This week in nerd history, he’s king of the spuds.
On April 30th, 1952, Mr. Potato Head became the first toy advertised on television. The campaign was also the first to be aimed directly at children. Before this, commercials were only targeted at adults, including radio toy advertisements.
The commercial revolutionized marketing and caused an industrial boom. Over 1 million kits were sold in the first year. In 1953, a Mrs. Potato Head variant was added, and soon after, brother Spud and sister Yam completed the family, followed by accessories reflecting the affluence of the 1950s – a car, a boat trailer, kitchen set, stroller, and pets marketed as Spudettes.
Mr. Potato Head sets were originally produced as separate plastic parts to be attached to a real potato or other vegetables. However, in the early 1960s, government regulations forced the potato head parts to be less sharp, leaving them unable to puncture vegetables easily. Children also were choking on the small pieces or cutting themselves with the sharp pieces. So by 1964, the company introduced a plastic potato body in its kit.
I’m Radio Matt. See you next time for more Nerd History.
Nerd History is an LTN Radio audio short that shares some fun facts about different things from nerd culture’s past.