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Happy Birthday Mr. P!

50th Birthday Mr. Potato Head

Cartoonist Jim Davis

Original Mr. & Mrs Potato Head

50th Mr. Potato Head poses with first Mr. Potato Head

Dunkie Donut-Head

Doll News March 18, 2002
By John Medeiros

Mr. Potato Head at 50:

Spud-ly as Ever!

Mr. Potato Head turned 50 this year and what a full life this guy has led. His many roles have included a husband, father, railroad engineer, astronaut, space alien, sheriff, pirate, baseball player for the Chicago Cubs, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. His large circle of friends have included a cucumber, carrot, pepper, frankfurter, hamburger, mustard jar, soda bottle, french fry…even a Dunkin Donut.

On Feb 5th, the birthday spud was celebrated by more friends including Alan G. Hassenfeld, Hasbro's chairman and CEO, and Jim Davis, of GARFIELD fame, co-creator of the internationally-syndicated Mr. Potato Head comic strip. The event marked the beginning of a year-long celebration with all the right parts, including the ``50 Years of Smiles'' Promotion to benefit the children's charity organization, OPERATION SMILE, and a nationwide Spud-Mobile tour, proving that turning 50 has great a-peel.

Like all Americans turning 50, MR. POTATO HEAD also became a member of AARP, receiving his AARP card from Jim Parkel, AARP President-elect, in an official induction ceremony. ``MR. POTATO HEAD'S trademark positive outlook makes us proud to have him as a card carrying member of AARP,'' said Parkel, ``He is a great role model for others hitting their boomer years, truly embodying the philosophy that 50 is fabulous and one is forever young.''

In 1952, the first toy ever advertised on television encouraged kids to turn a bag of parts and a potato into a ``funny face man.'' Since then, MR. POTATO HEAD'S status as an American icon has been no small potatoes. ``Throughout his life, MR. POTATO HEAD has touched the lives of millions,'' said Alan G. Hassenfeld, Hasbro Chairman and CEO. ``He is so much more than a Hasbro classic, he's a cultural icon, and it is the people who have brought him into their homes - and hearts - that have helped him achieve that status. This birthday celebration is our way of saying thank you, and ushering in the next 50 years of good spirit and good will.''

Jim Davis discussed his role in bringing an American icon to the funny pages, and proudly introduced the guest of honor leading party celebrants of all ages in a rousing chorus of ``Happy Birthday, MR. POTATO HEAD.''

The MR. POTATO HEAD 50th birthday celebration will continue throughout 2002 so that all fans can take part in the action. There will be a national ``50 Years of Smiles'' Promotion where consumers can enter to win $25,000 with Hasbro making a generous donation to OPERATION SMILE, which is celebrating it's 20th Anniversary in 2002. In addition, MR. POTATO HEAD is expected to attend birthday parties in his honor at more than 250 participating WAL-MART stores nationwide.

``MR. POTATO HEAD has always brought smiles to children's faces and we are incredibly thankful to Hasbro for making this wonderful opportunity possible for our worldwide organization,'' said Dr. William P. Magee, Co-founder, OPERATION SMILE. ``This birthday celebration will directly change the lives of children with unfortunate, but correctable deformities, and they, in turn, will be able to express their gratitude with smiles of their own. Any potato that can do all that is truly a blessing.''

MR. POTATO HEAD wants to celebrate his birthday with those he loves best - the consumers who have made him such a recognizable symbol of American culture. So, he is taking his party on a national Spud-Mobile tour, making stops at participating WAL-MART stores around the country from February to November, and appearing at other events nationwide.

At select WAL-MART stores, shoppers can visit the MR. POTATO HEAD kiosk and see many of the wonderful things MR. POTATO HEAD has done in his 50 years. They can play with MR. POTATO HEAD and his parts, sign his birthday card and have their picture taken with the birthday spud himself who will make a personal appearance at each tour stop.

Hasbro is embarking on a national promotion to bring out America's best MR. POTATO HEAD smiles. Between now and November 4, 2002, the company is inviting people ages 2 to 102 across the country to put their best MR. POTATO HEAD smiles into action and submit a photo or drawing showing the person smiling and an image of MR. POTATO HEAD. At the end of the campaign, Hasbro will randomly select one entry and give the lucky person in the picture something to truly smile about - a $25,000 grand prize. There will also be 10 runners-up who will each receive a Hasbro toy and game prize package worth approximately $200.

Collectors and fans can be looking for the special 50th Birthday Collector’s Edition MR. POTATO HEAD! Packaged in a special commemorative storage tin, this MR. POTATO HEAD features retro styling and original-looking parts including a real potato-like body, three pairs of eyes, 3 noses, 3 mouths, 4 ears, 3 hats and 1 pair of glasses. I have seen them available at FAO Schwarz. He retails for about $15-$20 and is worth every cent in his nostalgic appeal. I have been playing with mine for a week!

For more information on the ``50 Years of Smiles'' Promotion, including entry rules and registration form, please visit