Scenes from a Southern California Drug Store, 1970

This outstanding collection of found photos (courtesy Flick user Paula Wirth) features a series of store/product displays from the Hy-Lo Drug Store in Southern California, snapped circa July 1970.

One of the interesting things to me about photos like this is not just how much things have changed but what things haven’t changed that much at all. The vintage radios would be totally out of place in a drug store today but the packaging on some of those toothpaste or laundry detergent boxes? Not so much.


Sea World San Diego brochure, 1964

Brochure Beauties #7: Sea World San Diego, 1964

Today’s beauty comes to us from the mid 1960s, during what I think of as the golden age of amusement parks. It dates (I believe) from 1964, when the first Sea World opened in the Mission Bay area of San Diego, California. Located on 22 acres, the original vision for the park was a giant underwater restaurant. I think the amusement park was definitely the way to go.

Sea World’s owners spared no expense with this brochure, as it has the evocative prose and lush illustrations typical of the best brochures and advertising material of the mid-century period. Behold the beauty of the front cover:

Sea World San Diego brochure, 1964

Let’s take a closer look at that logo, for it is wonderful.

Sea World San Diego brochure logo, 1964

Just two colors here, but a great contrast of typefaces. And turning the standard ’60s grid globe into a fish? Genius.

Before we move on, a bit of history. Sea World opened on March 21, 1964 at a cost of $4.5 million. Admission prices that year were $2.25 for adults, $1.25 for kids aged 12-17, and 60 cents for kids under 12. The premier attraction at the time was not the famous — or infamous depending on your point of view — orcas, but a 160,000-gallon tank with dolphins and lovely ladies known as Sea Maids. The Maids earned $325 a month and had access to free lodging, free wigs, and hair dryers.

OK, let’s look at the rest. The next page describes the park in a little more detail and boasts of the Theater of the Sea attraction, billed as the world’s first underwater productions written for and starring… dolphins!

Finally, the last page describes several more attractions from the park, such as the Sea Grotto, Murata Pearl Japanese Village, and Hawaiian Punch Village. I don’t know if any of these are still open, so if you’ve been to Sea World recently let me know.

Sea World San Diego brochure, 1964

But wait, there’s one more thing. As a special bonus I’m throwing in a retrotisement too. This is a newspaper ad from opening week, featuring that wonderful logo.

1964 sea world California advertisement

Logo Evolution: Taco Bell

Taco Bell was founded in 1962 by Glen Bell, who had owned hot dog stands and other taco stands as far back as 1946. The first Taco-Tia stands opened in the early ’50s and were the forerunner of Taco Bell. The first Taco Bell opened in Downey, California on March 21, 1962, and today the franchise boasts over 7,000 locations.

As with any of my other logo capsules, dates may not be totally accurate. As is often the case with logos, older logos can stick around in advertising and building design for a while after their official expiration dates.


Taco Bell logo: 1962-1972

Taco Bell logo and sign: 1962-1972

The original Taco Bell logo design had two separate elements — there was a colorful, blocky wordmark and a festive sombrero/bell sign. This was in widespread use for the first decade of Taco Bell’s existence. Despite its first use in the 1960s, the original Taco Bell retains a decidedly 1950s aesthetic. It’s the most fun logo the company used, although lacking any kind of sophistication.

Here’s a great example of the logo (albeit in black and white) along with some other imagery that would probably not fly today, from a 1968 newspaper ad:

1968 Taco Bell newspaper ad

The Taco Bell Five!


Taco Bell logo - 1972-85

Taco Bell flew headlong into the earth tones of the 1970s with this update. Not much to say about this one.


Taco Bell logo - 1984-1994

Hmm, now I can’t decide if the original logo is my favorite or if this one is. Anyway, the intent of this redesign was to help the chain become more mainstream yet not become so Americanized as to lose its ethnic identity. Another part of this marketing blitz involved a glassware giveaway tie-in with Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, as Burger King had done with Star Wars movies in previous years.


