Goo Goo Express Wash was founded by R.D. Beck when he started his fledgling car wash company in Guntersville, Alabama in 1945 after buying a service station and washing cars on the side. The company then grew by building car washes across the state of Alabama. Lamar Beck took over from his father in 1970. Lamar Beck, son Roger Beck and Darren Bradham started the express wash concept in 2002.
The unique name emerged when Beck purchased the Goo Goo Carwash in Columbus, Georgia in 1972. 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 carwash. But where did he get the name?
The name goes back to a radio comedy show broadcast nationally in the 1930’s. Ventriloquist Joe Penner (1904-1941) was a comedian who achieved a wide following with his live appearances and radio show. He ended each of his shows with the catch phrase “Wanna buy a duck?” to which his sidekick duck would reply “Goo Goo”.
One of Mel Blanc’s first jobs on national radio was the voice of Goo-Goo 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 Goo-Goo and use it in our advertising” said Beck. “It’s been pretty successful for us.” And now, with the growth of the Goo-Goo Express Wash chain, it is again becoming recognized nationwide.
“Wanna get your car washed?” – The right answer is “Goo Goo”.