Back here I shared my obsession with a long gone restaurant from my childhood, Carrols. Actually, though, there was another restaurant that I remember much better: The Red Barn. Right around the corner from the Carrols of my youth, just a few steps further away from home, was a Red Barn restaurant.
I think Red Barn was more of a favorite to us when I was a kid mainly because - well, aside from looking like a big red barn, they had characters - the three Hungries - Hamburger Hungry, Chicken Hungry, and Fish Hungry. (They can be seen pretty well on the cups, in this slightly different crop of the photo from my banner. Also note the "Hamburger Hungry" ring in front of the cups).
Fish Hungry didn't look much like a fish to me - more like a guy with Elmer's Glue poured over his head. And even as a 3-4 year old kid, I thought Hamburger Hungry looked a lot like Ernie from Sesame Street (giving merit to the changes requested by The Children's Television Workshop). But by far, the oddest one was Chicken Hungry, who was basically a living drumstick, face and all. They may have seemed odd, but they were fun, and I can remember going there much better than going to Carrols. I even remember that the milkshakes tasted great, and they remain my standard of what a good "real milk shake should taste like.
Why then, am I more "obsessed" with collecting Carrols memorabilia? In part, I think it's because there is already an amazingly comprehensive fan site for Red Barn at barnbuster.net. So Carrols always felt a little more in need of being preserved in my memory. and more importantly, shared with others who remember the chain.
Here are a few odds and ends I've collected for Red Barn - "Big Barney" was their specialty burger. The chicken ad is cribbed from an Ebay auction I didn't win, but the metal plate for printing a newspaper ad (shown also in reverse so you can read it) is one I did win. You can see a lot more at Barnbuster.net, but at least for now there are a few items I've collected that I haven't seen there yet.
One item I remember well was a sheet of punch out marionettes of the Hungries that had jointed arms - you assembled them with string - that was a lot of fun to play with. I haven't seen one of those turn up online yet; I think they were pretty fragile and mostly disposed of. It's something to keep an eye out for - every time I find one of these things, it's feels like digging up an archeological relic of a long-lost era.
An era where Big Barney turned people on. :)