As traffic increased and roadside businesses multiplied, advertising became the key to success. Simple signs in front of a business were quickly obscured by bigger signs in front of the business next door, which were in turn overshadowed by the even bigger neon sign in front of the business across the street. Many original Route 66 businesses still maintain their old-style neon signs, providing one way to be sure you're getting an authentic Mother Road experience.
Giant statues were another way of grabbing attention; huge men taller than buildings, painted in bright colours, and holding a business sign or themed item. The 'Gemini Giant' outside the Launching Pad restaurant in Illinois holds a rocket, another similar giant outside a repair shop in Missouri holds an axe. All along Route 66 giant men, dinosaurs, rabbits, cows and more are still vying for motorists' dollars.
A trend that began in California and worked its way east was to erect buildings designed to advertise the kind of business inside. Popular primarily on the western half of the route, one could find orange-shaped juice stands, hamburger-shaped hamburger stands, even sombrero-shaped Mexican diners. Buildings took on many other eye-catching forms as well, oneContinued page 13/22