Sunday, January 7, 2007

Mr. Potato Head and Friends

Who is everyone's favorite anthropomorphic tuber? Of course, I'm referring to Mr. Potato Head. I, like all children for the past 50 years, had a Mr. Potato Head. My Mr. Potato Head was the 70's Romper Room style complete with Groucho Marx (or Hitler) facial hair and the politically incorrect pipe. Alas, there was no Mrs. Potato Head (perhaps for the same reason my Barbies had no Ken?). Then, 10 years later Mr. Potato Head found his mate and started a family (it turns out even potato heads prefer younger women). Here is a group portrait c. 1986:

I liked Mr. Potato Head as much as the next person, but frankly found him rather pedestrian. At the time, I was not aware of his long history and and his many, more colorful friends. In the beginning, Mr. Potato Head was a real potato you provided yourself, or any other fruit or vegetable which struck your fancy: pepper, onion, orange, apple, beet, for example.

In the 60s, Mr Potato Head traded in his edible pate for a non-molding plastic model, although he still retained a full torso with arms and legs. Best of all, he acquired some more interesting companions including Pete the Pepper, Oscar Orange, Katie the Carrot, and Cooky Cucumber:

Unfortunately, Mr. Potato Head fell in with a bad crowd toward the end of the 60s. He eschewed his low calorie, high-fiber friends and began hanging out with Franky Frank, Willie Burger, Frenchy Fry, Mr. Soda Pop Head and the condiment gang, Mr. Mustard Head and Mr. Ketchup Head:

He hit rock bottom in 1969 when he teamed up with Dunkie Donut. Mr. Potato Head cleaned himself up the 70s, but not without the loss of his torso and arms. The spud, his wife, and their many offspring are still going strong. He even has some new, healthier (though still high-carb) friends, the Spud Buds: One must hope that Mr. Potato Head will endure another 50 years.

Monday, January 1, 2007


Happy New Year and welcome to Food with Eyes. No, this blog is not a vegan rant against animal derived products, but a tribute to anthropomorphic food characters, or as I like to call them, Food with Eyes. Some of these characters may be well-known advertising icons such as Mr. Peanut, while others are more obscure, or simply artists' creations without ties to merchandising. Others may not even be food per se, but anthropomorphic inanimate objects.

Posts will feature images from my collection with some explanatory details if known. I'm sure I will not be able to give proper credit for the majority of items, so I would like to thank graphic designers, artists, and illustrators past and present for their work in making food come to life.

One might ask why would someone be so interested in food with eyes as to collect items and even produce a blog? I asked myself that very question as I have had a particular interest in food with eyes for as long as I can remember. Thinking back, one of my earliest memories involves food with eyes. It was Christmas, 1973, and I had recently turned 2 years old. Beneath the tree a set of plastic cookware with faces greeted me, complete with a smiling piece of toast. Alas, the toys themselves no longer remain, but one picture reveals the set:

A close-up of the cheerful toast:

A bit of searching reveals other, perhaps earlier, incarnations of the set:

Perhaps I was not the only one to be enthralled by the smiling cookware and toast; Mr. Toast looks like he could be a direct descendant....