[Logo: Burstein-Applebee Electronics]




The B-A logo that has been adopted far and wide as the rallying point for Boat Anchor collectors isn't really in the public domain. It was designed for use by Burstein-Applebee Electronics, a large parts and electronic store in Kansas City, MO, and (at one time) 39 other locations. It appears in many old ads. It remains the property of the Applebee family. According to former Chief Technician and Denver Regional Service Manager Tom Dailey (W0EAJ), four former employees (including two Applebees) now work for the Electronics Supply Company in KC.

The last known address of Burstein-Applebee Company was 3199 Mercier St., Kansas City, MO 64111. However, according to Tom, the most famous address was 1012 McGee Street, a building which had this famous logo on the side, even after the company moved in 1976. The building was finally torn down for a parking lot around 1995. B-A itself went out of business, for the usual reasons, in 1979 or 1980.

Joe Burstein and Merle Applebee started their business from the trunk of a car, moved into the basement of a drugstore, and eventually built a corporation with over 39 stores. Their slogan was "Everything in Electronics." Yup, it was another of those big parts and equipment houses like, for example, Allied Radio. (Allied used the same slogan, I believe, until it changed to "Electronics for Everyone." That alone should have been a sure sign that the golden age of DIY hi-fi and radio experimentation at home was over.) Allied merged with Radio Shack, morphing slowly but surely into the consumer electronics chain we see today. The parts line has been atrophying ever since. As I recall, there were also Lafayette Electronics, and one or two others.

Tom mentions that B-A had the first TV station in Kansas City, using a flying-spot scanner. It broadcast pictures of stationary objects, and the few amateurs with equipment would try to tune these in. THAT must have been something to see (or not see).

I have always admired the artistic and semiotic content of the Burstein-Applebee logo. No wonder everyone wanted to copy it for their "Boat Anchor" pages. It's cool. The huge B-A, in perfect 3-point perspective, is carved into megalithic stone like some huge ancient Pagan construction found on Easter Island. The thunderbolt, which also serves as the middle of both letters, nails it as radio-electronics before you even read any copy. In an especially cool touch, tiny humans peer at the base, dwarfed by its huge bulk, looking like ants by comparison. It's as if an archaeological artifict is on exhibit in an art museum.

Well, maybe it is.


Back you go