Talking duck gave car wash its unusual name

Clintonville residents may be wondering how a successful car-wash franchise ended up with such an infantile name.

Clintonville Area Commission members last week recommended rejection of a rezoning request that would have permitted another location for the Goo-Goo 3 Minute Express Wash franchise, this one at 2725 N. High St.

What's up with that name, anyway?

Its website has that covered, and it's got a Columbus connection -- but not the one in Ohio.

The history page of the website says what is today a 31-store operation in seven states dates back to 1945, when R.D. Beck purchased a service station in Guntersville, Ala., and began washing cars on the side.

"The company then grew by building car washes across the state of Alabama," according to the site. "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 car wash in Columbus, Ga., 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 car wash.

But where did the name originally come from?

That dates back even further than the original business, to a national radio comedy show from the 1930s, the website reveals.

"Ventriloquist Joe Penner (1904-41) 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, 'goo goo.' "

"We decided to keep the name Goo-Goo and use it in our advertising," Lamar Beck says on the website. "It's been pretty successful for us."