The 1977 Burger King Travel Guide

bktravel

When I was a kid my family did not have a normal atlas. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to them to head to the nearest B. Dalton or Crown Books to pick up an updated one, but they didn’t. Sure we had plenty of maps, and if you wanted a guide to the regional Lakes of California, we had one, but if you wanted to spend awhile looking at a book full of exotic places like Sheboygan, Wisconsin, or Walla Walla Washington, you had to go dig out Burger King Travel Guide from 1977.
I’m guessing that the Travel Guide was a freebie given away with a Whopper combo or something, since I didn’t see my parents going out of the way to purchase an atlas from a fast food joint. The majority of the guide is like any other travel guide, with maps of every state and a mileage guide. Burger King showed amazing restraint by not pointing out where each and every restaurant was on the maps themselves, instead you had to go to the restaurant directory to learn where every American Burger King was located. So if you happened to be writing horror novels about teens with dangerous magical powers, you could consult the guide and find out that yes Burger King had a restaurant right near you in Bangor Maine.
The travel guide had some valuable coupons inside that Mom and Dad never availed themselves of for some reason. These included a comically small looking free regular sized soft drink, buy one sad looking cheese free whopper and get one free and not one but two chances to get a free Ice Brr Grr. The Ice Brr Grr looked just like the icy juicys they sold at school. Icy Juicys were a frozen slushy Popsicle thing sold in a triangular tube that was basically the highlight of every school meal. Yes you had to put up with weird Po’boy sandwiches and awful pizza, but Icy Juicys made having a lunch ticket worth it. I remember looking through the guide once circa 1984 and getting excited once I saw the Brr Grr coupons, then I saw that they all expired on Dec. 31 1977.
Across from the coupons were the house guest gifts. In 1977 you could buy a variety of items with the burger king logo. The items you could get were golf balls, tennis balls, a pen set, an alarm clock, a canvas bag, and a stylish faux Tiffany style desk lamp with the logo and the slogan Have it your way. If you wanted to show off your brand loyalty to the king (suck it Mickey-Ds), you had to buy the items with a check. You couldn’t use trading stamps or proof of purchases, cash was king at the King back in 77. I wonder how much a Tiffany style burger king lamp is worth now, and how big a market there was for golf balls with fast food chain logos on them.
The atlas also had pages full of games which I never filled out for some reason. Maybe I was afraid I would get in trouble for desecrating such an exotic travel guide or maybe I was holding off for an exotic cross country road trip to Delaware. After the games were a few pages with places to see in every state. Then came the restaurant directory followed by the most 1977 page in the entire book. Yes it’s true the Burger King Travel Guide had an entire glorious page devoted to CB Talk.
Like every other non map page in the guide America Loves CB Talk was introduced with a poem.
America loves CBs
Talking on the road
Meeting different people
Helping share the load
And if you’ve got the language
If you’re gonna use the thing
Here’s a CB dictionary
From America’s
Burger King (registered tm sign)
Poem from The Burger King Travel Guide page 19
And they say you can’t make a living as a poet. The CB Talk guide didn’t just have the sayings everyone knew like breaker breaker, that’s a big 10-4 and Do you copy? No it was chock full of obscure CB chit chats no one has used since that one day in 1977 where they had an episode of B.J. and the Bear paying on TV while in the back ground their 8-track of Convoy was reverberating off the wood paneling in the rumpus room. Did you know that Bear was code for police? Starve the bears meant don’t get a ticket while Stepped on the bears toes means you broke the speed limit (or double nickel as it was in 1977). Open season meant cops everywhere and a sky bear was a police helicopter.
I didn’t know 90% of the things listed but I was too young at the time. The CB craze passed me by. My brother as well, in fact he was born one day before the travel guides coupons expired. Like most other children of the 80’s CB radios were one of those mysterious things your Dad kept in the garage next to the 8-track player, then wouldn’t fess up to owning. What are you talking about? I don’t have one of those.
So there you have it. An ode to the road atlas of my childhood. There are pictures going up at http://shannonslocker.tumblr.com/ if you want to see some quality Burger King swag, or brush up on your CB talk. It’s due for a comeback any day now.

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One thought on “The 1977 Burger King Travel Guide

  1. I first heard of this on a podcast that was playing radio commercials from 1977. Apparently, these could be bought for a dollar.

    The only other commercials I can remember are for Mogen David wine and Star Wars.

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