Taco Bell logo (1992-94)

The 1990s finally came to Taco Bell with this logo, which was rolled out around 1992 and used, among other places, on the chain’s Taco Bell at Home line of prepackaged foods. It also was a sneak preview of things to come.


Taco Bell logo - 1995-present

Yeah, not feeling this one. Never liked it or the color scheme at all.


Taco Bell logo (2016-present)

The newest Taco Bell logo was unveiled to coincide with the opening of its flagship restaurant in Las Vegas. Which is kind of strange when you think about it, as this logo is minimalist in the extreme and not loud or gaudy at all. Let’s just say I don’t care for it any more than the previous one. Oh well, that’s progress I suppose.

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Ads from the Open Road, Volume 3: Local News Edition

For this third installment of vintage billboard photos, I have a gallery of roadside advertisements for local news broadcasts. Just about all of these date from the 1970s and ’80s, and include ads for news broadcasts as well as local weather and sports teams.

All images courtesy Duke University’s Digital Collections site. Click for a larger version.

Vintage local news billboard, 1970s-1980s

WLNE – New Bedford, Massachusetts – Providence, Rhode Island


WWOR – Secaucus, New Jersey

Vintage local news billboard, 1970s-1980s

KPAZ – Phoenix, Arizona

Vintage local news billboard, 1970s-1980s

WTLV – Jacksonville, Florida

Vintage local news billboard, 1970s-1980s

KOOL – Phoenix, Arizona

Vintage local news billboard, 1970s-1980s

News 12 (city unknown)

Vintage local news billboard, 1970s-1980s

KPNX – Mesa/Phoenix, Arizona

Vintage local news billboard, 1970s-1980s

KCOX – San Diego, California

Vintage local news billboard, 1970s-1980s

KTVK – Phoenix, Arizona

Vintage local news billboard, 1970s-1980s, Dan Milham weather

WDSU – New Orleans, Louisiana

KCEN-TV (Temple/Waco, TX)

Film at 11: A Gallery of Vintage TV News Program Ads

Sometimes I know that a post I’m putting together is destined to get 20 views if I’m lucky. But I have to follow my muse wherever she may lead me, and today she leads me to TV newsrooms across the country.

I can’t say exactly why, but I find these old advertisements for network TV news programs to be just so… quaint? Charming? I don’t quite know how to put it. I just love how much these ads convey what it must have been like to watch the news back in the day — not slick in the least. Just a bunch of square white men (and sometimes white women) reading the day’s events.

And now the news of the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s…

WOKR (Rochester, NY), 1969

WOKR (Rochester, NY), 1969

WCAX (Burlington, VT), 1973

WCAX (Burlington, VT), 1973

KGO-TV (San Francisco, CA), 1971

KGO-TV (San Francisco, CA), 1971

WKTV (Utica/Rome, NY), 1973

WKTV (Utica/Rome, NY), 1973

WCTV (Thomasville/Tallahassee, FL), 1975

WCTV (Thomasville/Tallahassee, FL), 1975


WMAL-TV (Washington, D.C.), 1975

WMAL (Washington, D.C.), 1975

WTVM-TV (Columbus, GA), 1975

WTVM (Columbus, GA), 1975

WTVO-TV (Rockford, IL), 1959

WTVO (Rockford, IL), 1959

WTEN-TV (Albany/Schenectady/Troy, NY)

WTEN (Albany/Schenectady/Troy, NY), 1960

WPRO-TV (Providence, RI)

WPRO (Providence, RI), 1962

WTHI-TV (Terra Haute, IN)

WTHI (Terra Haute, IN), 1963

KCEN-TV (Temple/Waco, TX)

KCEN (Temple/Waco, TX), 1964

KCRG-TV (Cedar Rapids, IA)

KCRG (Cedar Rapids, IA), 1966

WECT-TV (Wilmington, NC), 1967

WECT (Wilmington, NC), 1967

WFMY-TV (Greensboro, NC), 1967

WFMY (Greensboro, NC), 1967

WITN-TV (Eastern Carolina), 1967

WITN (Eastern Carolina), 1967

KCAU-TV (Sioux City, IA)

