Mr. Potato Head

Mr_Potato_Head_1952

I’d forgotten Mr. Potato Head did not originally come with a head. This famous toy introduced in 1952 consisted of a box of pushpin eyes, ears, nose, lips, shoes and hat to be inserted into real potatoes or other vegetables or fruit. Three problems emerged: First, consumers considered it wasteful and irresponsible to use food as a toy. Second, the vegetables rotted. Third, the pushpins were sharp. Not to mention, the small pieces could be easily swallowed. A plastic head and government regulations eventually took care of these problems. Also, Mr. Potato Head was the first toy advertised on television directed at children instead of parents? (Some sources claim it was actually the first toy advertised on television.) Sales peaked at over a million, and toy marketing changed forever. By 1974, the plastic potato body had doubled in size, and the Potato family had grown in numbers and popularity. New family members included Mrs. Potato Head, Brother Spud and Sister Yam. Pets were called Spud-ettes. As they say, the rest is history: More accessories, more characters, parade appearances, spokesperson, theme park characters, television and movies, clothing items and much more–all started by a young man named George Lerner who used to make make dolls from fruits and vegetables for his little sisters.

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