Oversized Hoosier-ness

It’s always curious to consider WHY people decide to create “the world’s largest” whatever – taco, lazy boy recliner, bicycle, etc. But it’s also interesting to consider, how effective they must be as tourism draws, and as marketing tools, to make it even worth the effort of creating them in the first place. Well, Mr. Bendo gives us the opportunity to explore this AND a reason to start a new category called “BIG STUFF ” (see under “OTHER COOL STUFF” at the top.)

Ralph’s Muffler Shop – Mr. Bendo
In 1962, Prewitt Fiberglass created what is now referred to as the “Muffler Man” mold for the PB Cafe (Paul Bunyan) on Route 66 in Flagstaff, AZ . The next year, the company was purchased by International Fiberglass, and they continued installing these monuments across the country (for excited cafe owners). Get this… Many cafes reported doubled revenue after installation. So they expanded into the production of many other “personalities,” which, due to their increased use in the automotive industry and specifically muffler shops, became known as muffler men. The molds were made up of four pieces (head, torso, arms and legs) that could be merged to created a wide variety of characters. Well, long story short, Mr. Bendo at Ralph’s Muffler Shop was one of these historic muffler men, and standing over 25 feet, is quite a large example of “roadside cheese.” For those of you who want to learn more about identifying muffler men, go here to our friends at Roadside America – http://www.roadsideamerica.com/muffler/types.html

 

Long’s Furniture World

Just south of Indianapolis, in Franklin, IN, is a tiny little furniture supplier called Long’s Furniture World that is housed in a simple, quite undewhelming building.  But, it is the home of two pieces of “big” that offer the OTHER end of the “whelming” perspective – they are HUGE! There’s “big john”, who they actively bill as the world’s “biggest” rocking chair and the entrance – to what I can only imagine is an enormous showroom – is a huge dresser. Enough writing, more pictures:

 

Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame
Big Greg and Wide KimmerA pretty cool must-see for basketball fans, the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame features high school, college and professional stories including shrines to Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson, as well as visual presentations of size including enormous feet and hands (both male and female) and our final two “Indiana enormities.”

Former Indiana high school player of the year, Greg Oden…

 

 

 

…and his shoe.