KCAU (Sioux City, IA), 1969

KELOland (Sioux Falls, SD), 1969

KELO (Sioux Falls, SD), 1969

WCHS-TV (Charleston/Huntington, WV)

WCHS (Charleston/Huntington, WV), 1969

WDEF-TV (Chattanooga, TN), 1969

WDEF (Chattanooga, TN), 1969

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / TWA - Florida

20 Beautiful Vintage Airline Travel Posters

In addition to their primary purpose in drumming up business for their company, airline travel posters of course wanted to get you in the mood to visit places all over the world. And without the benefit of a TV commercial, travel posters had to work overtime to help you paint a picture of exotic locales in your mind. Here are 20 such vintage travel posters that did their job exceptionally well, most dating from the 1950s and ’60s.

And if I may be allowed a shameless plug — which I am — I should tell you that some of these images are available as beautiful custom apparel and other products on my Zazzle shop. Why not go there now? Just click on The Hangar for all airline-related goods.

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / TWA - Switzerland

TWA – Switzerland

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / TWA - Florida

TWA – Florida

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / Pan Am - Japan

Pan Am – Japan

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / Western Airlines - New York

Western Airlines – New York

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / BOAC - Africa

BOAC – Africa

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / Pacific Western Airlines - Canada

Pacific Western Airlines – Canada

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / Capital Airlines - Nassau, Bahamas

Capital Airlines – Nassau, Bahamas

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / American Airlines - Arizona

American Airlines – Arizona

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / Western Airlines - Las Vegas

Western Airlines – Las Vegas

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / American Airlines - San Francisco

American Airlines – San Francisco

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / Qantas - India

Qantas – India

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / American Airlines - Detroit

American Airlines – Detroit

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / American Airlines - Mexico

American Airlines – Mexico

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / Northwest Orient Airlines - Alaska

Northwest Orient Airlines – Alaska

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / United Airlines - Seattle

United Airlines – Seattle

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / TWA - Portugal

TWA – Portugal

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / United Airlines - Southern California

United Airlines – Southern California

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / Continental Airlines - New York

Continental Airlines – New York

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / TWA - Las Vegas

TWA – Las Vegas

Vintage Airline Travel Poster / TWA - Egypt

TWA – Egypt

Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Time Capsule: Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

In its July 13, 1953 issue Life magazine ran one of many photo essays on the city of Los Angeles. This one focused on the immense population and development growth the city and surrounding area encountered in the late ’40s and early ’50s. Here then is a gallery of the most interesting photos — some unpublished — that went into its story called “400 New Angels Every Day.” There were all shot in either December ’52 or July ’53 by J. R. Eyerman.

Less than two years after this piece ran in the magazine, Life published another, less sunny L.A. story — this one about an October 1954 smog emergency. You can see those pics here.

Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Aerial view of busy shopping center parking lot.

Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Overall exterior view of new CBS Television City complex, consisting of offices and station studios.

Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Showing a construction site in front of the downtown City Hall building.

Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Ariel view of new housing development in Pomona, featuring one-story houses.

Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Expansive view of newly-built houses jammed side-by-side, divided by a never-ending street clogged with moving vans including Pan American Van and Storage, Bekins Van and Storage, McCallson Van and Storage, unloading families’ possessions on moving day in this housing development.

Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Besiege of the salesmen calling on one family, the first week after they moved into new home.

Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Exterior view of new Samuel Gompers elementary school in Lakewood, with students and teachers in front.

Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Ariel subdivider Fritz Burns, flying over new housing development, dictating memos while inspecting the houses.

Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Closeup of ” Welcome to Lakewood/America’s Fastest Growing Community” sign, featuring census statistics on growth of area.

Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Control towers at new department stores, with electric signals directing shoppers where to park.

Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Typical family displaying conveniences needed for living in the area.

Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Aerial view of road construction in Hollywood.

Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Group of salesman selling various goods and services, who call on a new family in development.

Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Garbage disposal salesman demonstrating unit to possible buyers.

Los Angeles Development Boom of the 1950s

Aerial view of construction of cloverleaf.

