Giants Humm Baby, Youtube

The People Behind 15 Fast Food Names

Giants Humm Baby, Youtube

Ever wonder who is behind the names of your favorite fast food joints? Now you can put a face to the burger. 

1. McDonald’s 

Before Ray Kroc turned the modest burger joint into a corporation, McDonald’s was just a BBQ drive-in in California. The restaurant was founded by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald—known as Dick and Mac—who were the company’s namesake. 

2. P.F. Chang’s 

The name of this restaurant is actually a hybrid of two of the founder’s names. P.F. comes from restaurateur Paul Fleming's initials, and Chang is a simplified version of chef Philip Chiang's last name. 

3. Church’s Chicken 

Church’s Chicken gets its name from founder George W. Church. He opened the first chicken joint in 1952, right across from the Alamo in San Antonio.

4. Wendy’s 

Founder Dave Thomas tried out the names of all five of his children before settling on Wendy, his daughter Melinda’s nickname. The little redhead became the face of the restaurant and now, as an adult, Wendy can be seen in commercials promoting the restaurant. 

5. Taco Bell 

Taco Bell gets its Bell from its founder, Glen Bell. The restaurateur originally sold burgers at a fast food restaurant called Bell’s Burger. After the market got too crowded, he decided to bring the taco to the fast food world. His first shot at tacos was called Taco Tia. Later he opened Taco Bell after a friend suggested the name.

6. Denny’s 

Before Denny’s was a late-night diner, it was a doughnut shop called Danny’s Donuts. The name Danny was simply chosen for the alliteration. Eventually the focus was switched to coffee and the name was changed to Danny’s Coffee Shop. The name was changed again to Denny’s Coffee Shop to avoid confusion with another area establishment, Coffee Dan’s. The company finally shortened the name to Denny’s in 1961, and has stuck with it since.

7. Papa John’s 

Getty Images

Most people are familiar with the face of Papa John, because he can be seen on most promotional media for the company. John Schnatter is the restaurant’s founder, and he opened the first Papa John’s in 1985. The Papa part of the name is likely inspired by Schnatter’s grandfather, “Papaw” Ackerson. 

8. Carl’s Jr. 

Founder Carl Karcher is the namesake behind Carl's Jr. He and his wife, Margaret, opened a drive-in BBQ called Carl’s after finding success in hotdog carts. Then, Karcher opened two smaller restaurants in 1956 and called them Carl's Jr. because of their size. 

9. Jimmy John’s 

Jimmy John Liautaud was just 19 when he opened Jimmy John’s in 1983. After graduating next-to-last in his prep school class, his father told him he could either join the military or start a business. Liautaud took a loan from his father and started a restaurant. 

10. Bob Evans 

Robert Lewis "Bob" Evans opened a truck stop diner near his farm in Rio Grande, Ohio in 1946. Unsatisfied with the current sausages on the market, he decided to make his own using hogs from his farm. From there, the chain has seeped into 19 different states. 

11. Tim Horton’s 

Just as the name suggests, the beloved Canadian doughnut shop was founded by ice hockey player Tim Horton. The defenseman played in the NHL for 22 years, most of which was spent on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Horton opened a doughnut and coffee shop in 1964 as a way to make money once his hockey career ended. 

12. Carvel

Older lovers of the ice cream shop probably remember founder Tom Carvel from the company's commercials. The businessman invented soft-serve ice cream, but he may be better known for his distinct voice. 

13. Sbarro 

The pizza joint got its name from founders Carmela and Gennaro Sbarro. The couple opened up a deli in Brooklyn that specialized in fresh imported meats from Italy. The family-run business soon entered the pizza market and began to expand. Carmela was known as “Mama Sbarro” and became the mascot of the chain, working at the original Brooklyn location well into her 80s. 

14. Perkins 

Matt and Ivan Perkins opened Perkins Pancake House in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1958. Eventually the chain combined with Smitty's Pancake House to become Perkins Cake & Steak. The Perkins brothers retired in 1979, and sold their remaining share of the company. 

15. Baskin-Robbins 

Brothers-in-law Burton "Burt" Baskin and Irvine "Irv" Robbins both had a passionate love for ice cream, so they each opened ice cream shops in California. Baskin’s Burton's Ice Cream Shop and Robbins’ Snowbird Ice Cream eventually merged together in 1953. 

Hate Red M&M's? You Need a Candy Color-Sorting Machine

You don’t have to be a demanding rock star to live a life without brown M&M's or purple Skittles—all you need is some engineering know-how and a little bit of free time.

Mechanical engineering student Willem Pennings created a machine that can take small pieces of candy—like M&M's, Skittles, Reese’s Pieces, etc.—and sort them by color into individual piles. All Pennings needs to do is pour the candy into the top funnel; from there, the machine separates the candy—around two pieces per second—and dispenses all of it into smaller bowls at the bottom designated for each variety.

