Sunday, August 28, 2011

Buzzing And Flickering In The Rain...

No cliche says hardboiled like a neon sign flickering in the rain. It became popular (in America) just in time for Film Noir to use it as short hand for 'sleazy'. And no self-respecting Private Dick takes an office without a buzzing neon sign out the window advertising liquor, girls, or a combination of the two. Well, neon is 100 years old.

Neon signs may have been a French invention, but America took them to its capitalist heart. Nothing says Americana like a glowing beer sign. Nothing says Vegas like a flashing pelican. New Orleans just wouldn't look right without its army of luminescent crustaceans. Times Square doesn't have a lot of neon left. It doesn't have that much fun left in it, either. Coincidence?

For more on the history, in film and other visual arts, follow the glowing red arrow.


  1. Sin Will Find You Out... I think I just found the title of the next story, that's awesome.

  2. I don't know how it fell into sleaziness so bad? Maybe because it's a cheap way to attract attention? Like when hookers wear fluorescent pink hot pants? Good read man, thanks

  3. Heath, you are not wrong. And I reckon the pastor who thought up the sign allowed himself a small moment of Pride when it went up.

    I'd say the hooker's hot pants are bang on, Ben. But also the fact that it lends itself to nighttime establishments, where a good family man might find himself waylaid by booze, music, fun, and - the Devil's greatest weapon - Women Who Drink!