Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Who's Laughing Now?

I visited a junk shop in Maplewood last Monday during lunch and came across a set of vintage Funny Face cups.  The cups were marked $2 each.  I only had $12 on me, so I bought as many as I could.

Funny Face was a powdered juice mix drink made by Pillsbury starting in 1964.  It was similar to Kool-aid, but was pre-sweetened with cyclamate (an early sugar substitute) and touted as a dietary drink. In 1968, cyclamate was banned in the United States because it was found (in high dosages) to cause bladder cancer in laboratory rats.  Funny Face re-released their drink with Saccharine, however, consumers found the aftertaste unpleasant and sales dropped.  In 1970, Pillsbury followed Kool-aid's suit and once again re-released Funny Face without sweetener as a "just add sugar" mix.

The first four Funny Face mugs were initially offered in 1969.

*ad image courtesy of theimaginaryworld.com

Goofy Grape

Lefty Lemon

Freckle-Face Strawberry

Choo Choo Cherry

Two additional mugs were offered in 1970.

*ad image courtesy of theimaginaryworld.com

Loud Mouth Punch

Jolly Olly Orange

When first released, Jolly Olly Orange and Choo Choo Cherry had less-than-sensitive ethnically-derived names and imagery.

*package image courtesy of theimaginaryworld.com

*package image courtesy of theimaginaryworld.com

According to the story told here, in 1966, Native Americans brought an official complaint against the Pillsbury Company for the use of offensive stereotypes resulting in the change to the new names.

By the mid 1970's, sales of Funny Face were being trampled by a certain anthropomorphic pitcher with a penchant for yelling, "Oh Yeah!"  Their once Funny Faces faded to a frown in 1983.


  1. whoa - i remember these! i do NOT recall that cherry one, though... ooof. wonder how those two even got approval in the first place...!

  2. Holy moley! I love Funny Face mugs! My brother and I had most of them when we were kids and I look for them every time I'm in a thrift store. That was a great deal. Congrats!


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