceover.nu/BellBrand.mp3

Anonymous said...

I worked for Laura Scudders for 24 years and Granny Goose for 2 years...from Route sales in San Bernardino and Big Bear to Account Sales Manager out of the corporate office in Anahaeim. I've done it all from one end to the other. Bell Brand as well as Frito-Lay were my competitors. I still know many of the great guys that worked for all the chip companies, mostly in the 1960's through the 1980's era. Laura Scudders was bought by Bordens and drove into the ground. Granny Goose was bought by a gut in Korea until they went broke. Frito-Lay, with their mother company of Pepsi-Cola has driven these unique companies out of business and not have it all wrapped up. You'll still see the Laura Scudders name in some stores, with Grande Foods buying the name. Smuckers owns the right to the Laura Scudders Peanut Butter, which you'll still see in most stores. Laura Scudder her self was the intavator of the Potato Chip and putting the product into wax coated bags...she was a great woman, and being the first at being a female lawyer in California, advertising on billboards aside the roads. I had the largest Laura Scudders collection of memorbellia which I just sold to Laura Scudder's grand son, John Scudder where he's making a musuem in the San Diego area. What memories and the sales wars and advertising campains these companies had. I still have a movie and some 1950's & 66's memorbellia left.
Steve Portias
(909)-886-3822
E-Mail: Buffaloportias@aol.com

Anonymous said...

I remember you, Steve Portias...you drove Frito-Lay sales people craze with your relentless sales practives and customer relations from Mom & Pop stores to chain stores, Disneyland, corporate store calls to each store...I swore their was 5 of you out there. You made my life miserable for years, and we butted heads often, but now give you a lot of credit. And yes, the business has changed a lot and Frito was the only real survivor from the old days...Money-money-money.
Bill
Branch Manager
Frito-Lay

Anonymous said...

Yes, I remember Jerry Whitmore was the driving force behind Laura Scudders in the 70's and 80's and the great sales team he had. Bell Brand was the same way with their people, everyone knew each of them. It didn't take long for Borden to hire some guy named John Kruse which destroyed the Laura Scudders company and name almost over night. He ruined the company and many households. What a work of art he was. Even all the stores corporate buyers hated him. ...he was even worse than Frito-Lay's Layon Cook.
Bobby Anderson

Anonymous said...

Bobby did you work for Bell Brand or Scudders? Their were some great names from people who worked for both companies, remembering from Scudders: Daryl Sunny, Ken Davis, Pat Swaynie, Jerry Whitmore, Ray Schrock, Vessio, Smith, Dominic, Barbone, Rick Steen (Bell & Scudders), Al Segger, Ray Coares, Kerry Winters, Phil Heorr, Dick Dudley, Frank Toth, Fred Smith, Bob Rickerson, Don Thompson, Lyle Whitney, Farrington, Sandy McKovich (Scudder & Bell), Bruce Waterworth (Scudder & Bell), Don Vargo (Bell & Scudders), Jim Arnold (Bell & Scudders), Russ Nemire, Mike Curren, Ron Chadwick, Ronnie Chavez, Mike Jonker, Dave Dadzman, Ed Stedham, Jim Mitcham...Bell Brand: Jim Sargent, Ted Brown, Hal Adams, Hugh Granger, Dick Krupa, and many more I'll think about as my brain shakes loose some cob-webs. But, your sure right about Layon Cook and especially John Kruse. I heard Cook is doing something with Toys, and Kruse was with an Ice Cream company (which I'm sure he is long gone by now) I think Cook and Kuuse were hated by more workers as well as buyes and vendors than anyone I can think of with any business.
Steve

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Granny Goose, Tom's, Eagle Snacks, Snyders, and Pringles. As well as some of the off brands like Mission, Guerro, Wise, Clover Club, Grande, and many others. But, now when you walk into a chip and snack isle in a grocery store you see 85% of it being Frito-Lay...In the 60's and 70's you use to see Scudders with 70% of the chip and Snack isle....then came along Pepsi-Cola taking over Frito-Lay and they through so much money out to the grocery stores to cut back and eliminate businesses we grew up with like Scudders and Bell. The local companies could not afford the price tag it took to keep up with a national brand and their Pepsi backing money. I remember walking into a Stater Brothers #24 in San Bernardino and others that surrounded in that area in the 70's where Frito and Bell had one end cap, and Scudders had 3 huge perminate ends, 2 other end displays, and Scudders clipstrips even all over out Frito and Bell racks, Then side stack displays scattered throughout the store. They were killing Bell as well as Frito in those areas.
Hal (Bell Brand)

Anonymous said...

