This month marks 60 years of spud-tastic memories for an iconic toy industry staple that remains a household name.
Mr. Potato Head hit the market in 1952 and has been inspiring imaginative play ever since. For many preschool aged children, ownership of a Mr. Potato Head represents a rite of passage as well as the passing down of a tradition from generation to generation.
Mr. Potato Head was the first-ever toy to be advertised on television and remains one of Hasbro's most beloved characters.
By the numbers, over 100 million Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head toys have been sold to date; more than 30 licensed Mr. Potato Head characters have been created; and there are over 350 Mr. Potato Head parts and pieces available. That's no small potatoes!
Not only is Mr. Potato celebrating his 60th birthday, but he and Mrs. Potato Head renewed their vows this year. Thankfully, neither got cold (removable, interchangeable) feet.
Not one to shy away from the limelight (unless it involves a deep fryer), Mr. Potato Head himself spoke to CNN about turning 60.
CNN: First of all, Mr. Potato Head, Happy 60th birthday - and many more! How does it feel to be 60? Are your "small fry" days behind you?
Mr. Potato Head: Thank you very much! I feel 60 years young, and while I'm no longer a small fry, I'm still a kid at heart. This year the Mrs. and I will celebrate with spud-tastic adventures around the globe!
CNN: How did you get your big break into the toy biz? Can you tell us a little about your history?
Mr. Potato Head: I sprouted into the toy business in 1952 and became the first toy ever advertised on network TV. I've had so many great experiences since then, including being nominated for the mayor of Boise, Idaho, starring in Disney-Pixar's "Toy Story," and walking in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
CNN: What is your personal favorite Mr. Potato Head incarnation?
Mr. Potato Head: It's hard to choose, but if I had to pick one, I'd say my favorite outfit is the spiffy groom's attire that I wore to renew my vows with my sweet potato. I share so many happy memories with the Mrs. - I only have eyes for her!
CNN: You've fostered a lot of kids' imaginations and triggered many fits of giggles for any child who has, for example, placed Mr. Potato Head's nose where his head should be. How does it feel to be, in many cases, a source of laughter?
Mr. Potato Head: There is no better feeling in the world than to bring a smile to a child's face, it is spudtacular! I look forward to the next 60 years of silly, giggly fun with small fries.
CNN: How long have you and Mrs. Potato Head been married? Do you have any advice for keeping a relationship strong? Do you two have special plans for your 60th birthday?
Mr. Potato Head: The Mrs. and I have been married 59 years and we're still mashly in love! My relationship advice would be: Remember to have fun! The Mrs. and I are planning to celebrate my 60th birthday all year long by learning new things, traveling across the globe and making new friends. You can keep up with our adventures on my Facebook page.
CNN: What's the most common misconception that people have about you?
Mr. Potato Head: That I'm a couch potato! The Mrs. and I love to travel and stay active, our adventures keep us young.
CNN: What's the most common question you get asked?
Mr. Potato Head: Everyone wants to know which "part & piece" is my favorite - the answer is my smile, it goes with everything!
Here are some additional Mr. Potato Head fun facts:
- 1952's Mr. Potato Head cost $0.98, consisting of parts only - Mom and Dad supplied the actual (real!) potato.
- Mrs. Potato Head was introduced to the world one year later. The couple tied the knot on Valentine's Day 1953.
- In 1964, Hasbro began manufacturing Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head with hard plastic bodies that held the pieces - and has done so ever since - eliminating the need for real spuds.
- Parts are stored in the Tater Tush™ compartment. (Yep, it's trademarked!)
- Those plastic bodies doubled in size come 1974, and have remained roughly the same size ever since.
- Mr. Potato Head got his AARP card in 2002.
What about you? Did you have a Mr. Potato Head(s)? Which one(s) did you have? What are your fondest Mr. Potato Head memories?