Elvis watercolor and collage by Peg

Google Places and Platypie

The Night of the Giant Elvis

February 22, 2011

I think it was somewhere in Missouri in the early 90s. I was alone in the middle of the night at the wheel of BigBe and the biggest Elvis I have ever seen in my life loomed up beside the road ahead. He was bathed in magenta, blue and lavender lights and appeared to be about 60 feet tall. I could not stop...we were late.

We were barreling across the country on a real all-nighter to get from Washington, DC to Wichita, Kansas (a distance of almost 1300 miles). Bernie had a speaking engagement at 11 the next morning at a conference and we had not left home until late-afternoon of the day before. Back in those days we drove in two hour shifts sustaining ourselves with Lance peanut-butter cheese crackers and Coke.

I was sure I would see my ethereal Elvis on the way home but never again. He was gone. Over the years he has grown in my mind, the lights have become brighter and they wash over and around that towering God-like roadside apparition in time to the music that is sweetly sliding through the night air.

The past few years we have spent more than a bit of time tracking down other Giant Roadside Attractions. Always hoping... While some are quite large and kinda smack you in the face, others are hidden away and take some searching.

Gaffney, South Carolina

What is it, a GIANT BUTT????

Gaffney, South Carolina Giant Peach

Amarillo, Texas

If you have ever driven across the Texas Panhandle you surly have not missed the adverting signs for the Big Texan. "Free 72 oz Steak" . The Big Texan is sort of the "South of the Border" of the west. Here I am in a Big Texan Rocking Chair.

Amarillo, Texas: Big Texan Rocking Chair

Plains Georgia

I am not sure this is the world's largest peanut, but it is certainly the most presidential. The proud pups posing with the Jimmy peanut are Newton and Frida.

Plains Georgia Jimmy Peanut

Rockport, Texas

Some objets d'art are pretty hard to resist This shark inspired a response from us worthy of a minimalist art installation.

Rockport, Texas Shark


Crustaceans are a popular theme. Betsey, a thirty foot tall spiny lobster, lives outside a gift shop selling lawn art flamingos in the Florida Keys.

Florida Keys: Betsey, a thirty foot tall spiny lobster

Wilbur the giant cooked lobster with Calli is outside Ruth and Wimpy's Restaurant and Lobster Shack in Hancock, Maine.

Maine Giant Lobster

The rooftop crab and shrimp are both in Galveston and are thriving after being blown down by Hurricane Ike.

Galveston, Texas Rooftop Crab

Galveston, Texas Giant Shrimp

Flanders, New York,

The Big Duck with Big Bernie is on Long Island. Where once duck meat was sold, there is now a duck themed gift shop. Anybody need a duck head pencil sharpener, a duck creamer or quacking duck boxer shorts?

Long Islad Big Duck

Elkton, Tennessee

Over the Alabama state line in Tennessee just before the Boobie Bungalow Exotic Dancing is where this big giant chicken wearing a toque blanche works. He must be good with eggs.

Elkton, Tennessee Big Chicken

Marietta, Georgia

Tubby Davis had this chicken built in 1963 to advertise his Johnny Reb's Chick Chuck and Shake. The eyes and beak move. As you can see this big chicken sold out to corporate America (Yum! Brands).

Marietta, Georgia Johnny Reb's Chick Chuck and Shake

Mount Tremper, New York

The world’s largest kaleidoscope very relaxing, Man.  Just lie on the floor, watch the very large glowing and changing patterns and remember the 60s. 

Mount Tremper Kaleidescope

Dallas, Texas

Here is Big Tex, a 52 foot tall cowboy who looms over the Texas State Fair. His head turns, his mouth moves and he waves his hand. He also makes announcements and says, "Howdy folks" a lot.

Dallas, Texas Big Tex

Margate City, New Jersey

Lucy the world's largest elephant made a living in her younger days - back in the late 1800s - shilling for a real estate developer. She was almost destroyed, but saved and now one can visit her insides and admire her external beauty as well. That is Bernie, Jon and Ryan in her howdah.

Margate City, New Jersey Lucy the Largest Elephant

Atlanta, Georgia

This 65 foot long copper fish towers over the Atlanta Fish Market. He did lead us inside for a good lunch highlighted by fried lobster tails with melted butter. (Good Fish!)

Atlanta Fish Market 65 foot long copper fish

...and last but not least

Groom, Texas

It really is a 19 story cross located just off Interstate 40 (on old Route 66). The site also includes a gift shop, counseling center, life size statues of the stations of the cross, an anti-abortion shrine, an empty tomb and much much more.

We're still out here...looking for our next Biggest Elvis. Fish and chickens are fun, but no matter how big, they are not The King.


Growing up as a child on Long Island (yes I was able to kick the accent – unless someone really pisses me off)  we always demanded that our parents stop by the big duck (with a “u”) on the way out to the east end.

So I LOVE all these ridiculous road side attractions!  How fun!

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