Well, most of those names I never heard of except maybe, Bruce Waterworth and Steve Portios. Only know those names because I worked for Eagle in the Food Service or Institional sales end calling on statiums and ammusment parks and really never made any headway to get any business from them, and finnally they fired me....the justomers were just so loyal to these guys from Bell and Scudders.
Robert St.Clair

Anonymous said...

Goose and Eagle's snacks were superior compared to the Laura and Bell brands, but we just got a late start in knowing the cusomers the way they did to make any headway.
Gary Borden

Anonymous said...

I think it was mostly due to the other company employees were not dedicated to spend 13-18 hours every single day out there pushing and getting to know each customer. Meeting with a customer when they may get to work at 4:00 a.m. was just too early for some of the account people...and like th eold saying goes, of something about a bird and the worm! And Gary it's spelled "Portias"
Steve Portias

Anonymous said...

"Laura Scudders, the Noisest Chips in the World", Granny Goose's claim was "Are you Man enough just to eat one?" Frito's was "Munch-munch-munch a bunch of Fritos Corn Chips", not sure what Eagle said, except "Budwiser, help we need more money to stay a float!!!"
Steve Portias

Anonymous said...

Portias your a dick, was then and most likely now.

Anonymous said...

But, whoever you are that doesn't want to state his name....the only one's who thought I was a "Dick" were those that were lazy asses and didn't want to do the job correctly or the one's that were theives from the company.
Later, Steve

Anonymous said...

I remember Scudders having the #1 selling corn chip called "Wampum", out selling Frito corn chips by far in the 1960's. Even in the Twin Pak Potato Chip was dominated by Scudders in the 70's and 80's and Bell-Goose-and Lays were not even in the ball park in sales...but as time progressed and Pepsi taking over Frito Lay and being nation wide could take the profits out of other areas and throw so much cash at the grocery chains corporate offices that the smaller indepents like Scudder & Bell could not take the hits...even Budwiser backed Eagle snacks could not keep up with the Frito & Pepsi spending frenzy to squeeze out the competitors. Like we told the grocery chains once all the compitition is gone now their is no reason for Frito to give you anything. Bell and Scudders were forced into the Private Label business to keep a float where Frito-Lay said no way they would play that game, but did play the money game where they knew they could really hurt the others. It's sad that all of these well known local companies with great products have been eliminated from the marketplace.
Steve Portias

Anonymous said...

Oh, and yes, for many years the Bell Brand "Padrinos" Tort Chips blew the Fritos "Doritos" and Scudders "Pocitos" and Tort Chips away in sales. Bell did a good job with their Padrino tort chips before again Frito threw so much money out on the table that they could no longer compete. Later Grande and G&A Snacks took over the Padrino name and did well with it for several years.
Steve

Anonymous said...

Bell Brand Potatoe Chips was a privately owned company started in the 1920's by Max I. Ginsberg. He was an immigrant from the Ukraine who came to the US on his own at the age of seven. He met up with his brother in Philadelphia and started selling hand made pretzels on the streets. He moved to Los Angeles in the teens and in the early 1920's started his own company named the L.A. Potatoe Chip and Pretzel Company which he eventually changed the name to Bell Brand Potatoe Chips. He named it Bell after the bells of the Spanish Missions of California and because he thought the name Bell made people happy. He created the slogan, "If it's Bell it's Swell" and also created the name Frenchie for the shoe string potatoe chip. Bell Brand Potatoe Chips was one of the sponsors of the Jack Benney Radio Show in the 1930's among many others. One of his best friends and founder of Ralph's Grocery stores, Mr. Laury, also owner of the famous Laury's Prime Rib restaurants of Los Angeles and the Tam 'O Shanter Restuarant in Glendale, was one of his major buyers. Max Ginsberg decided to retire in the 1950's and amazing as it may seem actually gave the company for free to his general manager, a Mr. Nigg. I am Max Ginsberg's grand- son.
Craig Scharlin

Anonymous said...

Craig, I loved reading what you wrote, and I'm sure you have hours of more interesting facts.
Steve Portias
(909)-886-3822

Anonymous said...

Craig, thanks for your post! Do you know more of what happened to Bell after Max retired? Do you have any old Bell Memorabila, packages or photos?

Anonymous said...

I hope nobody forgets the name "Dick Dudley" He taught me a lot about the business and life.
Steve Portias

Anonymous said...

