Friday, October 3, 2014


One of the earliest Chirstmas gifts I can remember was a 1960s coloring book of the U.S. Presidents given out by Planter's Peanuts---that peanut company with that ever-present Mr. Peanut mascot gracing the front page. The coloring book, purchased by my Mother from Johnny's grocery in downtown Angeles City, featured all the American presidents--from Washington to Kennedy. It was one of the few color books that I did not keep, so when I found this smaller paint book version--I knew this would be a perfect substitute!
Planters Peanuts was founded by Italian Amedeo Obici in 1906, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. In 1916 the company held a contest to create a company logo and the contest was won by a 14 year old . schoolboy named Antonio Gentile who drew a Peanut Man. Artist Frank P. Krize, Sr., improved it by adding a top hat, a monocle, and a cane to the drawing, and Mr. Peanut was born. By the mid-1930s, the raffish figure had come to symbolize the entire peanut industry, appeared on packages, advertising and premium items like this paint book.
The paint book features side-by-side illustrations of the U.S. presidents--one in black and white and one in color, to be used as a color guide. Defining events from the president's term are also drawn; in the case of Pres. Kennedy, the age of space exploration is shown. The paint book is unused and dates before Kennedy's assassination.
Planters Peanut products were available in limited quantities in the Philippines--through the military PX goods mostly. Even today, Planters are imported, available in select groceries and supermarkets like S& R. It just goes to show how popular the brand has become globally, with Mr. Peanut winning acclaim as one of the most recognized character trademark in marketing history.

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