This fantastic mid-century neon road-sign as put up in 1965 by Petey's owners, Peter and Mary Kattos, primarily because they needed to make sure that passersby knew that this was not just another suburban house but actually contained their bar and restaurant which is still going strong. It's great charm comes from being a blend of 50's neon, the tapered and sharply angled pointing arrow unifying the two palettes containing the neon lettering and that great early 60's cocktail glass complete with it's wee neon olive. The town council took action against bright signs and neon in 1970 but as Petey's had already been established before that their great sign was saved for posterity.
Felix Chevrolet, 3330 South Figueroa St, Downtown L.A.
Winslow Felix set up this car dealership in 1922 at another location and as at that time he was a buddy of Pat Sullivan, whose studio had created the Felix The Cat cartoon character, and of course sharing the same name, he asked him for permission to use Felix as a logo for the dealership, which is now an official Los Angeles cultural monument and Felix has been standing there, paw on hip, with his big broad grin, since the business changed location to Figueroa in 1958.
Roy's Motel and Cafe is located on the National Trails Highway of Route 66 in the Mojave Desert ghost town of Amboy, San Bernardino, California. The sign itself is a classic mid-century design with two rectangular palettes, one in black and the other in a light dove grey containing the name and motel cafe signage, which are connected by an enormous red arrowhead dart pointing downwards towards the business premises, all of which is supported on two squared white beams. Taken together with it's roadside desert location and being surrounded by a ghost town this sign deserves it's status as a great piece of lat century highway Americana and has in fact been featured as a location for films and TV series such as The Hitcher starring Rutger Hauer and Kalifornia with Brad Pitt.
This classic neon sign is on 4721 West Slauson Avenue, Windsor Hill, Los Angeles. It's simplicity of outline,in red neon,of the female form in combination with the mid-century graphics of the face is what makes this sign stand out as a classic.
The Apollo Liquors Neon Sign, Austin, Mn.
Simplicity is the key to the central design of this Space Age Mid-Century neon sign which consists of three stacked lozenges, the top and bottom ones having a blue background for the neon lettering and the central one, which is shifted to the left and not aligned with the others in order to give the sign a feeling of movement, having a red background. These patriotic blue and red lozenges are topped off by a cartoon depiction of a rocket head complete with a red flaming tail which adds that great charm to it all resulting in another classic roadside neon sign.
Without any doubt at all this is one of America's mid-century neon masterpieces. The magnificent roadside neon sign consists of no less than two glorious twin red neon palm trees crowned by ragged green neon palm frond leaves stretching to great heights above a commanding arrow that has directed decades of passing motorists towards the motel. It features no less than four different colors of neon and five different fonts and the great stroke which caps it all off that cheeky blue neon monkey whose outstretched hand indicates the vacancy-no vacancy sign. I'm not sure that I would classify it as being Tiki, but it's borderline, and it most certainly is tropical,which at the time of its installation, 1954, wasa topical design along with the bikini, surfing, Hawaii and the emerging Rock'N'Roll pop culture.
The Palms Motor Hotel Neon Sign , 3801 N Interstate Ave, Portlan , Oregon.
The Moon Motel , Howell ,New Jersey.
The Moon Motel sign is a Space Age classic which was erected in 1966 during the Space Race between the USA and the Soviet Union and although as of writing this the sign is still there the motel was demolished in 2015 having been burnt down in a fire. The central design feature here is of course the twin ascending rockets with their red neon flames, which are mounted on skyward pointing triangular frame topped off by a flat illuminated Earth, with the American continent displayed, which has a curious Venus like tilted flashing light circle belt, which i suppose depicted a satellite orbit. In the center and on the left is a large illuminated yellow crescent moon which is bisected by a rectangular palette containing the red neon Moon Motel sign itself. The flaming rocket on the left features the letters TV, a major selling point at the time, and it also combined water beds and truckers welcomed as interesting selling points ! A sign of it's time without any doubt.
The Rocket Motel , Joplin , Missouri.
This is yet another great Space Age neon motel sign erectedin 1965that sadly however is no longer with us having been demolished although the sign itself is apparently in private possession. It featured a tapered full figure three dimensional rocket with four tail fins pierced at the bottom level of the fins by the head of a red artist's palette. Uber Googie !
The Tiki Motel , 2649 N Oracle , Tucson , Arizona.
This motel was originally called the Oracle Motel when it was built in 1940 but in 1963 it was remodeled and renamed the Tiki Motel and the great sign dates from then. Following the model of mid-century roadsigns from the 50's it has a palette, however this time around it has been converted into a warriors shield which supports the light box with the Motel signage itself with both thewords ''Tiki''and''Vacancy''picked out in neon above and below it. Alternating yellow and red neon flames also crown the Easter Island ''moai'' head which is the signs signal defining feature. The motel is still up and running but it's sign is the only Tiki feature it has.
The Hotsy Totsy Club , Albany , California
The Hotsy Totsy Club was founded in 1939 and the name itself is evocative of the fortie, zoot suits and big bands, crooners and pianos, rhythm'n'blues and jump jive. The sign itself is simple and based on a strong X shape,with three lightening bolts radiating from the center of the X, club in yellow neon underneath and crowned with a fantastic martini glass with a green neon olive accent setting the whole ensemble off to perfection.
Ten Fantastic Mid Century Neon Signs
Petey's Bungalow Lounge, Oak Lawn , Chicago, Illinois
Roy's Motel Cafe , Amboy , Route 66, Mojave desert, California
The Brentair Swimming Pool Services Neon Sign