The Evolution of Fast Food Logos: Top 10 Burger Chains Edition

I know I’m certainly not the first person on the internet to post a gallery showing the history of fast food logos. But I’ll be honest — a lot of the other ones I’ve seen have been half-hearted at best, completely lazy and misleading at worst. So here’s my attempt to remedy that. Here is my turn at a gallery showing the evolution of fast food logos, featuring the top ten largest chains in America (measured by number of locations in 2010).

Dates on some of these logos are estimated, as exact years are difficult to come by for some. If anyone has higher-resolution versions please let me know.

#1. McDonald’s (est. 1940)

The restaurant that became McDonald’s was started in 1937 in Monrovia, California by Patrick J. McDonald, and sold burgers and orange juice. In 1940 his sons Maurice and Richard (Mac and Dick) took it over, moved the building to San Bernadino, California, and renamed it as  McDonald’s Famous Barbecue.

McDonald's Famous Barbecue

McDonald’s Famous Barbecue logo (1940 – 1948)

Eventually the brothers figured out that their most profitable item was the hamburger, so they dropped BBQ from the menu, converted from a carhop stand into a self-service restaurant, and re-opened in December 1948 as just McDonald’s (alternately McDonald’s Famous Hamburgers). The tagline for McDonald’s during this period was “Buy ’em by the Bag.” Unfortunately not a lot of great images from this period are available, but this period photo shows the logo in action.

McDonald's Famous Hamburgers logo (1948 - 1953)

McDonald’s Famous Hamburgers logo (1948 – 1953)

It was in 1953 that McDonald’s started opening new restaurants with the franchising model. Since the emphasis for the franchise was on fast service (in addition to the food, of course), McDonald’s created the Speedee mascot. In 1955 the modern McDonald’s era began when Ray Kroc opened his first franchise location in Des Plaines, Illinois. Note that while the arch motif is present at this point, it was not incorporated into the logo and was not a prominent part of the company’s advertising.

McDonald's Speedee logo (1953 - 1962)

McDonald’s Speedee logo (1953 – 1962)

McDonald's Speedee sign and logo (1953 - 1962)

McDonald’s logo (1953 – 1962)

The first version of the classic Golden Arches logo debuted in 1962, and represented the architecture of the early franchises. The roof sloped upward from the back and its side arches appeared to interlock when viewed from certain angles.

McDonald's logo (1962 - 1968)

McDonald’s logo (1962 – 1968)

McDonald's Filet Fish card, 1967

McDonald’s promotional card, 1967

By the late ’60s, McDonald’s was in the process of phasing the physical arches from its restaurant design, and so a similar change was made to the corporate logo. In 1968-69 the roof-line element was dropped, and the logo transformed into the one recognized the world over. There are some color variations to this logo, but the look is the same.

The main corporate variant featured a white word mark and a red background. Typically in advertising and packaging you could see either a black or white wordmark.

McDonald's logo (red background, white lettering)

McDonald’s logo (red background, white lettering)

McDonald's promotional breakfast mugs, c. 1970s

McDonald’s promotional breakfast mugs, c. 1970s

Of course, almost any color combination was possible. Witness this Big Mac bumper sticker from the 1970s, featuring the famous “twoallbeefpattiesspecialsaucelettucecheesepicklesonionsonasesameseedbun” slogan. The logo here is all red.

McDonald's Big Mac bumper sticker (1970s)

McDonald’s Big Mac bumper sticker (1970s)

Starting in the 1990s, McDonald’s rolled out several variations on the Golden Arches for use in its packaging and promotional materials, but the official corporate logo remained unchanged. That all changed in 2003 when the company undertook a drastic campaign to update its marketing and restaurant design. Enter the “I’m Lovin’ It” era.

McDonald's "i'm lovin' it" logo (2003 - 2006)

McDonald’s “i’m lovin’ it” logo (2003 – 2006)

Another variant of this logo, which also jettisoned the McDonald’s name, featured a more matte yellow Golden Arches.

