The illusive Frisch’s Brawny Lad mascot from 1953.
In 1953 carhops and burger joints were popping up all over Cincinnati. Frisch’s was already five years into business with their Big Boy double decker and pull up service. A new chain called McDonald’s had not come to Cincinnati yet -that wouldn’t happen until 1959, when Rob Groen opened the first franchise in Monfort Heights.
But the Frisch’s family might have seen the invasion of the Scottish coming. In 1953 Frisch created two new sandwiches called the Brawny Lad, and the Swiss Miss. With the Brawny Lad he created a new mascot using the Big Boy clad in Scottish kilt and bobby hat. The Scottish clad Big Boy mascot is hard to find in local Frisch’s menus and ephemera, but I came across it for the first time in an old Cincinnati Woodward High School yearbook.
The Brawny Lad and the Swiss Miss both featured burgers on a rye bun – something the Germanic populous of Cincinnati loved. The Brawny Lad is a steakburger on rye with a large slice of Bermuda onion. The Swiss Miss, is a steakburger on rye with a slice of Swiss cheese and that famous Frisch’s tartar sauce. Both sandwiches grace the menu today, and like my father, you can order a mashup of both sandwiches, by getting the Swiss Miss with a Bermuda onion.
Unfortunately for us burger mascot collectors, Frisch never created a mascot logo for the Swiss Miss, although a gender bended Big Boy with a blonde pigtail wig and dirndl would have been hilarious. Maybe some marketing firm advised the Frisch family that only one logo, the Big Boy was needed, and the more logos you create the more it dilutes your brand.
Frisch did create a different Big Boy mascot in 1952, than the West Coast Big Boy from California. He slimmed his mascot down, gave him striped instead of checkered overauls, gave him a sidecap of a soda fountain jerk, put him in a running pose, and gave him reddish or blonde hair. Bob Wian’s original Big Boy was more pudgy, standing, and without the soda jerk cap. Later the slingshot in the back pocket of the East Coast Big Boy was removed for it’s mischievous attribute.
Sadly, no statues, bobbleheads, or banks of the Frisch’s Brawny Lad were every created, but if they had, they would be coveted collector’s items.