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Back When Girls Wanted to Be Flat

Or at least that's what they wanted for their hair. So, they started ironing it!

Today, of course, there are much more efficient appliances for straightening hair, but this is the way we did it back in the 1960's!

Whatever Happened to Burger Chef?

Ask anyone under 40 about a fast-food chain named Burger Chef and you’re likely to get a puzzled expression. Or maybe, if they’re a fan of the TV series Mad Men, they might recognize the name as an account Don Draper and Peggy Olsen were pitching in one of that series’ episodes.

But Baby Boomers should remember Burger Chef as the chain that was challenging McDonald’s for fast-food supremacy in the 1960’s!

The chain started in 1954 in Indianapolis, IN. Two brothers, Dave and Frank Thomas were working on a flame broil system for Burger King (another franchise that had recently started). The brothers decided not to sell their flame broiler, instead opting to go into business for themselves.

Besides flame broiling, the chain also created a couple of other innovations:

  • The “Value Combo” that included burger, fries and a drink for one, lower price
  • The “Fun Meal” with a toy for kids (Yep, just as McDonald’s ripped off Big Boy when they “created” the Big Mac, the Happy Meal was a rip-off of Burger Chef’s kids meal.)
  • The “Self-Serve Works Bar” where you could add your own toppings.

At their peak, Burger Chef had 2,400 locations across the country. So, what happened?

In 1971, the chain was sold to General Foods and that proved to be their undoing. While General Foods knew the grocery business, they didn’t really know the burger business.

General Foods actually charged their franchisees too little in royalties. That left them underfunded when it came to national advertising, marketing and developing new items for their menu.

McDonald's began adding things like salads, breakfast sandwiches and more to their menu. Burger King used their “Have It Your Way” advertising campaign to stress their ability to deliver a custom-ordered burger quickly. That helped establish them as the main alternative to Mickey D’s. So, Burger Chef moved from second to third place in most consumers’ minds.

Eventually, General Foods decided they’d had enough of the fast-food business and sold the chain to Hardee’s.

And that’s the way the burger flips!

Happy Birthday, Disneyland!

It was during this week in 1955 that Disneyland first opened to the public.

Dubbed "Walt's Folly" by the "smart money," Walt Disney gambled his future and the future of his studio on the amusement park in Anaheim, California. Disney sunk every penny he had into the place and still required a substantial investment from ABC-TV to finish it. Today, the Disney company has multiple "theme parks" (a term Walt invented) in Florida, France, Japan, Hong Kong and Shanghai. In addition, the Disney Company now owns ABC-TV.

On the day it opened, the park only had 14 attractions operating. They were:
Fire Engine (Main Street)
Main Street Cinema (Fantasyland)
Jungle Cruise (Adventureland)
Mark Twain Riverboat (Frontierland)
The Golden Horseshoe Revue (Frontierland)
King Arthur Carousel (Fantasyland)
Snow White's Scary Adventure (Fantasyland)
Peter Pan's Flight (Fantasyland)
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (Fantasyland)
Casey Jr. Circus Train (Fantasyland)
Storybookland Canal Boats (Fantasyland)
Mad Tea Party (Fantasyland)
Autopia (Tomorrowland)
Disneyland Railroad (The Entire Park)

BTW - To get ABC to invest, Disney had to promise to make TV shows for the network. In a classic "wn-win," Walt created "The Mickey Mouse Club" for the late afternoons and "Disneyland" for Sunday nights in prime time. Of course, the second show worked like a 60-minute commercial for his theme park and quickly made every Baby Boomer in America want to go there!

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