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Googie Wonderland
October 17, 2006 10:10 AM   Subscribe

It was originally meant to look futuristic, but now it's considered kitsch. Even the most mundane food tasted good if the restaurant featured Googie-style archetecture and signage. I wish more buildings today looked like these. Previously discussed here.
posted by Oriole Adams (34 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

Grinder Heaven.

Lord I wish we still called subs Grinders. Someone please help me start this trend back up internationally.
posted by cavalier at 10:27 AM on October 17, 2006

If you're into this era and this kind of work I *highly* recommend you take a look at the work of my friend Andy Filer. He's covered Googie, extant design, endless old packaging, soda signs, and more. The guy's brilliant and has an architectural obsession, as well.
posted by fake at 10:30 AM on October 17, 2006

So awesome. Thanks.
posted by jonson at 10:31 AM on October 17, 2006

I still think it looks futuristic.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:32 AM on October 17, 2006

Thanks fake, and Oriole, for the links. Really really really cool.
posted by slackdog at 10:41 AM on October 17, 2006

Awesome... I can't believe I'm in my 30s and have never heard of the word Googie architecture... I feel so sheltered.
posted by hodyoaten at 10:42 AM on October 17, 2006

The TWA terminal at JFK (half removed and being totally mod'd by Jet Blue) is/was considered googie? I think not.
posted by Fupped Duck at 10:55 AM on October 17, 2006

Imagine my disappointment when the image labelled "Anaheim Convent" under the "these" link was only this. I was all intrigued at the possibility of there being a convent in the middle of Anaheim.

These are great, though. Thanks.
posted by koeselitz at 10:55 AM on October 17, 2006

I must now go register

Curses! Foiled again!
posted by illiad at 10:55 AM on October 17, 2006

From Wikipedia (apologies if redundant - I was curious as to the origins):

According to author Alan Hess in his book "Googie: Fifties Coffee Shop Architecture", the origin of the name "Googie" goes back to 1949, when architect John Lautner designed a coffee shop by the name of "Googie's", which had very distinctive architectural characteristics. This coffee shop was on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights in Los Angeles, but was demolished in the 1980s. According to Hess, the name "Googie" stuck as a rubric for the architectural style when Professor Douglass Haskell of Yale and architectural photographer Julius Shulman were driving through Los Angeles one day. Haskell insisted on stopping the car upon seeing "Googie's", and proclaimed "This is Googie architecture". He made the name stick after an article he wrote appeared in a 1952 edition of House and Home magazine.
posted by docpops at 10:55 AM on October 17, 2006

Lord I wish we still called subs Grinders. Someone please help me start this trend back up internationally.

I'm pretty sure a place or two in my area calls them grinders. It might be 'grinder subs', though.
posted by cellphone at 11:03 AM on October 17, 2006

Oh and heh, I think those Arby's signs are still pretty prevalent. At least there's two in Minneapolis/St. Paul that I know about.
posted by cellphone at 11:04 AM on October 17, 2006

Lord I wish we still called subs Grinders.

Then move to New England, where a grinder is still a grinder.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:05 AM on October 17, 2006

The upmarket European counterpart of Googie is probably the "Atomium style", named after the gloriously bananas (and recently restored) Brussels landmark built for the World Exhibition of 1958.
posted by Skeptic at 11:05 AM on October 17, 2006

Home of Chow Burgers.
posted by grabbingsand at 11:09 AM on October 17, 2006

Lord I wish we still called subs Grinders.

What uncleozzy said. It's a regional thing, and it hasn't changed; you must have moved.
posted by languagehat at 11:12 AM on October 17, 2006

Grinders? No. Hoagies? Yes.

It is regional, though. If you live in Vermont they call them Grinders, or so I'm told.
posted by docpops at 11:14 AM on October 17, 2006

All of these are really pretty. Are most of the buildings still standing in this style bowling alleys and motels because they built a lot of them in the 50s and 60s, or because those are the types of businesses that survived?
posted by uncleozzy at 11:18 AM on October 17, 2006

Cool - I've been trying to figure out a name better than 'the past's future' or 'future's past' to decribe that kind of style.

Needs more chrome and more fins, though.

And zeppelins. This world definitely needs more zeppelins.
posted by porpoise at 11:48 AM on October 17, 2006

Советское Googie! Да!
posted by xod at 11:50 AM on October 17, 2006

Learning From Las Vegas
posted by Flashman at 11:51 AM on October 17, 2006

The American Sign Museum is located in my city and yet I've never been.

Now I know what I'm doing this weekend
posted by Mick at 1:13 PM on October 17, 2006

This is an awesome post. I had no idea what this kind of architecture was called, if anything.
posted by mckenney at 1:33 PM on October 17, 2006

It is regional, though.
Scarily so. In Port Chester, NY we called 'em "wedges" or "subs." Cross the teensy Byram River into CT and they're "grinders" all the way up to Boston, maybe beyond.
posted by Opposite George at 2:17 PM on October 17, 2006

Here, they're po-boys and we love them loaded w/ shrimp and tons of hot sauce.
posted by winks007 at 2:20 PM on October 17, 2006

Look at the time of my last post, hehehe
posted by winks007 at 2:21 PM on October 17, 2006

I wish Googies was still there at that corner - a burger was sixty cents and coffee a dime with refills - and that the Garden of Allah was still just a few doors away, too.
posted by donfactor at 2:34 PM on October 17, 2006

Does The Gobbler count? It's more post-googie though really.
posted by Dillenger69 at 3:51 PM on October 17, 2006

Raise your hand if you first parsed that as "Google-style archetecture." Just me? Okay, carry on.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:14 PM on October 17, 2006

I grew up near the Ypsi-Arbor Bowl sign for the first link. The lights in the B and L were perpetually out, so it said Ypsi-Arbor OW. I used to imagine some sort of giant stubbing his toe on it and cursing.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:56 PM on October 17, 2006

Er, in the second link. Damn...
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:56 PM on October 17, 2006

I pass the Moon Motel (featured in almost every one of these galleries) every Thursday on my way to visit friends. It simultaneously makes me smile to see such an excellent example of space-race era signage still around, and a little sad that it's not in such good shape anymore.
posted by CrayDrygu at 8:08 PM on October 17, 2006

I spent a few weeks one summer working my buns off at what was, when photographed, the Koerts Glass place, in Flint. At that time it was nothing, rented out as workshop to build summer stock shows. I was curious, and Koerts is no longer there, either.

Some of these signs were really just trying to look like imitation Holiday Inn signs, which, in turn, were trying to look like Las Vegas, on a small scale.

I have a package of sewing needles from a place in Flint called "House of Chrome", which sold tables and chairs for kitchen dinning. The artwork is a hoot, 50's well-dressed man and woman riding through space on a rocket, made of a sewing needle. Apparently the needles were a gratuity. I have them from my grandmother's sewing kit. It's the same sort of "yesterday's future" thing going on.
posted by Goofyy at 11:40 PM on October 17, 2006

Just one more satisfied customer saying thanks for the post and links. I lurve this sort of signage and architecture -- but, I now realize, would probably adore it less if it were more prevalent. F'r instance, I think a whole town of Googie architecture would probably be intolerable.
posted by GrammarMoses at 10:07 AM on October 18, 2006

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