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Farewell, Mr. Smiley

When I started traveling to metro Louisville regularly, I noticed something kind of goofy on the Kentucky cars. Their license plate has a sun, and the sun has a smiley face on it. That's unique among U.S. automobile license plates, as far as I can tell. The slogan that goes with it reads "Kentucky... It's THAT friendly."

Today, it was announced that Mr. Smiley is being forced into retirement. Even though the plate won an award from an organization of license plate administrators, it has been pretty much derided and scorned by everyone else. Coincidentally, sales of specialty plates supporting wildlife, education, and horse racing, among others, skyrocketed in the last few years.

Why is Mr. Smiley departing? "It's silly. It's sappy. It doesn't say 'Kentucky,'" said a transportation department spokesman. (Apparently, not in keeping with Kentucky's new vision as the New York of the South?) The new slogan is "Unbridled Spirit"; I haven't found a sample photo yet, but here's a sample of the soon-to-be-late Mr. Smiley.


It's That Friendly
It's That Friendly

Kentucky license plate, 2000-2005

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Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
bachelor_farmer
Jul. 18th, 2005 06:43 pm (UTC)
THANK GOD, that thing has been such a huge creepy embarrassment. schlatko & chrisglass have written extensively on this.
songdogmi
Jul. 18th, 2005 09:25 pm (UTC)
My buddy Wolf, who lives just across the Ohio River, says it reminds him too much of Wal-Mart. I just think it's goofy, but then my car doesn't have to have one of those since it has a rather plain blue one with white characters (which, come to think of it, is pretty dull).
mysannthropy
Jul. 18th, 2005 09:51 pm (UTC)
it would look cool on the back of a toddlers tricycle:)
songdogmi
Jul. 18th, 2005 10:42 pm (UTC)
That's probably the main reason why they're changing it. :-)
mysannthropy
Jul. 18th, 2005 10:43 pm (UTC)
really, no one is THAT happy lol
mysannthropy
Jul. 18th, 2005 10:45 pm (UTC)
thats what it reminds me of! they mustve stole a frame from roger rabbitt!
songdogmi
Jul. 18th, 2005 11:54 pm (UTC)
I remember seeing it on the back of Roger Rabbit's sports car!
animist
Jul. 19th, 2005 01:01 am (UTC)
It looks like it should be on a box of store-brand corn flakes!
songdogmi
Jul. 19th, 2005 03:48 am (UTC)
Aha! A new career for Mr. Smiley -- cereal box model!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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