Jack In the Box is a venerable fast food franchise whose hip, snide advertisements deny its humble past.

At one time, the drive-through ordering stations at all Jack-in-the-Boxes were made in the form of clowns. When you drove up to the benighted thing, you were greeted by a sign claiming "Jack will speak to you."

Jack's lips did not move, and he sounded much like a bored teenager talking through a very cheap PA, but the claim apparently had credibility in some quarters.

When, in the seventies, J-in-B began their aggressive campaign of modernization, the first ad campaign featured those clowns exploding. That campaign ended abruptly when Jack was sued by a concerned dad whose child suffered grievous psychological trauma when they pulled up to one of those clowns. It seems that the kid expected the thing to blow up like the ones on TV.

I'm fairly certain when I pull into a Jack In the Box Drive-thru that I'll be gratuitously insulted, but that seems to be accepted as a routine risk these days, so I haven't filed suit.

Nowadays, Jack is big time, and I'm afraid he would crush me if I challenged him. And my dad won't go there.

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