The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Mr Potato Head

       This post is dedicated to Rosalind Adams of Writing in the Rain.   She posted about Mr. Potato Head in the A to Z Challenge of 2012.  I commented that I had a story started about this topic and I would post it sometime after that Challenge.  I guess I've waited long enough.
Mr. Potato Head
Mr. Potato Head (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mr. Potato Head

         A couple of years ago after going to bed one night I mentioned to my wife that I wished I were Mr. Potato Head.  I had been experiencing some odd discomfort concerning my ears and arms when trying to go to sleep and I began thinking how it would be much more comfortable if I could remove my arms and ears in order to sleep better.  The Mr. Potato Head toy immediately came to mind.

       My wife found my statement to be enormously funny and fell into a fit of laughter.  Having grown up in Ecuador she had never encountered the toy called Mr. Potato Head so she had no idea what I was talking about.  Just the term Mr. Potato Head was enough to set her off.

        Most of you are probably at least familiar with the Mr. Potato Head toy character in the Toy Story films.  He's obviously a post-1962 Mr. Potato Head since the plastic body didn't appear on the scene until that date.  When I received my Mr. Potato Head toy in the 1950's there were only body part pieces that you could stick into potatoes or other vegetables, fruits, or whatever in order to create comic characters.

       When I saw this toy advertised on television I pestered my mother until she bought me one.   I'm not sure if she gave it to me for my birthday or Christmas, but eventually I was the proud owner of an official Mr. Potato Head.  Like many toys that I received as a child, I don't remember much about actually playing with this.  After all, there are only so many memories to be had from sticking eyes, ears, noses, and other body parts into a vegetable.  Besides, my mother probably didn't give me that many vegetables to play with in those leaner days when my parents were starting out in life and food was not meant to be played with.

        The Mr. Potato Head body parts probably lingered in my toy box for years after that with a piece disappearing here or there as the months passed.   Later my brother and sister got their own Potato Heads with the new addition of the plastic head/body that was much more practical than using some old real potato that would get pretty nasty after a period of skewering it with plastic body parts.

        Most of us have probably had a Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head at sometime in our lives.  At least those of us who lived in countries where they are sold and that is probably most of the world by now.  It's a rather odd little toy when you think about it, but a clever idea as well.  I don't know if kids like simple things like this in today's technological world.  Now Mr. Potato Head is probably a character in a computer game capable of far more amazing things than merely having facial features plugged in so he can stand around looking inanimate.  The computer games can bring the guy to life and kids can dispense with their imaginations and just let the software take over their little Potato Head brains.

      Back to that silly night two years ago, my wife laughed even more when I explained the story of who Mr. Potato Head was and what could be done with him.  We giggled ourselves silly as I described being able to remove my arms and ears for the night and setting them on the nightstand until I was ready to use them again the next day.

Mr Potato Head
Mr Potato Head (Photo credit: Stuart Bryant)
      Actually this is kind of a creepy idea.  I'm not sure I even want to think of a situation where my arms, ears, or other parts could be removed and put back on later or why I would be in such a situation.   I begin to imagine a day when we could become bionic beings with replaceable and interchangeable parts.  That day may be coming. In some ways it's already here.

       Mr. Potato Head was the man of tomorrow.   The future of what we might all become one day.  Mr. Potato Head, once the man of tomorrow, is now the man of today.   Mr. Potato Head is here!  I am Mr. Potato Head!

        My wife and I laughed until the images faded into our sleepy brains and we fell into a vegetated state like two cozy potatoes.

        Did you have a Mr.Potato Head when you were a child?   Do you ever wish you had Potato Head powers?   What stupid thing has gotten you into a laughing fit?



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35 comments:

  1. Yes, I had a Mr. Potato Head. Such a simple toy, I'm surprised they still make them. When allergy season kicks in, I do wish I could remove my nose.

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  2. I have a few with my most recent... Darth Tader. I think I am a potato head sometimes, when I have my "oh my gosh" moments "how did I do that"...

    Jeremy H.

    New Look, New Name and Same Stuff...
    [Being-Retro]

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  3. Yes, I did. One of my co-workers has a collection of about 20 lined up around her office now.

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  4. Great post Lee, wish I could remove my head at times especially when it comes to adjustments being made by Chrome losing all my followers.

    Have a great week-end.
    Yvonne.

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  5. Yes, I did have a Mr. Potato Head. And I remember really liking him. I don't think they have simple toys like this anymore, or even if kids would like them, with all the high tech phones, I pads, and computer games to keep them dazzled. Me, I remember playing jacks and stick ball and bouncing a rubber ball and saying things like "A my name is Alice."

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  6. I didn't have a Mr. Potato Head. I had just about every Snoopy toy made, so I don't feel I was deprived.

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  7. For some reason this post reminds me of that mouse with the ear growing on the back of it.

