Saturday, June 06, 2020

Sinclair Dinos in Chicago, July 4, 1966

I'm sure most of you regular readers are aware of Sinclair Oil's "Dinoland" at the 1964/65 New York World's Fair. Take a look HERE and HERE. It was a smash hit! Who wouldn't want to see realistic, full-sized dinosaurs? Some of them even moved! 

When the fair ended, Sinclair Oil sent the dinos on a tour of major cities in the U.S., and they went to Chicago in July of 1966. Lou Perry (Sue B's Dad) was there, armed with his trusty camera, and he took lots of pictures. I'm sharing seven images today, but there are more that I can delve into at a later date.

Here's Corythosaurus with his distinctive crest, used for opening mail. Magnificent!

And next we have the Trachodon, looking like a giraffe married a giant anteater and they had a baby. I refuse to stand in the way of true love because I am a romantic.  

I cannot figure out what kind of dinosaur this is, as there are no clues to help. I finally gave up, tears streaming down my red face, lower lip trembling. 

Oh yeah, every kid knows the mighty Triceratops (literally "three horned face" which is what I used to call my sister), with those poky thingamabobs on his head and that groovy frill that keeps barbecue sauce off of his clothes. This one has tiger stripes, which were all the rage in the Cretaceous era. 

The Stegosaurus is famous for having a brain the size of a grape, but it's a delicious grape, and that's what is important. The bony plates kept skateboarders from using his curved back as a ramp. One of nature's most amazing feats of evolution.  

At some point paleontologists discovered fossilized clutches of dinosaur eggs, which led them to theorize that some dinos such as brontosaurs (babies seen here) protected their eggs and then parented their young until they were old enough to drive. No longer were they seen as dumb beasts that couldn't find their tails with both hands (yes, they had hands, leave me alone).

The mighty Brontosaurus was one of the largest creatures that ever lived, and is certainly one of the most popular and well-known dinos, showing up in ads, movies, and Jack Chick tracts (need verification). It is theorized that they could crack their tails like whips, and that they spoke with a refined British accents. There's nothing classier than that.

Thanks to Lou and Sue for sharing these wonderful photos! 

Who would like to see more? Raise your hands.


Melissa said...

These are great! Thanks, Major, Lou, & Sue! I love all the cute kids in their summer clothes.

TokyoMagic! said...

So many great pics of the Sinclair Dinos! I wonder if they were transported on the same trailers that they were displayed on? I also wonder if during their nationwide tour, they made it out to the West Coast?

I'm raising my hand, because I would love to see more of these creatures! A giant thank you, to Lou, Sue and the Major, too!

Pegleg Pete said...

These are just what my Saturday morning needed! Thanks, Major and Lou & Sue. I too am raising my hand for more Dinobeasties.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Melissa, speaking of summer clothes, how ‘bout that family(?) of 3 in the second-to-last shot?? :)

Major, you didn’t describe the TVsaurus, in the last shot . . .

stu29573 said...

And now you can pump them into your tank for a trip across America! It's what they would have wanted, after all! Ain't nature grand?

"Lou and Sue" said...

Stu, you just jogged my memory . . . remember the ’put a tiger in your tank’ gasoline from the 60s?? And for a while, maybe in the mid-60s, the gas stations sold fake tiger tails that you hung from your gas tank “opening” or whatever you it. Or you had it hang out of your car trunk or from under your hood. Cute gimmick! Great advertising.

Nanook said...

@ stu29573-
Yes, “the circle of life”. Ain’t nature grand-?

@ Sue-
‘Pops’ is definitely working the “black socks with sandals” look - along with those [long] black shorts.

Thanks to Lou & Sue, and the Major, for that stirring commentary.

"Lou and Sue" said...

^ or whatever you call it.

"Lou and Sue" said...

My last comment was not a response to Nanook . . . It was a correction to my last comment. Hi, Nanook, btw!

Irene said...

O yes - raising my hand and want to see more. Back in 1966 (my senior year of high school!) these kinds of things were exciting. Little did we know that by the mid 2000's we would be able to walk up to and interact with dinosaurs from a place called Jurassic Park!!! (thinking Universal Studios Hollywood - when I had my pass I would love to watch Blue down on the lower lot.) Now (well, not now because they're closed) they have a baby and another dino you interact with! And yes Sue, I do remember the "put a tiger in your tank" ads but we did not get a tail to hang from the mirror :)

Omnispace said...

Events like this really seem to define an era. It's great that Lou was able to capture it all. I love the big dinos but don't forget the little guys like Onritholestes.

I'm guessing that the trailers covered with the beautiful Astroturf were also used to transport them. Wonder what they looked like driving down the road.

I also love that all this is taking place in the new American forum of its day - the shopping center parking lot.

stu29573 said...

Yep! And Gulf sold horse hoof marks (in orange, of course) that you could stick on the back of your car. Something about extta kick, I think...

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, it is kind of fun to see the kids and families enjoying the dinos!

TokyoMagic!, I don’t really know for sure, but I would assume that the dinosaurs were transported on something with bigger wheels. The display platforms look kind of insubstantial for traveling hundreds of miles on highways. Glad you liked these!

Pegeleg Pete, hooray!

