Hello everyone. Today I will be writing about The Magikist Rug Cleaning Company. The company was first called Austin Rug Cleaners and founded by a man named Bill Gage. The company’s official motto was called “The Kiss of Beauty.”Those red lips were so iconic that it stuck in everyone’s pleasant memories for years. Its established headquarters were at 750 South Cicero Ave in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. By the 1960s, they were at least ten convenient locations in the Chicagoland area.
Magikist is equally famous for its striking signs that were alongside three expressways in Chicago. The expressways were the Dan Ryan, Kennedy, and Eisenhower. The Magikist sign on the Dan Ryan was gone by in 1992. The Eisenhower one disappeared a few years later, and The Kennedy sign lasted until 2003. Those visible signs were fun to see, and the eager anticipation of the red lips gently kissing that lit up and instantly flashed was sheer joy. If you were driving on the expressways, you knew exactly where your closest destinations would be.
I remembered the commercials on television for Magikist, and its spokeswoman was actress Carmelita Pope. She was from Chicago and also did commercials for Pam Cooking Spray. She was a lovely lady and passed away on April 3, 2019. I remembered seeing all kinds of products that came from Magikist for their sale promotions on radio, television and, newspapers. They were keychains, toy trucks, piggy banks, pillows, pot holders, ashtrays, yardsticks, and tumbler drinking glasses. They also had their kitchen cleanser brand. I saw the Magikist brand at some National Food Stores that carried S&H Green Stamps.
My family never used Magikist. They weren’t any local stores in our old neighborhoods in Chicago. The other rug and carpet cleaning company that was famous in Chicago was Boushelle Rugs. It included its fondly remembered telephone number Hudson 3-2700. I reasonably believe it is still in business. I seemed to recall two Magikist signs in downtown Chicago. North Michigan Avenue and East Lake Street, and at West Randolph Street and North State Street. There was a store named Shoppers Corners located there.
When my family lived in the Roseland neighborhood in the 1970s, we boarded the South Suburban Safeway Lines Bus at the corner of East 112th Street and South Michigan Avenue, where Gately’s Peoples Store was there. The bus would drive on The Dan Ryan Expressway, and would we see the Magikist sign at East 85th St. I never saw it at night, but I wished I did.
It’s a shame that the classic signs are gone. I know the business left Chicago a long time ago, but I wished they were salvage. I heard a few years ago a man possesses one of the signs from the Eisenhower Expressway location. I don’t know if he still has it. Please submit your comments here and on my social media accounts of your fondest memories of Magikist. Thank you. Pete Kastanes. Admin for Vanished Chicagoland Facebook Page.