Back in the day, when neon was queen of our highways and Main Streets, signage was very often designed to clearly and instantly depict what a business had to offer.
A hot dog, all lit in reds and browns? The traveler knew to expect a diner in a block or so. A twinkling ice cream cone? A sweet shop was just ahead. How about a woman in a swimsuit in full diving pose? That must be a motel, and a pool-rocking motel at that.
The diver was a famous neon sign motif, and one that is about to get its museum due, at the Museum of Neon Art, no less. The Glendale institution is set to light its rooftop diner sign on Thursday, June 26, and a special MONA express bus will be taking in the diver's neon beauty from Brand Boulevard.
Want to join? Seats are available through the Argon level of membership. (All levels of MONA membership are named after neon-related gases and terms. Catchy? Cute? Yes.)
But you'll be able to admire the diver for free from the nearby sidewalks.
If you're wondering if you saw the same sign, long ago, while on a road trip with Mississippi, atop a motor court, the answer is... kind of. The Museum of Neon Art diver is based on a diver from Mississippi, but that piece is now in a private collection. The museum's sign had to be re-engineered, making it an eye-catching homage to the long-ago roadside favorite.
And when will the museum, which once called downtown home, finally open its Glendale doors? Stay tuned; the date approaches. Let the diver be a harbinger, of sorts.
Really and truly, though: Isn't a diver the perfect symbol for a new and art-minded Southern California venture? Diving is a very local thing, pool-wise, but the act of taking a dive into something new is bold and brave.
It's the perfect and witty choice, MONA, to ornament your new Glendale digs.