Thursday, March 26, 2009

Drive-Thru Culture (4/14/06)

Ray Kroc was nothing if not a visionary. He knew that in the futuristic postwar world of the 1950s, Americans would hunger to drive to "gas stations, inexpensive motels, and restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food" -- all without getting out of their conveniently financed cars. On April 15, 1955, in Des Plaines, Illinois, Kroc opened the first of 30,000 franchised McDonald's restaurants. Time has proven him correct. Today, people do their banking, dry cleaning, eating, manicures, gambling, weddings, and even mourning without leaving the privacy and comfort of their cars. About the only thing they can't do from their cars anymore is go to the movies; the venerable drive-in theater has nearly disappeared from the American landscape. Americans love their cars so much, in fact, that some of them have buckled up for the final ride.

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