The Best Line in San Diego
by Bobby Fischer
| The Best Novelty Company is located on
Broadway, across from the bus depot. When it first opened in
1926, they ran an ad in the San Diego Times offering to sell sets of the newly invented
"Chattering Teeth" for only a dime.
The offer was good only for the first 100 people that walked into the novelty shop backwards! By the time the noon lunch hour rolled around, there was a line stretching around the block.
The odd sight of so many people appearing to be lined up to leave the shop gave rise to the popular expression "Lining up to get out."
For days, the sound of chattering teeth could be heard up and down the halls of San Diego's merchant banks and office buildings. Finally mayor Cabrillo issued a proclamation that banned the wind-up teeth from most public places. A special permit was issued to "Cool Man" Jones, owner of Cool Man's Jazz Bar, billed as the "Coolest place downtown." Jones had his advertising card embossed on several thousand sets of the chattering teeth, and it was deemed to be a First Amendment issue.