Mr Bills Restaurant
453 Route 73 South Winslow, NJ
Exit 31 off the AC Expressway
“Good hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even when you wish they were.”
-Alfred E. Neuman
The famous half-wit Alfred E. Neuman has been around for over six decades as the “face” of Mad magazine. He’s appeared in almost every Mad magazine publication since 1956.
And he’s been around this little spot in South Jersey serving as a poplar landmark for decades.
Origins of Alfred E. Neuman
The owner of Mad magazine wanted his definitive logo as the corporate “face” such as a Tony the Tiger….. “They’rrrrrrrrre grrrrreeeat!!” (I can’t resist) or Green Giant’s “Ho Ho Ho!!!” A creation that would stand the test of time and define a company. He hired an illustrator and gave examples of what he wanted his logo to be to a man named Norman Mingo. He didn’t want the boy to look like an idiot, but actually intelligent with a devilish demeanor. He wanted something to symbolize a sense of humor while the world was collapsing all around. If you have read Mad Magazine, it is quite hilarious, sometimes dumb and other times a political satire…. But it’s all written in articulate fun!
This Alfred E. Neuman face and classic “Muffler Man” body has been gracing the Rt. 73 roadside for over five decades. This handsome beauty is a part of many roadside attractions all over the United States and Canada. They were developed by the International Fiberglass Company in Venice, California. Boat builder, Steve Dashew, developed the company in 1963.
Originally, these statues were made for fun as a side project of the company. However, the behemoth statue movement caught on. Most were developed for roadside attractions, restaurants and gas stations. Roadside novelties were a means for a business to stand-out in an era before highways were developed. Most companies relied on some sort of novelty or landmark like neon signs and gimmicks to stand out from the competition along the roadway.
These “muffler men” statues stand 18-25 feet tall. The cost to build these fiberglass beauties were about $1,000-$2,800. Business declined during the gas crisis in 1973 (cost too much to transport/ship) and International Fiberglass shut its doors in 1976. Now these days, since they are no longer constructed can fetch upwards of $30,000.
Alfred isn’t the only famous fiberglass dude in South Jersey. You can find a lot of these “muffler men/women” all throughout South Jersey. There are many websites dedicated to these rare roadside gems. The Mr. Bill’s statute is one of the most rarest statutes that International Fiberglass developed. He’s been gracing the South Jersey landscape for decades even outlasting its owners (there have been about 5-6 different owners of Mr. Bill’s over the years.)
The restaurant has been a popular eatery serving as a halfway point between Philadelphia and Atlantic City. Most folks will hop off the AC expressway (Exit 31) and enjoy a delectable meal of Coney Island/boardwalk deli-style food on their way “down the shore” (it’s a Delaware Valley thing to you outsiders.) Hey, Mr. Bill’s was even featured on the television series Man VS. Food. Nom nom nom nom.
“You know the Honeymoon’s over when your dog brings your slippers, and your wife barks at you!”
-Alfred E. Neuman
Yup, time to go….
Until our Next Adventure, my friends!