One of the many things that makes Kentucky Fried Chicken unique in fast food history is that its growth as a powerhouse franchise was not quite as direct as, say, McDonald's. For one thing, the chain began not as a dedicated franchise location but rather as a menu of items out of a regular restaurant. In this case, KFC was essentially born in a pair of motels/restaurants in Asheville, North Carolina and Corbin, Kentucky. Colonel Harland Sanders, who owned both in the 1930s, rebuilt his Corbin location as a motel with a 140-seat restaurant after a fire struck in late 1939. Here is a June 1940 newspaper ad for the Sanders Court & Café, published in the Asheville Citizen Times. Note how there is no reference to chicken: The first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise opened on Septem
In past ad galleries I've typically stuck with a particular theme or product, such as holiday-themed ads or new car lineups. I'm going to try something new and product an ad gallery from a single year, covering a wide range or products and services. Basically, a sort of visual shorthand to see what someone would've seen in print or TV ads in a particular year. Think of this as a virtual department store of sorts. For the first edition I thought I'd travel back exactly 50 years to 1967. Let's browse! Automobiles Consumer Electronics Entertainment Fashion Food and Beverage Health and Beauty Household Goods Travel
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. 1962-72 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...
I know it's kind of a cheap tactic to hold someone accountable for views they held decades ago, when society was very different, but I did a double-take when I read a quote from McDonald's patriarch Ray Kroc. Kroc, in an Associated Press interview published in several papers on September 15, 1959, cited several factors as to why McDonald's was such a runaway success. There were economic considerations such as a simplified menu and no in-store dining, but Kroc also seemed to focus on the type of image the chain should portray and the type of people they wanted working and dining. In Kroc's own words: "We don't allow juke boxes, cigarette machines or phone booths -- and we don't hire female help," he said. "In picking a site we count the churches and schools in the area, rather
Although it was invented in 1967 by McDonald's Uniontown, Pennsylvania franchise owner Jim Delligatti, the Big Mac didn't enter the national consciousness until 1968. That was the year McDonald's added the sandwich -- originally dubbed the Blue Ribbon Burger and the Aristocrat -- to its national menu. In doing some quick research into how the Big Mac was marketed, I found what I believe to be the oldest national print advertisement for it. It ran in the March 14, 1969 issue of Life magazine and looked like this (click for a larger version): So unless someone has information that says otherwise, I consider this month to mark the 45th anniversary of Big Mac advertising in America. Here's a TV ad that ran around the same time (the uploader says it's from 1967 but I doubt it very muc
So I'm cruising through eBay looking for more vintage ads to share, and I happened upon a group of excellent ones from the early-to-mid 1960s. They're not flashy by any means, but they offer just a little slice of Mickey D's life from the Kennedy era and beyond. Most importantly, all of these black-and-white print ads feature vintage McDonald's branding and building designs as seen in my post detailing the history of some fast food logos, so it should come as no surprise that I had to share these. First up are four ads printed throughout 1961 in the Cincinnati Enquirer. All but one feature the classic mid-century arch building design, and we even get an appearance from Speedee! (Click on any ad to be taken to a full-size version on my Flickr page.) A free bagpipe band ...
I stumbled across this interesting black and white photo on eBay. It depicts what is otherwise a pretty ordinary street scene in North Charleston, South Carolina in the 1960s. But look closer, and you'll see what caught my eye: Yes sir, that is indeed a vintage Burger King sign on the right. Now if you recall from my fast food burger chain logo gallery, the king on top of the burger BK logo was in use from roughly 1957 through 1969. Given the look of some of the cars in the picture, however, I'm going to peg this from the mid-to-late '60s period. If only this were a color photo, that would be oh so sweet. But still, it's pretty cool.
Courtesy the Seattle Municipal Archives Flickr feed, here's a neat shot of a rather ordinary scene. It's Dick's Drive-In Hamburgers on Broadway East. This was taken in 1955, not long after this location opened. Dick's started right around the same period that McDonald's started to take off with their franchise model. Click for a larger version. This location is still open today, and it certainly doesn't appear as if things have changed all that much. There are more trees and the prices are higher, of course, but you can't expect hand-dipped malts to cost 21 cents forever.
I just had so much gosh darn fun putting together my retrospective of fast food burger chain logos that I decided to turn it into a YouTube slideshow. Because some people just love slideshows. And as a special bonus I included audio extracts from vintage TV ads for some of the chains, like McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Dairy Queen, Arby's, Sonic, Jack in the Box, Hardee's, Carl's Jr., and Checkers/Rally's. Enjoy!