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.

BK Star Wars glasses
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.

Indy Jones 2 glasses
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 glasses
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 glasses
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 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 1
DC Heroes 2

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
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
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.

Thanks, Jason Liebig, for letting me use your place mat photos. The other photos are from my Flickr set and The Glass Junkie.


34 Responses to “Glorious Glass: A look back at some of my favorite collector’s glasses”

  1. I think I vaguely remember seeing the Muppet glasses before somewhere even if it was before my time. I missed out on the rest of these though. Disney put out a lot when I was a kid though.

  2. very cool glasses from the good ‘ol days.
    right away I bought the set of the BK Star Trek ones a few months back 🙂

    • Yeah, Naida, they disappeared very quickly from Jacksonville so I wasn’t able to get any. However, a friend of mine in Birmingham was able to get the set for me so I didn’t have to resort to eBay.

  3. Big Monkey Love Says:

    Hey! I feel so honored that I got a mention in the Cavalcade of Awesome! My sister and I had the Muppets glasses when we were younger, and we loved them. We look forward to seeing y’all in September, and I’ll have your Star Trek glasses then. Take care!

  4. One set is obviously missing from this post… Smurf glasses! Why the hate?

  5. I have 7 of the 1983 Taco Bell Star War glasses.
    Also 4 of the 1984 Burger King Star War glasses.
    All are mint conndition.
    Do you buy these glasses or do you know retail value..??..

  6. Ok, where did the DC Heroes by Pepsi (’70s version) come from? Who gave them away? Burger King?

  7. I enjoyed checking out your blog today and I will be back to check it more in the future so please keep up your good quality work. I love the colors that you chose, you are quite talented!

  8. Ah, the era of collector glasses… would be nice to see more of that kind of thing, wouldn’t it?

    The ones I remember most? Besides the Arby’s Pac-Man glasses I only learned of in more recent years, it would have to be McDonald’s set of four Garfield glass mugs, without a doubt– I still use them today. For the longest time, my set of four only had three of the assortment, with two of one glass in particular. I was overjoyed years later when I finally managed to get the final one at a second-hand shop.

    Don’t know if you’ve looked into it, but there have been some pretty cool cups that weren’t glass, too. I remember wanting to go to Burger King for He-Man cups with a comic printed on them, and I never got any of the ones which Pizza Hut had to commemorate the debut of Nickelodeon’s Nicktoons.

    The cups were based on the original trio: Doug, Rugrats, and Ren & Stimpy. Adding a cold beverage would turn part of the cups green to “slime” the characters.

  9. Supercate Says:

    I just scored the ENTIRE set of Camp Snoopy glasses today @ Goodwill for $5 bucks..WOW..and they are in perfect shape! They also had some superman ones with Lois Lane on them and they are flying. On the other side there is his “real name” and how he came to be…Where are those from? They had 2. AND, they have 2 of the Great Muppet Caper and some super hero ones. I will have to go back and look closer tomorrow. ALSO, they had a Hamburgler & Big Mac….someone obviously donated their cuppards =)

  10. Great post! As a child of the 90’s, we didn’t get a lot of collector glasses. What we got were some memorable collector cups, particularly at McDonald’s. They had some Batman Returns collector cups with these littlle bat-disk lids on them, which I thought were cool. The next year, they did these Jurassic Park cups which, according to Wikipedia, marked the launch of the Super-Size (or Dino-Size) extra value meal. And what about those Batman Forever glass mugs? Those were pretty cool, except for the fact that they broke at the drop of a hat. Also, The only ones I could ever find were the Robin and Two-Face ones. But that’s another story.

    Now, I know fast food places do promotions of varying scale from time to time, but let’s face it: fast food is just not as fun as it used to be. I posted this on another site, but the toys kids are getting these days can be downright awful. Can you believe that Burger King is giving away “Twilight” kid’s meal toys? What were they thinking? To add insult to injury, they have toys marked “for boys” and “for girls.” What a joke! Do you think the other boys on the playground are gonna be impressed if some kid shows up at school wearing a keychain with Robert Pattinson’s face on it? Give me a break! Anyway, great post!

  11. What a blogpost!! Very informative… Looking for more posts like this!! Do you have twitter or an RSS feed?
    Anyway thank you for this blog.

  12. I stumbled upon your place while looking for a complete list, pictured, of the Pepsi Superheroes sets. I have been trying to see how many I lack. I know I need quite a few. I need 4 for the series marked 1976, but for the set marked 1978, I’m not even sure how many were in the set, or how it differed concerning who was depicted. I’m pretty sure that all the 1976 characters were not duplicated in those marked 1978, but I just have not been able to find a complete set pictured, or listed as complete. Hopefully someone knows? Thanks.


      • EVANS,
        I just saw your message. The timing may be off here as I just embarked on “Home improvement” project.
        That being said, however, provide me with some more details. Like which ones, what shape, how much, and, as we are not acquainted, what would be the best way to complete a transaction?

  13. Diane Wolman Says:

    Are you still interested in acquiring the 7Up Indiana Jones glass with Mola Ram holding the flaming heart? How much would you pay for it?

    I have the glass and it’s in perfect condition.

  14. do you remember the taco villa cups? i used to have them but they got broken over the yrs!! do you know where to get them and where they were made

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  16. I remember having some Garfield glasses (from McDonald’s I think) when I was growing up. Being six years old at the time, I thought they were the end-all, be-all.

    Of course, had I known there were superhero glasses out there, not to mention the Star Wars and Indy Jones ones, I might’ve thought different.

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  23. ben lane Says:

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