Friday, March 28, 2008

When you're hot, you're hot...

Good news for people like me who are obsessed with defunct advertising mascots! (Hey! What's with the looks?) A news blurb courtesy of Cartoon Brew says that Renegade Animation has obtained the rights to the Funny Face characters and is working on a pilot for a potential cartoon series.

(This is a color version of a picture I did for the last issue of GRRL zine waaaay back towards the end of the 20th Century featuring Funny Face mugs.)

For those of you who have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, some history: Back in the sixties Pillsbury (They of the giggling dough dude) were jealous of the bucks General Foods was raking in with Kool Aid. (Fun fact: Originally Kool Aid was a liquid concentrate called "Fruit Smack". No wonder Kurt Cobain used to use the stuff to die his hair...) Figuring to outdo Kool Aid's pitcher-with-a-face-draw-on (Later to be known as "Kool Aid Man") Funny Face drink packets featured a whole menagerie of cartoon characters, such as Goofy Grape, Lefty Lemon, Loudmouth Lime...and more controversially Injun Orange and Chinese Cherry. (These were later changed to the less racially divisive Jolly Ollie Orange and Choo-Choo Cherry.) Additionally, they created a barrage of merchandise featuring the characters, most popularly a set of drink mugs. (You can see a slew of Funny Face premiums and packages here at the wonderful Imaginary World site.) Unfortunately, although fondly remembered, Funny Face never did that well against Kool Aid. It didn't help that in the sixties is was made with cyclamates, and even after they were removed there was the perception among some that the stuff could still kill white rats.

So will the cartoon be any good? I admit I've never seen Renegade's TV shows Hi Hi Puffy Amy Yumi or the Mr Men show, but I do remember when Elmo Aardvark was running strong. That and other shorts of theirs I've seen were highly entertaining, so here's hoping...

In the meantime to whet your appetites (Or thirsts, as the case may be.) here's a couple of vintage Funny Face spots:

The sixties version with the original politically incorrect lineup.

The seventies version with less cancer and less appealing art direction.

1 comment:

Susskins said...

I loved Funny Face.

Mom had a set of anodized aluminum drinking glasses, in various shiny colors. The purple one was prized by us kids, and was always referred to as Goofy Grape.