Does Anyone Remember Cat Clocks? They seemed to be in every diner in the ’70s and early ’80s. They had black saucer-round heads and little pointy black ears, with round white faces. They had (I think) rhinestone bow ties, too. Their big round eyes sported big, round, black iris-pupils. And the clock was embedded in their big, round, black stomachs. The tail functioned as a pendulum, so that when it swung to the right the huge eyes rolled to the right, and vice versa. Altogether, they gave the impression of a Disney reject (from the “Steamboat Willie” era) that had escaped the studios and was at large in Oklahoma.
In 1975, my new (now ex-) husband and I drove from Chicago to the Southwest, following Route 66. Every truck stop featured these cat clocks, as if by law. I was absolutely captivated — but never bought one of my own. Perhaps it was a mistake: they now sport huge price tags at flea markets and antique shops, if/when they make an appearance.
But then again, I don’t really need one: they’ll always hold a special place in the kitschy korner of my heart.
(Originally written on Sunday, October 10, 2004)