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Glorious Glass: The Best of 1970s-1980s Collector’s Glasses

1 October 2009 Things We Like 23,253 views 5 CommentsPrint This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post

Back in the day, fast food joints, supermarkets and convenient stores used to give out commemorative collector’s glasses as a premium with a purchase of food or drinks. They were made from actual glass, not plastic, and were illustrated with kick-ass graphics. The heyday of collector’s glasses was in the 1970s and 1980s (though Burger King recently revived the collector glass tradition in with a set of four glasses promoting the new “Star Trek” movie). Without further ado, here are some of my favorite collector’s glasses from that era.

Burger King’s “Star Wars” glasses
The most famous of all commemorative glass sets, Burger King’s “Star Wars” collector’s glasses are what everyone thinks of when you mention “collector’s glasses.” A set of four were released for each movie. It’s not very hard to complete a set of all twelve glasses, as they made a ton of them.

The “Star Wars” set
The “Empire Strikes Back” set
The “Return of the Jedi” set

7-Up’s “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” glasses
Indiana Jones Glasses

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 select local fast food chains so getting a full set is extremely hard. I don’t care about acquiring a full set, but I would love to get the Mola Ram glass (far right hand side) — the one with him holding that still-beating flaming heart. Bad ass.

A year earlier, in 1983, Coca-Cola created a set of three glasses for “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” but the set was never released. Check out those glasses here.

McDonalds’ “Great Muppet Caper” glasses
Great Muppet Caper Glasses

These glasses may be the second best-known collector’s glass set next to the “Star Wars” set. 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. Cool character artwork and eye-catching designs make this a great set. I love the glass with Miss Piggy on her motorcycle, crashing through a giant stained glass window with her name written on it.

McDonalds’ “Camp Snoopy” glasses
Camp Snoopy Glasses

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 “Peanuts,” though.

7-11′s Marvel Super-Heroes glasses
Marvel 7-11 Glasses

Released in 1978, this set of Marvel Universe Super-Heroes glasses features great illustrations of the characters and some very detailed backgrounds and environments. Gotta say, though, I’m scratching my head at the fact that Howard the Duck gets his own glass in this assortment (third glass from the left).

Pepsi’s DC Heroes glasses
DC Glasses 01

Released by Pepsi in the mid-’70s and again in the ’80s, there were actually two series of these glasses made. What you see in these photos is the first series with the super hero pictured on both sides of the glass. The second series had similar pictures of the heroes on one side but had their name and logo on the reverse.

DC Glasses 02

I have the Flash glass from the second series, which you can see here. Fantastic character artwork on these glasses make for a fun and visually cool set.

Burger Chef’s “King Kong” glasses
King Kong Glasses

Released by the now-defunct chain Burger Chef and based on the 1976 movie starring Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange — which was only okay — these glasses are stunning. I love this artwork; it almost looks like generic King Kong art, not based directly on any movie.

Taco Bell’s “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” glasses
Star Trek Glasses

I watched this movie again just recently and had forgotten how fun and enjoyable it was. It made me like these Taco Bell glasses even more. They 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 it would be cool if he did.

- Paxton Holley

This piece originally appeared, in different form, in Cavalcade of Awesome.

PLACEMAT PHOTOS BY JASON LIEBIG; OTHER PHOTOS BY THE GLASS JUNKIE AND PAXTON HOLLEY

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5 Comments »

  1. I think I need to break out my Return of the Jedi Ewoks glass and have some Kool-Aid..

  2. I remember the Star Wars glasses, and being ticked off when we would go back and the newest one wouldn’t be out yet…”Awww dang; not another Darth Vader!”

  3. [...] about ’70s and ’80s collectors glasses.  If you don’t mind, click on over to my article on Monkey Goggles and take a look if you haven’t already (or even if you have).  Get some [...]

  4. I’ve got so many of these on my shelves. They bring me back to when I was a kid. I loved when fast food chains did this. I remember being at friends houses and getting to pick which glass I wanted to drink Kool Aid or Dr Pepper out of. Drinking was such an event back then. Sweet article/pics. Honestly though…people need to give the Delaurentis Kong MORE CREDIT!!! It was awesome. Aside from the original it’s more entertaining in my book than Peter Jackson’s version.

  5. Hilarious. As a kid, we had the Muppets and also the Peanuts glasses. 30 years later, my cheap-arse parents still use them every day, though the graphics are long gone. Sort of a metaphor for childhood, I guess.

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