General Pest Control

These photos were taken for a freelance job for General Pest Control. I don’t know if they were for a brochure, a Missourian ad or what. I also don’t know the names of the people in the photo. They were probably shot around 1964. Click on any photo to make it larger.

Checking under the sink

The lady of the house must have known we were coming because I don’t think I’ve ever seen an area under a kitchen sink so neat and organized.

I took my flash off the camera, but I should have bounced it off the ceiling to get rid of the harsh shadow behind the guy’s head. Maybe I thought about doing that but was afraid it wouldn’t get enough light under the sink. That’s one advantage of today’s digital cameras: you can see the picture before you leave.

Shadow shows Honeywell strobe

I would never have made a print that showed my shadow or any sign of me, but I left my shadow in here because it shows the Honeywell Strobonar 65C or 65D strobe bolted on the camera. I had both over the years They were called “potato mashers” because of their shape. The 65C used rechargeable batteries in the head. The disadvantage was that it was slow to recycle, so you couldn’t shoot one shot right after another.

The 65D used a 510-volt battery that dangled from a case on your belt. It recycled quickly because of the high voltage zap it gave the capacitors. Since it used the same frame as the 65C and because it didn’t use batteries in the head, there was a neat little storage space where you could put a spare cord or other accessory.

The high-voltage battery had one drawback (other than being relatively expensive): if the battery cord had a short and you were anywhere near a wet surface, all that voltage would surge though YOU and flat put you on the ground. I was walking across a wet football field one night when I thought I had been tackled from behind. After a second jolt, I decided it was time to go back to the car for a spare cord.

What channel were they watching?

Here’s another shot I would have cropped tighter in the real world, but I left it wide so you could speculate what TV channel they were watching. Their antenna is pointing to the northwest. I would have thought the KFVS World’s Tallest Man-made Structure would have been more to the north toward Egypt Mills. The only two other stations you could pick up in Cape were Paducah to the north-northeast and St. Louis to the north.

That would have been about the right direction to pick up the old KFVS tower that was located next to North County Park near the old KFVS radio tower, but by the mid-60s when these photos were taken that tower wasn’t used any more.

[Wife Lila, who was proofreading this, thinks it was Harrisburg we watched instead of St. Louis. The channels she remembers getting were 3, 6 and 12. I’m certainly not going to contradict her.]

Owned and operated by the Paynes

Leeman Payne’s obituary in the Dec. 29, 2010, Missourian said that Mr. Payne and his wife, Dorothy, owned and operated General Pest Control for 35 years. He also built and sold homes in Cape and Bollinger counties. I didn’t make a personal connection with General Pest Control until I saw that Mr. Payne was survived by a daughter, Carolyn. In the interest of full disclosure, Carolyn and I dated briefly before I won a coin toss with Jim Stone and hooked up with the future Wife Lila. Maybe that’s how I got the freelance job.

An Internet search landed me on the D & L Pest Control website where it says that in 1987 “D&L makes its largest acquisition to date by purchasing General Pest Control Company of Cape Girardeau MO. With this purchase D&L opens its first branch office, in Cape Girardeau. After years of steady growth in the Dexter office this merger makes D&L the largest pest control company in Southeast Missouri. By now the D&L team has grown from 1 employee in 1979 to 14 employees. Greg DeProw now takes over as branch manager in the Cape Girardeau office. The purchase of General Pest Control also introduces D&L service to southern Illinois.”


12 Replies to “General Pest Control”

  1. I remember the Trucks for General Pest Control running around in the 60’s and a little about company even. I think they did my mom and dad’s home in those days.
    As for the TV channels, it is hard to remember that we had only Three channels at the time and were wowed by this! We got all three major networks, Channel 3 in Harrisburg ABC, Channel 6 NBC in Paducah and channel 12 CBS in Cape. I thought I was living Large, and I was! You could go to school the next day and everyone could talk about the great show you saw last night and everyone knew what you were talking about.
    Looks like you were getting to be a pretty good Photologo in those days. I was digging the old car in the carport in the 4th picture, now that is Americania in the 60’s…
    Paducah is to the Southeast of Cape at Monkey’s Eyebrow, KY, so you had aim your antenna to that direction to pick it up. If your were REALLY cool you had a rotating antenna on your roof with PRE SETS for all the stations, then you really were living the life! I never did pick up the St. Louis Stations without a lot of “Snow” so 3, 6, and 12 were my life….

