Here Come The Muffler Men!

TRAVEL TIPS, road trip journey queries, motels, coffee shops, drive-ins, bowling alleys, dinner houses, gas stations, giant objects, signs, theme parks, Disneyland, and roadside sites to see along the way

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Gnomus
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Here Come The Muffler Men!

Postby Gnomus » Tue Nov 04, 2008 5:55 pm

First up, say hello to Tony. He keeps an eye on the neighborhood around Tony's Transmissions in East LA.

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From El Monte, this is Edwin. As you can see, he's a little shy and hides behind a tent. That's a golf club in his hands.

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All the way from Gallup, NM, give a warm welcome to Dude Man.

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This is Sergio, watching the yard at Automotive Alley in Los Angeles.

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Pancho stands on top of a La Salsa on PCH in Malibu. His tray used to hold a variety of food objects, but they've disappeared.

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Next up is Kevin, from Van Nuys. He stands in front of Tune-up Masters at the intersection of Sherman Way and Sepulveda.

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And finally, a man of mystery. This unnamed MM used to lurk outside Giant Mufflers & Auto Repair in Vista, CA, but vanished one day. Word is, he's been spotted in North Carolina.

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The first "muffler man" was created by International Fiberglass in Venice, CA, by Bob Prewitt. This was a 20-ft tall Paul Bunyan character made for a cafe in Flagstaff, AZ (which explains the standard one hand palm up, one palm down configuration -- he originally held an ax).

Steve Dashew bought the company, and he was responsible for really promoting the muffler men as advertising items. He also made the US Rubber Miss Uniroyal Gals, the Texaco Big Friends, and Sinclair Dinosaurs.

Most of the muffler men were derived from the original mold, with a full variety of accessories to create a wide range of characters including Indians, Bunyans (w/ beard), Cowboys (no beard), and Half Wits (modeled after Mad magazine's Alfred E. Newman).

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Gnomus
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Postby Gnomus » Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:44 pm

Here are a few more giant figures for you.

This is a Texaco "Big Friend"; the big friend campaign rolled out minus these characters and they were pressed into other service. This one sells houses in Pahrump, NV.

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A Carpeteria genie in Las Vegas, NV.

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This sad-faced lumberjack stands over what is now a Vietnamese restaurant in Albuquerque, NM.

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These twin cowboys panning for gold decorate the entrance to the Gold Strike Casino in Jean, NV.

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Most of the big folk are gentle and harmless, but this miner looks like trouble. Check out those spooky eyes!

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He's in a closed mini-golf in Yuba City, CA.

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spinsLPs
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Postby spinsLPs » Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:33 pm

There's a Flickr group dedicated to the Muffler Men.

http://www.flickr.com/groups/97994156@N00/pool/

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Gnomus
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Postby Gnomus » Sat Aug 08, 2009 8:45 pm

Once the mascot for Chicken Boy restaurant on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, now adorning the roof of Future Studio Design & Gallery in Highland. Big salute to Amy Inouye for her heroic efforts to save this guy.

Chicken boy incorporates a Muffler Man's torso with a specialized head. It's possible the arms were created for this display as well. Has anyone ever seen another MM with this style of arms?

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Perks
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Postby Perks » Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:10 am

Sorry, but I have to ask...

Am I the only one who notices a rather uncanny resemblance?

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Andy Perkins, Broker/Owner
Perkins Realty Group

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Gnomus
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Postby Gnomus » Sun Aug 09, 2009 11:12 am

Like father, like son?

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Gnomus
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Postby Gnomus » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:06 pm

Finally got a chance to shoot The Guy (thanks to Michelle Gerdes) who stands on the Dominguez Hills Golf Course overlooking the 405 freeway. This MM is frequently decorated. Here he's seen sporting a festive pair of shorts.

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Note: Tony's Transmissions (and Tony the MM) have moved. The good news is that they're still in Los Angeles. The new address is 3900 City Terrace Drive, in the City Terrace neighborhood of LA, CA. The bad news is that Tony badly needs a cleaning.

Also, Michelle Gerdes has discovered a Muffler Man previously unknown to modern science. It stands at King's Auto (which I believe has closed and the building is for rent) at 505 S Crane Ave in Compton. It's one block over from S Long Beach Blvd. I'll post a shot after I get over there.

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Slim and Gabby
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Postby Slim and Gabby » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:55 pm

Hey Perks, I'm surprised you didn't notice this:

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and this:

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As I live and breath, it's a giant Billy D. Williams!
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Pen-gu-ins is pracatically chickinz, and I hates to see chickinz cry so much, I has to put’em outta ther mizzery!

mark71665
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Mr. Bendo-Sioux Falls, SD

Postby mark71665 » Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:14 pm

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/4196 Our own 'Mr. Bendo', has had a tough year in 2010. Long about St. Patty's Day, Mr. Bendo's leg was broken when a drunk driver drove into him. The townsfolks were happy to see Mr. Bendo back in commission over the summer.

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Postby roadsidepictures » Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:51 pm

Those miners at the Gold Strike started their lives in Salt Lake City. I have an artical somewhere that tells about the woman who built them in 1954. They made their first appearance at the Lucky Strike Club in Las Vegas...

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When the Lucky Strike remodeled around 1964, the miners took a trip out to the Gold Strike Inn near Boulder Dam...

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In 1998, the Gold Strike Inn burned to the ground. A year or so later, the miners were moved to their current home at the Gold Strike in Jean.

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Gnomus
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Postby Gnomus » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:07 am

Thanks for the info on the prospectors!

Here's Tony in his new digs on City Terrace.
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The car in his hands suffered severe damage since the last time I took photos.

And here's the mystery man in Compton.
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The building is for lease. If anyone out there is in the market to buy a muffler man, this could be your chance. He seems to be in very good condition.


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