Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Pizza Hut Pete

On June 15, 1958, brothers Frank and Dan Carney took advantage of the "pizza craze" sweeping the country by opening the first Pizza Hut in Wichita. A year later the first Pizza Hut franchise opened in Topeka, and the move to become a national chain was on.
One of the first symbols of the company was "Pizza Hut Pete," shown here in the form of a plastic sign that was part of Pizza Hut oven toy for children. I found this one at a local thrift shop. Too bad they didn't have the toy oven to go with it. I'm sure my son would have loved it, as we love going to Pizza Hut every Friday afternoon for the "All You Can Eat" pizza buffet. Pizza Hut was one of the first things Kaden learned to say!
"Pete" was used by the company into the mid-1970s, when the familiar red roof logo began to appear. "Pete" might simply have outlived his usefulness, or perhaps he was seen as too much of an Italian stereotype to be an effective image for the company.


Anonymous said...

That's awesome that you found this at a thrift store. I'm a manager at a Minnesota Pizza Hut and I just love to collect vintage pizza hut collectables!

Ronn Roxx said...

Thanks for visiting my site... always glad to know someone else reads it besides myself! ;-)

I have collected A&W stuff for a long time (see my collection on an earlier blog post), but never collected Pizza Hut stuff. I just really liked this thing when I saw it. I still mad at myself for not getting all the other items that went along with this piece, as it was part of the PIZZA HUT easy bake pizza oven toy. At the time I didn't want to spend the $10 for the whole thing (minus the box), and opted to instead just buy the Pizza Hut Pete.

My son and I visit Pizza Hut every Friday afternoon for the pizza buffet. We have been going for the past 3 years, and I was doing it long before that. Its a shame that most of the Pizza Hut dine in restuarants are bieng closed to make way for Pizza Hut take out only outlets. I really miss the old pizza parlour style Pizza Huts. And now, here our few remaining dine in restaurants are remodeling and they have painted their roofs black, with a red Pizza Hut logo. Seems wrong to me, as I always rmember Pizza Hut as being the place with the great pizza under a red roof!

Chris Sobieniak said...

Strangely, a take-out Pizza Hut location closed up shop near me while a dine-in location that has been around for years still continues to serve me!

soph said...

My dad opened up the first pizza hut in Melbourne and a few in bangkok as he was a district manager in the 70s! we actually have a full size pizza hut pete that used to go on the roof! it has great sentimental value to me as pete came on every camping trip and we'd hang our towels and swimmers on him to dry in the sun after a day fishing in the snowy mountains!

Id never sell him but would be curious to know what he is worth on the collectors market! ive just arranged to have him taken out of storage and he is currently on his way to sydney to take up residence in our lounge room. keep your eyes peeled on my blog for photos!

Ronn Roxx said...

CHRIS - You're lucky to have a dine Pizza Hut. I have to drive 20 minutes away to another city to visit one the remaining dine in Pizza Huts. I make the trip almost every Friday afternoon for the All You Can Eat Pizza Buffet!!!

SOPH - Your full size Pizza Pete sounds very cool! Please do post a photo of him as soon as you get the chance! Wanna trade for my plastic one!? ;-)