In September 1943, three brothers—Floyd L. Johnson (1903-1992) of Little Rock, R.G. Johnson of El Dorado and Marvin D. Johnson, Sr. of Gillam purchased the Kane Bottling Company from Jim Kane and changed the name to Johnson Bottling Company. Kane, the mayor of Conway and manager of the Conway and Grand theatres, had just opened the bottling company about 1941 to manufacture Rex soft drinks. He sold the bottling company to the Johnsons and resigned as mayor when he joined the Navy in WWII.
Marvin Johnson was also the first in the state to graduate with a Vocational, Agricultural and Livestock degree and was the first Arkansas public school teacher in that field. He passed away in 1967. Marvin Johnson, Jr. played football for UA until WWII and his sister, Anamarie, was a librarian in Norfolk before returning to Conway after her father’s death. She was an avid supporter of the Faulkner County Library.
These soda bottles, part of the permanent collection at the Faulkner County Museum, once contained drinks bottled at Johnson Bottling in Conway. Cheer Up was a product of the Orange Smile Syrup Company and was bottled by different bottling companies, particularly in St. Louis and surrounding areas. To see more Faulkner County Museum artifacts, visit the museum, its Facebook page or its website www.faulknercountymuseum.org