Maybe it’s because of Monty Python’s leering mockery of “randy” as a frisky adjective. Or because of “Randy Marsh” (Stan’s stupid father on South Park).
Or, for a more recent example, see Tina Fey’s adult son from a previous relationship: Randy.
Whatever the reason, it’s obvious to anyone named Randy, that our brand has suffered some serious setbacks over the years.
That’s why I was so happy to learn about the Randolph Rubber Company’s multitude of Randy-based trademarks and logo designs. Above, the sneaker maker’s seal of quality—“Quality by Randy”—applied to their products without irony. Here, at last, is archival proof that, before an unfortunate comedic/cultural shift, being “Randy” was nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of.
The Randolph Rubber Company (also known as Randolph Manufacturing Company and Randy Manufacturing) is, perhaps best remembered for being the first company to come out with a skateboard shoe—The Randy 720 (with “Randyprene”) was introduced in 1965. The Randolph Rubber Company was also where Paul Van Doren (founder of the aforementioned Vans) got his start, but we’re getting ahead ourselves, chronology-wise.
The Randolph company was not named for its founder, but for its location in Randolph, Massachusetts. Someone there, sensing correctly that the nickname “Randy” was in its ascendancy, began giving their shoes trademarked “Randy” names in the 1950s and continued the practice for twenty years.
In 1958, three of their trademarks were opposed by the International Shoe Company, who claimed a likelihood of consumer confusion with their trademark: “The Rand Shoe”— a men’s dress shoe brand.
In the fall of 1949 or 1950, (the record is not too clear), Randolph adopted and first used RANDY on basketball shoes, and use of RANDY alone and in combination with other words has continued since that time. As the line expanded to include shoes for tennis, bowling, yachting, gym and other sports, casual shoes, and snow boots, the following were used: TWO GUN RANDY, RANDY HI-TOP, RANDY ARCH KING,RANDY KORT KING, RANDY COWBOY, RANDY LEISURE KINGS, RANDY LEISURE QUEENS, RANDY LITTLE FIFERS, RANDY GOLF KINGS, RANDY BOATSHU, RANDY YACHTSHU, RANDY WINTER QUEEN and RANDY WEATHER QUEEN.
… International used its various “RAND” marks on leather shoes before Randolph used its various “RANDY” marks on its canvas and other fabric footwear and that each enjoys a substantial business goodwill symbolized by the respective marks. The record contains no evidence of confusion in the past. The only question for determination is whether or not there is likelihood of confusion in the future with the inference that International will be damaged by Randolph’s registrations of “TWO GUN RANDY,” with design, “RANDY HI-TOP” and “RANDY GOOFIES.”
The Trademark Reporter, 1966
The list above is still incomplete. There was also Randy Athlete, Randy-Pedic, Randy Playground King and probably more. Plus, there were a number licensed properties—Elvis Presley Sneakers by Randy, Batman Sneakers by Randy and Peter Max Sneakers by Randy. I wonder, did so many “Randy” trademarks dilute the brand?
A lot of these “Randy” brand sneakers were manufactured for kids and, judging from the trademark dates, they were in stores during my childhood. Strangely, I don’t remember anyone ever thinking to buy me a pair!
I’ve read that “Randys” were, for a time, the third largest sneakers brand. How cool might it have been to wear my own pair of “Randy Hi-Tops” or “Randy Kort Kings?”
(More archival Randy branding, after the fold…)
Vintage Randy Kort King Hi-Top Men’s Sneakers, size 13.5 (on eBay for $770)
“Two Gun Randys” came with a badge and a toy pistol.
Randy-Pedic sneakers. Both parts of this hyphenated brand name have suffered a decline in fortunes: “Randy,” as the name has lately become the butt of jokes, and “Pedic,” due to the remedial connotations of orthopedic shoes. As a result, the “Randy-Pedic” brand sounds doubly lame to our ears today.
There were also Randy-Pedic shoes for girls.
Girls’ Randy-Pedics from Rubbersole2010’s Flickr Photostream
Above, “The Rand Shoe” trademark that International Shoe Company began using in 1945, and below, a page from Trademark Reporter’s coverage of their litigation with The Randolph Manufacturing Company:
Note to self: to rehabilitate the damaged “Randy” brand, consider changing last name to “Prene”