The unique name emerged in 1972 when Beck purchased the GooGoo Car Wash in Columbus, Georgia. It was built and operated on the same site as the Goo-Goo Restaurant, which had burned down several years before. Since the restaurant had been a local landmark, the owner kept the same name for the new car wash. But where did he get the name?
The name goes back to a radio comedy show that broadcasted nationally in the 1930s with ventriloquist Joe Penner (1904-1941). Penner was a comedian who achieved a wide following with his live appearances and radio show. He ended each of his shows with the catchphrase “Wanna buy a duck?” to which his sidekick duck would reply with “GooGoo.”
One of Mel Blanc’s first jobs on national radio was the voice of GooGoo the duck. The mannerisms Blanc created for the Bugs Bunny cartoon character Elmer Fudd were reportedly based on the real Joe Penner. And the rest, as they say, is history.
“We decided to keep the name GooGoo and use it in our advertising,” said Beck. “It’s been pretty successful for us.” And now, with the growth of the GooGoo Express Car Wash chain, it is again becoming recognized nationwide.
“Wanna get your car washed?” – The correct answer is “GooGoo.”