Glorious Glass: A look back at some of my favorite collector’s glasses
Fast food joints used to give out the best swag back in the day. At the top of this swag list was commemorative collector glasses. These were glasses made from ACTUAL glass (not f’n plastic) with kick ass graphics all over it usually given away as a premium with a purchase of food or drinks. Actually, collector glasses didn’t just come from fast food joints. The convenience store 7-11 as well as soda giants Coke and Pepsi both created collector’s glasses that were distributed in stores, gas stations, supermarkets and/or fast food joints. The heyday of collector glasses was in the ’70s and ’80s, but glasses were also released in the ’50s, ’60s and ’90s. Burger King recently revived the collector glass (real glass!!) tradition in May 2009 with their four glass set for the new Star Trek movie (Thanks, Michelle for finding those for me).
So without further ado, here are a bunch of my favorite collector glasses from the ’70s and ’80s. You can click any of the below images to see it bigger.
Burger King Star Wars/Empire/Jedi Glasses (1977, 1980, 1983) — The most famous of all commemorative glasses, the Star Wars Burger King collector glasses are what everyone thinks of when you mention “collector glasses”. A set of four were released for each movie. Surprisingly, it is not very hard to complete a set of all 12 as they made a crap-ton of them. Here’s a pic of the Star Wars set. Here’s a pic of the Empire Strikes Back set. Here’s a pic of the Return of the Jedi set.
Glasses for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom by 7-Up (1984) — This is probably one of the more obscure glass sets. Made by 7-Up to commemorate the second Indiana Jones movie, the glasses were only released to certain local fast food chains so getting a full set is extremely hard. I don’t care about a set, but I would love the Mola Ram glass (far right hand side) with him holding the still beating flaming heart. That is BAD ASS. A year earlier, in 1983, there was a set of three glasses created by Coca-Cola for Raiders of the Lost Ark but the set was never released. Check those glasses out here.
Great Muppet Caper from McDonalds (1981) — These glasses may be the second most well known collector glasses next to the Star Wars ones. The artwork and shape of the glass are very similar to the Star Wars glasses which isn’t surprising since they came out right after the Empire Strikes Back glasses. Very cool character artwork with eye-catching designs make this a great set. I love the Piggy glass with her on the motorcycle crashing through a giant glass window with “Miss Piggy” written on it. Get a better look at these glasses here.
Camp Snoopy from McDonalds (1983) — I don’t know why I remember these because I don’t think I ever owned any of them. You gotta love Charles Schultz and the Peanuts, though. Great artwork on some great glasses.
Marvel Super-Heroes from 7-11 (1978) — Awesome set of Marvel Universe Super Hero glasses from the convenience store, 7-11. Great artwork of not just the characters but very detailed background and environments. Love these. Gotta say, I’m scratching my head at the fact that Howard the Duck gets his own glass in this “super hero” assortment (third from the left). I think Howard the Duck was popular as a comic book in the late ’70s. That popularity, however, would drop to ZERO in 1986 after the release of the movie.
DC Heroes by Pepsi (’70s – ’80s) — Released by Pepsi in the mid ’70s and again in the ’80s, there were actually two series of these glasses. What you see in these pics is the first series with the super hero pic on both sides of the glass. The second series had similar pics of the heroes on one side but their name and logo on the reverse. I have the Flash glass from the second series seen here. Fantastic character artwork on these glasses make for a fun and visually cool set of glasses.
King Kong glasses from Burger Chef (1976) — Released by the now defunct chain, Burger Chef, these glasses had awesome artwork. Based on the 1976 movie starring Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange, which was only okay, these glasses are visually stunning. I love this artwork and I also love how they are almost just generic King Kong glasses and not based directly on the movie.
Star Trek III glasses from Taco Bell (1983) — I watched this movie just recently and I’d forgotten how fun and enjoyable it was. That just makes me like these Taco Bell glasses even more. I love the look of the glasses as well as the artwork. They just look like something you’d see in a Star Trek movie. Well, except that you wouldn’t see Spock drinking out of a glass with a picture of himself on it. But that would be cool if he did.