Posted by: Brad Nixon | August 10, 2010

Encounter With an Icon

There are many clichés about luck. Here’s one: “It’s better to be lucky than good.” Here’s another: “You make your own luck.” Taken to their extremes, these two sayings represent opposing philosophies of life.

I was all set to have as today’s entry a story I’d worked on during the weekend, including a short trip to do the onsite research and photography. But The City reveals its wonders on its own time, and it was ready with one of its surprises. Yesterday, I was driving west on El Segundo Blvd. towards the office. Before I reached the intersection with Aviation, I spotted one of the great icons of Los Angeles. No, not Angelyne (although The Counselor and I HAVE her on our list of celebrity sightings, complete with pink Corvette). And not Kobe or Steven Spielberg or anyone else who might occur to you. Nope. It was the Wienermobile, one of America’s most recognizable pop culture symbols. There have been Wienermobiles around with a few interruptions in service since the first one rolled out in Chicago in 1936. Today, there are several Wienermobiles scattered across the U.S., but one would simply HAVE to be based here in Los Angeles. It just seems right.

The Wienermobile had just exited the 405 and was waiting to turn onto El Segundo as I went past it. I did a quick calculation about how late this might make me for work, then I hesitated no longer. I whipped into the parking lot of the Denny’s and got out my camera, waiting for the big hot dog to drive past me.

This is where the yin and yang of luck vs. preparation comes in. Yes, I had my camera with me. That’s the “make your own luck” part. I’ve seen the Wienermobile around the South Bay a few times over the years, but this is the first time I’ve had the camera handy. Then, the Wienermobile slowed down and pulled right into the Denny’s lot! That’s the “better lucky than good” portion of the story. Therefore, I managed to get more photos than a single hurried one of the big wiener driving past.

It also gave me a chance to speak briefly to the young women who have the year-long assignment of being “Hot-Doggers,” driving the Wienermobile around to public appearances. They gave me one of the coveted wienermobile whistles (they hand out tens of thousands of these every year). I explained that I write a blog about California, and they, of course, blog too: I asked to get a photo of them next to the Wienermobile but they, being accustomed to this sort of thing, insisted that they take the photo of me — it’s all about the customer, you know.

I was on the wrong side of the vehicle when the women got out, so I don’t have a shot of the gull-wing door opened or an interior shot. If you’re really all that interested, their blog and company’s Web site has lots more info. That’s not my job. I’m just reporting The Scene here on the ground in SoCal. I can tell you that even here in the jaded-by-spectacle City of Angels, a 40-foot mobile hot dog still turns heads.

I realize that I am providing free publicity for the Oscar Mayer Company. Therefore, I’ll say that this post does not imply any endorsement of the company or their products, although I certainly have nothing bad to say about them, either. I’m still loyal to the good ol’ “Wiener the World Awaited” back in Ohio, because THEY had photos of Cincinnati Reds players in every package when I was a kid. Mom, have you seen my photos of Jim Maloney and Eddie Kasko?
(P.S.: In 2014 I encountered a Wienermobile in Oregon, whose California license plate read “IWSHIWR.”)

Just another day in L.A. Oobop Shebam.

© Copyright Brad Nixon 2010, 2018



  1. You lucky dog!


  2. great! that was lucky, made and had both.
    has the counselor conficated that whistle yet?


    • I’m only allowed to play it outside.


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