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  8. Alex -- Fortunately I am not troubled by allergies. I feel for those I know who are.

    Jeremy -- Darth Tader! I saw that listed on some site. Mr Potato Head collectibles. Who would have dreamed it 60 years ago?

    Sheila -- That sounds like a fun collection.

    Yvonne -- A removable head could be handy.

    Karen -- I don't know what "My name is Alice" is all about but I played jacks and bounced plenty of rubber balls--especially when I was juggling.

    L.Diane -- I would imagine the Snoopy toys have become collectibles. Did you keep them?

    Banned-- That was kind of direction my thoughts started going when I got deeper into the Mr. Potato Head concept. It started getting kind of freaky.

    Lee

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  9. What a great bedtime story! Me? Yup, I had a Mr. Potato head and had to use a real potato. After I played with it one time, I forgot about it and my mother found it all squishy and stinky. She took Mr. Potato head away from me and I missed him so. Maybe that's why I now have a propensity for men with big, stick out ears.

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  10. Don't know if we had Mr. Potato Head in England when I was a kid, I certainly didn't have one.

    If you think about all the prosthetics, we are becoming Mr. Potato Heads.

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  11. Funny story. I don't recall a Potato Head toy in South African when I was growing up.

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  12. Hi Lee thanks for your comments,
    Here's the story I went to bed Wednesday everything ok.
    Went out on Thursday, logged on about 2pm English time and all the people I follow was missing plus my Google Connect. I don't understand the messages people are recieving as I have NEVER blocked anyone before or would do either.
    Thanks for your help I will again start from scratch over the week-end.

    Enjoy your week-end.
    Yvonne.

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  13. I probably have around a dozen or so different potato heads now that they make collectible ones. I have Darth Vader, R2-D2, Yoda, Optimus Prime, Indiana Jones, Spider-Man and more. It's a great toy.

    I do sometimes wish I could take off my right arm for sleeping.

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  14. Em -- Rotting vegetables was probably one of the biggest Potato Head problems.

    Jo -- Yeah, scary thought of us all becoming Mr. Potato Head. Absurd, but kind of creepy.

    Rite -- I'm sure they have them now. Mr. Potato Head is world wide due to Toy Story

    Yvonne-- It is all very strange. I haven't heard of anyone else having these problems. Sorry that you've been having to deal with it. I hope someone comes to your rescue about your blog problems.

    Lee

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  15. Andrew -- Yeah, right? That arm problem gets kind of uncomfortable sometimes. Lately it hasn't bothered me, but when it does it makes it difficult to get to sleep. Going collectible was a smart move since Potato Head is so retro and connects with a lot of older people with money to spend on the figures.

    Lee

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  16. We had a Mr. Potato Head that all three kids shared. I was forever checking that we had all the parts since not all my siblings (as in neither...) were that worried about having all the parts to a toy collected and with that toy.
    I know that a stomach wasn't part of the toy, but that's the part of my body I'd like to remove right now. Acid reflux is killing me...
    Tina @ Life is Good

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  17. I wish I actually had the money to spend on the figures. I had to leave so many of the Star Wars potato heads behind when we went to Disney Land.

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  18. BOIDMAN ~
    Yep, I too had a Mr. Potato Head when I was a kid.

    Speaking of potatoes...

    Last night, DiscConnected (LC) and I attended a Booker T. Jones concert here in Phoenix. After the show, I purchased one of his CDs which he autographed for me.

    The disc is from 2009 and is titled 'POTATO HOLE'. It features The Drive-By Truckers backing Booker T. on his Hammond B-3 and also includes Neil Young on electric guitar.

    It's all instrumental, and includes some heavy duty monster tracks that I think you might like quite a bit. Harder riffing and more distortion than the classic Booker T. And The MG's sound, but I'm digging it, and I think you might dig it to, Bro.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  19. I had a Mister and Mrs. Potato Head as a child. I never thought of them as creepy toys until I saw the movies Toy Story. Oddly, I never bought my own children the potato heads.

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  20. Tina -- Those pointed parts of the piece could be dangerous to the feet when left scattered on the floor.

    Andrew -- A Potato Head collection would be fun to have on display though these days I'm trying to get rid of everything nonessential.

    StMc -- Very cool. If I had an autographed copy I'd hang onto it, but of late I've been working on selling off my LP's. I'll wait on the CD's but they'll probably start going eventually. I always liked Booker T. especially the album with "Time Is Tight". We may have discussed that one some years ago.

    Susan -- The Potato Head characters are pretty retro. I'll bet most of them are bought by adults for themselves and put on display.

    Lee

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  21. I never heard of the Mr Pitato Head where you had to use a real potato, BUT I do know Mr Potato Head. I never had one, but always wanted him. Dumb thing, but I actually felt deprived. Please don't tell me to go buy myself one now. I DID get over it. I did have a Cootie game, and loved putting those creepy creatures together.

