Save the 76 Ball blogs en See A Vintage 76 Ball on Display at San Diego's Automotive Museum <p>Several years after ConocoPhillips shipped a vintage 76 Ball to the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park, it was finally unboxed and installed in a mid-century car culture design icons display that includes a psychedelic VW microbus, a Woodie and an original Jack In The Box clown head. </p> <p>Check out the museum director's playful <a href=""> blog entry </a> about her 76 Ball installation adventure.</p> <p>And if you're ever in San Diego, <a href=""> drop by the museum </a> to pay a visit to the classic big orange ball, the object of our passion:</p> 76 ball automotive museum Tue, 23 Nov 2010 20:41:01 -0800 kim 141 at Halloween is here! <p><a href="" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="" alt="Berkeley 76 Station revives Halloween Tradition" width="233" height="454" /></a></p> berkeley halloween jackolantern tradition Thu, 25 Oct 2007 17:34:05 -0700 kim 139 at Palm Desert Station Owner Happy He Gets to Keep His Ball <p><span class="vitstorybody"><font size="+2"><strong><br /> <h2 class="vitstoryheadline"><span class="vitstoryheadline">Riverside Press-Enterprise <a href="" target="_blank">feature</a>: Keep 76 ball rolling</span></h2> <p></strong></font> <font size="-1"><strong><br /> <h5 class="vitstorydate"><span class="vitstorydate">Tuesday, July 24, 2007</span></h5> <p></strong></font> <font size="-1"><strong><span class="vitstorybyline">BOB PRATTE</span></strong></font> <span class="vitstorybody"> <p>D<strong>avid Hamm</strong>, the affable owner of the Palm Desert 76 gas station on Highway 111, heard good news last week.</p> <p>His station will be a rare location with one of those 76 balls that became endangered when the chain&#39;s owner, ConocoPhillips, began taking them away. I am not aware of another station in the Coachella Valley or San Gorgonio Pass with a 76 ball. Hamm, instead of lamenting its loss, now can cheer.</p> <p>&quot;We thought we were going to have to get rid of it,&quot; said the station&#39;s manager, <strong>Dennis Finnell</strong>.</p> <p>Hamm was saddened by the planned loss of the ball but did not fight its proposed removal. Finnell said Hamm was glad to hear a ball will be on his property.</p> <p>The orange 76 ball, which debuted at the 1962 Seattle World&#39;s Fair, was a familiar symbol to Southern California drivers since the 1960s.</p> <p>Hamm&#39;s station was doomed to lose the ball in a few months during the installation of new signs and the painting of a red-and-white ConocoPhillips color scheme, which retains the old 76 logo, but in red.</p> <p>The 76 stations on Beaumont Avenue near Interstate 10 in Beaumont and Hargrave Street off the freeway in Banning both received the red-and-white treatment but do not have balls. The Smoke Tree 76 in Palm Springs lacks a ball too.</p> <p>ConocoPhillips, which acquired the 76 stations in 2002, began taking the old balls down a year later. Upset people started opposition Web sites and circulated petitions to try to save the balls.</p> <p>ConocoPhillips marketing specialists, concerned about the backlash, relented and announced they would have balls at 100 high-profile stations. The Palm Desert station was chosen, but the ball won&#39;t be the nostalgic orange globe that now is in place. ConocoPhillips is replacing the orange balls with a new, red version displaying the 76 logo.</p> <p>People love the old orange ball. In the gas biz, there is little affection for high prices and a lack of service. Why not keep something that is liked?</p> <p>The choice of Hamm&#39;s service station is particularly appropriate. He actually provides service. He only charges a few cents extra for full-service gas pumping, customers know attendants by name and mechanics work on cars. It&#39;s an old-school place where the orange ball would be a symbol of small-business values from another era.</p> <p><strong>Monty Sabbah</strong>, owner of the 76 station on Monroe Street in Indio, was not so lucky. He lost his 76 ball during his station&#39;s repainting last spring. He wasn&#39;t even allowed to truck the old orange ball home. &quot;They took it away,&quot; he said.</p> <p>His customers were saddened by its removal. They told him it was a symbol that endured from their youth.