Z and I decided to take her friend K along with us on our excursion this last weekend to celebrate K’s birthday. Our destination was the Pez Museum in Burlingame.
It seemed a good choice as I’m a huge fan of funky little museums essentially dedicated to one person’s offbeat passion, and the girls are both big fans of Pez. Both Z and I are also fans of “World’s Largest” Whatevers. This makes the fifth largest something we’ve journeyed to in the last couple of years.
The Burlingame Museum Of Pez Memorabilia is the only place in the world that houses copies of every Pez Dispenser ever made for commercial distribution, Pez advertising posters, promotional items and vending machines,
the world’s largest Pez dispenser, and the world’s largest Pez collectible which is the actual sign that hung in front of the Pez factory in Austria until they closed a few years back. It’s also home to an affable and knowledgeable fellow by the name of Gary Doss who is the curator and host for the brief tour of this quaint one room museum since its opening in 1995. Mr. Doss is full of stories, history and anecdotes from the world of tiny Peppermint candy, and speaks as only a true lover of the subject matter can. Although the PodTrip downloadable tour lasts 45 minutes, the live tour was more like 15 minutes and a self tour could be completed as quickly as 5 minutes. Our group spent a little over an hour finding tiny treasures in every corner and asking questions of Mr. Doss who was always ready with an answer and usually an amusing story to go along with it.
The biggest draw for me (both literally and figuratively) was the World’s Largest Pez Dispenser. Standing 7 feet 10 inches tall and weighing in at a whopping 85 pounds it’s around 20 times the size of a standard Pez dispenser. Of course, it couldn’t be called a Pez dispenser if it didn’t actually dispense Pez, and it does, in fact, dispense snowman Pez dispensers complete with Certificate of Authenticity. Our certificate is #123, so there aren’t too of many of these interesting Pez artifacts floating around.
It’s seldom the item that drew me to a place that makes the largest impact. In this case the item that seems to have stuck with me is technically not in the museum itself, but rather just inside the front door of the storefront. Look to your left upon entering the museum and you’ll see two Pez vending machines that serviced German train stations until the late 1970s. One of them still holds Pez and Mr. Doss assured us that the machine still works. However, no one has purchased any of the Pez from this machine since its installation since it requires 3 German Pfennig coins to operate it. Adventurer that I am, I have already bid on three pfennigs on eBay in hopes of making it back to Burlingame and being the first to make a purchase from this machine in over 30 years!
Z took about 100 pictures at the museum, but my photo hosting company has been on the fritz for the last few days, so I have been unable to upload them yet. I will do so and update this post as soon as they get things back online.
UPDATED 11/14/07: Our full Pez Gallery has now been uploaded (74 pics)