Appreciating all that makes America special

Mr. Potato Head

The original Mr. Potato Head came with hands, feet, ears, two mouths, two pairs of eyes, four noses, three hats, eyeglasses, a pipe, and eight pieces of, um, hair. But no body. Uploaded by

It’s hard to believe today, but Mr. Potato Head was originally sold…without a head. Somehow, “Mr. Potato Parts” doesn’t have the same cachet, does it? One George Lerner made some funny body parts for his younger sisters to stick into fruits and vegetables. But this was shortly after World War II, and people weren’t happy with the idea of “wasting” food so they could be toys.

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So George sold his idea to a cereal company, and the body parts were included in cereal packages. But then George got the idea to show it to a couple of brothers named Hassenfeld, and they thought it had potential. So they first began selling Mr. Potato Head in 1952. (The Hassenfeld brothers later changed their company name to Hasbro.) But the toy parts had to be sharp to stick into potatoes, so finally in 1964 an actual plastic head was included in the package. Even so, it was only half as big as what we now know as Mr. Potato Head.

The toy was selling okay, nothing special, until in 1995 it received an excellent supporting role in Pixar’s Toy Story. Don Rickles supplied the voice, and suddenly Mr. Potato Head wasn’t just a bunch of parts – he had a personality! Of course, we know he has a wife, and back in 1985 we learned that he’s a family man – in the short-lived TV series Potato Head Kids. This stud is our favorite spud! He joined the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2000.

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