This mystery started with a photograph that had bumped around in roadsideamerica.com's "miscellaneous scans" folder since 1996. Mike snapped it on a cross-country trip, but we had trouble placing exactly where.
We called him the Goon in a Top Hat. He was obviously naked, sans genitals, though quite pleased with himself. The gagging tongue and bulbous eyes only added to the disturbing Goon- style hospitality. His hat might be made from an old oil drum, but it was hard to tell.
In 2002, Smiler Dean Jeffrey sent us his own record of the Goon, washed out after six more years of weather and wear... "Looks like it's about four feet tall and was probably some kind of advertising at some point. It's at Donnie's Corvette Specialists on Route 301 in Kenly, NC."
Dean stumbled onto another goon in Raleigh December 2004: "I was out taking a walk, right in my own neighborhood, when I saw another one of those statues, in a neighbor's backyard. The nice folks who live there told me they had gotten him at a Tastee-Freez in the '60s -- he rode home in the back seat of their brand new 1965 Mustang convertible."
"I did a little poking around online and found out that in the '50s, Tastee-Freez had a couple of mascots called Tee and Eff. They were naked and had globs of ice cream topping on their heads (strawberry for Tee, the female, and chocolate for Eff, the male.) In 1957, they were featured in six issues of a Tastee-Freez comic book, similar to the Big Boy comics put out by Shoney's. They also appeared in ads and on napkins, cups, and other packaging.
"I think the one down in Kenly is Tee, and the one here in Raleigh is Eff (although he's obviously been repainted a few times, even having clothes painted on him at some point.)."