Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Roadside America, Eastern Ohio Style

On the radio this morning, Jim Quinn took a call from a man who said that he was calling from Carrollton, Ohio. Quinn waxed nostalgic as he recalled the one thing that Carrollton was famous for about twenty-five years ago: Mr. Cost-Plus.

A car dealer called Huebner Chevrolet had a large fiberglass-style statue of a masked Superman type character mounted on the roof of the building. A spokesman for the dealership -- possibly Mr. Huebner himself, I don't know -- appeared on TV commercials as Mr. Cost-Plus, who assisted customers in the car lot by giving them great deals on automobiles. This was really cute because the man in the commercials was a gray-haired, middle-aged man with a mustache who obviously did not have a Superman physique like the statue on the roof. It was some of the most self-conscious self-parody I have ever seen. And of course, I loved seeing those commercials.

Quinn, who has been in broadcasting as least as long as I have been alive, said that there are two kinds of commercials that people remember: The best commercials ever, and the worst commercials ever. Mr. Cost-Plus definitely fell into the latter category.

The caller from Carrollton informed us that Huebner is still in business, but removed the statue several years ago. That's too bad; I would have loved to go there and see it in person some time.

Thirty seconds and a Google search after hearing this exchange on the radio, I learned that Mr. Cost-Plus is not gone; he just moved south to Calhoun, Georgia, where he has been described as the "gayest superhero anywhere". That's funny -- by Ohio standards, he's actually one tough dude.

I never considered taking a trip to Georgia until now. Would it be worth the ride just to live out a childhood dream and see Mr. Cost-Plus in person?


Matthew said...

I am sad to report that Mr. Cost Plus, AKA Mr. Service, fell to his demise on or about Thursday, April 2, 2009. He did no damage to anyone or anything other than himself.

Apparently, his guy wires loosened, causing him to become unstable, and susceptible to a gust of wind.

Strangely, an unknown person drove up to the toppled statue and absconded with his head - placing it into his pickup and driving away.

No one has offered a reward for the head of Mr. Cost Plus/Service.

According to the owner of the statue and the now defunct Service Chevrolet, the statue is unrepairable and will be disposed of soon.

Nicko McDave said...

Sic transit gloria Mr. Cost Plus.