Cities Service is CITGO... 40 years ago

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I spotted a sign on a CITGO station today: "Celebrating our 40th Anniversary." 40 years ago? I knew Cities Service Oil Co. was much older than that, going back to the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Co in the first years of the 20th century. CITGO as an independent entity was much younger than that -- mid '80s, following the takeover of Cities Service by Occidental Petroleum.

40 years ago, on May 16th, 1965, was when Cities Service began to market its gasoline under the CITGO brand, featuring the equilateral triangle, colored in three shades of red for a three-dimensional appearance.

It was right about that time, plus or minus a few weeks, that our family moved from Lawrence, Kansas, to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, for Dad to start work for Cities Service. Whether or not the brand rollout made an impression on the general public, it made a deep impression on my 18-month-old brain, or so I'm told, and though I didn't say much else at that age, I could say, "Cities Service is CITGO NOW!" We could see the Cities Service sign atop their downtown building from the little house on Delaware that we rented from the company.

Cities Service didn't stay in Bartlesville much longer. Bartlesville belonged to Phillips Petroleum. As the rhyme went:

Cities Service makes me nervous. Phillips gives you better service.

In 1968, Cities Service announced it would locate its HQ in Tulsa, consolidating offices from New York, Philadelphia, Bartlesville, and elsewhere. We moved in the summer of 1969.

Cities Service followed me to college -- a $3,000 a year National Merit scholarship. (It helped MIT, but didn't help me -- at the time, MIT simply deducted outside scholarships from their grant amount.) And there was that CITGO sign over Kenmore Square -- it was restored and relit about halfway through my time there.

It was right about that time that T. Boone Pickens tried and failed to take over Cities Service, Armand Hammer (the old Commie) succeeded, CITGO was spun off and sold to the 7-Eleven people. And it was about that time that Dad got his 20-year watch and a few months later, his pink slip. Funny that Dad's career with the company corresponds so closely to the span from the birth of CITGO as a marketing name to the birth of CITGO as a separate entity.

Funny, too, that 20 years after Dad faced life apart from the company he'd served for nearly his entire adult life to that point, I'm facing my own career crossroads.

Anyway, click here if you want to see what a Cities Service station looked like before the switch to CITGO.


Shadow6 said:

Zoom, zoom, zoom CITGO zoom!
We've changed into something with zoom!
Changed into something with zoom!
Watch our zoom, we'll show you how,
Cities Service is CITGO now!
Zoom, zoom, zoom CITGO zoom!

That is the jingle as best I can remember. I also remember the Ed Edmondson campaign jingle, LOL.

I also remember the Ed Edmondson campaign jingle, LOL.

Well, don't keep us in suspense! Let's hear it!

susan said:

I also worked for Cities Service in Tulsa when downtown Tulsa was a happening where to be place!
They had a nice place to eat and a bank all in the same building. We had a great group. I left to teach business classes, but my Cities Service supervisor wrote such a glowing letter of recommendation that the Human Resource director said if I ever moved back to Tulsa, I was welcome back to Cities Service. They meant it too! They kept calling to have me return. When I moved back, another well known wonderful company hired me that was also downtown. Michael, I was in charge of buying those "20 year watches" and all the other awards
and retirement gifts for employees (not C.S.) for the newer job I had. Mark has a beltbuckle
my supervisor gave me and I gave it to Mark. I was also given other cool stuff, including a oil rig jumpsuit. One employee that had been with the company a very long time was so unbelievably
nice to me when that person knew I was ordering their extremely special retirement gift. That was a very fun job. Tulsa has many special people and very gifted people like my husband, Mark who was voted as a Key Employee, won President's Club awards for his expertise in the I.T. Director area. He now is also specializing as a Director of Telecommunications.
Michael Bates is also extremely intelligent and so gifted, Tulsa could benefit with him as Mayor
of Tulsa or Governor of Oklahoma. We need to get great companies to come back to Tulsa. We
need to put a heavier penalty on companies that
get away with using the at-will employment law
when the H.R. Director and General Manager obviously allow conflicts of interest and unethical business practice so write to your State Legislature (State Reps.) and encourage them to revise the at-will employment law. Other states like
Montana has done so and others are following.
Oklahoma is a wonderful state. There are so many possible ways to grow. We could be the
"go to" state where businesses want to come if we actually had the right people in office that
had the brains to do it. I think Michael Bates
is one of those people. I am very glad he is branching out to where many people throughout Oklahoma can see his opinion/editorials he is writing for, radio, and Bateline. We should not
have to be stuck with getting information from a
Tulsa World viewpoint as many disagree with their editorials and opinions, and I would not be surprised if we all found out they loved to see some fresh ideas for Oklahoma by going to
Batesline for news of what's up.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 26, 2005 5:04 PM.

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