The Devil's Net is Made with Onion Rings

Jack in the Box restaurant, 1964, courtesy of Charles Phoenix

I like to tell my crew, family, and friends, “We prove our resolve and courage by resisting temptation.” Oscar Wilde said, “Do you really think it is weakness that yields to temptation?  I tell you that there are terrible temptations which it requires strength, strength and courage to yield to.” And President Reagan said, “Middle age is when you're faced with two temptations and you choose the one that will get you home by nine o'clock.”

The Tacos at Jack in the Box, and Original Recipe Kentucky Fried Chicken are two temptations that, like a narcotic to a junkie, sound so good as an idea, but end badly. They smell so nice and call to each person passing like Odysseus’ sirens. And then when you have finished your meal, you immediately feel deep regret and shame. “Why did I eat that?” I berate myself. Fortunately, this temptation only rears its head on long road trips, at the most once every two years.

The version designed in the early 1960s uses the entire building as a sign and a symbol. It’s clean, simple, and efficient—a masterpiece of modernism. Russell Forester designed the “big box” restaurant and said, “It’s not really a building. It’s an envelope to enclose machines to dispense food.” Meets the big tenets of modernism if you ask me. Plus the talking drive thru Jack (in the box) is so much more fun than a big board with illuminated photos of food. When I yield to temptation I want the whole cheesy enchilada with clowns, bright colors and wacky type, not a tasteful urban yet sophisticated attitude.

The Jack in the Box drive thru contraption

Jack in the Box, late 1950s