Manufacturer: Wallace China
Date of plate: 1950s-1960s
Notes: Sambo's chain of restaurants was founded in 1957 by Sam Battistone and Newell Bohnett, hence Sambo's. It was widely assumed that the name was related to "The Story of Little Black Sambo," and the owners decided it would be smart marketing to capitalize on the coincidence with the restaurants' decor.
Ultimately, though, what seemed clever in the Fifties became a source of controversy in the Seventies as the country's attitudes toward racism became more informed, more sensitive and less tolerant.
Attempts to change the name and improve the image failed, and the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 1981.
This is the first china pattern used by the chain. White body with maroon airbrushed rim. Line drawing of clown in yellow and maroon polka dot costume. Sambo's in maroon.
Only the original Sambo's in Santa Barbara, Calif., is still in business (2008). Update for 2021, in July of 2020, the restaurant's name was changed to Chad's. See article from Santa Barbara restaurant news here.
For related info:
Sambo's by Jackson China