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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Boo Koo Burgers: 1939

Boo Koo Burgers: 1939

February 1939. "Hamburger stand in Harlingen, Texas." Burgers 5 cents, chili a dime, breakfast two bits, the 7up is real. Photo by Russell Lee. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Boo Koo I like you

I always admired of Russel Lee's pictures, and "Boo Koo Burgers" is one of those which I like more...

Another Urban Legend shot down

So much for the idea that there were no obese people in the olden days.

Where is John Garfield?

This is reminiscent of the shop where John ate a burger and got into a passionate, murderous relationship with Lana Turner in "The Postman Always Rings Twice." Didn't Preston Sturges also use it in "Sullivan's Travels"?

There use to be a small "burger grove" restaurant where my parents brought all of us five children for a cheap treat. The burgers were beefy and real, the french fries were the crispy-outside-melting-inside that you can't get anymore, and the fields around the stand were full of picnic tables and running children.

All gone now, though there are 2 McDonald's and Burger Kings within a mile radius of the old spot (now occupied by a bank.)

Boo Koo now has "Additional Seating"!

I notice that the stool on the far left seems to have been added to the counter at a later date. The first six stools (from right to left) sit on a square post and run the length of the footrest. The seventh stool is on an ornate post and the poor soul sitting there has place to rest weary feet! Business must of been booming for them to add additional seating!

Good one!

Sharp eye there, Ice gang. Or should I say, shorp eye?

For amber waves

What in the WORLD film and light must he have been dealing with here? That's an incredibly grainy print for a Russell Lee. Looks something like pushed Tri-X on a cloudy day.

[This is imaged from the negative, not a print, made during the early years of 35mm photography, long before there was 35mm Tri-X. -Dave]

[There was, however, 35mm Super-XX, introduced c.1938, rated as Weston 80, equivalent to 100 ASA (as opposed to the 400 of Tri-X). Also, note how the graininess is most apparent in the darker areas, typical of thin negatives. - tterrace]

Standing room only

I suppose with such low overhead, only seven can sit down at once but there was still room for one more to sit at the time this was taken. With the popularity of fried onion burgers in the Southwest, I'm sure the aroma of that particular dish was tantalizing to all who came near this alfresco eatery. I have heard that when state fair vendors feel their food sales are slipping, they put chopped or sliced onions on the grill to lure people in.

10 cent burgers a quarter century later

I remember getting bags of hamburgers at ten for a dollar. They were tiny though, like the McDonald's original size hamburger that sells for a dollar now. I'll bet the burgers sold at this stand for five cents were the size of most of the ones in those bags put together.

Great Name

And, nothing is ersatz.

Boo Koo means you get a lot!

Boo Koo likely a play on the french sounding of beaucoup ... meaning a lot.
Most commonly heard in the phrase 'merci beaucoup' meaning 'thanks very much'.

Outside Facilities

If you need to use the restroom it's to your left and up about twenty feet on that pole.

"REAL" 7up

None of that "FAKE" 7up sold here, and notice eight bubbles on the sign instead of seven.

Where is the health inspector?

"Health inspectors? We don' need no steenking health inspectors!"

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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