Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Tastee Freez Twin - a unique piece of advertising history

It's been an eventful month for our vintage fiberglass mascot collection with the arrival of Big George the Muffler Man and our newest addition Eff.

Eff settles in with some of the A&W Burger Family
 
What's an Eff you ask?. Eff was actually the male half of the Tastee Freez Twins - mascots used for a time by Tastee Freez. Eff has chocolate hair and waves jauntily with his right arm while his sister Tee has strawberry hair and greets everyone with her left arm.

Tastee Freez featured the twins in a series of comic books as well as other products. The most common items are the salt & pepper shakers which are still somewhat easy to track down.

Here's a lovely set recently offered on Etsy by NewportRoad

As you can see Eff does still bear a resemblance to his 2" salt shaker self, but turning him into a 7.5' statue takes him to an entirely different level. :-)

Surprisingly adding Eff to our collection was a 9-year process. We first became aware of him several years ago when Debra Jane Seltzer posted photos of a collection of fiberglass statues she visited in South Carolina. The statues were located at a business that sold concrete lawn ornaments, and after a bit of digging and were able to find a phone number. Unfortunately for us when we called we were told he wasn't for sale. We were disappointed but could tell the owner truly enjoyed having him.

Photo courtesy of Mark Blackwell

So, we called about once a year just to check in and see if he was possibly available and each year we were told politely he was still there but not for sale. Then in 2013 the phone number we had no longer worked. We thought maybe they had closed up shop and we resigned ourselves to the fact it wasn't meant to be.

Being us (i.e. completely obsessed) we still thought about him and wondered where he ended up. Finally around the end of last year we did another online search and found a different number for the shop. We called and found out that they were indeed looking to wrap up the business and everything was now for sale. The bad news was that Eff had been sold.

In February of this year a friend of ours was visiting family in South Carolina and just happened to be quite close to the shop that once owned Eff. We asked if he'd be willing to swing by and see what was still there. That afternoon he sent us several photos including the one below:

Photo courtesy of Mark Blackwell

It's him! Eff was still there! We immediately wrote Mark and asked him to find out if he was available, and if so to please let them know we'd like him. He was, and Mark was able to facilitate the adoption process for us and we were on our way. 

Obstacle one was that now that Eff was ours we needed to somehow get him from South Carolina to Oregon...quickly. Enter Jacob the Carpetbagger from North Carolina. Jacob was kind enough to drive down and meet Mark to take Eff back to his house while we arranged shipping.

Photo courtesy of Mark Blackwell
 
Jacob loaded up Eff and took him on a little road trip back to North Carolina (check his his road trip video here) with one particularly fun stop along the way:

Eff says hello to his former employer. (Photo by Jacob Krecj)

Eff stayed with Jacob for a couple weeks while we worked out the best way to get a giant ice cream boy statue shipped across the country. The UPS Store in Asheville, NC ended up being a tremendous help and about a week later we were picking him up here in Portland.

It turns out that Eff is not only unique in the looks department he's also quite unique in the world of advertising statues. At the moment there are three Tastee Freez statues known to still exist - ours, one other Eff and one Tee (sporting a unique set of clothes.) We'd love to find a Tee for Eff but that may be a bit like finding a unicorn. He's next in line for a complete restoration and we can't wait to see him in a new coat of yellow and chocolate brown.

Estelle says goodbye to Eff...

In closing we'd like to once again offer our sincere thanks to Estelle, Mark and Jacob. Without them we'd still be pining away for Eff. Thanks again guys for making "Operation Tastee Freez" a success.

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside

2 comments:

Tom Taylor said...

Glad to see that Eff is going to a good home, and that Estelle is doing well. I'm going to miss that iconic statuary down in Ware Place, though.

Vickie Cook said...

What a great story. I was first "turned on" to Eff by seeing him in a vlog by my favorite YouTuber, Jacob The Carpetbagger. I remember Eff well from my younger days. I can feel you frustration and urge to get Eff so I'm glad your story has a happy ending. As for me I collect Nancy Drew books, the old, old ones from the 1930's when they were first published. There is no feeling like the feeling when you add a beloved item to your collection. Yes it can be frustrating waiting and wanting but like most loves, the chase is part of the fun. Enjoy your little guy and I hope you get his twin sister. I'm a mother of twins, boy and girl, and I don't think they should ever be too far from each other.