It was the 1950’s, when Neon, Milk Shakes and cool cars came on the scene. In the midst of it all, we had heard of a new restaurant that had burgers, fries and shakes. You couldn’t go inside to eat and they didn’t have car hops that brought it out to your car. The way it worked was, you walked up to the window on the outside of the building and ordered your food, they prepared it, put it in a bag and you either sat in your car or took it home to eat. They called it “Fast Food”. The even had a sign that told you how many hamburgers they had sold.
These places started in Chicago and were popping up in other states. In January of 1959, the first local McDonald’s opened just one block from the dividing line between South Bend and Mishawaka, Indiana, on Lincolnway West on the Mishawaka side.
As I was traveling and painting for Art Shows, the pubic was excited about my diner and restaurant pictures. Since I did several shows in this area, and was raised in South Bend, I decided to include McDonald, as it would have looked, when it first opened here.
While on the road in in Louisville Kentucky, at St. James Court, one of the top shows in the country, we were approached by a family, who’s father had just retired and sold his collection of a large number of McDonald’s restaurants he had built up, during his restaurant years. The children wanted to pool their money and buy him the painting as a retirement gift.
The McDonald’s painting was my first experience with Classic Cars and Neon, which became a popular theme in later paintings.
When we arrived, we found the quaint little one street town called Juliette. It is located 8 miles east of Forsyth, GA. If you cross the RR tracks, you just missed the town as it was a street just before the tracks on the right. As I remember, the cafe had already closed for the day, but we walked around and took pictures of the town.
I painted a set of 4 paintings from the town, one of them being the Whistle Stop Depot. They had purchased the depot for one dollar, as it had been sitting in a field for many years. It now sits on the main street of town because of regulations as to sitting along side the tracks. Look for future posts of the other 3 paintings from the town of Juliette. (That is the town of Whistle Stop.)
Fried Green Tomatoes, The Movie
If you recall in the movie where Buddy was killed by the train, the house where they were having their festivities, was actually a bed and breakfast Inn, that is located in Senoia, Georgia. It is a historic home that sat across the street from a railroad track which was perfect for the story line. The paved street was covered with dirt for the movie to fit the time period.
This was the third picture of the set of 4 in my Fried Green Tomatoes set. I even had to recreate the tree house in the front yard. We had a lot of fun researching the movie, as we chased rumors about the places used in the movie. Senoia was convenient for shooting, as the movie studio was also located in Senoia, Georgia.