Save the 76 Ball - phil patton en NY Times: Condition Orange <p>High Beams: Condition Orange </p> <p>By PHIL PATTON </p> <p>Published: July 16, 2006 </p> <p> ONCE, viewed from those movie-star houses high in the Hollywood Hills, the orange ball-shaped signs of Union 76 service stations floated like glowing citrus across the Los Angeles basin. At dusk, the slowly rotating balls looked like pushpins on a map of the city. </p> <p>Now the orange spheres are winking out, one by one. A corporate image-changing program by ConocoPhillips, which owns the Union 76, Phillips 66 and Conoco brands, is replacing the balls with flat signs as part of a new standardized design for Union 76 service stations. </p> <p>The 7.5-foot polycarbonate ball, created for the Union 76 exhibit at the Seattle World&rsquo;s Fair in 1962, was designed by Ray Pedersen of the Young &amp; Rubicam advertising agency. </p> <p>Two California design buffs, Kim Cooper and Nathan Marsak, have created a Web site ( to push for preservation of the orange icon and have begun a petition campaign to save some of the signs. </p> <p>Mr. Pedersen, 80, who heard Ms. Cooper speaking on a radio program, has joined the effort. Michael Madsen, the actor best known for his role in the film &ldquo;Reservoir Dogs,&rdquo; supports their cause, as does the Society for Commercial Archaeology, an organization devoted to roadside architecture. </p> <p>&ldquo;We are trying to engage them in dialogue to save a few,&rdquo; Ms. Cooper said in an e-mail message. &ldquo;But from our observations, it seems like the remaining Hawaiian balls have been switched off, while a small percentage of the U.S. balls continue spinning, especially along the La Brea Boulevard corridor.&rdquo; She said there were once about 400 Union 76 balls in the Los Angeles area. </p> <p>Smaller versions of the orange ball are still available &mdash; the ones that attach to automobile radio antennas. Union 76 gas stations began handing out the mini-spheres in 1967, and they can still be bought online at </p> <p> (<a href=";oref=slogin" target="_blank">New York Times</a>)</p> design new york times phil patton Sun, 16 Jul 2006 22:03:25 -0700 kim 86 at