While the “i’m lovin’ it” campaign is still around in one form or another, the phrase was dropped from the official logo in 2006. The replacement, and current, logo trades on the pure brand recognition of the Golden Arches themselves.

McDonald's logo (2006 - present)

McDonald’s logo (2006 – present)

#2. Burger King (est. 1954)

The predecessor to what is now Burger King was founded in 1953 in Jacksonville, Florida, as Insta-Burger King. The original founders and owners, Keith J. Kramer and his wife’s uncle Matthew Burns, opened their first stores around a piece of equipment known as the Insta-Broiler. The Insta-Broiler oven proved so successful at cooking burgers, they required all of their franchises to carry the device.

Pre-1960 Specimens of the Burger King logo are hard to come by. Here’s an extract of one from an early ’60s ad, which as far as I can tell is the same typeface as the original.

Burger King wordmark logo (1954 - 1957)

Burger King wordmark logo (1954 – 1957)

From 1957 comes the first example of the Burger King character. Notice the “Insta” wordmark on his crown, linking him to the original restaurant. (image via Flick user roadsidequest)

Burger King logo (1957)

Burger King logo (1957)

At some point the “Insta” was taken off the king’s crown, and the logo was updated to reflect the prominence of the Whopper sandwich for the chain.  Here’s what just the mascot looks like, taken from a recent bit of retro packaging to celebrate the Whopper’s anniversary.

Burger King mascot (1957 - 1969)

Burger King mascot (1957 – 1969)

And here’s what the full logo looks like as seen in this 1966 print ad.

Burger King print ad (1966)

Burger King print ad (1966)


In 1969 BK introduced the famous “Bun Halves” logo, with a rather interesting typeface. This logo lasted for a quarter century.

Burger King logo (1969 - 1994)

Burger King logo (1969 – 1994)

The company updated the logo in 1994 by streamlining the typeface, but it was otherwise left intact.

Burger King logo (1994 - 1999)

Burger King logo (1994 – 1999)

Five years later Burger King updated their branding, and rolled out a fancy new logo. The current “blue crescent” logo was designed by the New York-based Sterling Group and made its official debut on July 1, 1999. I made my feelings on this change known several years ago. Hint: I don’t like it.

Burger King logo (1999 - present)

Burger King logo (1999 – present)

#3. Wendy’s (est. 1969)

Founded by Dave Thomas in 1969, Wendy’s has been fairly consistent with their branding over the decades. In fact, most of the elements in the chain’s logo were the same until 2013. The first logo already had the well-known Wendy’s wordmark and an illustration inspired by Thomas’s eight-year-old daughter, Melinda Lou “Wendy” Thomas.

Wendy's logo (1969 - 1970)

Wendy’s logo (1969 – 1970)

In 1970 the company slogan, “Quality Is Our Recipe,” was added to the portrait of Wendy, above her head.

Wendy's logo (1970 - 1976)

Wendy’s logo (1970 – 1976)

The first noticeable design change to the Wendy’s logo came in 1976. The drawing of Wendy was flattened and made to look less homemade, and the wordmark for “Old Fashioned Hamburgers” was streamlined somewhat. Additionally, the swirls became separated from the portrait.

Wendy's logo (1976 - 1978)

Wendy’s logo (1976 – 1978)

After just a few years the Wendy’s logo was modified again. A yellow background was added and the circular portrait frame became more oval-shaped.

Wendy's logo (1978 - 1983)

Wendy’s logo (1978 – 1983)

In early ’83, the logo elements were rearranged. Wendy moved to the top of a more square-shaped mark, and the colors for the two wordmark areas reversed. This is by far the company’s longest-lived brand variety at 30 years.

Wendy's logo (1983 - 2013)

Wendy’s logo (1983 – 2013)

In late 2012, Wendy’s introduced the first major change to their logo ever. It’s considerably less old-fashioned, although I’m still not sure if I like it. Wendy looks mostly the same but less like a little girl and more like an unfashionable teenager. I do already hate the lipstick wordmark. Nevertheless, the rollout of this new logo started in February/March 2013.

