Today would have been the 89th birthday of the great Don Knotts, forever remembered as one of TV's all-time funniest characters, inept small town deputy Barney Fife from "The Andy Griffith Show". Click here to read about our visits to Don's hometown of Morgantown, West Virginia, and the inspiration for Mayberry, Mount Airy, North Carolina.
No wonder the moose is smiling -- he gets to look out at some awesome Upper Peninsula scenery...
It's not every day you see a moose dressed in red and white checkered overalls. Not every day, that is, unless you're visiting or reside in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan town of Manistique and find yourself tooling past the local Bob's Big Boy restaurant on East Lake Shore Drive. The moose is so attired because back in 1936, a Mr. Bob Wian purchased a hamburger stand in Glendale, California. His signature dish became the double-decker hamburger and one of his frequent customers was a chubby six-year-old boy in loose-fitting overalls who helped around the place in exchange for free food. Bob was so taken with the boy he named the burger after him, The Big Boy. Another customer, a movie studio animator, did a caricature of the boy wearing red and white checkered overalls that became the logo for the restaurant, now called Bob's Big Boy. Moose being a popular icon in northern Michigan, it seemed only fitting that one wearing Bob's classic overalls would welcome diners to this friendly U.P. Bob's franchise. And this moose happens to look out at some pretty spectacular scenery...sandy dunes and tall grass swaying in front of beautiful Lake Michigan.
Why I'm telling you all this is a moostery to me, though.
Just down the road from the tooth are some fantastic sculptures of Mariachi musicians and dancers. That's an average-sized dope posing in front for a sense of scale.
In Trenton, New Jersey, just a stone's throw from the really big American Gothic statue we blogged about recently, sits another of sculptor-of-kooky-and-really-huge-subject-matter-extraordinaire Seward Johnson's kitschy roadside marvels: the world's largest tooth. Measuring in at around 15 feet tall, it sits gleaming in front of the Congoleum Company building and near the on-ramp to I-295 South, with nary a trace of tartar on it. And like he did with the American Gothic, Johnson has added a sculpture of a bemused, normal-sized couple gawking nearby, to give passersby a sense of the ridiculous scale of the tremendous tusk. How great it must be to be Seward Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune, to have the wealth and talent to dot the landscape with all your crazy creations. Just down the street is his group of enormous Mariachi musicians and dancers. Why? You need a reason? Art doesn't have to say something all the time and hurt your head. Sometimes it's nice to give bored motorists a laugh and a smile. And that's the tooth.
But wait, there's more bad puns: To Mr. Johnson, we'd like to say fangs for the memories, we're abscessed with your work, there ought to be a plaque in your honor, do you work on retainer?, we're all up in your grill, we'll be your en-dentured servants, you're like a bridge over troubled water, we've grown bicuspid to your face and we're at a floss for words, dad gummit.
This blog is devoted to old fashioned American roadside attractions... the wonderfully big, bizarre, crazy, wacky, quirky, weird, funny, unique and mundane sites you see travelling cross-country by car in the USA, where getting there really is all the fun!