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O where have you gone,
Taco Bell sign,
Taco Bell sign?
Date: 10jan2004
From: Doc
To: Liz at

today we went for peach cobbler at honey bear's, where their slogans are (1) "you don't need no teeth to eat our meat," and (2) "put a little south in your mouth." as we pulled up i noticed the philly cheese steak joint next door, which is a converted taco bell -- not even noticing or remembering that honey bear's itself is a former international house of pancakes.

don't you love how they've subverted the familiar shape of sign for their own sick purposes?

From: Liz
To: Doc

you're positive that was a taco bell? it looks tacoish, and definitely that's a bell, though we never had ones that looked like that out in the midwest. i'll trust you if you're sure, however.

To: Liz
From: Doc

i have been assured that it was a taco bell. maybe there's a photo online somewhere of what the old signs looked like (this was before they just used the bell logo -- it had a siesta-ing mexican, which probably didn't pass pc muster at some point). i'm not having any luck finding an example of it, even on eBay. i figured it would be easy to find the old logo ... but it wasn't for me.

i have just been informed by a reliable former detroiter that at warren & faust there remains an original taco bell sign. perhaps you still have a contact or two back in that city who might be able to check it out for you?

To: Doc
From: Liz

i am having trouble turning up any extant taco bells in the immediate area via, but then again, it might be a bit of a redheaded stepchild of the chain.

To: Liz
From: Doc

anyone find the old taco bell logo yet? babs says she thinks it wasn't a siesta-ing mexican, but rather two bells with a banner in between. i could swear there was a guy, but maybe not.

i almost can't believe that there doesn't seem to be any of the old taco bell stuff for sale on ebay. where did it all go??

To: Doc
From: Liz

Maybe it was secretly (more) racist (than we imagined)!

To: Liz
From: Doc

if so, there are still plenty of siesta-ing mexicans on signs here in the southwest (though not chain-store signs).

Los Angeles, 2005:

Finally, a Taco Bell with the original sign.

Note, though, that the siesta-taker has been blotted out.

Bask in it. BASK.

The hunt continued.

Then: the door cracked. A ray of light shone upon the quest. Which is to say that I finally went through my thrift-store LP collection.

"Your local franchised Taco Bell owner takes pleasure in making available for you this `musical piñata.' A surprise package of fun and excitement, carefully blending the traditional mariachi flavor with the sound and beat of musical America."

So begins the ad copy on the back of an old Taco Bell giveaway record album by George Garabedian (of the famed Mark 56 label), produced to cash in on the wild success of Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass albums. (It would be decades before an automobile would be produced for the same reason.)

A veritable fiesta of stereotypical depiction!

More importantly: the original Taco Bell logo is represented on the representation of the Taco Bell sign.

So the Taco Bell logo was a siesta guy, after all.

Who can say what it means?

To me, his posture and demeanor seem to inquire:
Who doesn't love a happy cactus?

Note -- Others may suppose them to signify: Offer your assistance and contributions to the folks at, which is cool, too, and too cool, y demasiado fresco.

(And here, by the way, is the page relevant to these here proceedings.)