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Pillsbury’s Funny-Face Drink Mix

funny faceIn 1965, our country wasn’t quite as culturally sensitive as it is today. That year, Pillsbury tried to cut into the profits of Kool-Aid with their own pre-sweetened drink mix, Funny-Face.

Each package of Funny-Face was to be added to two quarts of cold water, no sugar needed. Funny Face was potently sweetened with cyclamates, and the package weighed little more than a similar package of unsweetened Kool-Aid.

I’ve got memories of this stuff way in the back of my head. I probably caught the tail-end of it in the early seventies. If I could get Mom to pick up Funny-Face and a bottle of bubbles during our trip to the store, it was a good afternoon.

The original flavors included Goofy Grape, Chinese Cherry, Loud Mouth Lime, Lefty Lemon, Injun Orange, Freckle Faced Strawberry, and Rootin’ Tootin’ Raspberry.

There were pictures of the character on the front of the packages. The characters were eventually deemed demeaning to their related ethnic groups, and a re-naming spree kicked in. Chinese Cherry became Choo Choo Cherry and Injun Orange became a portly Jolly Olly Orange. Lefty Lemon and Loud Mouth Lime were combined to make Lefty Lemon-Lime.

funny faceSo let’s see if we can identify who was being offended with these playful powdered drink mascots.

Goofy Grape = goofy people
Chinese Cherry = Chinese people
Loud Mouth Lime = loud people
Lefty Lemon = left-handed people
Injun Orange = Native Americans
Freckle Faced Strawberry = people with freckles
Jolly Olly Orange = fat people
Rootin’ Tootin’ Raspberry = cowboys

How dare they???

Anyway, banning of cyclamates changed the Funny-Face formula. First was to sell it unsweetened, but people complained that they’d rather buy Kool-Aid. By the time Pillsbury added sugar to the mix, Kool-Aid had already regained the marginal lost market. (“Hey, Kool-Aid!”)

Sources: Gone Things and personal recollections

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