I am a St. Louis native, 45 years old. My parents took me to lots of Cardinals games (both football and baseball) and Blues hockey games. I remember driving home as a kid after the games and waiting to catch sight of the Budweiser eagle sign on hwy 40. The eagle was spectacular - graceful and BIG. I feel as though it is an icon of the city.To be honest, I can't tell the difference, but several people I've showed this to agree with Jeff. For an expert's opinion, I have asked Walter Crawford of the World Bird Sanctuary what he thinks, and he says that he will go look at the sign in person before rendering his verdict. We're also waiting to hear from someone at the brewery with their response.
Quite a few years ago, AB had the sign restored (sometime in the 1970's ?). A few of the animations, like the white/gold lights that outlined the "A" used to dance around. Now those lights are gone. But more importantly, they accidentally reversed the order of the 5 frame animation that makes the eagle fly.
I know - it sounds crazy. How could it have been flying backwards for so long without anyone noticing? Well it has and I did. Once you suspect it is flying backward, and then study the sign, it becomes obvious. Also, to the younger viewer who may have never witnessed the eagle flying properly, one may see the awkward bird trying to fly and dismiss it as "It's just difficult to animate an eagle in flight using neon lights".
But don't take my word for it, I have created animated gif files of the the eagle flying backwards and forwards. Most picture viewers and web browsers will work to view the files. The first file is the eagle as it flies now - backwards. The second file has been reversed to show how the eagle should be flying.
"We recently inspected the Highway 40 'A & Eagle' neon sign and learned that a short circuit in some electrical wiring had caused the eagle's flight to change in appearance. We immediately fixed it, and the sign once again accurately depicts and eagle's flight.Case closed, with credit once again to Jeff for noticing it and bringing it to my attention.
We appreciate you and your listeners for bringing this to our attention, and we hope St. Louisans and visitors to our community continue to enjoy this St. Louis landmark."