Me and Mr. Potato Head

Welcome to our special Spuds and Spurs week! Spuds, you say? Yes, indeed. Potatoes were a staple on the westward trails. They were nutritious and stored well, so pioneers depended on them, and as such they should be celebrated. They are also one of my favorite foods.

I’m from Idaho originally and the license plate of my first car proudly read “Famous Potatoes”. As a teen that was a mortifying thing to have on one’s car. I survived, but I thought it was kind of embarrassing to be from a potato state when other kids got to be from states famous for wild horses or aliens. When I traveled out of state and let it be known that I was from Idaho, people invariably said, “Potatoes, right?”

Right–except that I never ate an Idaho potato until I moved to Colorado in 1982, where there were special bins marked “Idaho Potatoes”. At the time they didn’t sell Idaho spuds in the northern part of Idaho–they sold potatoes from Washington, Oregon, California and North Dakota. I love all potatoes, so I didn’t care.

And now to Mr. Potato Head…

Shortly after I married, my husband and I moved to northern Nevada, where we lived near the largest spud farm in the nation. (Yes, Nevada, not Idaho.)  I took a job teaching junior high school, and since I’m a big fan of whimsy, I used my kids’ Mr. Potato Heads  as room decorations. The students, would  ask why I had so many Mr. Potato Heads, and I would explain that I was from Idaho and Mr. Potato Head was my favorite animal.

That stopped them in their tracks. “But…he’s a potato, not an animal.”

“Does he have legs and eyes and a nose and a mouth?”


“Then he’s my favorite animal.”

Soon the kids were bringing me their old Potato Heads, and I started getting new ones as gifts. One student negotiated a trade–he’d give me his prince and princess Potato Heads in exchange for my Darth Tater. I liked the kid, so I agreed. I kind of miss Darth, though.

The original Mr. Potato Head was invented in 1949 and made with actual potatoes. The Mr. Potato Head kit supplied the face and body components, which were on nails, and the child had to come up with his own potato to put them on. Toys were slightly more deadly back then. You don’t find points sharp enough to skewer a potato on kids’s toys nowadays.  The plastic potato body was included in the kit in 1964 and in 1975, the spud body became much larger.

Some fun Mr. Potato Head facts–he received four votes to be mayor of Boise, Idaho in 1985. He was the official Spokes Spud for the Great American Smoke Out in 197 and surrendered his pipe. He was the first toy ever advertised on television in 1952.

Mr, Potato Head has  starred in films, been featured in McDonald Happy Meals, floated high as a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and even dresses up as a cowboy. In fact…Cowboy Mr. Potato Head will be one of the prizes given away in our special event. So exciting!

And Now…The Spurs and Spuds Contest

Here’s how the contest works–it’s simple, but a little different from our past contests. Every day two blog commentors will be chosen as semi-finalists. On Sunday, September 29, two winners will be chosen from the semi-finalists. The grand prizes are a great big Lays Potato Variety Pack, and Mr. And Mrs. Potato Head

To enter to be one of my semi-finalists, please tell me if you had a Mr. Potato Head. If you are lucky enough to be randomly chosen as my semi-finalists, you will also receive an autographed copy of my soon-to-be-released book, A Ranch Between Them.

To recap:

  1. Two semi-finalists chosen each day.
  2. Two grand prize winners chosen from all semi-finalists and announced on Sunday.
  3. To enter my contest, tell me if you had a Mr. Potato Head.
  4. My semi-finalists will receive autographed copies of my latest book.

Good luck!






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Jeannie Watt raises cattle in Montana and loves all things western. When she's not writing, Jeannie enjoys sewing, making mosaic mirrors, riding her horses and buying hay. Lots and lots of hay.

81 thoughts on “Me and Mr. Potato Head”

  1. I too had a Mr. Potato head and he had a pipe. But my children’s Mr. Potato heads were more modern then mine was. That was through the 60’s & 70’s.

  2. Wow, I loved getting Mr. Potato Head’s back story. That’s cool, who knew there were so many different types?? Well me for one.. I didn’t have a Mr. Potato head, I remember my brother did. I, of course played with his when he wasn’t around.
    This is a fun contest! I bet you wished you still had your 1st license plate. Back!! Or Do you still have it??

  3. Well the title of this blog sure did raise my eyebrows this morning. I’m in shock that you never had an Idaho potato when you lived in Idaho. My youngest daughter says potatoes should be their own food group, her favorite food! I have a niece that her ideal vacation wish is to go stay in the giant potato! Yes, I had a Mr. Potato Head and both my daughter’s did too! I’m headed to fix my daughter hashbrowns now!

