We all had one – even our parents had them as children! Mr. Potato Head has been a popular childhood plaything since 1952.
The lovable spud with interchangeable limbs, facial features and accessories provided hours of harmless, silly fun.
Sure, he can look a little weird, but the potato head you know today was a very different dude in the beginning…
You might assume that because he’s a simple spud, there can’t be that much you don’t know about Mr. Potato Head.
The truth is, since he was first invented by George Lerner of New York City in 1952, he has gone through some pretty incredible changes!
Before that sleek plastic potato shaped body, Mr. Potato Head was actually just a collection of limbs and facial features that came in a box.
These spiked adornments could be poked into any vegetable, but, of course, a potato was preferred!
Mr. Potato Head’s creator, George Lerner, couldn’t find a company in the late 1940’s that was interested in selling face-parts for vegetables.
Since post-war families were still cautious about wasting food as playthings for their kids, toy makers didn’t see the value in manufacturing the pieces. He decided to distribute the toy as a prize in cereal boxes.
Brothers, Henry and Merril Hassenfeld, were the owners of a textiles and pencil-box business. While their boxes sold well with school supplies, they hit the jackpot when they swapped out pencils for Mr. Potato Head parts.
The brothers made four million dollars in sales in 1952.
The strength of the Mr. Potato Head sales was such that the Hassenfeld brothers decided to focus solely on making toys and shortened their name to Hasbro.
They became one of the largest toy companies in the world!
Well, sort of. As their way of saying ‘thanks’ to the spud that started it all, Hasbro’s company checks are watermarked with Mr. Potato Head’s face!
French-speaking Canadians know him as Monsieur Patate and he is sometimes sold with a missing tooth!
Why is his tooth missing? From a rough and rowdy game of hockey!
New government laws required That Mr. Potato Head undergo an adorable makeover after anti-choking regulations demanded that all of his parts be large and round enough that no child could swallow them.
Rather than a separate, Mrs. Potato Head, Hasbro originally sold more “feminine” features as a “lady accessory kit” for dressing up Mr. Potato head in the 1070’s.
From 1998 to ’99, The Mr. Potato Head Show had a coveted slot on the Fox Family channel.
Mr. Potato Head holds the record for “Most votes for Mr. Potato Head in a Political Campaign.”
In 1985, he received four votes in the Boise, Idaho mayoral election.