Jan 19th 2010 By Ian Fortey
This is a sad time in the history of fast food in America. A few months back the Taco Bell dog died
and on Jan. 17, Glen Bell,
the founder of Taco Bell, died as well
. A former Marine, Bell started out selling hot dogs, then realized the world wanted Nachos Bell Grande. So let's take a moment to look back on the dynasty he created:
- Bell franchised Taco Bell back in 1964, and from that day on people all around the world experienced affordable, semi-Mexican delight with ease.
- In 1992, Taco Bell attempted to expand into Mexico. This kind of failed. However, they are now trying again, only branding themselves as an American restaurant. Go figure.
- Also in 1992, during the L.A. riots, Taco Bell recognized that people need tacos, so they rebuilt and reopened one demolished store in 14 hours.
- In 1993, the movie "Demolition Man" predicted Taco Bell would be the only restaurant in the future (after winning the "franchise wars").
But that's just the beginning of the story that launched a million "run for the border" jokes. Read on for more and vids from some classic T-Bell ad campaigns ...
- Gidget the Chihuahua is Taco Bell's most famous mascot and was in commercials from 1997 to the year 2000, despite the fact that sales actually slumped during that time. Still, everyone loves Chihuahuas. Except the people who felt it was a racist stereotype. And Godzilla.
- In 2008, Taco Bell produced a series of ads asking rapper 50 Cent to change his name to 79 cent, 89 cent or 99 cent as part of a campaign featuring their low-priced awesomeness. Unfortunately, no one told 50 Cent, so he sued Taco Bell. The whole deal was settled out of court after Taco Bell offered to pay $10,000 if he'd do it for a day and presumably 50 Cent wasn't game. Taco Bell opted to use this ad campaign instead.
- Taco Bell opened several locations in China in 2008 that even served alcoholic drinks. The stores closed the same year.
- In 2009, TV pitchman Billy Mays, best known for selling you Mighty Putty and Orange Glow, had actually signed a contract to start filming Taco Bell commercials, however his untimely death happened a month before filming. But the same year, this video becomes the most annoying and unforgettable thing ever.
- Currently, Taco Bell sells more than 2 billion tacos per year. That is a hell of a lot of tacos. Mr. Bell, you will be missed, but your legacy lives on.