Alternately cutting a black-and white barmaid dress or a white cardinal with red trim, Jenny has pushed Genesee beer while water-skiing, active a convertible, lacing up a brace of ice skates, and presenting a freshly-poured pint on a bowl beneath the around-the-clock tagline, “Ask for ‘Jenny.'”
Always wholesome, consistently versatile, and never judgemental, Jenny is as alike with Rochester as the Flower City logo and the Garbage Plate. Indeed, best Rochesterians apperceive Jenny. Or do they?
In the 70 years back her debut, challenges to the appearance of the woman who portrayed Jenny acceleration from time to time. The latest alike in October, back a Texas man called Gary Johnson tweeted at Genesee claiming his backward mother, Irene McKinley, was the “original Jenny girl.” He acquaint a photo of a Genesee beer keychain address a close-up angel of Jenny, saying, “This is her.”
“I’m assertive my mother was the aboriginal Jenny girl,” his sister, Kristy Johnson, said in a buzz account from her Texas home. “That was consistently her claim, and she’d be ticked not to be accustomed for it.”
Genesee Brewery annal advance the Jenny of the all-over ads was a Greek-born archetypal called Daphne Dore. But that has not chock-full claims to the Jenny head from trickling in over the decades. Complicating affairs is that endless women embodied “Jenny” at promotional contest over abounding years, arch to added assertions that “Jenny” was addition added than Dore.
“People arise in every so often, it’s not an accustomed thing, but a few times a year addition ability acknowledgment they knew somebody, or a about played the role over the years,” Genesee retail administrator and archivist Paul Constantine said. “It’s true, a lot of bodies played the role for us, but all break point to Daphne as the original.”
Jenny is built-in
The years afterwards World War II were for abounding Americans a hopeful and affluent time. It was a adequate time, too, for the Genesee Brewery, again beneath the administration of John Wehle, who would arise to about-face the aggregation from a bounded mainstay to the seventh-largest brewery in the nation.
In 1953, Genesee launched what it still deems its “most accustomed announcement campaign” with “Miss Jenny,” according to aggregation records. The idea, aggregation admiral explained, was to accord the brewery a face and personality that would bell with the country’s growing average class.
“The one ancillary of her was to be a association advocate,” Janine Schoos, casting administrator for Genesee, said. “A lot of the accessories I’ve apprehend showed her activity out into the association to be a adequate accumulated citizen. It wasn’t alike necessarily about the beer, it was about, ‘This is how the bodies of Genesee act.'”
A distinct archetypal was broke to be the “official” angel of Jenny. Genesee annal appearance her to be Dore, who was alive out of New York City at the time. She would be the base for the photos and illustrations that graced posters, billboards, and annual pages.
But in time, Jenny would morph from a two-dimensional appearance to a real-life amulet of sorts, Constantine explained. Troops of “Jennies” led parades, visited bounded bars, and affianced with Genesee beer drinkers everywhere.
“Over the years, bodies accept asked me if we accept any array of records, and abominably we don’t, that announce who was assassin to arise as Jenny over the years,” Constantine said. “I don’t absolutely accept annihilation to say who played her when, but all of the accessible affirmation credibility to Dore actuality the aboriginal (Jenny of the ads).”
While affidavit from the era is adamantine to arise by, there is some able affirmation that Dore was the one and alone Jenny of the ads. Genesee’s athenaeum accommodate a letter from the Rogers & Porter ad bureau anachronous 1956 that describes Dore as the archetypal for the Jenny business attack and a “charming adolescent adult built-in in Greece” who speaks bristles languages.
An Oneonta Star bi-weekly commodity from that year additionally references Dore as “Jenny.” Dore reportedly led the town’s fireman’s parade.
The man who created Jenny, aloft Genesee announcement administrator James P. Duffy, told the Democrat and Chronicle in 1980 that Dore had been active Lincoln-Mercury cars afore she was broke to be the aboriginal Jenny in a advance ad.
From the start, though, Jenny was never wholly one — and alone one — person.
The commodity apprehend that the artisan assassin to acrylic the advance “didn’t like the way her legs looked,” so “a additional archetypal with added adequate legs” served as the brood for Jenny from the waist down. “So the aboriginal Jenny babe advance was absolutely two girls,” Duffy reportedly said.
Eventually, Duffy noted, “several Jenny girls came and went” as Jenny accelerating from billboards to television. Robert Wehle, the brewery’s treasurer, alike affiliated a Jenny girl, according to the article.
Considering the accessible evidence, Costantine said he is “90 percent certain” the Jenny accepted to Rochesterians is Dore.
Irene McKinley, the woman claimed by her accouchement in Texas to accept been the aboriginal Jenny, died in 1998 at the age of 68.
Her daughter, Kristy Johnson, said McKinley was built-in in Berlin to a mother of Jewish birth as the Nazis came to power. She affiliated an American Air Force sergeant, Ernest McKinley, as the war came to a close, and emigrated to the United States in 1951, Johnson said.
“She was a woman that knew what admirable looks could do to a man, she accepted that actual thoroughly and enjoyed every bit of it,” Johnson said. “She didn’t corruption it, but she aloof admired it, she admired actuality a woman, actuality a appealing woman.”
McKinley was a accepted archetypal in the Rochester breadth during the acme of the Jenny campaign. She was profiled in a May 1954 Democrat and Chronicle commodity that retraced her adventure from Germany — a expedition abounding with abstract the Gestapo, accomplishment passports, and distributing “anti-Nazi propoganda” — and casting her as a ascent model. She had been called “Miss Electrical Industries of 1953” and “Miss Easter Lily of Baker Company” of the 40th Infantry Division in Korea. A photo from addition article, from 1955, showed her clay a new Plymouth at a car appearance at the Culver Road Armory.
There are no ancillary annal that advance McKinley was the Jenny of the ads. A 1995 Democrat and Chronicle commodity referred to her — again called Irene Holden afterwards remarrying — as actuality a “Jenny” in the 1950s. But that allotment was about the abounding real-life Jennies played by abundant women about Rochester.
Johnson said McKinley was called by Genesee to portray a real-world adaptation of Jenny because she carefully resembled the Jenny of the aboriginal ads, all of which were illustrations — portraits the aggregation insists were based on Dore, or at atomic the top bisected of Dore.
There is a notable curiosity, however, in the photo of the Genesee beer keychain address Jenny’s angel that McKinley’s son acquaint on Twitter and declared to be his mother. In it, Jenny’s appropriate adorableness mark, about aerial on her appropriate audacity cartilage in best ads, appears on the larboard ancillary of her face. The angel on the keychain appears to be a mirror angel of addition Jenny account acclimated by Genesee.
Kristy Johnson said the adorableness mark was fatigued on with pencil. She provided aboriginal clay photos of her mother, as able-bodied as pictures of her taken afterwards in life, to be compared to the Jenny ads. There is a abutting resemblance.
“I’m assertive she was,” Johnson said. “It was a adventure she consistently told, and it was article she said started her clay career.”
The advance of time
Genesee ran the aftermost official Jenny ad in 1962 ; but Jenny never clearly retired. The brewery had affairs in the mid-2000s to barrage a avant-garde adaptation of Jenny, but that abstraction fell abroad with a change in management, adumbrative said.
Thus, Jenny charcoal a antique of time, a sliver of Rochester history always adorable beer drinkers from posters and accouterments afraid aloft racks of glassware and taps.
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Schoos, the company’s casting director, denied that Jenny was anytime advised to be a symbol. She acknowledged, though, that Jenny artlessly wouldn’t fit with the angel Genesee is aggravating to activity today.
Mary Beth Popp, carnality admiral of accumulated relations for Genesee’s ancestor company, FIFCO USA, said now is not the appropriate time for Genesee to appoint a new mascot.
Genesee’s accepted ad attack — “That’s how it’s done” — encourages Genesee admirers to accelerate the aggregation videos or photos of them accepted a hammer, mowing the lawn, accomplishing chores, acclimation their cars, or any added different chiral labor. The aggregation again posts the images on its amusing media accounts, forth with those of brewery workers activity about their jobs.
“We accept so abounding accurate bodies here, and we generally use our own advisers as ambassadors to the association that apperceive our history, that accept their own stories, that are passionate, that I’d abhorrence to see us accompany in somebody from the outside,” Popp said. “We accept these alarming brewers that can allocution about the beers they’re making.”
If Jenny is to abide a balance of the past, does it alike amount who aggressive the original? Dore is neither acutely mentioned on any of the brewery’s commodity nor commonly brought up as a allotment of brewery history. Rather, she is a footnote.
And abounding Jennys came after. Together, they formed not a distinct person, but composites of a distinct character, not clashing the actors who accept portrayed James Bond or Batman. While Genesee admiral said they believed Dore to be deceased, CITY was clumsy to affirm a abode or date of afterlife for her.
To the catechism of “Who was the aboriginal Jenny?” an acknowledgment to amuse all may not exist. But to the catechism of “Who was Jenny?” the able-bodied from which to accept the acknowledgment runs deep.
“(McKinley) apparently was Jenny,” Constantine said. “She apparently did represent the brewery at some point. It may accept been for several contest for all I know.
“It’s aloof air-conditioned that bodies are out there and appetite to be associated with it, and I booty them at their word.”
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