|A&W Burger Family Statues (page 1)|
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The A&W Burger Family first appeared in 1963 when A&W introduced three choices of hamburgers and their corresponding Burger Family members: Papa Burger, Mama Burger, and Baby Burger. The Teen Burger and Teen Burger statue were introduced in 1964. Canada used a Grandpa Burger in its advertising but he was never used in the U.S. Canada still uses the heads of the five family members in its advertising.
These statues were originally produced for A&W by International Fiberglass. I believe the original paint had a glitter/flake element. A full set cost about $1,800 at that time. The statues were delivered by flatbed truck. I'm told that, later, these statues were also produced in Ohio. There were plans to build them in Canada but I don't believe they were ever made or displayed there. About 200 sets of these statues were produced from 1963 until around 1967. There are now only about a half dozen sets with all four statues on public display. Most of those statues were acquired one or two at a time to build the full sets.
The Papa Burger statue is 8 1/2 feet tall and his mug is 3 feet tall. The mugs were originally part of the statue. Later, they were built separately and bolted to the statues when they were installed at their locations. Some locations only purchased Papa Burger rather than the full set of statues. International Fiberglass sold him for around $600. These International Fiberglass photos are courtesy of Terry Nelson: 1 and 2. The first photo shows A&W executives and Steve Dashew (far right) discussing the statues' design.
In 1974, A&W introduced the Great Root Bear as their new mascot and instructed their restaurant operators to use him in their advertising. The stores were also encouraged to destroy their Burger Family statues at that point but many of them were saved.
|A&W Burger Family [gone]Rolla, MO|
|These A&W Burger Family statues were on top of a tractor trailer at "Goodies Discount Grocery" in 2005 when the top two rows of photos were taken. The Teen statue went missing around 2009. By 2010, all the statues were removed. In 2010, the Mama and Papa were in storage in the building behind where the tractor trailer was (bottom photos). The other two statues must have been hidden there as well. A few years later, the statues were restored and displayed next to Mule Trading Post in Rolla. That business has closed and the statues are now in storage. For more, see this website.|
|Mama Burger & Papa BurgerBrooklyn, NY|
|This Papa Burger and Mama Burger are on the roof of Paul's Daughter, a snack bar on Coney Island's Boardwalk. In 2009, the Rocket between the two statues was removed as part of a Boardwalk redevelopment project. There are plans to reinstall the rocket elsewhere. In 2012, Mama Burger was knocked over during Hurricane Sandy. She was found on the roof missing her burger and mug of beer. By 2016, she was reinstalled at the center of the roof with Papa. She had a golden mug of beer but no burger. For more, see this website. [map]|
|Mama, Baby & Teen Burger [gone]Cortez, CO|
|This Burger Family, sans Papa Burger, was on the roof of an antique shop. These photos are from 2005. By 2006, the statues were gone. [photos thanks Rich Birley]|
|Marion's Dairy Bar
East Tawas, MI
|Wilson Lane Service
West Haven, UT
The statues at Eskimo King and Marion's Dairy Bar were produced by International Fiberglass. They were produced with modified Teen Burger molds. Eskimo King opened in 1957. The Eskimo King statue was originally installed on the roof. In 2000, a contest was held to come up with a name for the statue. The winner was "Manny Flavors." In 2013, the statue was refurbished. [map]
The Marion's Dairy Bar statue must have been inspired by the Eat-It-All ice cream boy. This artwork from International Fiberglass shows a merging of an Eat-it-All ice cream boy and a Flare-Top cone. The company marketed the statue as an Ice Cream Boy. The statues are nine feet tall. These photos show one of these statues at the factory: 1 and 2. [International Fiberglass photos thanks Terry Nelson] [map]
This Teen Burger at Wilson Lane Service is known as Timber Man. The store sells chainsaws, lawn mowers, and other equipment. The owner bought the statue at a local salvage yard in the mid-1970s and it has been at Wilson Lane Service since then. It is believed that this statue once stood at an A&W Drive-in in Ogden, UT. The statue features a painted beard and holds a chainsaw and a log. [map]
|Magic Forest [gone]
Lake George, NY
|Among the dozens of statues at Magic Forest were these modified A&W figures. The Teen Burgers were modified by International Fiberglass and marketed as Ice Cream Boys (see the statue in East Tawas above). The Baby Burger was produced by International Fiberglass. It seemed to be unmodified except for the paint job which was probably done at Magic Forest. All three statues were originally installed at the Danbury Fair in Danbury, CT. They were purchased by Magic Forest in 1989. In 2019, the owner sold off most of the statues at the park. The Baby Burger statue went to a private collector in Santa Maria.|
|A&W Teen Burger [gone]
|This A&W Teen Burger was originally installed on the roof of an A&W in Burden, KS. He was on display in someone's front yard when these photos were taken in 2010. In 2011, he was sold to a private collector.|
|A&W Burger FamilyTipton, IA|
|This A&W Burger Family has been here at the mini golf of Hunt's Cedar River Campground since at least the early 1970s. The figures were repainted in 1999. At one point, the "T" on Teen Burger's sweater was changed to an "I" for the Iowa Hawkeyes but it has since been changed back. [info thanks Rich Birley] For more, see this website. [map]|
|A&W Burger FamilyPortland, OR|
|These A&W Burger Family statues are located in the backyard of a private residence. The unrestored Papa Burger was originally located in Santa Clara, CA. In the 1970s, the statue was moved to a pumpkin patch and produce stand. When it was there, it was repainted to look like a farmer. The statue was moved to Portland in 2006. The owners plans to restore the statue eventually. The same owners acquired this complete Burger Family in 2007. The statues were found in a field in South Dakota around 1995 and then brought to northern California. The current owner had the statues restored and repainted. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2.|
|A&W Burger FamilyHillsboro, OR
|These A&W Burger Family statues were originally installed in front of the A&W in town. The Teen Burger statue disappeared in the 1970s and it's not clear what happened to him. After the A&W closed in the 1980s, the three remaining statues were declared a Cultural Resource. They wound up at a pizza place where their burgers were painted to look like fat pizzas and their root beers became Cokes. Their clothing was also repainted. Later, they were moved across the street as "pop art". In 1990, they were donated to the City. In 1993, the statues were restored, repainted, and installed in Shute Park Aquatic & Recreation Center. In 1996, a Teen Burger was discovered in Longview, WA to complete the family. By 2015, the statues had been repainted from orange to a brick red. For more, see this website. [map]|
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