Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Anthropomorphic Fry Headed Auto-Cannibals

When I was in The Netherlands a few years ago, I saw odd anthropomorphic figures everywhere. They were always next to snack bars, and most of them were auto-cannibalistic. As you can see here, the container of french fries is eating part of himself and giving a big thumbs-up (apparently, he’s yummy!). These figures weren’t always french fries. I have a photo of a hot dog with arms and legs, squirting ketchup on himself and licking his lips hungrily, that I took in Amsterdam. I also saw anthropomorphic ice cream cones. I found these ubiquitous figures amusing and more than a little bizarre, and of course I loved them.

As I was driving to Michigan this past Saturday, I stopped for dinner and a walk along the beach (as seen in yesterday’s post). Driving through Benton Harbor, MI on the way back to the expressway, I passed a storefront with large model dinosaurs in front. A sign said it was the Time Travel Museum. It wasn’t open when I drove past, but I made a point to return on my way back to Chicago. It was also closed when I returned on Monday (I was a couple hours too late), but I stopped to take some photos outside of the building. It looks to be a junk/antique shop with displays of old funky pop culture artifacts. Peering into one of the windows, I saw this.

It’s the same auto-cannibal french fry figure I took a photo of in Zwolle, Netherlands. The only difference is the size. The one in Zwolle was life sized, at least five feet tall. The one in the Time Travel Museum was just a couple feet tall. They also had one of the ketchup-squirting hot dogs, a much larger one than the one I saw in Amsterdam, but there was too much glare, so I couldn’t get a good photo through the window.

I ran into the owner of the Time Travel Museum while I was outside shooting photos, and he told me the place has only been open for a couple of weeks. He said it was an attempt to ward off developers who want to put a large gas station in that location. He invited me to look behind the building, where he has set up life-sized dioramas with skeleton figures. I found the whole place charming and quirky, and I’ll definitely return sometime to tour the museum. I forgot to ask him about the anthropomorphic figures. That just gives me an excuse to go back. Maybe he knows something about them.

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