My dad worked for Bell Brand in the late 50s in San Diego, then went to work for Golden Tulip Potato Chips on Logan Ave. In the early 60s, Golden Tulip was bought out by Granny Goose and Dad worked for them until 1975 when they pulled out of the SoCal market. I worked for Bell Brand from '78 until they went under in mid '95. Great job with great benefits. I'd still be there if it weren't for the market forces that drove all of Frito's competition out of business. The common practice of buying shelf space and ads was investigated by a sub committee of congress in the late 90s but nothing ever came from it and Frito was essentially allowed to buy their market share. Don't you just hate seeing 98% of the chip aisle devoted to one brand? Thanks

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's hard to swallow seeing one brand take over the entire market place, and still keeps other better brands like Poore Brothers, Tims, and others limited due to the vast amount of money Frito-Lay (Pepsi-Cola) dump in to keep this share. Slotting and outragous amonts of money to keep space (now over $1200 a year per store-per linear foot. Like I told all the corporate offices of the chain stores when all the compitition is gone then Frito-Lay does not have to pay you nothing when their the only game left in town. The cost of an ad for any major chain is now $60,000 to $120,000 for a one week ad, plus a deep off invoice discount on the ad product. Frito-Lay can spread this high California of doing business cost over all America and other countries to cover this expense, where a local company does not have this luxury. I remember in the 60's and early 70's Laura Scudders Wampum Corn Chips out sold Frito's Corn Chips and in the 70's and most of the 80's Scudders would have 30% to 40% of the table space in the snack section...then came along the wheel barrows of cash from Frito-Lay. Then again Frito-Lay has always been Non-Union not like Scudders and Bell and could afford to grow and not be forced out of business by the Teamsters.
Their will be a Laura Scudders web-site like this one coming real soon, being done by Laura Scudders grandson, John Scudder....I'm looking forward to it.
Steve Portias

Anonymous said...

Wow. What a shock to the memory. We were a Bell Brand "family". My dad, Bob Seaton, was a Bell career man. He started out driving a route truck out of the North Hollywood branch. He worked his way up to be head of the Restaurant Division working out of the Santa Fe Springs main office. I drove Summer relief (2 Summers) for guys who had their routes out of the main office.

Larry Seaton
laurenceseaton@comcast.net

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know for certain if veteran actress Verna Felton, known for her 1950s TV series DECEMBER BRIDE and her multitude of work for Disney animated features, ever made a TV commercial for Bell Potato Chips?

Thanks,
Fredrick Tucker
frex59@bellsouth.net

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what entity is paying pensions earned by Bell Brand employees? I am trying to help a caller who believes he is entitled to a pension from his work there. We have not yet found the correct company to contact about this.

Hester Bryant
Western States Pension Assistance Project

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Anonymous said...

Hi , Does anybody know if Nancy Kulp did a bell brand chip commercial or have a clip of it cause it says it a book called crunch ? write eferrucci@aol.com

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Anonymous said...

My family lore has it that my great grandfather, Thomas Potts, made the first (or early) metal vats used for making the Bell Brand chips. My grandmother, Florence Potts, worked for Mr. Ginsburg for many years.

manuel santoyo said...

hello, my name is manuel santoyo and i worked at Bell Brand in Santa Fe Spring, was there until the plant closed in 1994-95..i worked there for 28 yrs...i was the santitaion night supervisor..i have many fond memories of bell brand, i really enjoyed working for the company, made a lot of good friends, in fact next weekend we are having a mini reunion, if anyone is interested it will be at Los Nietos Park Sept 9th 11am! It would be great to see some old friends...for those of youy inquiring about the pension, u need to contact bakery and confectionary union and industryinternational pension fund!10401 connecticut ave, suite 320, kensignton, maryland 20895-3960
Hope everyone is well!

u may contact me at chivassantoyo41@aol.com

Anonymous said...

My father was a Bell Brand route salesman Boyd Hamp who ran his route out of the Compton branch. His route was in San Pedro in the mid sixties. Mac King was the branch manager . Some of the names I remember were Eddie Star, Jimmy Lynch, Gary Tripp, Bob Cummings ( Bob Passed away two weeks ago September - 2009 in El Centro, California from Cancer). He was a really good guy and a good friend of the family! I asked my father about the pension and he said many left Bell Brand because there was no pension. Good company though. The pictures were great. Thanks for posting. Richard Hamp Sr. (Son) San Diego - California

PS Im looking up Bell Brand in Poway. Only 20 Min. down the road from me.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I grew up in Escondido not far from Poway. It's a beautiful, sunny day here in Anchorage, Alaska where I live now. We BBQ'd yesterday and it hit me as I was breaking into a bag of Lays BBQ chips how much I miss the great chips from my youth. Chips now days don't even come close to the enjoyment of Bell brand! It's such a shame how commercialized products backed big big $$ can force out the little guys and the memories from our childhood. If I could get Bell brsnd now? I would never buy another bag of Lays! If it's Bell~ it's swell!

malomalo said...

My father, Dennis Maloney, was a route salesman, sales supervisor and institutional sales manager with Laura Scudders. He started in Sacramento, then transfered to El Monte, Paramount and other areas before moving to Aneheim to work with institutional sales. I worked vacation relief for two summers out of Paramount and Aneheim and also ran a route out of San Dimas for a while after leaving the military. I remember a lot of the names listed earlier in this thread ..some really good guys. Congratulations to Jerry Whitmore from Scudders and more recently Dryers for the award and recognition he received for service to the grocery industry.

