Pic Courtesy of Virginia Ermie Procopio
Russo's Barber Shop on N. Market (1938)
Left to right: Mike Russo, Tony Procopio, unknown, and Larry Robare who later owned a barber shop on N. Perry. Sammy Caparrosi and Mike's son Nick also cut here.
Getting a hair cut at Russo's was better than the old weekly news reels we saw at Smalley's Theatre. You could, in less than an hour, find out more of what was going on in Johnstown and the WORLD by just listening to the talk.
In the old days a trip to the barber was a real trip! Both news wise and waiting "wise." Saturday's were the big days. Everyone had their "cut" on this day, so the wait was a long one but, usually, never dull.
I remember one time, while half asleep in Mike's chair, I no longer felt the ashes from his cigarette falling down the back of my neck. I swear he did it deliberately as he didn't want to catch the cut hair on the floor on fire! Anyway, I turned around and he wasn't there. "Nicky, where'd your father go," I asked. "Ahh, he went over ta D'Mi's (D'Amore's Coffee Shop) for a cup of coffee."
Just regular stuff at Russo's. If ol' Mike wasn't taking a break in the middle of cutting your hair, he'd be jabbing at the air with his scissors and comb.... Many times with his long handled razor, Toscanini like, to make his point about something to Nicky, or the other ten or so people waiting. If he really got riled up about something - you'd wish he went to D'Mi's for a cup of coffee as that wouldn't take as long. And you would finally get out of the chair, alive!
What You Won't See in the "Main Stream" News