Wendy's logo (2013 - present)

Wendy’s logo (2013 – present)

#4. Dairy Queen (est. 1940)

Despite being best-known for their ice cream, Dairy Queen is actually one of the larger fast food chains around. The currently operate more than 5,600 stores worldwide. The first Dairy Queen logo was simply the company wordmark on a blue background. Signs at DQ locations also added an image of their signature soft-serve cone. Both can be seen in this 1956 print ad.

Dairy Queen ad (1956) with logo

Dairy Queen ad (1956)

In 1960 the iconic logo rolled out. It featured an updated wordmark on a red ovoid vaguely resembling a pair of lips. This logo remained in use through the rest of the 20th century.

Dairy Queen logo (1960 - 2001)

Dairy Queen logo (1960 – 2001)

After many years of being known colloquially as “DQ,” Dairy Queen changed its name to that in 2001 and issued an updated logo. The wordmark changed but that’s about it. (I believe the difference in shades of red is an artifact of my source files.)

Dairy Queen/DQ logo (2001 - 2006)

Dairy Queen/DQ logo (2001 – 2006)

Another update to the DQ logo was introduced in 2006. It sports a different typeface and italicized letters, as well as arced lines. The lines are meant to represent the chain’s main service offerings (orange to represent its hot foods and blue to represent its ice cream products).

Dairy Queen/DQ logo (2006 - present)

Dairy Queen/DQ logo (2006 – present)

#5. Arby’s (est. 1964)

Since Forrest and Leroy Raffel founded of Arby’s in Boardman, Ohio in 1964, the chain’s logo has had two prominent elements — the wordmark and a big ol’ hat. I couldn’t find any print versions of the first logo, which also featured the slogan “Arby’s Roast Beef Sandwich Is Delicious,” but there are plenty of pictures of the sign bearing it. Many locations still use it today. Here’s a composite image featuring the neon sign in the daytime and all lit up at night.

(Technically, Arby’s is considered a quick-service sandwich chain rather than a fast-food burger chain. But I like the hat, so it goes on my list.)

Arby's sign logo (1964 - 1975)

Arby’s sign logo (1964 – 1975)

In 1975 the logo was streamlined to remove the slogan and turn the hat into a red outline. Simpler but less fun if you ask me.

Arby's logo (1975 - 2012)

Arby’s logo (1975 – 2012)

The latest Arby’s logo debuted in late 2012, and I covered it here. As updates go it’s not totally offensive, but they could have gone in an interesting new direction instead of just making it 3-D.

Arby's logo (2012 - present)

Arby’s logo (2012 – present)

#6. Sonic Drive-In (est. 1953)

Oklahoma City-based Sonic bills itself as “America’s Drive-In,” and indeed is one of the five largest fast food chains in the country. The chain was founded by Troy N. Smith, Sr. after he bought into a walk-up root beer stand called Top Hat. Sales skyrockets after Smith implemented the drive-in model, complete with carhops. The Sonic name was introduced in 1959, and was chosen because it turned out Top Hat — whose slogan was “Service with the Speed of Sound” — was already trademarked.

Here is the first Sonic logo on a neon sign, which is the best way to see these things anyway.

Sonic Drive-In neon sign with original logo

Sonic Drive-In neon sign with original logo

From 1963, here’s a print version of the logo from a piece of food packaging. Not only does it list some of the states Sonic had spread to, but sports a fantastic vintage graphic of a satisfied customer holding a bag of steaming hamburgers. Notice the motion lines on the Sonic wordmark.

Sonic Drive-In logo (1963)

Sonic Drive-In logo (1963)

Here’s an isolated wordmark logo with the “Happy Eating’ tagline.

Sonic Drive-In logo (1974)

Sonic Drive-In logo (1974)

The current, Googie-inspired Sonic logo debuted in 1998, and has been in use since then.

Sonic Drive-In logo (1998 - present)

Sonic Drive-In logo (1998 – present)

#7. Jack in the Box (est. 1951)

Jack in the Box, founded by Robert O. Peterson, was and is still headquartered in San Diego, California. The first location was a converted Oscar’s, Peterson’s previous burger chain. Since the chain had developed a circus motif complete with a clown, the new drive-through focused operation was named Jack in the Box.

