Friday, October 14, 2005

The Meatball is Toast

76 gas station at the corner of Hyperion and Griffith Park Blvd. in Silver Lake, 10/13/05

Driving to work Thursday, I caught another 76 gas station in the process of jettisoning the familiar big, orange "76" globe -- also known as the 76 "meatball" -- in favor of much more traditional signage.

That's being repeated everywhere, as ConocoPhillips puts its stamp on 76 gas stations (a brand the company acquired a year or two ago). Gone is the orange-and-blue color scheme, in favor of a new red-centric look. But if that weren't enough, it looks like the meatball won't be around for much longer either.

The "meatball" 76 is pretty unique when it comes to business signage; in Southern California, you'll frequently see a pumpkin face covering the orange "76" balls every October. Can't do that with the new signs.



Photos above from the Wikipedia entry for "Union 76," which also notes that in the film "The Lost World: Jurassic Park," a T-Rex knocks the 76 ball off the sign, causing it to roll through the filling station, nearly crushing Ian Malcolm's Pontiac GTO.

The encyclopedia site also notes: Before Jack in the Box started having the 'Jack head' promotional radio antenna toppers, 76 balls were extremely popular as radio antenna toppers, primarily in the Greater Los Angeles area, where they are still frequently seen.

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