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  22. Never had that toy but seen it on TV loads of times. Fun post Arlee, I'd get a laugh out of that wish as well.

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  23. That is a funny story. The removal/replacement of body parts for convenience, aesthetics, what have you - sounds like a great premise for a sci-fi novel, actually. I'm surprised Philip K. Dick never thought of it.

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  24. Hi, I loved Mr. Potato Head when I was a child. I had both Mr. and Mrs. Just thought I stop by for a check in. I read regularly but don't comment much. I mentioned you in my post today too as part of Create With Joy's Blogaversary theme on her hop. Anyway, thought you would want to know.

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  25. Yes, indeed. I had a Mr. Potato head--even the real one. Now my grandkids have the plastic version, but I love the story of your nighttime woes. Made me laugh. My ears itch at night and it would be pure heaven to be able to remove them!

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  26. Faraway -- I loved the Cootie game. I'd forgotten all about that one. They may have been made by the same toy company.

    Sheena-kay -- I believe it was one of the first toys marketed on television directly to kids. The marketing worked.

    Squid - I would imagine the premise has been used somewhere in sci-fi history. And it can be used again!

    Mary Hill-- Always happy when you comment. Don't be a stranger. I'll check out your post.

    Sharon -- At least I know now that I'm not alone in my body part woes.

    Lee

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  27. It's so cool to see an actual Mr Potato Head when they were first made, the Toy Story film convinced my brother to buy one which we still have lying around somewhere, I have no idea where it is though, or all the accompanying pieces which makes me feel sad.

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  28. I never had one but bought them for the boys, and then today while out shopping I found something similar. Different face parts for your pumpkin! No more carving needed, just stick on the nose, ears, eyes - etc. Only problem they weren't scary enough. LOL But I'm sure that once again the kids will love them!

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  29. Like every good American kid in our age bracket, I had a Potato Head. It was mainly used around other kids for laugh value, but I seldom played with it on my own. I was too busy making superheroes out of vacuum tools and can openers and spaceships out of wire connectors.

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  30. It's good to see that so many people enjoyed Mr Potato Head before games became computerised. I loved mine and remember returning to it on one occasion to find that it had sprouted long white shoots! Thank you so much for dedicating this post to me and sorry I wasn't able to drop in any sooner.

    May we all giggle ourselves to sleep at night. It sounds like fun :-)

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  31. I don't remember any of my siblings or myself having a Mr. Potato Head, but my son had one. He also had the talking Woody doll, Buzz Lightyear, the Dinosaur and a few of the other characters. It seemed to be a theme one year when it came to Christmas and his birthday.

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  32. Yep, as one born near the end of the Baby Boom, I had a Mr. Potato head. I think I had the pre-plastic and plastic, too. Like you, the thrill of it was short lived, just as I've seen my kids play with certain things two time and it's over. But it must have meant something to me because I bought them one when they were small.

    They are teens now, so they don't waste my money on toys, but now on clothes! There are a few items that hardly get worn after being begged for.

    I can imagine your Potato Head story to your wife and can understand why it was so funny to her. :)

    Yesterday, I saw a Diana Nyad interview where she explained how she'd been stung by the box jellyfish during her previous swim and how it made her burn. She put such emphasis on the burning that it stayed in my head.

    When my daughter and I saw her again telling the story, without thinking, I belted out the song by Alicia Keys, "This Girl is on Fire!" Then I said "oops" and my daughter and I had a bonding laughing moment.

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  33. The Mr. Potato Head I had as a kid came with a Styrofoam "head" and all the various plastic parts. It was fun because you could arrange the parts anyway you wanted. Multiple eyes on one side, an arm sticking out the top, etc. When I purchased a Mr. Potato Head for my kids, I was disappointed to find a plastic head with slots for the various body parts. The kids could only stick a part in an appropriate slot. Way too structured for me.

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  34. Don't think I ever owned a Mr. Potato Head, but do recall playing with him. Funny, some of the most simple toys turned out to be blockbusters. Slinky, Play-Doh? Loved how you and your wife laughed yourselves silly. Not two peas in a pod, just two silly potato heads!

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  35. Yeamie -- Those things may become collectors items one day.

    Yolanda -- The Jack'o'lantern kits seams like a natural spin off.

    CW -- You were taking creativity to the next level.

    Rosalind -- It took me long enough to get this post on my site!

    Susanne - I guess most kids of the Toy Story generation had at least a few of the toys featured in the films.

    Anita - It's funny the associations we can make that will make us laugh.

    LD- I seemed to remember the styrofoam version at one time as well. Maybe that's what my younger brothers had when they were young.

    Buck-- The simple toys have much to be said for them. Maybe we need to go back to greater simplicity.

    Lee

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