For several years through the 1950s and ’60s, Jack in the Box locations featured a number of different logos — all a variation on the basic design of a clown head popping out of a colorful box. If there was a single, unified corporate logo for the chain during this period I couldn’t find it. What I could find were some excellent vintage photos of various Jack in the Box locations. First two photos via Modern San Diego, third via Oak Cliff Yesterday.

Jack in the Box burger location (designed by Russell Forester) circa 1951

circa 1951

The logo on this next one is what I believe to be the one used by Jack in the Box in the ’50s and ’60s.

Jack in the Box burger location, circa 1956

circa 1956

Jack in the Box burger location, circa 1968

circa 1968 (photo by Della Cirillo)

Here’s another variation on the clown look, but with the same typeface.

Jack in the Box promo logo, 1971

circa 1971

In the early ’70s the logo was cleaned up and modernized somewhat. A white wordmark with a new typeface was placed on a red square with rounded corners. Here’s an example taken from a take-out bag from the 1972/73 period.

Jack in the Box logo, early 1970s

circa early 1970s

The next update came about in 1978 and it (temporarily) brought back the clown head, albeit in a stylized form. The “Hamburgers” portion of the wordmark was removed, and the faceless clown sported a hat and three round balls. These presumably were a visual representation of puffy, frilled clown collar.

Jack in the Box logo (1978 - 1980)

Jack in the Box logo (1978 – 1980)

After the short-lived geometric clown design, the next Jack in the Box logo was rolled out in 1980. It most closely resembled the early ’70s variety, but with a more rounded typeface and a tilted red box. Some locations still feature this logo design.

Jack in the Box logo (1980 - 1985, 1986 - 2009)

Jack in the Box logo (1980 – 1985, 1986 – 2009)

And now we get to a strange period in the chain’s history. In 1985 Ralston Purina, who bought Jack in the Box in 1968, completely re-branded the chain. They got a new name — Monterey Jack’s — and of course a new logo. What they didn’t get was new customers, and so the change was reversed in 1986. Good specimens of the Monterey’s Jack’s are really hard to come by, so here’s a screenshot from a TV commercial.

Monterey Jack's (Jack in the Box) logo (1985 - 1986)

Monterey Jack’s (Jack in the Box) logo (1985 – 1986)

After a very public apology for the Monterey Jack’s fiasco, Jack in the Box brought their menu and logo back in 1986. The remained untouched for 23 years, until 2009. That’s when the current version was introduced. The typeface is much more modern (although the swoop in the “k” forming a smile is a nice throwback touch), and the plain red box is now 3-D and in your face.

Jack in the Box logo (2009 - present)

Jack in the Box logo (2009 – present)

#8. Hardee’s (est. 1960)

Hardee’s, which which mostly operates in the South and Midwest regions, was founded by Wilbur Hardee, who opened his first restaurant in Greenville, North Carolina on September 9, 1960. One of the chain’s signature food items early on was the Huskee hamburger.

One of the earliest Hardee’s logos featured a friendly looking chef cooking burgers on an old kettle grill while giving the universal seal of chef approval. Here’s a specimen pulled from a 1962 employee paper hat.

Hardee's logo (1962)

Hardee’s logo (1962)

The first major logo change came about in the early 1970s (I’ve seen varying accounts of the exact year). It was simplified into a stylized H composed of two vertically swooping orange halves with an orange dot in the middle. The Hardee’s wordmark changed from a script typeface to a sans serif one, and can be seen in a fully black or black outline variety. This is one of my favorite fast food logos ever.

Hardee's logo (circa early 1970s)

Hardee’s logo (circa early 1970s)

Here’s a great vintage photo of some Hardee’s product packaging showing the logo.

Hardee's packaging w/logo (1973)

circa 1973

The orange H was dropped from the logo in the late ’70s (I’m guessing ’78 or ’79, but perhaps earlier), and the wordmark was further stylized. This new logo was often depicted in orange on a blue or brown background. Here’s a sample from a storefront sign. This design lasted until 1999.

