At the March 11, 2019 meeting, Jack DeStefano, Director of the Paterson Museum brought along a newly acquired, but long-lost Lou Costello Loving Cup and made the following presentation:
The Long Way Back: The Journey of Lou’s Trophy and Its Return to Paterson
In early December 2018, I received a telephone call from Mrs. Betty Parish in Florida. She informed me that she had a trophy that was presented to Lou Costello and was looking for an appropriate home for the piece.
I told her that the Paterson Museum had a small permanent exhibition dedicated to Lou and would love to have the trophy.
Two weeks later, a large box was delivered by UPS from Nokomis, Florida. There was no description or letter indicating what was inside. But, as soon as I removed the packing materials, I realized what it was. It was gorgeous and much larger than I had expected. I traced the sender’s telephone number and spoke first to Mr. Tom Parish. He put his wife, Betty, on the phone who related the following story:
The Cup was found in a garage by Betty’s sister Kathleen in Los Angeles. She was cleaning out an apartment and garage for rent. In the corner of the garage was a tarnish loving cup that was used to clean out paint brushes. It was quite tarnished and covered with paint. She cleaned it up and found the inscription:
For Outstanding Services
In the Promotion of Paterson
War Bond and Stamp Rally
Eastside High Stadium
Paterson - New Jersey
August 24, 1942
Kathleen, then called her sister in Wisconsin, where Betty and Tom operated a Trophy Shop. Once they received the trophy, they cleaned it up and sent it to the Bron-Shoe Company for silver restoration. For years, it remained on display at their business.
When they retired, they took the Loving Cup with them to Florida. No longer on view, they decided that it should go somewhere where it would be appreciated.
They conceived the idea of returning it to Paterson after seeing a bumper sticker on a car belonging to their neighbor, retired Paterson Police Deputy Chief John Ragucci. They spoke with him and he made a call out to Lt. Louis Spagnola, who provided the Museum’s contact information. (Louis is a friend of the museum, who has loaned numerous artifacts and is always on the lookout for items that may be suitable for our collections.)
Currently, we are preparing the Loving Cup for public display. Additionally, we are developing a small exhibition around “The Cup” and its association with Bud and Lou’s 1942 War Bond & Stamp Drive.