During the 1960s and 1970s, Howard Johnson’s emerged as the leading restaurant chain in the United States. Their restaurants and affiliated hotels were widely spread along the country’s highways, making them a familiar sight for travelers. Thus, it was a logical choice for Stanley Kubrick to select HoJo’s as the hospitality brand for the Earthlight Room, located on the space station encircling Earth in the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
Furthermore, it was customary during that era to engage in cross-promotion, and it is rather peculiar that Howard Johnson’s devised a children’s menu inspired by the themes and aesthetics of “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
Even more peculiarly, the menu does not revolve around the movie directly; instead, it focuses on a family’s experience of watching the movie. Strangely enough, the menu completely excludes the iconic opening sequence featuring the apes and the character of HAL 9000, who is arguably the central figure in the film. It appears that the individuals at Howard Johnson’s may not have had the opportunity to watch the complete movie when creating this menu, as indicated by the presence of a “preview edition” graphic in the bottom right corner of the menu’s cover.