The color identification is performed with an RGB sensor that takes “optical measurements” of candy pieces of equal dimensions. There are limitations, though, as Pennings revealed in a Reddit Q&A: “I wouldn't be able to use this machine for peanut M&M's, since the sizes vary so much.”

The entire building process lasted from May through December 2016, and included the actual conceptualization, 3D printing (which was outsourced), and construction. The entire project was detailed on Pennings’s website and Reddit's DIY page.

With all of the motors, circuitry, and hardware that went into it, Pennings’s machine is likely too ambitious of a task for the average candy aficionado. So until a machine like this hits the open market, you're probably stuck buying bags of single-colored M&M’s in bulk online or sorting all of the candy out yourself the old fashioned way.

To see Pennings’s machine in action, check out the video below:

[h/t Refinery 29]

Universal Pictures
Pop Culture
The Strange Hidden Link Between Silent Hill and Kindergarten Cop
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

by Ryan Lambie

At first glance, Kindergarten Cop and Silent Hill don't seem to have much in common—aside from both being products of the 1990s. At the beginning of the decade came Kindergarten Cop, the hit comedy directed by Ivan Reitman and starring larger-than-life action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the decade’s end came Silent Hill, Konami’s best-selling survival horror game that sent shivers down PlayStation owners’ spines.

As pop culture artifacts go, they’re as different as oil and water. Yet eagle-eyed players may have noticed a strange hidden link between the video game and the goofy family comedy.

In Silent Hill, you control Harry Mason, a father hunting for his daughter Cheryl in the eerily deserted town of the title. Needless to say, the things Mason uncovers are strange and very, very gruesome. Early on in the game, Harry stumbles on a school—Midwich Elementary School, to be precise—which might spark a hint of déjà vu as soon as you approach its stone steps. The building’s double doors and distinctive archway appear to have been taken directly from Kindergarten Cop’s Astoria Elementary School.

Could it be a coincidence?

Well, further clues can be found as you venture inside. As well as encountering creepy gray children and other horrors, you’ll notice that its walls are decorated with numerous posters. Some of those posters—including a particularly distinctive one with a dog on it—also decorated the halls of the school in Kindergarten Cop.

Do a bit more hunting, and you’ll eventually find a medicine cabinet clearly modeled on one glimpsed in the movie. Most creepily of all, you’ll even encounter a yellow school bus that looks remarkably similar to the one in the film (though this one has clearly seen better days).

Silent Hill's references to the movie are subtle—certainly subtle enough for them to pass the majority of players by—but far too numerous to be a coincidence. When word of the link between game and film began to emerge in 2012, some even joked that Konami’s Silent Hill was a sequel to Kindergarten Cop. So what’s really going on?

When Silent Hill was in early development back in 1996, director Keiichiro Toyama set out to make a game that was infused with influences from some of his favorite American films and TV shows. “What I am a fan of is occult stuff and UFO stories and so on; that and I had watched a lot of David Lynch films," he told Polygon in 2013. "So it was really a matter of me taking what was on my shelves and taking the more horror-oriented aspects of what I found.”

A scene from 'Silent Hill'
Divine Tokyoska, Flickr

In an interview with IGN much further back, in 2001, a member of Silent Hill’s staff also stated, “We draw our influences from all over—fiction, movies, manga, new and old.”

So while Kindergarten Cop is perhaps the most outlandish movie reference in Silent Hill, it’s by no means the only one. Cafe5to2, another prominent location in the game, is taken straight from Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers.

Elsewhere, you might spot a newspaper headline which references The Silence Of The Lambs (“Bill Skins Fifth”). Look carefully, and you'll also find nods to such films as The Shining, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho, and 12 Monkeys.

Similarly, the town’s streets are all named after respected sci-fi and horror novelists, with Robert Bloch, Dean Koontz, Ray Bradbury, and Richard Matheson among the most obvious. Oh, and Midwich, the name of the school? That’s taken from the classic 1957 novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, twice adapted for the screen as The Village Of The Damned in 1960 and 1995.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Kindergarten Cop'
Universal Pictures

The reference to Kindergarten Cop could, therefore, have been a sly joke on the part of Silent Hill’s creators—because what could be stranger than modeling something in a horror game on a family-friendly comedy? But there could be an even more innocent explanation: that Kindergarten Cop spends so long inside an ordinary American school simply gave Toyama and his team plenty of material to reference when building their game.

Whatever the reasons, the Kindergarten Cop reference ranks highly among the most strange and unexpected film connections in the history of the video game medium. Incidentally, the original movie's exteriors used a real school, John Jacob Astor Elementary in Astoria, Oregon. According to a 1991 article in People Magazine, the school's 400 fourth grade students were paid $35 per day to appear in Kindergarten Cop as extras.

It’s worth pointing out that the school is far less scary a place than the video game location it unwittingly inspired, and to the best of our knowledge, doesn't have an undercover cop named John Kimble serving as a teacher there, either.


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