</p> <p>Sabbah said he only sees a few remaining 76 balls in Los Angeles and is not aware of any in the desert or Pass, besides the Palm Desert station.</p> <p>&quot;I like the old 76 ball,&quot; he said. &quot;You remember it from years ago.</p> <p>&quot;It was sad. The 76 station in Smoke Tree Village in Palm Springs lacks a 76 ball too. We still have pictures and the memories.&quot;</p> <p>Sabbah also has a small supply of those old 76 orange antenna balls. He&#39;s not a stingy man. In the tradition of the orange ball, he&#39;s willing to give them away to the first customers who ask.</p> <p><em>Reach Bob Pratte at 951-763-3452 or <a href=""></a></em></p> <p></span></span></p> california highway 111 palm desert Thu, 26 Jul 2007 14:30:25 -0700 kim 138 at Preservation Online feature "On the Ball: How the 76 Ball Was Saved" <table border="0" width="547"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p class="text">From <a href="" target="_blank">Preservation Online</a>, the online magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation</p> <p class="text"></p> <p> <span class="texttitle">On the Ball</span><br /> <span class="textbold"><em><span class="text">How the 76 Ball Was Saved</span></em></span> <br /> <img src="file:///Magazine/story/_images/shared/spacer.gif" border="0" alt="" vspace="2" width="1" height="1" /><br /> <span class="textsmall">Story by Arin Greenwood / July 13, 2007</span><br /> <img src="file:///Magazine/story/_images/shared/spacer.gif" border="0" alt="" vspace="2" width="1" height="1" /><br /> <br /> <p class="text" align="left">About a year and a half ago, Kim Cooper and her husband, Richard Schave, were driving in Los Angeles—perhaps to get some dumplings for lunch, she recalls—when at a stop light she happened to look up and find herself shocked by what she saw: changes to the Union 76 gas station on the corner. Big changes. </p> <p class="text" align="left">The colors of the station were different: The standard orange and blue colors that had been there for as long as Cooper could remember were gone, and they&#39;d been replaced with bright and jarring red. And the station had installed a sign—a terrible sign, Kim says, a sign that looked like a gigantic, blood-red &quot;blister pack&quot; that aspirin might come in. </p> <p class="text" align="left">&quot;Now that 76 Station had never had a 76 ball, but it was the standard orange and blue. And suddenly it wasn&#39;t anymore,&quot; Cooper says. &quot;I just sat there festering, going, &#39;That doesn&#39;t look right. That looks really wrong. Did corporate, like, send out the wrong plastic?&#39;&quot; </p> <p class="text">After lunch, <span class="text">Cooper</span> went home and tried to find out why the gas station looked so different. She discovered that Unocal, a California company and the gas station&#39;s previous owner, had been sold to ConocoPhillips, a Texas company whose corporate color is the red <span class="text">Cooper</span> found so jarring. </p> <p class="text"><span class="text">Cooper</span> found out that ConocoPhillips weren&#39;t just changing the colors of the old Union 76 stations; they were taking down the large, spinning, iconic 76 balls, destroying them. </p> <p class="text">&quot;I had a gut reaction to the loss that shocked me,&quot; Cooper says. And so she asked her husband, who designs Web sites, to put together a site so she could try to stop ConocoPhillips from taking down the 76 balls. That night, using free software from, Richard created, and it soon became clear that Kim was not the only person who noticed<span class="text">—</span>and resisted<span class="text">—</span>the loss of the orange spinning sign. People began signing the petition on the site; a talking (and seemingly depressed) 76 ball made several appearances in the syndicated comic strip Zippy the Pinhead; &quot;And then, next thing I knew, the BBC was doing a story, &#39;Hey, can we have our balls back?