It's a shame that only the Scudder label exists now ..but the writing was on the wall. It's pretty tough for a regional company to compete with a national (actually international) company. When Pepsi and Frito merged in '65 it was the beginning of the end for the regional chip companies.

Some Scudder names I recall as either friends of my father or myself: Don Wilkinson, Earl Van Noy, Ed Owens, Harry Stump, Jerry Whitmore, Ray Course, Dick Smith, Bill Whittingham, Norm Cheevers, Jay Hanna, Alex Mahalavich, John Rapolla, John Adams, Basil (warehouseman.) It's been about 30 years since I left Scudders, some of the names escape me ..but I can still picture the faces.

..Mike

malomalo@comcast.net

David said...

Max Ginsberg was my great grandfather. I never really met him as I was born in 1966.

David Ginsberg

Stacy Hammerle said...

My father worked for Bell Brand in Santa Fe Srpings for years. I actually stumbled upon a few Bell Brand Potato Chip inflatable pillows the other day....lots of childhood memories going to the plant with dad. I even recall the scent of all the oils used for producing all the snacks like it was yesterday. Thanks for posting your pics of the store displays over the years!

Richard said...

My dad was a decorator in the 60's and he was working on the home of one of the Bell Brand execs in the San Marino area. Every time he went there he came home with a giant box full of bags of Bell Brand chips. What a treat!

Anonymous said...

I too remember the Nancy Kulp commercial for Bell. This was before Beverly Hillbillies. She played a stern quality control inspector commenting how Bell never let "little crummy chips" go into their bags. Then she sang a little song! "Bell makes great big yummy chips. Not those little crummy chips. Get the great big yummy chips of Beeeelll."

trackdog41 said...

MY DAD WAS THE BEST!!!!Bell Brand Salesman Ever for Bell Brand......

trackdog41 said...

San Diego,Encato

trackdog41 said...

Encanto

trackdog41 said...

off of Imperial Ave.

trackdog41 said...

Louis Saraniti

trackdog41 said...

i miss you MR.Papas

Anonymous said...

At the age of 17, I was working with my uncle who worked as a route salemans for Cubbison's. I was stocking a Cubbison product on a shelf in a Von's Market when approach by a Bell Brand Supervisor. We talked. He gave me his business card and said that when I got out of school to come see him and he would give me a job. Six years later in 1953 after spending time in the Air Force I was discharged and looking for a job. I still had that Supervisor's card. it was tattered. He'd since been promoted in the Bell Brand Company. I made an appointment to see him. When I walked into his office, I presented him with his old business card and reminded him of what he said. He hired me on the spot! I loved working for Bell Brand!

michael said...

MY FATHER WAS A COOK FOR BELL BRAND BACK IN THE 50'S UNTILL HE HAD A VERY BAD CAR ACCIDENT ON HIS WAY HOME. I REMEMBER AS A LITTLE KID ALL THE CHIPS AND THINGS HE BROUGHT HOME AND I REMEMBER HE TOOK ME TO WORK WITH HIM A FEW TIMES. I MISS HIM AND BELL BRAND

MICHAEL said...

MY FATHER WAS CLOVIS BABINO HE WAS THE HEAD COOK FOR A WHILE

Tim Armstrong said...

What a treat to accidentally discover this web page. Cyril C. Nigg, who purchased Bell Brand from Max Ginsberg in 1947, was my uncle (mother's brother). My uncle Cyril sold the business to Sunshine Cracker in 1968, about 13 years after building the "Million Dollar Plant" in Santa Fe Springs. My father, Gene Armstrong, managed the distribution center in Loma Linda until we moved to Alhambra in 1950. Dad retired from Bell Brand in 1983 as the Plant Security Chief, following 36 years with the company. I left California for Alaska in 1975, my Dad passed away in 1994 and my uncle in 2000 (at age 95). I grew up around potato chips, peanut butter, Frenchies and corn chips, and have fond memories of everyone associated with Bell Brand.
- Tim Armstrong

Anonymous said...

This is a little off the history about the various brands but I cannot remember or find any reference to a potato chip I loved in the mid 1960's in California. I think I bought a bag at Ralph's Market in Huntington Park once & my Mom frowned on buying bags of potato chips so I bought them with my 50c allowance. No memory of the brand name as I only managed to get them once or twice. They were almost velvety with a cheese flavored coating, very rich. I have tried many a cheese flavored chip since, have never found any with such a thick, nice coating of cheese, great taste. ANY ideas as to the brand??? I don't think were Bell Brand, my best guess was Laura Scudder but really just guessing. Thank you