A brief look back at the news of the previous decade from the perspective of one of its biggest celebrities, Hollywood star, toy Hall-of-Famer and Rhode Island’s own, Mr. Potato Head:
Upon opening the parcel, Customs officers were greeted with the smiling face of Mr. Potato Head. When a panel from Mr. Potato Head’s back was removed, a quantity of MDMA (ecstasy) tablets was found in a small taped bag concealed in the cavity space.
-- Australian customs postal director Karen Williams after discovering a large amount of drugs inside a Mr. Potato Head toy mailed to Sydney from Ireland. From Google News AFP. Oct. 3, 2007.
Its bright colors, strange shape and moveable parts make it fascinating for Louis. The secret space within Mr. Potato Head allows us to hide tasty treats like fresh crab inside and that perhaps more than anything has resulted in him becoming such a hit.
-- Matt Slater of Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay, Cornwall referring to a 6-foot, giant Pacific octopus that refused to let go of a Mr. Potato Head for hours at a time. From The Scuba Herald. Jan. 11, 2008.
On the Democratic side it’s definitely Senator Obama, and on the Republic side it’s Senator McCain.
-- Andy Green, an Iowa man who gained national attention by asking 2008 Presidential candidates and other politicians to pose for photographs with a Mr. Potato Head, referring to his best-selling snapshots. His portfolio included images with Obama, McCain, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and John Edwards, whom Green described as the most uncomfortable with the idea. From WHDH News. Jan. 2, 2008.
If you look at this potato head, the only thing missing is a watermelon.
-- Onna Moniz-John, East Providence affirmative action officer after seeing Kathy Szarko’s “Tourist Tater,” one of the giant Mr. Potato Heads that appeared throughout the state as part of a Rhode Island tourism campaign in 2000. From A.P. reporter Gillian Flynn’s story as reported on ABC News. Sept. 30, 2000.
He’s a potato. That’s why he’s brown.
-- The artist Szarko, responding to the complaint.
The whole Potato Head campaign is supposed to encourage people to visit. Obviously, we did not intend to offend anyone.
-- Then Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian on the decision to remove the 6-foot Mr. Potato Head from outside City Hall. The statue had been on display since May but complaints started after its photo appeared in a newspaper in September.
Mr. Potato Head goes organic.
-- Headline on a story about giant potatoes riding bicycles in the Dutch countryside to promote the health benefits of organic farming. From the Web site, www.greenpeace.org. May 29, 2009.
Starbucks teaching efficiency with Mr. Potato Head.
-- Headline on a blog post quoting a Wall Street Journal story about Starbucks executives training managers throughout the country: “One odd tactic that he used was to challenge managers to reassemble and box a Mr. Potato Head toy.” From the site, www.bloggingstocks.com. Aug. 5, 2009.
Hasbro Inc.’s Mr. Potato Head, for example, demonstrates the potential for amusement in manipulating and distorting the human form and shows that children’s toys can find a place in art.
-- Quoted from Farrah Tan’s article headlined “Mr. Potato Head, Barbie and Eeyore help redefine our view of bodies in student-curated art exhibition,” about a show titled “Bodies Unbound: The Classical and Grotesque” at Cornell University. From The Cornell Chronicle. May 5, 2010.
‘Toy Story 3’ hits a high point of comic surrealism when Mr. Potato Head is forced to reinvent himself as Mr. Pita Bread Head – it’s harder than it looks, especially when a pigeon turns up…
-- Quoted from Ty Burr’s review of “Toy Story 3” in The Boston Globe. June 18, 2010.
…that’s what Mr. Potato Head has always been about. You can make him into anything you want…His theme isn’t just imagination, but the opportunity to be and do anything.
-- Quoted from Matt Cuthbert’s article headlined “Mr. Potato Head encourages kids to tap their imagination at McWane Science Center” about “The Adventures of Mr. Potato Head” exhibition in Birmingham, Ala. From the Web site, al.com. July 6, 2010.
They say, ‘That’s Mr. Potato Head! You can’t throw him away! You’ve gotta give him to the neighbor kids! People identify with him so much.
-- Mark Westlund, spokesman for San Francisco’s Department of the Environment, responding to the anger of city residents when they discovered Mr. Potato Head figures were being used on blue recycling bins to promote responsible waste disposal. As a result, the city reversed its plan to transform Mr. Potato Head into Mr. Plastic and place him “alongside detergent bottles, disposable cups and other plastic items,” according to reporter Joe Eskenazi. From The San Francisco Weekly. Sept. 15, 2010.
So a nation heaves a sigh of relief. After all that worry, Mr. Potato Head is back in the ample, if recently sagging, bosom of Manchester United.
-- British magazine The Week quoting Rod Liddle in The Sunday Times about England footballer Wayne Rooney’s expensive return to Old Trafford. The British press has begun referring to Rooney routinely as Mr. Potato Head. Oct. 30, 2010.
What has been your favorite Potato Head moment of the new millennium?