&#39;&quot; Cooper says. &quot;And it really just steamrolled from there. &quot; </p> <p class="text">Why were people so interested in this spinning signage and its seeming demise? </p> <p class="text">John Cirillo, who keeps a Web site devoted to gas station signs, remembers when the 76 ball first debuted<span class="text">—</span>at the 1962 World&#39;s Fair, in Seattle. &quot;I grew up in Seattle where they had Union 76 stations in good numbers. At that time [in the late 1950s], Union was still using the big round orange disk, which doesn&#39;t look bad either. But in 1962, we went to the Seattle World&#39;s Fair, and the Union 76 exhibit was a sky ride across the fairgrounds. And there at that exhibit, the world saw for the first time those big round orange 76 globes. It made a big impression on me at the age of seven. &quot; </p> <p class="text">Cooper and her cohort Nathan Marsak<span class="text">—</span>they give crime tours of Los Angeles together<span class="text">—say their </span>quest to save the 76 ball has a hint of nostalgia to it, too<span class="text">. N</span>ostalgia for a unique California that they think is slipping away, bit by bit. &quot;What&#39;s important about the 76 ball is that it&#39;s very much our version of the sun. California. Beach culture. It&#39;s a big orange orb that spins, for example, in the exact same way the planet spins,&quot; Marsak says. </p> <p class="text">All these distinctive signs of California, Marsak says, are being taken down by out-of-state companies that don&#39;t have any attachments to the distinctive signage that mean so much to Angelinos. &quot;Small changes do make a difference,&quot; Cooper says. &quot;In the long term, you lose 50 signs, not just 76 balls, and that&#39;s really going to change the landscape. But even just one brand disappearing is kind of one piece of the chorus, one bit of the music that creates this kind of wonderful, groovy, pop world. &quot; </p> <p class="text">Cooper and Marsak are standing at a Union 76 station at an intersection in Los Angeles that also has a Starbucks, a check-cashing shop, and a place where a person can get accordion lessons. The station&#39;s pumps and shop are outfitted in bright red, but the orange 76 ball is still orange and blue. Cooper goes inside the shop to ask if the ball still spins; a moment later the ball begins rotating, and Marsak says that when he was a kid, he and his family would buy their Halloween pumpkins from a stand across the street from this station. He says that this Union 76 station used to put a jack o&#39; lantern mask over this spinning 76 ball. &quot;What will kids see now? What will they remember?&quot; he says. </p> <p class="text">More than 3,100 people have signed the &quot;Save The 76 Ball&quot; petition to date. People are buying a lot of &quot;Save the 76 Ball&quot; t-shirts and miniature 76 balls that can be stuck on a car antenna. And ConocoPhillips seems to be making concessions in response. </p> <p class="text">&quot;We were a little surprised, but thrilled, that our customers wanted us to make the balls available for all to see,&quot; says Philip Blackburn, a ConocoPhillips spokesperson. &quot;We are making the balls available out of our pride in being part of this West Coast tradition and in response to the feedback from our customers. &quot; </p> <p class="text">ConocoPhillips is planning to keep the spinning signs, but to change them from orange to red. It plans to donate 30 or so of the old orange 76 balls, some to museums such as the American Sign Museum in Cincinnatti and the San Diego Auto Museum, and one to Ray Pederson, the man who designed the original ball for the 1962 World&#39;s Fair. </p> <p class="text">Ray Pederson, for his part, says he is both pleased and a little bit flummoxed by this outpouring of interest in his 76 ball. Ray remembers that coming up with the idea of the ball was simple. &quot;They wanted signage for a ride at the World&#39;s Fair. The only conceivable thing I could think of was a giant rotating ball. You&#39;d see that big ball all the way across the park,&quot; he says. &quot;I spent so much money on it they almost damn fired me. ConocoPhillips is now replacing the balls with the red color. I said to them that it doesn&#39;t bother me at all, the balls being red. It&#39;s fine. I don&#39;t think they destroyed anything. I&#39;ve done so many designs. It&#39;s OK, it&#39;s cool. The thing lasted for 50, 60 years. That was several lifetimes ago,&quot; he says. &quot;The ball was just part of a milieu of things I did. I designed Yoplait packaging, cigarettes. I didn&#39;t think much of doing things like that then. It was just part of the game. It was my idea to do the antennae balls, too. I&#39;ve got about 15 of those damn antennae balls.&quot; </p> <p class="text">And yet, Pederson says: &quot;A year ago I was down on Newport beach, coming in on a yacht there from Catalina. And I tell you from 10 miles out we saw the ball, and I said, &#39;Yup, there&#39;s my ball. &#39;&quot; </p> <p class="text"><span class="text"><br /> <p class="text">All Rights Reserved © Preservation Magazine | Contact us at:</p> <p> </span></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> arin greenwood drupal ray pedersen richard schave Mon, 16 Jul 2007 20:24:15 -0700 kim 137 at In memory of Earl Ma, 1971-2007 <p>It is with great sadness that I announce that <a href="" target="_blank">Earl Ma</a> has died after a long battle with cancer. In addition to being a lovely guy with vast stores of energy and passion, Earl was instrumental in the campaign to save his beloved 76 Balls. </p> <p>It began with his interviewing Nathan Marsak and myself for a feature in <em>Check the Oil!</em> magazine, but he soon became the go-to guy whenever another journalist covering the campaign needed to put Union 76 into its proper historical context. Earl knew <em>everything</em> about the brand, and was always generous responding to anyone&#39;s questions. And in his spare time, he made an effort to videotape every 76 Ball, ideally spinning, that he could find and shared those tapes on <a href=";p=r" target="_blank">Youtube</a> so future generations could see lost balls <em>in situ</em>.</p> <p>I only met Earl once, for a breakfast and Philippe&#39;s in downtown LA with fellow 76 Ball geeks J. Eric Freedner and Nathan, but recognized him immediately in his Union 76 regalia. We all had a great visit, with no idea it would be our last. </p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="500" height="374" /></p> <p>I greatly appreciated Earl&#39;s intelligence, kindness and reliability. He was a true gentleman, and it&#39;s some small consolation to know that he left this plane knowing that the 76 Ball lives on in large part thanks to his efforts.</p> <p>Godspeed, Earl, and thanks for all your good work and friendship.</p> earl ma memorial Mon, 11 Jun 2007 00:02:17 -0700 kim 136 at The Nerd Knows His Red Balls <p>One of our favorite pseudonymous bloggers, the L.A. City Nerd (c&#39;mon, Antonio, we know it&#39;s you) has made one of the most rare of sightings, a new red 76 Ball in the wild and on the move. Visit his <a href="" target="_blank">blog</a> to see how carefully the balls are transported to their new homes in the sky. </p> <p>Where will this one end up? Could it be <em>your</em> local 76 station?</p> l.a. city nerd red Fri, 01 Jun 2007 14:13:58 -0700 kim 135 at The Red Ball Cometh, The Orange Ball Falls <p><a href="" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="" alt="Red 76 Ball at Oxnard and Woodman, Van Nuys, CA #1" width="500" height="375" /></a> <p> What&#39;s that looming out of the gray San Fernando Valley gloom? Why, it&#39;s a shiny new 76 Ball, in ConocoPhillips&#39; signature liver red! Yes, our own J. Eric Freedner has spotted one of the first of the new red 76 Balls manufactured to appease some of the upset caused by the destruction of the classic orange spheres, and reports in with photographic proof.</p> <p>While we far prefer Ray Pedersen&#39;s original color scheme of warm sunshine orange and rich cornflower blue, we&#39;re happy to herald the birth of a new 76 Ball, especially when so many of the classic balls continue to be killed. Check out <a href="" target="_blank">this</a> disturbing OCRegister Travels with Gary blog post, suggested by commenter ocwarner, but only if you have a sturdy stomach. The image of the worker using an acetylene torch on the 76 Ball&#39;s pole is especially poignant. These are the clearest photos we&#39;ve seen yet of the murder of a 76 Ball.</p> <p>But it&#39;s simply too horrible to show on these pages. Here are a couple more shots of the new red ball at 6003 Woodman Ave. (at Oxnard) in Van Nuys instead.