In ancient times, Jewish brides may have brought into marriage a nedunyah, or dowry, “those assets of the wife which she of her own free will entrusts to her husband’s responsibility.” This could take the form of money, slaves, or cattle. As Larry and I look forward to our fiftieth anniversary this fall, I reflect back on the “dowry” I brought into our marriage a collection of Warner Brothers Looney Tunes glasses.

Larry and I announced our engagement to our families on October 6, 1973. Fresh out of graduate school, Larry was working at his parents’ store, Shapiro’s of Schuylerville, making an astounding $78 a week. Meanwhile, I was in my second year of teaching high school English, with a starting salary of $5200

We obviously were not coming into this marriage as “well off.” But we had a plan for starting our new household. Who needed a wedding registry, where we could list china and silverware that we could never use? I just needed to stock up on free glassware from the nearby hamburger joint.

My apartment in Upstate New York was a short distance from a Carrols. The burger chain, which was founded in 1960 in Syracuse, New York, by Herbert N. Slotnik, was viewed as “incredibly popular as an alternative to McDonalds,” with over 150 outlets, mostly in upstate New York and Pennsylvania.

During our engagement, Carrols was running a promotion sponsored by the Pepsi Corporation. For the price of a large soda product, each customer received a Loony Tunes glass with Warner Brothers’ characters painted on the outside. Daffy Duck! Bugs Bunny! Elmer Fudd! And, over the course of several months, fifteen more glasses were released. My quest was to get all eighteen options, which was a great deal of Diet Pepsi.

Each week, whatever day the newest one was up for sale, I would stop by, order a Diet Pepsi, slurp it up, and then bring the prize home. To be honest, I can’t even remember if I purchased the their signature Club Burger! Six glasses in, I wasn’t even bothering to drink the soda. I dumped it out, wash out the glass when I got home, and tucked it away in a cupboard.

After our September 1974 wedding, we moved into our tiny apartment in Guilderland. Thanks to a bridal shower and gifts, we had a kitchen stocked with a Corelle dinnerware set for eight, Oneida silverware, Farberware pots, and several pieces of the classical Corningware with the blue flowers. And, thanks to Carrols, we had over two dozen Looney Tunes glasses, many with duplicates.

We did receive a lovely set of glassware from Tiffany’s, with an S engraved on each one. They went onto the top shelf of our apartment’s galley kitchen. Why would we use those when The Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote could fight it out at our tiny kitchen table? Beep! Beep!

Bugs and the Gang came with us to our first home and, two years later, to our second. By the time he was five, Adam was old enough to graduate from sippy cups to Sylvester. Julie progressed to Petunia Pig three years later. Of course, a few met their untimely death on our kitchen floor, but we managed to hold on to many of them. About fifteen years ago, I found some replacements at a secondhand store. Again, more were lost to breakage, but we still had five remaining when we made the move to Florida in 2015.

By then, the painted characters had faded, and the glasses were cloudy. The former owners of our Kissimmee home had left a set of glasses in the cupboard, and we opted to use those for every day use. Our Loony Tunes treasures only came out on special occasions, and we only lost one over eight years, until the college football playoff in January 2023.

We had met our friends Joel and JoAnn Knudson, from a tiny town in North Dakota, many years earlier at a Jamaican resort. That began a close friendship that we maintained through a few more trips to Jamaica, a visit they made to our Upstate New York home just before Hurricane Sandy, and time together in Florida. We were thrilled when they purchased a home in our 55+ community.

Soon after their move, the Knudsons, lifelong fans of North Dakota State University’s football team, were looking forward to the January 5, 2023, championship match between their beloved Bisons and their arch rivals, South Dakota State University. As their television set hadn’t arrived yet, we invited them over to watch the game on our big screen.

At the end of the first quarter, the two teams were tied 7-7. By halftime, however, NDSU was behind 14-7. Time for refreshments! We replenished the chips and dip. I offered Joel a cold beer in one of our favorite Looney Tunes glasses, Bugs Bunny.

“Get that @#?$ jack rabbit out of here!” Joel yelled.

How was I supposed to know that the SDSU’s mascot was a jackrabbit??

I quickly transferred the Yuengling into a less threatening Elmer Fudd. According to Joel, however, the damage was done. The Bisons faced a blistering 45 to 21 defeat by the despised Jackrabbits. The Knudsons went home disappointed; both Bugs and Elmer went into my dishwasher to see another day.

Two days later, I was reading the newspaper on my kitchen counter. As I turned the page, my hand brushed against my glass of iced tea. Seconds later, our beloved Bugs Bunny met his demise on my tile floor. Larry and I refer to it as “The Knudson Curse.”

Recently, with our Loony Tunes supply down to four glasses and the former owners “gift” set of glasses etched with cloudiness that no amount of Cascade or vinegar would remove, I pulled down the Tiffany glasses we got for our wedding. “What are we saving them for?” I asked Larry. After fifty years, the beautiful set are being used for everything from an orange juice to an Old Fashioned.

In retrospect, using that now collector’s set of Loony Tunes was not such a great idea. According to Tamara Rubin’s Lead Safe Mama webpage, tests run on athe paint on a sample Looney Tunes glass revealed that it contained 71,800 parts per million of lead, 800 times more than the 90 ppm considered unsafe for use! “Please do NOT let children in your life use them,” Rubin wrote in her 2/19/2019 article “I personally would not use something like this in my home for any purpose!” Yikes! For fifty years, I had been exposing my family and friends to high contents of lead, caladium, and arsenic. To quote Sylvester, “Thufferin’ Thuccotash!”

What happened to Carrols? By the mid 1970’s, Slotnick saw the writing on the wall as competition by sheer numbers from McDonalds and Burger King dwarfed his company. “He figured if you can’t beat ’em, join ‘em,” Alan Morrell wrote in a 10/25/2021 article for the Democrat & Chronicle. Slotnick cut a deal with Burger King in which all his restaurants would be converted into the home of the “Big Whopper.”

But the Looney Tunes “vintage” glassware continue to thrive on internet, where collectors can pay anywhere from $16.99 for Porky Pig on Amazon to $300 for a complete set of 18 on Ebay. I say, I say, maybe my Foghorn Leghorn still has some life in him yet!


Morell, Alan. “Rochester loved the Looney Tunes glasses and Club Burger. Whatever happened to Carrols?” Democrat and Chronicle. October 25, 2022.

Pacheco, George. “Top 10 Most Iconic Looney Tunes Catchphrases.” Watchmojo.[Date unknown]

Rubin, Tamera. “1973 Warner Brothers Pepsi Collector Series Daffy Duck Drinking Glass: 71,800 ppm Lead (90 ppm is unsafe for kids.)” Lead Safe Mama. February 19, 2019.

Article by Author/s
Marilyn Shapiro
Marilyn Cohen Shapiro, a resident of Kissimmee, FL, is a regular contributor to the (Capital Region NY) Jewish World and the Orlando Heritage Florida Jewish News. She is the author of two compilation of her stories, There Goes My Heart (2016) and Tikkun Olam: Stories of Repairing an Unkind World. (2018). Both books available in paperback and e-book format on Amazon. You can read more of her stories on her blog,

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