Lou and Sue, I was wondering what that sign was about… something mentioning “color TV”. No idea of course.

stu29573, I forget which company used to have the animated cartoon commercials showing dinosaurs turning into oil, but I liked those when I was a kid!

Lou and Sue, oh yeah, ESSO gasoline. Loved the tiger mascot. And yes, they had the fake tiger tails, such a fun idea. Those marketing guys were pretty smart.

Nanook, I’ve never seen “Cars 2”, but I guess part of the plot involved an alternative to fossil fuels, and they show a segment that confirms that there were dinosaurs in the “Cars” world. What happened to the people?

Lou and Sue, ?

Lou and Sue, oh now i get it.

Irene, I thought maybe you had been to the REAL “Jurassic Park” out on Isla Nubar. I’m glad you weren’t eaten. Last year I got to go on the revamped Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios, it had just opened, and there were still some technical bugs, but we had a lot of fun.

Omnispace, things like this, and even the World’s Fairs themselves, probably are considered too costly for any company to bother with. Not enough bang for their buck! Such a bummer. You could be right about the display trailers also being used as transport, they just look so… thin, and the tires look so small. Guess that’s because there are giant dinosaurs on them!

stu29573, I didn’t know about the Gulf horse hoof marks! Love it.

JC Shannon said...

Well, that tears it, I'm officially jealous of Lou's incredible shutter skills. If Lou doesn't already know the contribution to art and the recording of really cool stuff he has documented, let me just say bravo Lou! I live in a small mining town high in the Rockies, loaded with historical stuff you would probably go nuts over. So, you and Sue are welcome any time, you can school me on shutterology and we can hoist a few as well. Thanks Lou and Sue and Major.

stu29573 said...

I just looked it up, "Gulf No Nox Gives Extra Kick to Horsepower!" Of course they also sold the two Disney Disney magazines...

Kathy! said...

I was really into dinosaurs as a kid, and would have loved to see these. My sister and I have an inside joke where we imitate our favorite dinosaurs from the DRR (hers the weed-eating brontosaurus in the water, mine the baby triceratops spinning and chirping in its egg) and crack each other up. Thanks to Lou & Sue and Major for putting these together, and another hand raised for more dinosaurs!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Melissa, TokyoMagic!, Pegleg Pete, Stu, Nanook, Irene, Omnispace, JC Shannon, Kathy, and Major: Thank you so much for coming to my "neck of the woods" (Chicagoland) for today's fun field trip!

JC Shannon, thank you for the invite! If my dad was 15 years younger, I can guarantee he'd hop on a plane and visit you, with his camera bag ready to go. As a matter of fact, I know he was in Colorado in the 1970's . . . I'll have to look for his pictures. I'd LOVE to find some pictures from your "neck of the woods"!! (Assuming you're in Colorado.)

Thank you, Major!


Melissa said...

I do remember the "put a tiger in your tank" ads but we did not get a tail to hang from the mirror :)

My sister and I used to have a little orange cat who loved to sleep under the blankets with us. She'd burrow her way under and just leave the tip of her tail sticking out. Then we'd pet her tail and say, "I got a tiger in my tank!"

Major Pepperidge said...

Jonathan, Lou definitely had “the eye”. Maybe even THE EYE OF THE TIGER! Watch out, Sylvester Stallone. I think of all the times I wish I’d had a camera with me in the past, and Lou actually did it.

stu29573, I know about the magazines, but… two Disney albums?

Kathy, ha ha, I can already picture the brontosaurus with its lower jaw moving in that sort of grinding motion with the water plants hanging out of its mouth. It’s just like a scene in Fantasia, too! I love the sound the triceratops babies make, I believe it is a recording of alligator babies.

Lou and Sue, wouldn’t it be neat if we could all just drop what we were doing and go DO STUFF? A nice meetup would be fun too, but… plane fare, hotels, and potentially deadly viruses are hard to ignore. Thanks to you and Lou!

Melissa, little orange cats are the best! We had a neighborhood cat who would come to visit all the time, orange as can be, and we called her “tiger kitty”.

stu29573 said...

1967 Walt Disney's Happiest Songs, 1968 Walt Disney's Merriest Songs. I have both...

JG said...

Come for the pictures, stay for the comments.

Major, you’ve outdone yourself on the captions. Thanks L+S!

More Dino please.


Chuck said...

Stu, I have the Happiest Songs record that used to live at my grandparents' house. Totally forgot about it until you mentioned it. I used to play the heck out of "Bare Necessities" when I'd visit.

Thanks again, Lou & Sue (and Major, too)!

stu29573 said...

Yep, that's a highlight! It really is a fun record! They actually put a lot of work into both albums, mixing soundtract cuts with special renditions by various stars. Some of these you can only hear on these records!

Major Pepperidge said...

stu29573, I don't know those records, but they are both on YouTube, so I will check them out!

JG, I love it when people stay for the comments. Thanks!

Chuck, I guess we didn't go to any GULF gas stations, or I would have demanded to have those records. I was a real stinker, ha ha.

stu29573, I'm listening to the "Happiest Songs" record right now, it's an interesting mix of original soundtrack recordings and new interpretations of classic Disney songs. Which I guess you just said in your own comment. Whoever the woman is on "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo" is pretty awesome.

stu29573 said...

That's Mary Martin. BBB as torch song, gotta love it!