</p> <p><a href="" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="" alt="Red 76 Ball at Oxnard and Woodman, Van Nuys, CA #2" width="500" height="375" /></a></p> <p>Long live the mighty 76 Ball! If you see a red ball in your town, please comment below.</p> <p><a href="" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="" alt="Red 76 Ball at Oxnard and Woodman, Van Nuys, CA closeup" width="375" height="500" /></a> </p> 76 ball old towne orange red sunrise sunset van nuys Sat, 31 Mar 2007 08:36:49 -0700 kim 134 at Ray Pedersen To Get A Ball (also, you) <p>76 Ball designer Ray Pedersen has been informed by ConocoPhillips that they wish to honor his contribution to the brand&#39;s history by presenting him with one of the classic orange and blue 76 Ball gas station signs for his personal collection. Ray is trying to find the best place to store this large and lovely artifact, and we hope to report back to you soon with additional details. Kudos to CP for recognizing Ray with this generous and gracious offer!</p> <p>In recognition of this cool news, Ray Pedersen has kindly agreed to personaly autograph a very limited number of 76 Ball antenna toppers, which we are making available to his fans. If you would like one, <a href="" target="_blank">just click</a>. </p> design ray pedersen Tue, 27 Feb 2007 10:35:39 -0800 kim 133 at Eye on the Beverly Hills 76 Ball <p><a href="" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="" alt="Endangered Luckman Pereira 76 Station in Beverly Hills" width="500" height="375" /></a> <p>Thanks to the discerning eye of J. Eric Freedner, we&#39;ve been alerted to design changes at the modernist William Pereira-designed 76 station in Beverly Hills, CA. Of all the 76 stations which still proudly fly the orange ball, this is the most unique and architecturally significant, and we&#39;ve let ConocoPhillips know that the Los Angeles conservation community will be scandalized if its classic beauty is marred by one of the new blisterpak-style red signs. Would you dress Audrey Hepburn in Juicy Couture?</p> <p>J. Eric says: <em>The actual name of the dealer is &quot;Jack Colker&#39;s 76&quot; and he has an address on North Crescent Drive. The station is on the corner of Crescent and Little Santa Monica Boulevard and is the only remaining gas station in downtown Beverly Hills. Perhaps that accounts for the high volume of business done there, especially at rush hour.</em></p> <p> Below, a night shot of the station interior on 2/15, revealing newly installed red pump panels, replacing the previous stainless steel. Regular visitors to this site know, when the creeping red appears, it means the beloved orange ball is soon to fall. But we also know that ConocoPhillips has decided to manufacture a limited number of red 76 balls for installation at select stations. Could one of those red balls be destined for Beverly Hills?</p> <p> <a href="" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="" alt="Endangered Luckman Pereira 76 Station in Beverly Hills" width="447" height="334" /></a></p> <p> Right now there are at least two notable stations in the L.A. area that have red signage on the pumps, but still retain their orange 76 balls: Beverly Hills, and the station at the high-traffic corner of Melrose and Highland. If these highly visible stations aren&#39;t on the short list to retain their balls, we&#39;d like to know why not. </p> <p> For more of J. Eric Freedner&#39;s and Earl Ma&#39;s photos of the Beverly Hills 76 station, just <a href="" target="_blank">click</a>. </p> beverly hills luckman pereira Tue, 20 Feb 2007 07:47:28 -0800 kim 132 at LA Observed Native Intelligence videoblog: How the 76 ball was saved <p>Last week, Nathan Marsak and I got up uncommonly early to accompany intrepid LA Observed videoblogger Jacob Soboroff on a tour of the surviving 76 Balls of North-East LA. Later, Jacob followed sign-spotting legend J. Eric Freedner deep into Orange County for a sneak peak at the new, red 76 Balls being readied for, ahem, erection.</p> <p>Do click over to <a href="" target="_blank">LA Observed&#39;s Native Intelligence</a> section to read Jacob&#39;s take on the Save the 76 Ball campaign and for a brief visit with a few of the folks behind this website.</p> atwater village J. Eric Freedner jacob soboroff kim cooper nathan marsak ontario orange swain&#039;s signs Wed, 31 Jan 2007 07:39:58 -0800 kim 131 at