Charles Phoenix's Slide of the Week: Oreo Billboard, Southern California, 1955

Charles Phoenix’s Slide of the Week: Oreo Billboard, Southern California, 1955


An enormous package of Oreo cookies jumping out of a TV, two giant little girls and white-lined red letters, spelling out what is short for National Biscuit Company, simply dwarf a sideswiped 1940 Dodge.

The giant little girls are properly dressed alike for TV viewing in matching puffed sleeved blouses and powder blue hair bows. One controls the TV while the other controls the Oreos. They are both about to take a bite out of the Americana sweet treat sensation they are suggesting we switch to.

Oreos are and have always been, hands down, my favorite mass-produced cookie. Apparently, I’m not the only one. The crispy, creamy-dreamy combo of firm yet soft, sweet mystery fatty matter joining two crunchy, munchy, chocolate mini-man manhole covers is considered by cookie connoisseurs to be the number one cookie of all time. Nobody seems to know where the name Oreo came from. In case you are eating one and you forget the name, that’s not a problem. Each Oreo has the name stamped on it and baked right in. This is the cookie that advertises itself all the way to your mouth. What marketing genius thought of that?

It was 1912 when the original Oreo came out of the oven at the Nabisco factory in New York City. In the beginning, according to the legend, they were shaped like mounds. It wasn’t until 1952 that Oreos were styled and flavored as we know them so well today. If you want Oreos fresh out of the oven these days you will have to go to the Nabisco factory in Richmond, Virginia, aka Oreocity! Oreos are produced there in huge batches and cooked in special 300-foot long Oreo ovens. I haven’t had the pleasure of touring Richmond, VA yet but when I do, I’m going to start whiffing and sniffing the moment I cross city limits to find my way to the Oreo factory. Long may the sweet scent of Oreos waft in the winds and breezes of Richmond.

I discovered this incredible Slide of the Week hanging on the wall of legendary Los Angeles photographer, Gary Leonard’s new photo gallery called Take My Picture. It’s downtown LA located at 9th and Broadway next to the Orpheum Theater. I couldn?t believe my Kodachrome loving eyes when I walked through the door of the gallery. I stood there in awe before a whole wall hung with thirty framed photos printed from Kodachrome slides of billboard scenes taken in SoCal in the 50s and 60s. The assortment of ad subjects and colorful graphics inspired my imagination and made my spirit soar!

For more info about the Gary Leonard’s spectacular Billboard Show in LA click here.

Here’s to Oreos, Gary Leonard’s Billboard Show and YOU!

Visit Charles’ site or join his Slide of the Week Mailing List.

Don’t Miss
in Pomona, CA!
Sat, June 27, 2009
National Hot Rod Museum
at Fairplex in Pomona | Tickets and Info