It is with heavy hearts that we confirm that Mr. Peanut has died at 104. In the ultimate selfless act, he sacrificed himself to save his friends when they needed him most. Please pay your respects with #RIPeanut pic.twitter.com/VFnEFod4Zp
— The Estate of Mr. Peanut (@MrPeanut) January 22, 2020
Yes, you read that correctly the longtime ambassador for Planters Peanuts has died.
Here is footage of his heroic death. The footage will be featured in a upcoming television commercial during the Super Bowl on Feb.2
Planters Peanuts and Mr. Peanut has had a longtime connection to Northeast Pennsylvania.
Planters Peanuts got its start in Scranton. The company’s founder Amedeo Obici immigrated to the United States in 1888 as a young boy and found his way to Scranton. While in Scranton, he found work in a cigar factory. Sometime later he would start selling fruits and nuts on the streets of the Electric City.
From there he would move his business to Wilkes-Barre. Once in the WB, the selling of fruit and nuts evolved into a peanut roasting business. From that point the business continued to grow. Opening an office under the name Planters, he expanded and added processing plants in San Francisco, Toronto and Suffolk, Virginia.
In those early days, Obici announced that his company was in need of trademark to represent the growing brand. In 1916, he announced a contest seeking designs for said representation.
Tony Gentile won the contest, according to Nov. 12, 2000 article in the Sunday Times, with his drawing of nine-foot tall peanut with arms and legs. Later an unnamed Wilkes-Barre artist added a top hat, monocle, spats and cane to Gentile’s drawing giving birth to Mr. Peanut.
Update: Read reactions to the death of Mr. Peanut – https://www.thetimes-tribune.com/news/iconic-planters-mascot-mr-peanut-a-wilkes-barre-native-dead-at-104-1.2586513
Here are some images and advertisement from the Times-Tribune Archives dealing with Mr. Peanut.
You will be missed, #RIPPeanut
Update Monday, Jan. 27, 2020 –
On Saturday, the Citizens’ Voice talked to Harold RIchards of Hanover Twp. about his time portraying Mr. Peanut on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre – https://www.citizensvoice.com/news/hanover-twp-man-remembers-his-time-spent-playing-mr-peanut-on-public-square-1.2587184
Later that evening, Mr. Peanut made an appearance on Saturday Night Live –
And on Monday, Jan. 27, a spokesperson for Planters announced they are taking a “pause” on the current Mr. Peanut campaign out of respect following the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and the seven other passenger in the helicopter. The “pause” covers paid advertising on Twitter and YouTube. The company has yet to make a decision on the planned commercial during the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 2.
Update – Feb. 3, 2020
Last night during the Super Bowl a new commercial aired showing the return or the regrowth of Mr. Peanut –
Today in Wilkes-Barre, a celebration is planned to mark his return – https://www.citizensvoice.com/news/mr-peanut-event-will-go-on-celebration-of-baby-nut-planned-1.2590658
Update Feb. 4, 2020 –
Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown announced plans for possible display in Wilkes-Barre to honor Mr. Peanut – https://www.citizensvoice.com/news/peanut-gallery-display-honoring-planters-mascot-could-be-coming-to-wilkes-barre-1.2590817
Brian Fulton has been the librarian at The Times-Tribune for the past 15 years. On his blog, Historically Hip, he writes about the great concerts, plays/musicals and celebrity happenings that have taken place throughout NEPA. He is also the co-host of the local history podcast, Historically Hip. He competed and was crowned grand champion on an episode of NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9140; or @TTPagesPast