  4. I did have a Mr Potato Head when I was a kid. If I remember right, I had a Mrs Potato Head too. I used to love coming up with crazy ideas for them. Potatoes are my favorite food too. I could eat them every day. One time a friend sent me a box of Idaho Spud candies because she knew I liked potatoes and thought it would be a fun alternative.

  5. Oh yes I had a Mr. Potato head and he had a pipe but the one my child had did not have the pipe. Mine was in the 60’s but my son’s was in the 90’s so no pipe.

  6. Oh yes we had a Potato Head – way back in the 60’s and now the grands have them as well – along with the Mrs. so much fun moving all their parts around –

  7. Welcome. These are some interesting facts about Mr. Potato Head. I sorta had one growing up. I was the oldest of five. My sister was the youngest. For some reason before my sister was born an aunt gave all three of my brothers one Mr Potato Head to share among themselves. Silly. But all four of us shared and we made up a lot of different pieces to go along. Many times he was unrecognizable as Mr. Potato Head. Mom encouraged us to use our creativity and see what we could come up with. A lot of fun. When My kids wanted one. They each got their own and they got to pick which kind. My son is the factual one and he chose the original one. My practical daughter choose the original one.

  8. I love your blog. I knew nothing about the history of Mr. Potato Head and although I was familiar with them, I had no idea there were so many different kinds. Cool! Thanks for kicking off what looks to be a fun week about Spuds and Spur. Great blog!

  9. I never had one but I did buy one for my boys. They played with the potato head a little. Very interesting background and info.

  10. Happy Spuds and Spurs! What a great idea. I love potatoes, any way you make them, I love them. I had a Mr. Potato Head as a child, and my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have all been amazed at the idea of using a real potato.

  11. I did not have a Mr. Potato Head growing up. But as a Gramma, I have many many different Mr. Potato Heads that the grandkiddos just love to play with and so do I!

  12. I never had one. I came from a family of 6 children and lived in a 2 room home. Everything I received was homemade.

  13. I did have a Mr. Potato Head… his back opened up to keep all his parts together! When my nephew was young, I got him one too, but the back no longer opened up…

  14. Enjoyed this history about Potato Head which was new for me. I was never given a Potato Head and had no idea they existed when I grew up.

  15. Yes, I was lucky enough to share Mr. Potato Head with my four siblings. And when my mom went to an as ssf listed living, I believe Mr. Potato Head and what was left of the pieces were given to my as unt for her grandchildren.
    I live in Idaho, and had my first Idaho potato in 1983, in Rockville Centre, NY, Long Island. Had to go a long way to get one.

  16. Yes I sure did and loads of fun. Also my 3 year old grandson was given one for his birthday and his baby sister wanted it so bad. She loved it. Toy story always come to mind when I see any. Have a great day.

  17. I had a Mr. Potato Head but I don’t remember what age I was. It was in the 60’s sometime. I remember sharing it with my younger brothers so maybe we all got it so share together, maybe it wasn’t just mine! Memory is a little vague on this! I don’t think we had a Mrs. Potato Head. I enjoyed the Toy Story movies because of the old toys it featured! Mr. Potato Head especially!

  18. The first Mr Potato Head I remember playing with was the kind that required a potato. My little sister had one that had a body that I think was styrofoam. You could put the parts anywhere on it. I didn’t know there were so many different Potato Heads.

    In keeping with Spuds and Spurs, when I look up from my screen I see the neighbors digging spuds with there selfpropelled digger. I have a great view from my window.

  19. Hi, yes we had a Mr. Potato Head growing up, it sure was a lot of fun, and my children who are now 41 and the youngest is 39 also had Mr. Potato Heads. I think Mr. Potato Head will always be. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing this information, brought back lots of memories! Have a Great day.

  20. You finished before I got here tonight. I had a Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head when my children were little. I still have it somewhere and sometimes get it out when my grandchildren come over. Potatoes are favorites in our family. Dinner of a salad with a nicely baked and topped potato is often a go to meal for us. I belong to several service groups and we often have the salad and baked potatoes for meals at our meetings.

  21. I did. Also as I have a daycare ( for 38 years ), I have a whole container full of potato heads still today. The kids love them

  22. No I never had a Mr or MRs Potato Head. I wanted one a loooot as a child but I don’t recall ever asking for one. I think i just longed for one but wanted other toys a bit more like Barbie, My Little Pony, Monchichi, a Big Wheel books…lol

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