Flying A was a major gasoline brand in the U.S. from the 1930s to the mid-1960s, and its disappearance was a surprise to many people.
Flying A was a sponsor of New York Yankee television broadcasts in one of the company's final years, featuring the slogan, "Ooooh, do we worry!" and a dog named Axelrod. The commercials sometimes had a jingle with a creative if somewhat odd rhyme: "At Flying A we worry ... about your carburetor ... your sparkplugs, muffler, tail lights and your voltage regulator." The Yankees had a very poor season that year. One wonders if maybe a better year by the Yanks might have made the company survive.
Flying A was closely linked with college football and basketball in the Far West between 1925 and 1962. Tidewater Associated Oil Co. owned the broadcast rights to Pacific Coast Conference (forerunner to the Pac-10) football and basketball during most of that period. Tidewater and Flying A were also were linked with scoreboard and public-address system sponsorships at most stadiums and arenas on the West Coast. "Play ball with Flying A!" was a familiar slogan to sports fans from the late 1920s to the early 1960s.
Flying A gasoline was a product of the Tidewater Refinery at the lower end of Bayonne, N.J., as well as refineries on the Pacific Coast that formerly belonged to Associated Oil Co. In 1878 Tidewater Oil Company of Pennsylvania moved to Bayonne, N.J. In 1928, Pacific Western Oil Corporation incorporated as a holding company for Edward L. Doheny and family which subsequently came under the control of J. Paul Getty.
In 1938, Tidewater merged with Associated Oil Co. from the west coast to form Tidewater Associated Oil Co. The merged company used Associated's Flying A brand, which was combined with Tidewater's Tydol brand in the East. "Associated" was dropped from the company name in 1956.
In the late 1950s Tidewater operated its own small fleet of American-flagged tankers on the West Coast. They were the SS Flying A California, the SS Flying A Washington and the SS Associated.
In the early 1960s, Humble Oil & Refining Co. purchased Tidewater's western refining and marketing properties, with the intention of rebranding Flying A stations in the Far West to Enco (later Exxon). The purchase was later nullified in court on anti-trust grounds, but in 1966, Phillips Petroleum Co. purchased Tidewater's Far West network and rebranded all Flying A stations in the region to Phillips 66.
In the eastern United States, Tidewater was absorbed by the Getty Oil Co., but the Flying A brand lasted until 1969, when it was replaced by Getty.
Getty was acquired by Texaco in 1984.
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