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Authors seeking stories about signs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Eddie’s Inferno Cocktail Lounge.

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A drawing by the Zeon Corporation for Bimbo’s Drive Inn.

Star Florist.

Roadrunner Coffee Shop.

Bimbo’s Drive Inn.

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Paris Shoe Shop.

All these businesses existed along Route 66 in the ’60s and ’70s. They also shared a common bond in having their signs designed by the Zeon Corp., also known as Electrical Products of New Mexico.

And Ellen Babcock and Mark C. Childs are looking for residents with stories behind them.

The pair are professors at University of New Mexico and working on a book called “The Zeon Files,” which will be published by UNM Press in 2015.

“We have about 70 pieces of work that we’re finding the stories behind,” Babcock said. “This was an amazing time for sign productions and a lot of the businesses would up the ante with their eye-catching designs.”

There will be a four-day exhibit, beginning at 6 p.m. today and running through 6 p.m. Monday at George Pearl Hall on the UNM campus.

Babcock said that, in the early 1970s, the city moved in a different direction and changed the ordinance for sign heights.

“It kind of squashed the exuberance of it all,” she said. “But looking at the drawings, you can see all the hard work and detail that went into each sign.”

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The exhibit will showcase about 30 drawings and will feature some signs that need stories.

“We’re hoping to draw the people out and get a conversation started about the signs,” she said. “It was an interesting time to drive down Central and see all of these signs. Now they are gone and we want to preserve the stories.”

Babcock hopes to get as many stories from New Mexicans as she can.

“This is a very close time frame and those that remember are still rather young,” she said. “Even if you didn’t grow up in Albuquerque, there are stories there.”


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