Hardee's logo (1970s - 1999)

Hardee’s logo (1970s – 1999)

After Hardee’s was bought out by Carl’s Jr. in 1999, they adopted their new parent company’s smiling star logo. The typeface was changed once again (to something resembling Courier), and the overall color scheme converted to bright red and yellow.

Hardee's logo (1999 - 2006)

Hardee’s logo (1999 – 2006)

In 2006, both Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. received a substantial “fancification.” The typeface converted to an embossed script, and the whole logo was given a bubbly red background. The Hardee’s version was also given the tagline “Charbroiled Thickburgers.”

Hardee's logo (2006 - present)

Hardee’s logo (2006 – present)

#9. Carl’s Jr. (est. 1941)

Speaking of the aforementioned Carl’s Jr., it was founded by Carl Karcher and his wife Margaret. The Karchers started their first business, a hot dog stand, on July 17, 1941 in Los Angeles, California when they borrowed $311 against their Plymouth automobile and added $15 from Margaret’s purse. The stand initially sold hot dogs and Mexican tamales. On January 16, 1945, they opened their first restaurant, Carl’s Drive-In Barbecue, in Anaheim, California. The first Carl’s Jr. restaurants opened in 1956.

The Carl’s Jr. logo has always featured a star in one form or another. According to an old trademark application I found it was a plain star as early as 1945, was updated around 1954, and turned into the form you see here by no later than 1963.

Carl's Jr. logo (1956 - 1985)

Carl’s Jr. logo (1956 – 1985)

Here’s photo of the logo in usage at a Carl’s Jr. location in 1978. The tagline at this time was “Char-Broiled Hamburgers.”

Carl's Jr. sign logo (1978)

Carl’s Jr. sign logo (1978)

Here’s an interesting variant on the star, used to sell Mexican food through the new Taco de Carlos spinoff chain (launched 1972). The star is now holding a taco and wearing a sombrero. The concept never really took hold, and was gone by the early ’80s.

Taco de Carlos logo (1972)

Taco de Carlos logo (1972)

The next major logo redesign was introduced in 1985, and remained in place for more than 20 years. The star lost his burger and drink cup, and the Carl’s Jr. wordmark moved to a red Courier-type font.

Carl's Jr. logo (1985 - 2006)

Carl’s Jr. logo (1985 – 2006)

In 2006 the same update that Hardee’s received was given to Carl’s Jr. as well. That means a star with beveled edges, a script wordmark, and a bubbly red background.

Carl's Jr. logo (2006 - present)

Carl’s Jr. logo (2006 – present)

#10. Checkers/Rally’s (est. 1986/1985)

Checkers and Rally’s were founded within a year of each other and both focused much more on drive-through service than on in-house dining. The main difference was location — Rally’s served the Midwest and Checkers the Southeast.

As far as I can tell, there has only been one primary logo used by Checkers since their debut in 1986. It features a white wordmark on a red background, with BURGERS FRIES COLA on a yellow background. Both of these elements are separated by a horizontal, black-and-white checkerboard band.

Checkers logo (1986 - present)

Checkers logo (1986 – present)

The original Rally’s logo featured a smiling man wearing old-fashioned racing gear (scarf, cap, etc.) and holding a hamburger. Here’s a sample of the logo in the intended red, on a t-shirt.

Rally's Hamburgers logo (1985)

Rally’s Hamburgers logo (1985)

At some point in the chain’s history they used this next logo as well. It calls to mind a stop sign that’s been stretched horizontally, which is an odd look since you wouldn’t want to tell your customers to stop eating your food (even subliminally). If someone knows the dates for this logo’s usage I’d love to know.

Rally's Hamburgers logo (date unknown)

Rally’s Hamburgers logo (date unknown)

When Rally’s merged with Checkers in 1999, they adopted the Checkers logo design and changed their restaurant design to match Checkers’ as well.

Rally's logo (1999 - present)

Rally’s logo (1999 – present)

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