Sunday, January 20, 2008

R.L. Dukes Oldsmobile

Not that long ago, maybe a couple or so months ago, I showed an old commercial of radio station WVON-AM. This will be about another black-owned business that I remember for sure, R.L. Dukes Oldmobile. If you look at some old Black Enterprise or Ebony/Jet magazines this was a big time business back in the day. Now you'd be hardpressed to know of any black-owned auto dealerships in Chicago. I'm sure someone out there can clue me in.

I remember this place barely. My dad test drove a Oldsmobile Toronado and he either drove it to the house and took it home for the night or he drove to the house and then turned around and brought it right back without making a purchase (heh it's much better than that). It wasn't too long after that when RL Dukes was out of business the building largely abandoned and eventually Northern Trust Bank built a branch on that site. The location according to the commercial was 78th and the Dan Ryan.

This commercial aired according to FuzzyMemories on June 29th, 1986. This commercial seemed like it would have worked better in the 1970s than it would have in the 1980s. A little too old school for me to want to go there, but then I don't have to worry about that now!

They were located on 74th & Halsted and by the late 1970s moved to the location indicated in this vid. They went from roughly Englewood to the Chatham neighborhood.

I should also note that my dad would've been very disappointed to know and he's been dead for 10 years that Oldsmobiles are no longer being made today. For the first few years of my life the only car I had ever really known was a 1981 Ninety-Eight and I was saddened to know that he traded that car in for a Chevy Corsica. Well that's it for the history lesson.


IrishPirate said...

I remember those commercials and the dealership off the Ryan.

Joliet Dodge is owned by one of his son's I believe. I am a font of useless info.

Anonymous said...

R.L. dukes was my grandfather. If you have any questions about him or want to learn more about his great accomplishments then just post a comment and i would be glad to answer.

Levois said...

I have a few questions. It might deserve it's own post at some point.

Can you tell me about how long or what years RL Dukes was in business?

What was your grandfather's background?

Anonymous said...

hello my name is kevin this one of RL Dukes son from the Island of Jamaica & now livin here in Cali i remember he died when i was at the age of 16 now am 38 & if u want froof i have a pic of us when he came to visit in 80`s with two more of his sons names CARL & CRIS, & now am tryin to find the rest of the blood line so i can meet them....i really would love to hear back from you please email

Anonymous said...

Watching late night TV I loved the R.L Dukes, my friends punk band used to cover the theme song!!! Classy Chasis !!!

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