Dr. Know: 1974 Opening Day, a Peculiar Dentist Sign, and Ku Klux Klothes

The good doctor explores troubling issues, including streaks and streakers, dentophobia, and a racist clothier.

Last month’s Opening Day got me thinking about baseball great Henry Aaron’s passing in January. So few Cincinnatians seem to remember that he tied Babe Ruth’s home run record right here, on Opening Day in 1974. And they’ve completely forgotten the streaker on the same day. Remind us of this double historic event! —PLAY BALLS!

Illustration by Lars Leetaru

DEAR PLAY:
History leaves out so many important things. Whole chapters will be written about the financial crisis of 2008, but will they include the year’s phenomenon of Rickrolling? We think not. Similarly, baseball’s 1974 highlights will list Henry Aaron’s record-breaking home run in Atlanta on April 8, but not his record-tying one in Cincinnati four days earlier on his very first at-bat of the season. And only the most detail-obsessive encyclopedia would note the fact that the historic day included a streaker.

Streaking in the mid-1970s was as popular as Rickrolling in 2008, so much so that Cincinnati police brought several blankets to Opening Day just in case. Around the seventh inning, a Mr. Mark Koors showed his stuff—as they say— running down an aisle in the left field stands. He was recognized and arrested later, after returning to a fully dressed state, his face apparently being the most memorable part of his body.

The Doctor thanks you for reminding us of that special day’s full story. He depends not only on our readers’ questions, but their knowledge. Never gonna give you up.


In Sharonville I regularly drive past a dentist’s office whose sign out front says, “General Dentistry for Family, Friends, and Cowards.” This is cute, but does it work? Instead of comforting the fearful, I would think this thing scares them even more. How effective is that sign? —DON’T SIGN ME UP

DEAR DON’T:
The sign at which you sneer is for people who perceive all dentists to be comedian Steve Martin in the movie Little Shop of Horrors. If you haven’t witnessed that musical scene, look it up online after you’ve had some Novocain.

When Robert N. Petrtyl, D.D.S., first hung out his shingle, he thought it would be a good way to acknowledge the not-uncommon fear of dentists and the fact that his practice is sensitive to these emotions. As for the sign’s effectiveness, please note that Petrtyl has spent 30-plus successful years at his Sharonville location. Several hundred patients, he says, have told him they scheduled their first appointment specifically because of the sign. Your assumptions about its usefulness seem off the mark.

Petrtyl has been told by more than one patient that they hope the sign finally gets their partner to come in. We shall not reveal any gender here, including yours, because now that we’ve answered your question, you might want to consider not just driving past the sign.


My great-grandfather, I am embarrassed to say, was a member of the Cincinnati Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. Our family has some artifacts, including one really weird thing: a newspaper ad for a KKK clothing store downtown! Please don’t tell me they openly sold those robes! —DON’T CANCEL ME

DEAR DON’T:
You will be relieved to know that, since this store’s existence, the corner of Fourth and Main streets has had at least two rounds of demolition and fresh construction. All the cooties are gone. But it was there, unfortunately, as the 1920s saw a brief nationwide resurgence of the KKK. Parades and rallies sometimes were led by respected citizens; Cincinnati’s police chief fronted one. Some were held at the Carthage Fairgrounds and the Cincinnati Zoo.

And yes, through most of 1920 and 1921, Cincinnati hosted Ku Klux Klothes at 402 Main St. It didn’t sell those robes, just men’s suits and overcoats, which somehow seems weirder. The newspaper ads never mentioned any ideology, only the usual stuff about quality materials and on-site tailoring, just like the nice adjacent ads for Shillito’s. Though the ads did feature a large logo of a hooded man on horseback carrying a flaming torch. Really.

The Doctor does not support visiting the sins of your great-grandfather upon anyone, but we assume there is no statue or building with his name. Or an old Twitter account.

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