American Graffiti did much to romanticize the 50s and Drive In culture. Like it needed any help! I love that era and always appreciate a good movie set in the period or a piece of merchandise that celebrates the cars, malts, and good times.
However, most of these movies and merchandizing promote a 50s that never was.
That being said, here is a nice collectible from 1988 that definitely was and apparently still is:
We’re eight minutes late! They’ve crammed in a lot of stereotypical 50s stuff on this piece. From the Drive In with waitresses and Soda Jerks, cool cars and Hot Rods, and that uncomfortable first date – it’s all here. Oh, and so are the burgers and fries!
BONUS POINTS if you can identify the make and model of each car parked out front.
Old 50s architecture and signage is so stylized and iconic. I love the script lettering and the ‘i’ dotted with a star!
New Haven Quartz wall clocks are still being manufactured. You can click the link for a look at what’s new but also to see some more vintage offerings from the 70s and later.
More of the great script signage along with some of the menu. But now let’s take a closer look inside the diner itself:
So what are the Specials today? We have spaghetti and meatballs with a nice salad. You can’t go wrong with the grilled steak and fries! Or you can keep it traditional 50s with the hamburger deluxe.
What ‘Fountain Concoction’ is this Soda Jerk serving to his customer? We will never know viewing the scene from this angle!
FUN FACTS: The term soda jerk was a pun on soda clerk, the formal job title of the drugstore assistants who operated soda fountains. It was inspired by the “jerking” action the server would use to swing the soda fountain handle back and forth when adding the soda water to those wonderful ‘Fountain Concoctions’.
Was anything more popular than an ice-cold Coca-Cola back in the 50s? Maybe, as it looks like our leather-jacketed patron is drinking coffee. And here comes his burger!
FUN FACTS: Coca-Cola with ice was called “scratch one” in Soda Jerkese. And if a drink was ordered with extra ice it was called out as “heavy on the hail”. I’m so going to use that the next time I visit a fast food drive thru!
This diner clock is powered by a AA battery and also has a convenient hook for hanging.
FUN FACTS: The practice of operating a soda fountain complete with a Soda Jerk reached its peak popularity in the 40s but was popular from the 20s through the 50s. The introduction of drive-ins and fast food restaurants replaced the Jerk with fry cooks. Somehow, it just hasn’t been the same!
To conclude, let’s meet the Maker:
It’s the Burwood Products Company. Who were you expecting? A rare find in that this collectible is actually made in the USA. Almost as rare as finding an operating Drive In Theater! Do you love nostalgia? Check out this older post featuring a book that talks all about it. Just click here!
INFORMATIVE FACTS: Burwood Products Company is no longer active. This corporation was filed on Tuesday, February 14, 1978 , in the State of Texas by an entity already operating outside of that State. You can find many more examples of similar clocks on eBay and other sites. You can also find a page for Burwood Products Company enthusiasts on Facebook. Seriously. I didn’t make that up!