About The Coon Chicken Inn
One of the most outlandish things in the film is the name of the company for
which Seymour works, Cook's Chicken, once known as the Coon Chicken Inn. The
Coon Chicken Inn, however, is not made up. The company really existed, as did
its incredibly non-p.c. logo. The first Coon Chicken Inn was a small restaurant
that opened in 1925 just outside of Salt Lake City. The business took off
immediately and was soon enlarged to accommodate the many customers. In late
1929, another Coon Chicken Inn was opened in Seattle, then a third opened in
Portland the following year. All three sites were quite successful and included
a cabaret, live music, and an outside catering business.
As a business gimmick, a novelty was devised to attract children and help bring
in their parents. A giant three-dimensional cartoony head of a black man was
built outside the entrance to each restaurant. Customers would actually have to
walk through this head's huge open mouth in order to enter. Inside the
restaurant, they would soon discover that this colorful logo was on the menus,
silverware, plates, cups, glasses, ashtrays, toothpick holders, receipts,
straws, and placemats. Amazingly, the Coon Chicken Inns survived until the late
1950's, when they were leased out to other businesses.
The Coon Chicken Inn never changed its name to Cook's Chicken Inn as it does in
the screenplay. Screenwriter and cartoonist Daniel Clowes drew the fake Cook's
menu cover, napkin, placemat, and stationery shown in Seymour's scrapbook,
tracing the imaginary progression that the company's logo took throughout its
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