  2. Ah, yes, the Good Life!!!! Since someone else has reckoned where Paducah is from Cape, I’ll stand aside on that one, BUT!!! I had a selection at home, WREC Memphis, WHBQ Memphis, KFVS Cape, WSIL Harrisburg, WPSD Paducah, and sometimes even KLRA(????)Little Rock, given the honkin’HUGE antenna we had and the rotor drive, I could play with TV any time and pick up lots of “stuff”, not too much else to do in Bernie at the time. Great piece, Ken, love the ’64 Futura in the carport!!!!!Be Well, Keep Florida in one piece, molater, kkr

  3. I still have two “potato mashers” but I’m sure the batteries would not work now. I did fire one up on AC about 25 years ago when I needed some extra light for a studio shot. One had an electric eye built in and the other later unit had a remote eye to attach on the camera for auto exposure.

    Ken, it’s amazing how you and I can be in lockstep at times. Check out the Frony photo for tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 17 and you will see. Really I had it ready before today.

    1. I’ll be sure to check your blog out tomorrow. It’s to be expected when you have two farmers plowing adjacent fields that you’re going to get some crop overlap from time to time.

      It’s possible that one or both of my Strobonars had a light sensor. I was getting ready to say they didn’t, but I recall something about a thyristor circuit that cut off the flash when it achieved what it thought was the right exposure based on your film speed and distance from the subject.

      Mine is in the bowels of the attic, so I won’t know until I go exploring looking for something else.

      They were great flashes. I used them until Vivitar came out with their stobes.

      Despite what some of my friends think, I didn’t grow up in the age of flash powder – flash bulbs, yes.

  4. My aging memory tells me that photo #4 shows a 1965 Ford Fairlane in the carport of the house where Caroline and her parents lived on Chelsey drive, at the house that her father built. The car was light blue with an automatic transmission. Alas, the house is no longer there because of highway expansion. I recall these memories because Caroline and i dated throughout my junior year. I was actually permitted to drive that car. I also recall that she was one of the sweetest girls i have ever known.

    1. Upon further investigation I admit to a mea culpa moment. The house pictured above on Chelsey Lane appears very much intact as it was in the mid 60’s, just with larger trees present. Houses removed by highway expansion of the Shawnee Express Way were to the south. An ageing memory can be a frightening thing.

  5. The aiming of the shown antenna was probably a compromise that had to be made to ballance out the number of channels and their clarity. There is no rotor apparent in the photo and the direction would even allow for the terrain or other structures that would either block or reflect the signal. Remember aluminum foil and coat hangers on “Rabbit Ears” or grabbing and posing with them at critical points in the program?

    1. Those WERE the good old days, weren’t they? When we first moved to West Palm Beach, we were about two miles from Palm Beach International Airport and under the flight path.

      I rigged a directional antenna in our attic and could, kinda, sorta get the Miami stations.

      When a jet would take off, we’d get about 30 second of good picture while the signal was bouncing off the aluminum aircraft, then the noise of the engines would drown out the sound.

      You were either watching snow or lipreading. There was no in-between.

  6. Ken,
    The service man looks like Kenny Cooper, class of 64. He was in the pest control field before he was an electrician.

  7. That certainly does look like Kenny Cooper. The Paynes had an apartment in the downstairs of that house and that is where Norm and I lived for a few months when we married in 1966. It was the greatest apartment in the world! Loved it there. Actually that kitcen looks like the one downstairs but then I don’t think I was ever inside the upstairs. I remember the car and the Paynes were good people. So cool to see this…as usual, thank you Ken!!

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