The Goon in his glory suit.

Goon's Origins Revealed

On a recent road trip through Kenly, North Carolina, we learned the answer to a question that has puzzled us for years -- the origins of the Goon with a Top Hat.

The gleeful, naked Goon stands on a rooftop corner of Donnie's Corvette Specialists, a classic car restoration and repair shop run by Donnie Hall Jr. It tosses a saucy salute to all passers-by on this otherwise empty stretch of US 301.

We knew that the androgynous Goon was, in a former life, "eff," the male half of the long-forgotten twin mascots of tastee-freez (which, in its early days, spelled everything in lower case). But how the Goon got onto the roof of an auto repair shop in rural North Carolina remained a mystery.

Donnie was working on an old 'vette when we stopped in. Although we'd heard rumors that he was a scary dude, Donnie turned out to be a friendly guy with lots of dogs who was happy and proud to tell us the Goon's story:

The Goon and Donny.

In 1982, Donnie was hired by the owner of the local tastee-freez to customize a Cadillac limousine, a job that Donnie estimated cost him around $8,000. The tastee-freez guy took the car -- and then refused to pay Donnie for the work. In retribution, Donnie somehow got hold of one of the guy's tastee-freez twins, made a ridiculous top hat for it out of half of an oil drum (with barbed wire for a fringe), and stuck it on the roof of his shop. He did this to mock the tastee-freez guy, who had to drive past every day on his way to and from work. Donnie never got his money, but he did get a great deal of satisfaction.

Donnie has a small measure of fame as well. He told us that people have been stopping by to take pictures of the Goon ever since it was added to RoadsideAmerica.com and we named it "Goon with a Top Hat."

And now we know the nude ice cream guy as more than just the Goon with a Top Hat. We see Donny's naked justice, meted out to Mr. deadbeat customer, as a monument -- perhaps the only one in the world -- to remember stiffed contractors, freelancers and tradesmen everywhere.

"I have a landmark!" Donny told us, with a big grin.

[11/11/2007]
Address:
8402 US Hwy 301, Kenly, NC
Directions:
I-95 exit 107, then 2.5 miles northeast on US 301. At the intersection of Hwy 581, north side, on the roof of Donnie's Corvette Specialists.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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