Monday, March 07, 2016

"Boom Boom Boom Boom - Esso Blue!" A Sign Of The Times

Unilluminated Esso Blue sign (left) and illuminated (right).

Dashing home from school on winter's evenings in the 1970s - eager for The Tomorrow People, The Kids From 47a, Robert's Robots or Josie and the Pussycats, I used to pass a sign like the one above. It was in the window of a local greengrocer, who also supplied Esso Blue paraffin for domestic heaters.

The little man with the bowler hat was Joe, from the Esso Blue TV commercials, and he'd been around since 1958, with the catchy "Boom Boom Boom Boom - Esso Blue!" jingle.

The sign was always illuminated during the dark evenings. When I was a little lad I thought the sign must have very sophisticated inner-workings. It never occurred to me until I was about eight that it was actually lit by a single 60W light bulb!

Joe disappeared from our TV screens around 1974/75, but the sign lived on for some time, and a metal sign outside another shop bearing the character's image survived for many years after that, ensuring that Joe was a presence in our neighbourhood long after his TV tenure had ended.

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