The Burger King Whopper celebrates its 50th anniversary today. First off a hot broiler in 1957, the sandwich now serves as a symbol of consumer customization, empowering people everywhere to Have It Your Way.

From its humble beginnings in a Miami restaurant, Burger King Corp.’s (NYSE: BKC) signature sandwich today embodies pop culture cool, preceding The Rolling Stones and outliving The Beatles, the Rat Pack and drive-in movie theaters. Today, the Whopper graces menuboards in 69 countries and is set to celebrate its half-century reign.

To help kick off the celebration, the sandwich and the famous King will be immortalized today in Madame Tussauds wax attraction in New York City’s Times Square. It joins the ranks of all-star entertainers, athletes, politicians, and historic icons, but is the first food product to receive such an honor. Heralding the installation of the figure–which portrays the King presenting the Whopper on a silver platter–the live King and his royal entourage, accompanied by Whopper fans, will escort the figure to its unveiling.

“The Whopper sandwich is a sensation worldwide. Whether you’re 15 or 50, live in Austin or Austria, the Whopper stands for a big, flame-grilled burger made your way,” says Russ Klein, president of global marketing, strategy, and innovation, Burger King Corp. “Burger King started the customization phenomenon with the Whopper, and our guests keep coming back because they always get what they want–a superior burger that delivers on their individual tastes.”

The sandwich made its debut on March 4, 1957, when Burger King Corp. founders David Edgerton and James McLamore concocted a burger of unrivaled size in their original Miami restaurant.

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