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Remember Popsicle Pete

January 20, 2012

Pete began his long-running stint as spokesman for the Popsicle brand company in the 1930s. A red-headed, red-blooded American chap, he seemed to embody all that was good and nostalgic about childhood and frozen treats and summer vacation.

The character is said to have been created and originally drawn by artist Woody Gelman, who also did artwork for Bazooka Joe.

Before long, Popsicle Pete rose to popularity and became the subject of print ads, commercials and activity books. Adding to his coolness, Pete had a pony named Chiefy who spent his free time snagging snacks in all the towns where Pete traveled peddling popsicles. But contrary to popular belief, Chiefy was no mere soundless sidekick or beast of burden. Once, when Popsicle Pete fell ill, Chiefy led a town in the county parade, taking up the popsicle propagating until Pete recuperated!

Like most advertising characters, Popsicle Pete's success relied heavily on premiums. So the Popsicle company issued Popsicle Pete coupons, with the promise of fun prizes--miniature flashlights, small toys, etc.--with the collection of set amounts of coupons.

He was last seen around 1995, still fighting the good fight of popsicle proliferation. It was a thankless gig, one that sent him out with a whimper instead of the wonderful retirement package and fanfare he deserved. But even so, those of us who remember the countless summers spent with orange-flavored popsicles packaged and presented by Popsicle Pete celebrate his years of service with the legacy of memories and anecdotes he deserves.

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