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Village Cuts Out Smiling Symbol

August 17, 1990

FOREST PARK, Ill. (AP) _ The ″Village With A Smile″ isn’t anymore.

Gone are the yellow, empty-eyed smiley faces that stared oncoming motorists in the face as they drove through this suburb west of Chicago.

Some residents and city officials thought the symbol of happiness - an image from the 1970s - was behind the times.

″It was just a little out of fashion,″ said resident Donna Danielson. ″Sometimes people would make fun - like co-workers.″

So she and her husband, Dan, offered to redesign the village’s vehicle stickers and city limit signs. The new city symbol is now a leafy branch with a cardinal perched on top.

″You just can’t say anymore ‘Hey, don’t worry about it - smile,’ ″ said Danielson, an advertisement designer in Chicago. ″I think there is a lot more depth to Forest Park than a smiley face.″

Smiley faces also have been falling from fashion graces outside Forest Park. A survey conducted last year by the Roper Organization at 10 U.S. college campuses found the ″Have-a-nice-day″ face was a fashion no-no.

The loss of the smiles has been greeted with some frowns.

″I just thought it was unique,″ said Edward Lambke, who headed the effort to adopt the smiley face while serving as a village commissioner.

″They’ve changed the smiley. Never if I was there would that ever happen. I thought it was good for the town and I still do.″

Lambke, who coined Forest Park’s nickname, ″A Village With A Smile,″ has since retired from village government but has left the vehicle stickers on his car.

The smiley faces were painted on water towers at both ends of the town in 1974. In 1986, the smileys were adopted for the car stickers to give the village individuality in a sea of suburbs.

Judging by some reactions to the new symbol, the village may be a happier place without the smiley faces.

″Some people would pick up their (new) sticker and say, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m glad you got rid of it,’ ″ said village clerk Marlene J. Quandt. ″I just think it had seen its day.

″But there are those who express a little sadness when they see the smiley face isn’t here anymore.″

Forest Park has not entirely abandoned the smiley face, however. No one has dared contend with the giant saffron smiles on the water towers.

The Danielsons say those faces might have to wait a few years until the towers need a new coat of paint.

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