Sign consisting of a grinning bear holding a smaller sign

I have noticed many large signs around town that consist of a grinning “teddy-like” bear holding a smaller sign that contains the name of the business establishment. They are not associated with any particular business, but they tend to be found in front of mom-and-pop-type auto repair garages. I’ve lived in several parts of the country but don’t remember seeing these signs until I moved to LA. The signs are very large; the bear is typically about 15-20 feet tall.

Does anyone know the origin of these signs? Was this the standard sign of some now-defunct retail chain, and later businesses kept the sign because of its recognizability? There seems to be a standard-shaped bear and many other variations, although the bear is usually in the same pose.

Check here for some pictures of these “road bears”.

“Bear” is/was a system for adjusting auto suspensions and drive trains.

Here is a history lesson on Bear and the bears.

Fascinating! Thank you!


Well, thanks for clearing that up.

For many years, I thought those bears, the old-fashioned TravelLodge sleepy bears (images of which the chain has apparently completely purged from the web), and Jerry Bears were all the same mascot.

Intrigued, I did a search for ‘Bear Manufacturing’ hoping to find images of said bears. I found what I thought was the website for the company:

Little did I know that the good and honorable name of Bear Manufacturing was also being used by large, hairy gay men. And they have their own flag! The plot thickens…

deer in headlights

runs and hides behind a twink

Hey, the courts have ruled that you cannot use the Twinkie Defense! :wink:

Hell, Poly…you’ve SEEN me. I’d have to hide behind about five twinks just to be inobtrusive…

::: visualizes JayJay behind five twinks :::

::: thinks of several comments :::

::: decides that none of them are appropriate for a GQ thread :::

::: points JayJay towards the “Bear” sign of the OP with a suggestion that he come up with a comment to get the thread back on topic :::

Um…there’s a garage near my mom’s house with that sign!

runs away

And I’m not the one that brought it up, anyway! So nyah! :stuck_out_tongue: