Thursday, January 15, 2009

Googie signage

The lovely Miss Ginger wonders, "Why is it called 'Googie' signage and 'Googie' architecture?"

Excellent question, Miss G., and although I think I may have written a little about Googie before, it was some time ago and I don't think I wrote a ton about it. This is one of the finest signs I saw on our recent trip. I love the starburst/sun rays at the top, and when lit, they light in sequence. Very cool!

Googie is part of futurist architecture, and originated in southern California. It takes its name from Googie's Coffee Shop, which was demolished in the late 80's. Googie was prominent from the late 40's through about the mid-60's, and was inspired by car culture, and the Space and Atomic Ages. Frequent design elements were geometric shapes, boomerangs, atoms, starbursts, and flying saucers; roofs were often triangular and upswept, indicating speed and energy; and materials included glass, steel, and neon.

Googie architecture and signs lost their appeal in the late 60's, and many buildings and signs were torn down. In the 90's, efforts began to preserve these unique examples of a short-lived style in American architectural history. I love them because they seem happy and cheerful to me, and as you know, I loves me my retro stuff!

There is a great book by Alan Hess dedicated to nothin' but Googie (Googie Redux), and some great examples of Googie can be found at Roadside Peek. Next time you're out and about, see if you can spot some signs that you think might be Googie. You're looking for triangles, sphere, starbursts, etc. Neon is a plus, but not a requirement. If you find a good one, take a picture and put it up on your site and leave a comment here about it. I always love seeing new signs! It can be a new game: Spot the Googie! More Vegas signs to come as soon as I can get busy on a slideshow.

Lord have mercy, I'm a Bethsicle! It was cold enough when I went out to get the mail--thank goodness the postman had already come! This afternoon, I turned on the TV to watch CNN while I did a little ironing, and I couldn't get the channel. No CNN? ACK! *swoon* I started messing with it, resetting the receiver, etc., and eventually I couldn't get any sort of satellite info at all. I took a look out back, and sure enough, the dish had a whole bunch of snow piled up on it. I had to take out the garbage, too, so I bundled up and headed out. Ski suit topped with my parka. My core stayed toasty-warm, but my face was freezing, even with my hood up!

And wow, it's pretty deep. It was definitely close to my knees, so I'd say at least a foot total. I brushed off the dish, took the garbage can out to the road, and by the time I was done, I had worked up a sweat! And there was a happy ending, because I 'm watching CNN right now. Huzzah! As for the temps, we're still on track for 13 below tonight, so all I can say is that I hope that those who don't have a home make their way to shelters tonight. It is dangerously cold.

Source: "Googie architecture." Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 2008. 15 Jan. 2009.


  1. thanks again for the Googie stuff and info, in my town there is googie, I never knew it was called googie but have always liked it.

  2. Hard to believe the snow was up to your chin :o)

  3. Oh, hardy har har. A foot deep, so it was up to my chin. Hilaaaaaarious. ;)

  4. Bethsicle, hope you thaw soon! Now we are having a heat wave at least off the hill it is a heat wave. Here on the hill it is not freezing for now! Dannelle

  5. it will be 10 below zero by the time i leave for work in an hour..that is if the car starts.
    I enjoy seeing your signs and reading about them. I thought googie was a take off on google.

  6. The whole country seems to be in a deep freeze. TN for heaven's sake. Our low tonight will be 2 degrees. What? I'm watching the school closings (not ours yet) because they say it's too dangerous for our kids to be out in that weather. Nashville schools are closed so I bet ours will be too. Stay warm Beth. I just wish we had some of that snow to go along with it.
    Hugs, Joyce

  7. I'm delighted to be following your blog, this googie is really neat!

  8. Thanks for the Googie lesson!I love anything old/retro!

  9. Howard Johnsons used to use signs like that. I always thought they were welcoming. You know it's cold out when Pickles wants in and isn't interested in playing in the white stuff. Once again thank you letting me pester you on a daily dose. (Hugs)Indigo

  10. Hi Beth,
    Wow ... I vaguely remember Googie's (I think). There's something so comforting about those signs ... like relics of a bygone era.

  11. You might be interested in another book, which is a little more in-depth. It's AMERICAN SIGNS: FORM AND MEANING ON ROUTE 66 by Lisa Mahar. (I admit to having a bit of a personal interest in it, since I helped her with a great deal of the book). It's very interesting and well-illustrated. In it, Lisa, who is an architect, relates the Googie culture to mid-century architectural trends. The book won the award for "Best Route 66 Book" several years ago, and I was privileged to be asked to accept the award for Lisa in Tucumcari NM because she was unable to attend the ceremony. A worthwhile read! Now, I'm off to St. Louis. Hope you thaw!

  12. googie rocks!

    it is fer reeeeeezin here too. got to -30 with the windchill yesterday. very few schools remained open like mine...



I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?